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The Best of British, Mid Century Modern design.
Last week we discussed what we meant by Mid Century Modern and how we describe it. This week I wanted to explore the fantastic contribution Briton has made to the Mid century Modern furniture movement.
While many of us think of Scandinavian designs when thinking of Mid century furniture, we simply can not ignore the quality and staying power of the popular designs by British designers.
There are many British MCM designers to browse from, however the four that stand out for me are none other than Robert Heritage, Richard Young, Earnest Race and of course my personal favorite Gordon Russell.
1892-1980 was born in London in 1892, then moved to Worcestershire in 1904, to live in hotel his father bought.
Gordon Russell was best described as a “design pioneer”. Influenced by the arts and crafts movement of 1904
Gordon Russell and Eamest Race would have crossed paths at Chipping Campden school.
Ernest Race was born in Newcastle in 1913 and died in London in 1964.
Race designed for the festival of Britain in 1951 with his most famous piece being the Antelope chair. His designs are described as quirky and uplifting in the wake of the world wars, bringing an English take on these design years. Many of the British designers did not only work alone but also collaborated with other stand out designers of there times, with Gordon russell and Ernest Race both working with Robert Heritage.
and went onto study at Royal College of Art London.
Last on our list is Richard Young who was born is 1930 and co-founded Merrow associates in 1964,with Percy Wyett and Peter Weeks.
Young studied, as did Robert Heritage at the Royal college of Art and then at the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen. With this educated background he focused on quality not quantity, with his famous mixture of Rosewood, chrome and glass that were retailed mainly by the highly acclaimed Harrods and Heals.
If you are lucky enough to be in the market for a high quality piece of Mid Century Modern furniture then please remember these four great British designers, who can certainly rival the sought after Scandinavian designs of its era.
What do we mean by Mid Century Modern (MCM)?
What do we mean by Mid Century Modern (MCM)?
Mid century modern is so popular at present that is has become a buzzword and come to mean a lot of different things.
Another point of why Mid century modern furniture will fit in todays homes is that you can mix it with other eras such as mix of antiques, vintage and Art Deco. It is so versatile and with its classic shapes and is great for the small spaces of a modern home.
If you are wanting to invest in a Mid Century modern piece, simply start with what you need, such as a family dinning table or an eye catching sideboard. You will want to look for the smooth, sleek, low designs and dark patterned woods such as Rosewood or Teak.
Don't be afraid to spend a little on a a specific designer for your statement piece, as this will be a good investment over time. Look for a makers mark or stamp or if there is not one there is often a signature look that a specific designer or manufacture would have used for the handles or legs.
Keep the rooms uncluttered for a true Scandinavian look making for an easy carefree way of life. A lot of good mid century pieces have great functionally such as a desk by Svend Madsen and a drum table by Robert Heritage.
It is hard to go wrong with these original pieces and many of its designs have never been bettered. So start searching for your Mid Century look today.
How to mix vintage furniture pieces successfully
Last year we saw the popular rise of the vintage furniture trend throughout our homes, and this trend is set to be even bigger in 2018. Even within the vintage spectrum, there are so many different looks and styles that we can pair together to create a dynamic look. Today, we consider some ways that we can successfully mix vintage pieces to create a room with style and essence, oozing in creative textures and colours.
Mix your table and chairs
Within the world of vintage furniture, there are many different eras in which we can choose beautiful pieces to mix and match. Think of antique, mid-century and art deco furniture pieces. One great way to infuse two of these styles is by contrasting your table and chairs. For example, you could combine these beautiful art deco armchairs with a classic mid-century drum table. Or, combine a classic mid-century dining table with beautiful art deco dining chairs. There are so many ways you can combine different woods and colours to create a unique look in your home.
Modern ways to incorporate a sideboard into your home design
You might think of a sideboard and wonder how and why it could be incorporated into your home design. Whether you're going for vintage chic or combining art deco elements with a modern flair, there are lots of ways in which a sideboard can add functionality and purpose to your space.
The use of mid-century, vintage and art deco style furniture is constantly increasing. We are seeing a classic mix of different interior design elements and this trend is expected to boom in 2018. Sideboards, in particular, are seeing an increasing rise in popularity, because they are so versatile. So why not get a head start and purchase a sideboard that will look fantastic in your home. Here are the top modern ways in which you can incorporate a sideboard into your home design.
Most families regularly gather around the TV to watch their favourite shows, and as TV sizes continue to grow, they are becoming more of a focal point. A larger sideboard makes a great TV stand, and provides additional storage space for DVD’s, digital boxes and games consoles. Something like this black French art deco sideboard would work perfectly with any modern decor.
The classic dressing table
This is one of the easiest ways to bring a sideboard into your home design. Every bedroom needs a dresser and this is the perfect way to combine modern functionality with classic design. This Italian sideboard with mirror is perfect for a bedroom, combining a sleek design that works well with a modern home design and the practicality provided by the hidden drawers and built in vintage mirror.
