For the Love of Linnaea

One of the first things you see when you walk into the new Fairfax showroom is this sleek, mid-century modern bed and end tables:

Linnaea bed and nightstands

And this handsome chest just to the side:

Linnaea chest

They are from the new Linnaea collection, which has distinctly Swedish roots, considering the initial goal was to create a look that was “Danish Modern.”

“I was looking at plants for inspiration,” co-owner Mark Gatterdam says. He ran across the linnaea borealis, the national flower of Sweden.

The flower is named after the 18th-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, who invented the modern system for classifying plants and animals.

“I just kept coming back to this word,” Mark says. And it didn’t hurt that Marketing Director Alison Heath’s favorite coffee shop in her native San Luis Obispo, CA, is called Linnaea’s. And they both loved the organic roots of the word, which they tried to capture in the style of our first mid-century collection:

Linnaea sofa with custom bolsters

Linnaea sofa, chair and coffee table

Linnaea extension table and dining chairs

The craftsmen in the Woodbridge shop spent countless hours coming up with the perfect design prototypes for the Linnaea pieces. There’s even a Linnaea graveyard where the rejects are piled:

The Linnaea graveyard

The results are worth it – especially in the big-picture scheme of things, Mark says. “My vision was to re-position the organization,” he says. “What that meant was playing with the big boys, coming up with new product lines … Alison said we needed a mid-century modern thing. All I could remember was ugly parents’ furniture that was badly done from the ’70s, but there are some really cool ’40s and ’50s cutting-edge styles.

Co-owner Kevin Carlson with the Linnaea mirror frame

The customers seem to be happy too – especially all the scientists we get in our Rockville showroom who come from NIH, NASA, Walter Reed Army Medical Center – “and those rock lickers” from the National Geological Survey, Mark adds. They all recognize the Linnaea name.

The craftsmanship is evident in all the details of the Linnaea mirror.

“Several customers immediately knew what the reference was,” Mark says. “Linnaea was more recognizable than I had anticipated, which made us happy. In people’s minds, it’s organic. Other people just think it’s a nice word.”

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