modern Archives - Modern Classic

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!

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

Furniture Features and Fine Details to Consider

Kjaerholm-Style PK31 Lounge Chair

Kjaerholm-Style PK31 Lounge Chair

To the untrained eye, many signature designs can look so similar to other versions of the same furniture design when placed side by side when the right measures are taken to adhere to the original specifications.  On various pieces there are distinguishing features in the original models that can be the tell tale sign of which is an acceptable similar and inspired version of the original design and which is a cheap knock off:

Down Feather Filled Cushions:

The down feather filling is the only way to achieve this relaxed aesthetic in the cushions that is especially popular on furniture from the modern periods.  The PK31 Chair is a perfect example of this and, unlike our Kjaerholm-Style PK31 Lounge Chair which uses the down feather filling, you will see many other manufacturers overlook this key detail and end up with an obvious knockoff

Welting:

Also known as piping, this is one of those details that may not be immediately obvious to some.  When something seems to be not quite right with a cheap knockoff but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, it is usually the welting.  Unlike other furniture manufacturers, we hand roll the welting on all of our pieces.

Dimensions of the Furniture:

It is amazing how some furniture versions tend to deviate too far from the original dimensions and visually become a totally different piece of furniture.  We have made slight adjustments for comfort in a few of our pieces though always taking into account the original design.

These are just a few features to take into consideration, and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have.  You can always stop in to our Bellingham, Chicago or Dallas showrooms to see firsthand how our inspired furniture designs adhere closely to the original designs and fine details!

The Humble Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll Style Lounge Chair

Florence Knoll Style Lounge Chair

During the 20th century, interior design was taking a new direction and breaking free of the previously stagnant norms.  Furniture innovations especially were emerging and flourishing.  It was an exciting time for everyone who was ready to welcome this fresh change brought on by the iconic designers of the time like Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia and Florence Knoll.

Always one to maintain a level-head though, Florence Knoll took a step back to view the bigger picture.  She could see there would be a need for furniture specifically designed to offset her colleagues’ organically-shaped and curved furniture designs.  She took it upon herself to design what she would later describe as the “the fill-in piece no one else wants to do.”  Perhaps she might have given herself more credit if Knoll knew her designs would become ageless modern classics.

Our Florence Knoll Lounge Chair Reproduction honors the same dimensions as the original model.  We have improved upon it by using a higher quality of materials that have become available in the years since the original design.  You can read all about these improvements in our Comparison Guide.

Come visit us in our BellinghamChicago or Dallas showrooms where you can see everything we have to offer!

Modern Classics

Transition A New House Into Your New Home

Autumn Tan Leather Executive Armchairs and Modern Vignette For Your New Home

Autumn Tan Leather Executive Armchairs and Modern Vignette For Your New Home

Transitioning into a new space is an exciting process, albeit settling in can at time feel a bit… unsettling.  Once the boxes are delivered and the movers leave, the process of transforming this new and unfamiliar atmosphere into your very own new home can begin.  In the years I have lived in Chicago, I have had five apartments and a list of my go-to methods I consider part of the standard moving procedure so I can immediately settle in and feel at home:

Modern Vignette:  If useful and beautiful are the criteria, consider a vignette to be a bit of both. Looking to an empty side table, mantel or empty shelf, a well-balanced modern vignette has a stronger transformative power on the entire room than you might realize.  There are no hard rules when it comes to creating a modern vignette, though I find sticking to three or five items and thinking symmetrically looks best, lest it turn into a knick-knack nightmare.  Exactly which items to use?  Consider it a chance to have fun with functional items as decor: clocks, lighting, plants, its up to you!  If it brings you joy when you see it, even just a little bit,  then you did it right.

Lighting– If mind-numbingly harsh LED overhead lighting is not your thing (what I call the alien mothership lights), look to the infinite other lighting options.  Whether its the ostentatious chandelier or a $5 table lamp, accent lighting instantly changes an atmosphere from a one-size-fits-all to your personal sanctuary.

Signature scent– We all know smell is the strongest sense linked to memory and moving into your new home means memories are in the making. Diffuse your signature scent (anything lavender or sage are my favorites), throughout your new home early on and soon it will become the first thing you, and everyone else, will notice upon walking in the door.  Years from now, this scent it will trigger all the memories of this settling in phase in your new home.