Incorporating vintage furniture into a modern home design
The rise in vintage furniture is apparent as more and more people want to incorporate a vintage look into a modern home. It's a winning combination. Below we've put together some of the top ways that you can strategically incorporate vintage furniture into your modern home design.
Dressing Tables & Chests of Drawers
An art deco chest of drawers or dressing table is a staple piece that can be used throughout the home in a variety of ways. Traditionally, we would find them in the bedroom - and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, they will look fantastic and they are practical. However, try thinking outside the box when it comes to incorporating these classic pieces of furniture into other areas of a modern home. Dressing tables and chests of drawers can be a great place to store things in the living room, and you can use them as a stand for your TV or to display some classic art pieces.
Tables and Chairs
One of the most striking ways to incorporate vintage furniture into your modern home design is through the use of coffee tables and dining chairs. Mid-century coffee tables often combine different materials such as wood, metal and glass, so they don't look out of place when mixed with more modern furniture. You can also create a truly modern, eclectic design in your dining room by mixing mid-century dining chairs in with modern ones.
Decorative design features used in vintage furniture
We have seen a rise in the use of vintage furniture in interior design, and it's no surprise why. Vintage furniture brings a unique quality to a room compared with furniture that has been mass produced. Vintage furniture is often a popular choice because of the high quality it represents, which comes from the intricate work and superior craftsmanship used when it was produced. In fact, choosing vintage furniture is seen as an investment because the pieces are hardwearing and the designs continue to stay relevant.
The vintage category spans several decades so you can choose pieces that are specific to an era you like. For example, you can choose pieces from art deco furniture to mid-century furniture or even something a little more recent. When it comes to choosing a piece of vintage furniture, it can sometimes be a little difficult to differentiate between the era it was produced. To help you find perfect piece of furniture for your home design, here are some common features that are found in vintage furniture.
Styles of feet and legs
The styles of feet used in vintage furniture vary depending on the century. The 17th century saw the use of the styled feet on coffers and the rise of the bun foot. As we moved into the 18th century, the splayed bracket foot was used and the 19th century saw the use of the C-style bun foot. Legs in vintage furniture also changed throughout the centuries. In the 17th, there was a strong use of double scroll and reversed scroll legs, then as the 18th century came along, there was a rise in the design of reeded, spade and saber legs. Moving into the 20th century, we see decorative versions of all of these and many other feet and leg styles, especially in art deco pieces where the emphasis was on eye-catching designs. Decorative feet and legs are one of the distinguishing features of classic pieces of vintage furniture.
The way in which handles are styled on vintage furniture is a specific decorative feature which helps retain the vintage appeal. There are lots of different styled handles available, ranging from oval, spiral/swirl and concentric style knobs to dropper and bar style pull handles. As with other elements of the furniture, handles, handle backplates and even locks were embellished with intricate designs.
5 Art Deco furniture designers you need to know about
Art Deco emerged as one of the most glamorous and elegant styles of the 1920s and 30s. Sandwiched by two World Wars, Art Deco has come to epitomise the elegance and sophistication of a generation which was recovering from the strife of the First World War. The Art Deco movement also stands at the forefront of technology, with the widespread adoption of motorcars and the invention of television happening during this period. As a result, many early petrol stations and TV sets were influenced heavily by this evocative movement.
Art Deco was also embraced by many traditional industries, from architecture to jewellery designers, but it is furniture design where Art Deco can be most appreciated. Art Deco furniture design throws off the shackles of early eighteenth and nineteenth-century furniture design, which was seen as rather austere for these new enlightened times. Today we shall look at five of the most influential Art Deco furniture designers from the 20s and 30s - each of these designers has their own distinct style which continues to influence furniture design today.
Epstein Brothers (Harry & Lou)
This art deco walnut sideboard, which we recently sold, is typical of an Epstein piece of the early 1930s. The strong architectural design is offset by fluted cupboards on either side to give a harmonious geometric look, while the unusual blonde burr walnut veneer provides an exquisite and exotic finish that gives the piece a subtle elegance that will complement any modernist interior.
Hille is perhaps best known for its polypropylene chair designed by Robin Day in 1972, but the firm first established its reputation during the early twentieth century as a provider of quality handmade furniture. Salomon Hille arrived in London in 1906 from his native Russia and started making reproduction 18th century furniture. By the early 1930s, Hille began experimenting in art deco pieces, with his style influenced by traditional Art Deco designs of the period. Simple in style and without too much detail, the focus is on handcrafted quality materials rather than general mass production.
This Hille teak dining table is typical of the style created by Hille. Minimalist in style, elegantly tapered legs which are finished in a contrasting piano black offset the natural teak table top which is finished in teak veneer to provide a classic retro look for your dining room or kitchen.
Five essentials of art-deco home design
Timeless style never truly ages, which is why more and more homeowners pursue art-deco furniture pieces for their home. But with such a wealth of options available, how do you discern between the classy and the kitsch? And what items look great no matter how they’re set in your room?
Here is our list of recommendations for the key aesthetics and items that will fit inside any home:
1. Aim for stripped-down simplicity
Picking out a period chair is often difficult. Ideally, aim for a vintage item that is pared back but still possesses trademark deco angles and curves. Remember that while boldness is a big part of the style, going with wood will draw the eye with minimal effort and work in any room.
