TWO SUMMERS AGO, while on a return visit to her home country, Annika Bogart Elias decided to import Swedish furniture. "I fell in love with a beautiful hand-painted armoire dated 1718," she says by way of explanation. She named her Melrose shop after Karl XII, a much-admired king of Sweden, and began specializing in Swedish Neoclassical and Empire furnishings. Her small shop houses couches with scrolled arms, cabinets with symmetrical silhouettes and decorative accessories.
(Prices range from $500 for a circa 1890 wicker chair and fly upwards to $14,000 for a Swedish Baroque fruitwood armoire. Beautiful pillows made from old Aubusson tapestries are $1,500 each.) Right next door--the juxtaposition was a lucky coincidence--is another smorgasbord of Scandinavian design, an emporium mostly specializing in modern Swedish design called Lief (pronounced life). Its country/traditional hand-painted furnishings "recall meadows and legacies," lyricizes Lief Aarestrup, the store's owner. He carries a contemporary Danish kitchen, award-winning indoor and outdoor furniture, colorful hand-blocked fabrics, flooring and old pine armoires and cupboards from Swedish farmhouses (1880 to 1940). Table-top accessories include hand-woven linens, utensils and glassware. The textiles woven of paper twine from Finland are remarkable.
Karl XII, 8262 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046 ; (213) 852-0303. Lief, 8264 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046; (213) 658-1100.