Modernism Notes Archives - Modern Classic

Modern Home with Furry Friends

Our Exhibition Bench and Wegner-Style Ox Chair and a Sleepy Artemis

Our Exhibition Bench and Wegner-Style Ox Chair and a Sleepy Artemis

One major allure of living in a modern home is the calming appeal drawn from the clean lines and simple perfection in the absence of ornamentation…. but when that new puppy starts doing a number on the living room furniture, it might seem like either the hopes of a modern home will have to go or the puppy will (and neither of these are acceptable options).

Now there is no need to have to decide between these two loves.  Thanks to new technology made available in the decades since the creation of the iconic signature furniture designs, there are substantially more durable and resilient options and we make full use of those materials here at Modern Classics Furniture:

Stainless Steel: 

During the age of modernism, furniture designers relied on using mild steel with chrome-plating.  Although it was the best option at the time, it could not offer adequate durability needed in high traffic areas of every day use.

This is why we use #304 stainless steel on all our furniture.  It offers an unprecedented level of durability without sacrificing style.  If in 20 years it needs a bit of refreshing, stainless steel can be sandblasted to restore the original sparkle.

Leather: 

Whether its cats or dogs at home, their adorable little paws are bound to leave claw marks on any leather that is susceptible to marks and scratches.

Our top-grain, aniline-dyed leather we import from Italy is equipped to withstand the elements of day-to-day life thanks to a protective coating we use to protect against scratches or stains, so your pets can easily nap on the furniture without a problem.

Boucle Fabric:

If you are the proud owner of a a furry friend who leaves “presents” around the house and digs their sharp baby claws into the furniture once they know they are in trouble, welcome to the club.  While most puppy mischief is eventually forgiven, stains and snags on upholstered furniture is a tough one to get past when there’s a daily reminder on your favorite sofa…except if that fabric is stain-resistant and claw-resistant, like our exclusive collection of Modern Boucle Fabrics.  Claw mark snags are a thing of the past and, for little puddles, clean up is a cinch (so puppy playtime can resume after the obligatory time-out).  We use an eco-friendly stain guard finish so spilled liquids bead up and are easily wiped away without permeating the surface of the fabric (its also UV resistant so colors will not fade if kept by a window…. I know this doesn’t apply so much to pets but, hey,  pretty cool).  

Come see all we have to offer in any of one our three showrooms in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Useful Guide for Knowing Quality Leathers

Wegner-Inspired: JH Lounge Chair

Wegner-Inspired: JH Lounge Chair

When it comes to furnishing your home with leather furniture, knowing what to look for to ensure you are getting the best quality of leather is key. Simply put, not all leather is created the same.  Here is a quick guide about what constitutes quality leather and what cheap alternatives to avoid:

Top Grain Leather:  Also known as ‘full grain,’ think of this as the prime rib of all the leathers.  This is the top part of the hide, the best part, and is the only leather we use since it is and is best suited for furniture upholstery due to its pliability and unmatched strength and durability.

Split Leather: This is the bottom layer of leather that is left after the top-grain leather layer has been removed (or split, hence the name).  It is typically sprayed and embossed to look more like top-grain, but it is not nearly as durable and will show scratches and signs of wear after only a few years.

Bonded Leather: Think of this as the hot dog of leathers.  This is the leftover leather that is ground up with glue and recycled (we do not use bonded leather).

Pure Aniline-Dyed: Our premium leathers are all 100% aniline dyed which means the color you see is achieved by soaking the leather in a large drum of non-toxic dye to penetrate the leather’s grain all the way through and still visually maintain the integrity of the leather’s natural surface. Between our premium leather and standard leather options, the premium leather is the softer.

Semi-Aniline-Dyed: With the same durability as our premium leathers, our standard leathers are semi-aniline dyed. This is the same process as mentioned above, though a small amount of pigment has been added to achieve the desired color and imperfections are corrected on the leather where necessary.

You can come see, smell, feel and sit in our wide variety of leathers at any of our showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas. If you are not able to visit we can always mail you any swatches of our leathers by filling out our  Material Sample Request Form.

