Elleke Claassen was trained in arts, design and restoration in England and the Netherlands. As a young woman she was a cultural tour guide in Spain and France, where she met her husband Willem, a fellow Dutchman. They married in 1965 and started discovering, collecting, restoring and trading objects and furniture that caught their imagination. One magical part of the life of an arts and antiques dealer is finding and helping to preserve the incarnation of creativity that had enough quality to withstand time.
After building a house from the ground up in Chaam (Netherlands) and then restoring a farmhouse in Alphen (Netherlands), the couple moved to England in 1978 to the historical ‘Holverston Hall’ in Norfolk Holverston had been built under the influence of the Flemish with distinct Dutch gables.
Legend tells that one of the inhabitants of the Hall had to flee after a duel and found refuge in the Netherlands.
Elleke, Willem and their children had a blissful five years caring for and enjoying this beautiful place surrounded by old walled gardens. While in Europe, Elleke participated in prestigious antique shows such as De Doelen in Rotterdam, the first two Maastricht shows and the Olympia in London.
The family moved to Canada in 1983. First, to beautiful Calgary, and then in 1985 to Goodwood, Ontario, At this point in time, Willem & their son Neal began a prestigeous showcase manufacturing and design company called ‘Schadebo Showcases’. Schadebo was later handed over to Neal and re-named ‘So Showcase’. They continue to thrive today.
In Goodwood, the five Claassens took on the challenge of changing a very basic 1950’s bungalow into an harmonious family home using designs of Daniel Marot from around 1700.