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Thread of modernist appreciation

(134 Posts)
shovetheholly Wed 12-Oct-16 09:02:21

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm wondering if there any are fellow Mumsnetters who like mid-century modern/modernist furniture?

I am not any kind of expert, but I find myself increasingly drawn to this style. My most coveted item at the moment is the Finn Juhl no 45. There is no way I'll ever be able to afford an original - but does anyone have the repros? Are they any good?

JT05 Wed 12-Oct-16 17:55:50

I love that chair! I have a full ercol Windsor dining suite plus sideboard and dresser it has been in the family since new - 1958! I have added a trolley and bureaux.
It is timeless and has been in two 1960s houses, one Georgian, and two Edwardian. It looks at home everywhere. Mostly down to the Arts and Caft heritage in the design.

I seriously regret, years ago, giving the Windsor 3 piece suite to the Scouts jumble!

boobashka Thu 13-Oct-16 12:39:36

Just getting into it!

Recently moved into a 70s house and have ordered some Ercol chairs for the dining area. We've also inherited some teak furniture which looks great against a plain background. I like the good quality of the furniture and the upcycling aspect.

Trying to get the Mid century/scandi look with white/pale walls and wooden floors. DH is putting his foot down at the animal skins/furs tho!!!

shovetheholly Thu 13-Oct-16 14:15:46

I do love the Windsor range - I've seen it in houses that are quite traditional and houses that are quite modernist, and it looks good in both. Not many items of furniture where you could say that.

boobashka - I am very much a beginner too, but I am really interested in finding out about these amazing mid-century designers and their ideas. I am going to extend my house next year, and the plan is to have quite a mid-century inspired room facing the garden. smile Love the sound of your teak - it's nice to think of the furniture with a new lease of life, and I bet the original owner would be dead chuffed to know it was being well loved.

brodchengretchen Thu 13-Oct-16 14:45:53

Lovely chair, and I would think the wood work is top quality. Reproductions don't always have the same manufacturing quality or materials. I would go for vintage every time.

Don't give up on trying to get authentic second hand, I get things that way and it need not break the bank. Eg, Marcel Breuer Cesca chairs at £30 - £50 quid, and a Heal's 1950s dressing table and mirror for £120ish. Just looking for the right era stool for it now.

If you like the Finn piece you might also like Eames chairs.

princessconsuelabannahammock Thu 13-Oct-16 14:57:48


boobashka Thu 13-Oct-16 17:20:48

Yes my Ercol windsor chairs were £50-65 each on ebay. Fantastic value for the quality.

There's loads of stuff on the Houzz website to inspire you, shove

Upholstery can be refreshed with new fabrics (check out some of the amazing Scandi fabrics there are out there). I'm quite obsessed at the mo!

GrimDamnFanjo Fri 14-Oct-16 13:33:39

Love the mid century modern look too. Slowly working my way through a makeover downstairs. I've picked up a few lookalikes via swoon/made and arlo/Jacob. Haunting eBay.

barefootinkitchen Sat 15-Oct-16 08:56:51

Love all the modernist style furniture. Have a mid century home but trying to resist going fully mid century as don't want it to look too period. Trying to mix with some simple contemporary bits. Love admiring it in books, shops etc. Where I live originals are so expensive, no chance of discovering a bargain.

princessconsuelabannahammock Sat 15-Oct-16 10:10:04

I have some mid century furniture in our living room and I love it. Such great quality, we have 2 units that are 50 odd years old and still solid. We are contemplating decorating our living room and I want to rip off all the dado rails and out of place skirting board.

I also have a plan for cladding the chimney wall in a lovely slate tile and I would like a nice reclaimed wood floor. Then would love new sofas but need to save first so it may be some time!

I buy all my furniture from gumtree and the reclamation yard at the recycling center - I live in an area with a large elderly population and I have often had furniture that has been much loved but now sadly no longer needed.

DavetheCat2001 Mon 17-Oct-16 21:14:15

I have recently started up a small business buying and selling mid century furniture.

I sold a beautiful Morris of Glasgow sideboard recently, and a dressing table.

I have recently picked up in a local charity shop an amazing G Plan 'Brandon' dressing table with the original lights still attached which is going to be my next project.

I have a Windsor Ercol coffee table in our living room which I love, and a really cute 1960's teak record cabinet with dansette legs. I also have a re-upholstered 1950's sofa which I love.