Minimal Effort Methods for A Sustainable Green Home

Our Eileen Gray-Inspired Bibendum Chair and Finn Juhl-Inspired Chair 45 Pulled Up to Our Kjaerholm-Inspired PK61 Coffee Table

Our Eileen Gray-Inspired Bibendum Chair and Finn Juhl-Inspired Chair 45 Pulled Up to Our Kjaerholm-Inspired PK61 Coffee Table

When it comes to living in a sustainable home, certain measures can be taken to have a bigger impact on preserving the environment than you may realize and, once set in place, require even less effort than walking all the way over to the recycling bin to throw away your water bottle.

Lightbulbs:  Replacing your five most used lights in your house with energy efficient lightbulbs, such as LED or CFL, in a year will save you enough for a mini-shopping spree (around $75-100).  What is most manageable and reduces waste is replacing any traditional incandescents with energy efficient bulbs one-by-one as they burn out.  This way you can gradually transition to an entirely sustainably lit home without wasting any incandescent bulbs already in place

Furniture:  Do you know where your furniture was made and where those materials were sourced and how their manufacturing practices might impact the environment?  Its a surprising number of well-known furniture manufacturers who do not have these answers.  By manufacturing all our furniture in our factory, we have full control over the entire production process, and a big part of it is ensuring the most sustainable methods are properly being practiced to minimize any impact on the Earth’s limited natural resources. Our sustainable practices value human safety and the environment, and our customers can feel good about having our furniture in their homes.

Non-Disposable Containers:  A few months ago, I bought a dozen glass water bottles and made a commitment to stop buying plastic water bottles.  This small change has saved so much money and trips to the recycling bin, not to mention is more stylish than a carrying a crinkled plastic water bottle.  This same practice can be applied to every type of container in the house and only requires a few adjustments how you buy the products going in each container (for example, buying in bulk or making your own cleaning formulas)

Making Your Own Cleaning Formulas:  Not only can these easy-to-make formulas decimate germs and bacteria just as well as anything store bought, but harmful chemicals are kept out of your home, thus protecting your health and the environment.

You can learn more and visit us at any of our three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Hans Wegner’s Solution for Proper Posture

Our Wegner-Style Wing Back Chair and Ottoman

Our Wegner-Style Wing Back Chair and Ottoman

Proper posture seems to be easier said than done and anyone who has experienced a sore back after sitting at a desk or in front of a computer all day, you’re not alone.  I am constantly reminding myself to sit up straight, only to find myself slouching again within a few minutes.  Not only does it look sloppy but it is detrimental to spinal alignment, to the digestive system and can lead to poor circulation.  Hans Wegner recognized the importance of proper posture, and designed his iconic Wing Back Lounge Chair in a way to comfortably support the human spine in a way that makes proper posture the natural sitting position.

Our Wegner-Style Wing Back Lounge Chair follows the same specifications of Wegner’s original design, making proper posture come naturally so there’s no more accidental slouching.  With two stainless steel back legs being slightly lower than the two front legs, the seat has a backward slant that supports the upper back and neck while also supporting the natural curve of the lower back.

Come check it out along with everything else we have to offer at our BellinghamChicago or Dallas showrooms!

Modern Classics

Finn Juhl and His Signature “Carrying Element”

Finn Juhl-Inspired: Chair 45

Finn Juhl-Inspired: Chair 45

When thinking of all the main designers who played a key roles in bringing Danish Modern Design to the United States, Finn Juhl will always be at the top of this list.  Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1912, he pursued his degree in Architecture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, though his passion for woodworking and furniture design were always hobbies he practiced on his own time, even after graduating.  By continuing to practice his woodworking techniques, he organically created several unprecedented elements in his furniture designs that his peers applauded for the innovation and beauty and are still celebrated today.  These elements are distinguishing features one can observe in his furniture designs, most notably are the uniquely curved forms he successfully contoured using teak wood and also his “Carrying Element.”