2. Marry beauty and class
Classic deco design deploys mirrors to maximise space and bring in sunlight. Settling on a statement dresser provides an elegant centrepiece for your room while working to save on space.
3. Enjoy some effortless cool
For many, the signature deco image comes from the bars and lounges of the roaring 30’s and 40’s. If you’re wanting to replicate their iconic seating, aim for an item in a lighter leather. Rounded edges also work to subvert the traditional hard lines of the style and softly modernise the room.
Get the Look: Mid Century Modern
Decorating your home can be a really exciting task, especially when you’ve chosen a theme or style that you really love. Here, we’re going to focus on getting that mid century modern style that is on trend right now.
The Distinguishing Features Of Mid Century Style
There are a few distinguishing features of mid century style. The look is nearly always classic and understated, but in no way does this mean that they are the same.
Functionality is a huge factor in any mid century style - your home must be functional to work well. The design is usually considered uncluttered and sleek, with minimal ornamentation to avoid creating visual clutter and a feeling of messiness. Your mid century style can still be textured and interesting, you just need to make sure you select your items carefully.
In most cases, both traditional and nontraditional materials can be used. It isn’t uncommon to use contrasting materials either, such as wood and plastics together.
When it comes to colors, pretty much anything goes. You may find a graphic use of black and white appealing, or prefer to use colors from neutral to bold. Whatever you like, you can make it work in this style.
Include Signature Furniture Pieces
Signature furniture pieces will make the difference between a mid century style that stands out and one that falls flat. Buying vintage and antique furniture is always the way to go, as they give far more style and character than replica pieces. One large piece can set the tone you want, so make sure you’re really selective when it comes to your sofa.
Don’t include too many patterns in your furniture or any room - you can use a pattern, but too many of them won’t look right for this style. Ideally, you want to go for a retro feel, using things like unusual lamps, tapered legs and curves for furniture, and warm woods to create the look. Natural and textured finishes work really well in mid century style, so things like linen, felt, teak, walnut, oak and rosewood can all be used. Make sure there’s no glossiness or sparkle here - it will not go with the look you’re trying to achieve.
Unique pendant lights look amazing in a mid century style home; they’ll add texture and can almost be like a piece of hanging art. Ornate mirrors are great too, especially sunburst style mirrors. Remember, this is not a matchy matchy style so you don’t need to go on the hunt for matching sets and such. You can mix and match where you feel appropriate to create the right look.
Make sure that you don’t clutter walls with art and instead go for higher end pieces - a couple of bold, high quality pieces will always work better than lots of cheaper pieces.
Hopefully this guide has helped you to create the mid century style you love in your home - remember, investing in genuine vintage and antique will always create the best look imaginable!
Browse our current catalogue of mid century furniture online or contact us on 07799 660323 to arrange an appointment.
7 Benefits of Investing in Antique Furniture
Are you considering what vintage furniture to purchase for your home or business? Anyone who wants to start a collection of antique furniture should first carry out extensive research first, attending an auction can help you to learn about pieces of furniture from different periods and gain an idea of what certain items are worth.
Before purchasing any antique furniture, we suggest you read about some of the benefits to investing in some high-quality pieces.
1. It Is Good for the Environment
Investing in antique furniture pieces is environmentally friendly because you are reducing the need for manufacturing companies to create new items. Choosing to buy antique furniture can help to save trees and bring a new lease of life to old wooden furniture. Another reason antique furniture is environmentally friendly is that the materials that they are made from will not harm the environment. Whereas cheap furniture is often made out of plastic which does damage the environment.
2. High-Quality Products
Antique furniture is made to a very high standard, and items tend to be handcrafted and made to last. Many antiques are still in use after hundreds of years and this demonstrates just how durable antique furniture can be.
3. Antique Furniture Is Handmade and Unique
No piece is the same, and antique pieces are not mass produced which means that you can be sure that the furniture is unique to you.
4. Antiques Are Still Stylish
Art Deco is still one of the key design trends for 2017, we discussed in our previous blog post how it is making a comeback this year! Antique items are well worth the investment and are classic interior design pieces that will never go out of fashion.
5. Can Either Hold It's Value or Increase in Value
In the long run, antiques are a good investment and if they are cleaned and receive the correct care need over they can even increase in value. If you do decide to change the style of a room and decide you want to sell some of your furniture, they are likely to provide a return on your investment.
6. They Tell a Story
Each piece of antique furniture has a unique story to tell, and they can be a reminder of past eras. Imagine the stories that could be told about your furniture.
7. Add Personality to a Modern Interior
Carefully selecting pre-loved feature furniture pieces can help to add character to your modern interior. Adding a decorative piece of furniture can contribute to transforming your home into a stunning and original environment.
Have you decided to invest in some impressive high-quality antique furniture? We’re an antique furniture dealer based in London, call us today on 07799660323 if you need help deciding on which beautifully hand restored item would best suit your home or office.