I agree with a PP that the true magic of this period of furniture is that it works so well in both a retro and a modern setting.

slinkysaluki Mon 17-Oct-16 21:48:03

Beginner here too. My taste us usually quite Bohemian but I'm moving on Monday to a new house and have decided I'm changing my furniture to Scandinavian style. I've just bought some repro Eames dining chairs and a retro style sofas. Am now looking for sideboard to up cycle. I like the simplicity of the style.

dontcallmelen Mon 17-Oct-16 23:26:01

Don't know if pp are anywhere near Crystal Palace in south London, a shop in jasper road has a very good selection of danish/scandi furniture, some of it quite expensive but apparently by well known designers.
They also usually have quite a bit of gplan & ercol that is priced fairly reasonably.

shovetheholly Tue 18-Oct-16 07:15:04

Hooray! I started this thread and I wasn't sure whether anyone would post! I am delighted to find so many lovely Mumsnetters who like the same things!

That's a great tip about looking for cheaper originals brodchen. I just don't know if I can part with the idea of owning a Finn Juhl-type chair. I love it SO much! There is a company making them to the original pattern, but they are about £8000, and the originals are way, way more. So a repro is my only hope I think!

boobashka - where would I even start looking for good fabrics? I know what I like, and it's bright and modernist and 1950s! But I struggle to find it.

I know what you mean about not making it look too period princess - there is a risk of a sort of kitsch creeping in. I was thinking this with regard to the Barbican recently - a new book has come out about the interior spaces, with loads of pictures of very tasteful rooms. But, in spite of the fact that they reference a lot of mid century design with original pieces, when you compare them to the original interiors, they are very different (the flooring, for a start, is totally changed!). So they still look fresh and new.

Here's a review of the book:

shovetheholly Tue 18-Oct-16 07:15:54

Oh and dave - I'd love to hear more about your business - realise the Mumsnet advertising rules are an issue, but it sounds fascinating!

shovetheholly Tue 18-Oct-16 07:16:43

Apologies - it was barefoot who was saying about looking "too period" blush

DavetheCat2001 Tue 18-Oct-16 08:28:23

dontcallmelen I am actually incredibly near Crystal palace, so will check out the place you mentioned. Thanks for the tip!

shove, I got made redundant from my job in August, and decided that trying to juggle a part time job, 2 kids and all the chaos and cost that went with childcare etc, I would try and do something I actually really love.

I am selling on eBay at the moment - a link to the mid century sideboard I just sold (not sure if this is allowed but if not let me know and I'll remove the link)

Got a couple of other things that I am going to refurb next. This is the Brandon G Plan dressing table I found hidden in the corner of a local charity shop under a pile of rubbish!

DavetheCat2001 Tue 18-Oct-16 08:31:34

I also found this dressing table by a maker called Uniflex in the same charity shop, which I am picking up on Saturday. Again it needs some love and talc, but I have seen one on eBay for sales at the moment for £290!! I paid £35!

shovetheholly Tue 18-Oct-16 08:36:26

Wow, dave, those are gorgeous items! You really have an eye for this!

DavetheCat2001 Tue 18-Oct-16 08:41:55

Thanks smile

The challenge is finding pieces that are not already marked up and expensive. Sadly this type of furniture is now very sought after and popular as it is so versatile, so you pay a premium for it.

I've been lucky in that the pieces I have found seem to have come from house-clearances and the stuff I buy normally needs a bit of talc, but I love restoring this wonderful furniture back to it's former glory!

It also gives me an excuse to buy it as we live in a maisonette which is bursting at the seams with my love of furniture and nick-nacks. OH is regularly moaning that there will be no room for him soon, so this gives me cart blanche to source and buy this stuff, make it look lovely and then pass it on.

MrsJamin Tue 18-Oct-16 08:41:57

I love mid century, have done for a few years now but haven't got as much as I'd like. I'm still hankering after an original cathrineholm enamel saucepan. I have a lovely ercol small kitchen table that I use as a desk. We have rip off eames chairs for the dining room. I adore ladderax, tomodo and string shelves, I am aching to get some and put them somewhere!

shovetheholly Tue 18-Oct-16 09:51:39

dave - I am just learning to search for things, but I can imagine how difficult it is for you to find items that will allow you to make something of a decent return for all your hard work restoring them. (I have to confess, I dont even know what "talc" is!!)

I will definitely watch your store with interest, and please do keep posting the lovely items you are working on!!

DavetheCat2001 Tue 18-Oct-16 10:18:11

haha sorry, 'talc' was meant to be tlc! Ruddy autocorrect!!

Thanks for the kind words, I shall indeed keep you posted smile

Also just have to share my Seth Thomas sunburst clock. I have a love of mid century clocks too

shovetheholly Tue 18-Oct-16 10:45:02

That is GORGEOUS! I especially like the way the numbers are angled with the circle. Beautiful.

And laughing out loud about 'talc'. I assumed it was a fancy product you restorers use to get things shiny again!! grin

RueDeDay Sun 23-Oct-16 17:42:34

I have basically decided to decorate my new house in this style after falling in love with this chair! I'm learning a lot and getting a lot of inspiration from a Facebook group called 'Scandi and Midcentury Style Homes', and have just picked up a set of nested Nathan tables for renovation smile

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