In 1945, Finn Juhl created his signature method called the “Carrying Element” which involved freeing the seat and back from the chair’s frame.  After much experimenting, Juhl successfully created his unique ‘carrying element’ for seating and also his widely-acclaimed Chair 45.

Our Finn Juhl-Inspired Chair 45 honors the original design Finn Juhl created in 1945 and is handcrafted with solid hardwood.  With a memory foam cushion and many color options in either fabric or leather to choose, this chair is the perfect addition to any room!

Come check it out in any one of our showrooms in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Danish Modern Designer Borge Mogensen’s Legacy

Mogensen-Style Model 2334 Chair

Borge Mogensen-Style: Model 2334 Chair

Borge Mogensen’s iconic Danish Modern furniture designs have become staples in homes and offices around the world thanks to their remarkable comfort and subtly striking Scandinavian beauty.  Applying his knowledge gained while studying at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen and apprenticing for world-renowned Danish Architect, Kaare Klint, Mogensen began designing his prized 23 Collection, intended to serve as practical family seating for everyday use.  His passion for furniture design was one that he passed down to his son, Peter, who carried on his father’s legacy of Danish Modern design.  Equipped with the skills inherited from his father, Peter Mogensen took it upon himself in 1971 to finish the Model 2334 Chair design that Borge started in 1962, and went on to win This unique father and son collaboration has withstood the test of time and helped lay the groundwork for Danish Modern design as we know it today.

Our Mogensen-Style Model 2334 Chair was inspired by Borge Mogensen’s original design, as well as our loveseat and sofa version of this chair.  Our version uses seat and back cushions filled with foam and Dacron that sit over our heavy-duty wood frame construction, thus ensuring durability for years to come.  With 4 different wood finishes on the legs and a wide array of leather color choices, this chair can be customized to perfectly fit in any room of the house.

Come check out our Mogensen-Style Model 2334 Chair and everything else we have to offer in our BellinghamChicago or Dallas Showrooms!

Modern Classics

Color Blocking By Design: Easy As 1, 2, 3

Our Saarinen-Inspired Womb Chair and Ottoman in Our Exclusive Chartreuse Green Boucle

Our Saarinen-Inspired Womb Chair and Ottoman in Our Exclusive Chartreuse Green Boucle

Color blocking is one element found in modern design that has always been my favorite part of the design process, especially  when it is one single color over a neutral palette, thus making it ‘pop.’ This is where you have the liberty to set the tone of the room however you wish based on your color choice. It can be introduced with a Cerulean duvet for a calming bedroom setting, or spry Living Coral throw pillows in the living room for a fun spot to entertain guests.

One of the easiest ways to maintain the modern and minimalist influence throughout your home is using the color blocking method; the hardest part is to not overthink it. Best of all, if you find yourself needing to redecorate (for instance, if you suddenly need to make a room into a nursery in 9 months or less), with your neutral color palette already in place, changing your space is as simple as removing the main color for softer blues or pinks.

Whether you are searching for your modern classic furniture in a neutral shade or in a vibrant pop of color, you are certain to find it among our wide variety of exclusive boucle fabric colors. Our boucle fabrics are stain resistant and UV resistant to ensure many years of stylish living.

Come visit our BellinghamChicago or Dallas showrooms and check out everything we have offer!

Hygge Habitat: Make Your Own This Winter

Our Wegner-Style Wing Back Chair and Ottoman

Our Wegner-Style Wing Back Chair and Ottoman

When the weather outside is frightful, there is a specific type of coziness I find while watching it from the delightful indoors and it turns out there is a Danish word for it, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).  There are many elements in creating a cozy little nook, or a hyggekrog, for the winter months and these are just a few of my favorites:

Small Light Sources:

Although overhead lighting is necessary, turning it off and using other light sources to create an illuminated bubble of coziness is totally hygge.  In fact, did you know Denmark uses more candles per capita than any other country in the world?  Aside from burning candles, table lamps, lights on a Christmas tree and crackling fireplaces (if you are lucky enough to have one) are just a few other ways you can use light to make a space feel as hygge as a warm hug.

Do I Smell Something Cooking?:

Whether its a simmering beef stew or simply pre-made cookie dough baking in the oven, walking into a room and being met with delicious wafts from the kitchen is, in my opinion, a universally effective way to create an atmosphere everyone will agree is definitely hygge.  Of course, there are other ways make a lovely smelling home, but there is no substitute for the smell of cooking, especially when a delicious culinary delight is in the immediate future.

Exhibition Chair and Ottoman

Exhibition Chair and Ottoman

Comfortable Furniture Made to Last:

Since your living room is where you will spend a significant amount of time during the winter months (and year-round), comfortable furniture built to last for years is a fundamental ingredient in any hyggekrog.  Paying close attention to the durability of materials used in making any piece of furniture you are considering will pay off in many years of comfy lounging.

Bring Nature Inside:

Perhaps its in our DNA still from the hunter/gatherer days centuries ago, that science has shown a direct correlation between nature and a feeling of well-being.  This means any space calls for live green plants before it can be truly hygge.  For those of us who are ‘botanically-challenged’ and born without a green thumb, there’s still many types of indoor plants that are hard to kill, even with minimal care.  I love Echeverias and my Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, not just because they look good in any month, but they last for years (even though I often forget to water it, I’ve had my same Fiddle Leaf for almost 4 years now!).

Find a Mindless Hobby:

I’ve been knitting for years and I love when I get so into the flow of stitching away, I completely lose track of time.  Knitting is what works for me, but any hobby where you can find flow in creating something one-of-a-kind is perfect for those long winter months (ahem, not to mention Christmas gifts). Even if learning how requires more patience expected, having a creative outlet you can lose yourself in doing makes all worth it.

Form and Function and Floor Planning

Knoll-Style Lounge Chair in Charcoal Gray

Knoll-Style Lounge Chair in Charcoal Gray

Arranging furniture in any room is equally exciting as it is daunting.  While there are infinite possibilities when an empty room is your blank canvas, lack of planning can lead to endless furniture shuffling and that lingering question if there is a better way to have it arranged.

Although there is no magic formula or standard way to arrange your living room furniture, there are a few guidelines to consider:

Pick a focal point for the room

This will serve as a reference point and everything will be arranged relative to the placement of the focal point you choose.  This can be anything with a significant presence in the room from a window to a sofa or even a piece of art.  It should be the obvious place the eye is immediately drawn to upon entering the room.

Create a floor plan

You can either map out your floor plan on a blank sheet of paper though there are several apps that have been created for this very task as well as templates you can find online for furniture arrangement planning.  This will cut your time spent moving furniture down significantly.

-Form and Function

Using functional furniture enhances the potential for using a space in different ways.  This is especially important for smaller spaces where there is not room for much ornamentation.  Keep in mind that you should never have to sacrifice style for functional furniture… just look here for a few ideas where form and function work in harmony.

Flow of Traffic

Just as important as where the furniture is placed is where the furniture is not placed to create a path that is easy navigate.  Direct traffic around the furniture, not through the middle of it and allow 36-48 inches for the obvious paths and about 24 inches for the smaller ones.

Let us know if you have any personal tips when it comes to arranging your home!  Either post it below or stop by one of our showrooms in SeattleChicago or Dallas and also get a chance to see and experience all the pieces we have to offer!

Modern Classics Furniture

Nelson-Inspired Slat Bench: Versatility and Modern Elegance

Nelson-Style Slat Bench

Nelson-Style Slat Bench

Since it’s introduction in 1946, George Nelson’s Slat Bench has remained a classic item in homes and offices around the world.  It has a subtle elegance that is unimposing enough to fit with any style of room.  With the versatility of being used as a bench or table, this has become the obvious choice for settings in need of both.

Our George Nelson-Inspired Slat Bench matches the dimensions of Nelson’s original design.  Our version is constructed from premium grade Oak, in your choice of natural oak or ebonized black finish, giving it the strength and versatility that has made it a classic in the decades since its creation.

You can see our Nelson-Inspired Slat Bench and the different wood finish options at any of our three factory showrooms in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Modern Classics