Furniture– Form follows function, in other words, step 1, make it useful then step 2, make it beautiful (not the other way around).  Comfort is a key ingredient in settling in, so if you are using the floor in your home office to sit, those Executive Armchairs  you’ve been considering are going to serve a critical purpose and address your immediate need which is to stop using the floor as a chair (and they happen to be beautiful too, two birds one stone).  After this, you can go crazy with your modern decor ideas you have been pinning.

Entertaining– There is a reason its not called a housecooling party, but even after you throw your housewarming party,  filling a new apartment  with friends and loved ones is always means good memories in a new home.

If you are looking for a bit of modern inspiration to bring into your new home, visit any of our three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Maintenance Methods For Your Modern Furniture

Our Exhibition Chair and Ottoman Ready for Cleaning

Our Exhibition Chair and Ottoman Ready for Cleaning

No matter how careful we are, the law of entropy states at some point we will spill, bump into, stain, scratch or knock over items at home.  Since I have always been a bit accident-prone (my friends consider it an endearing quality…. sort of), I know all too well the best methods for modern furniture maintenance and how to reverse these everyday mishaps.

Since its a new year, its as good a time as any to spend some time on your modern furniture maintenance and get it back to looking brand new!

Leather:

It is a good habit to clean your leather furniture a few times a year or as needed.  I only use Lexol leather products, but whichever brand you use you will need to test it on a small area before proceeding to clean the rest of your leather furniture:

-Apply cleaning formula to a wet cloth and rub vigorously enough to work up a lather.  Wipe away foam with new clean and damp cloth.

-Apply conditioner to a new damp cloth and massage into the leather in a circular motion.  Wipe away the excess and allow leather to dry.

Helpful Tips:

Don’t be a rebel here and apply the cleaner or conditioner directly to the leather.  By applying it to the wet cloth first, you maintain control and will not waste any cleaning formula dripping everywhere.

For tough stains (for example, spilled makeup on white leather), I have always had luck with dabbing olive oil or coconut oil on the stain and letting it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away.

For really tough stains or deep visible scratches, find a leather care specialist.  They have the tools to fix it and make it look like new.

Wood

No matter how careful you, wood scratches are going to happen at some point.  Luckily, there are a few easy ways to fix them:

-Rubbing half a walnut or almond over a small scratch can sometimes make it less visible.  I’ve never been satisfied with the results of this method, but in a pinch it will do the trick well enough.

-Wood Scratch Repair Kits are found at any hardware store.  The tools and materials they provide are perfect for taking care of those minor but visible bumps and scratches.  I pretty much always keep one within arm’s reach.

-For larger scrapes, seek out a professional who can match the wood finish to the rest of the chair.  Though it may set you back between $100-200 depending on the damage, in the long run its worth every penny.

Stainless Steel

Aside from shining away the occasional finger prints, stainless steel’s impressive durability means low maintenance and therefore perfect for high traffic areas of your home.

What are your best furniture maintenance methods?  Share below or visit us at any of our three showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

 

Modern and Contemporary Design: Know The Difference

Modern Classics Ox Chair and Eileen Gray Side Table

Modern Classics Ox Chair and Eileen Gray Side Table

Whenever I hear a design professional on TV use the terms modern and contemporary interchangeably, I just shake my head at their error.  For example, the contractor/host on any home improvement show today will always mention the main issue with his clients is something along the lines of “Joe’s style is traditional, where as Jane’s style is ‘modern contemporary'” (if you have never noticed this, now you will).  I may not even be bothered when these terms are used incorrectly when speaking in reference to architecture and design, if not for those four years I spent studying art history, making it impossible not notice this.  Since not everyone has a degree in art history, I am here to definitively clear up what is modern and and what is contemporary as it relates to architecture and design (I mean, this was taught in Basic Art History 101 so I would think my favorite celebrity house flippers would know better, but whatever).

Modern:  The 20th century style made by the famously creative minds of the Modern Movement.  These famous designers created an unprecedented style comprised of distinct elements representing the ideals of The Machine Age.  Features include minimalist and clean lines, absence of ornamentation and using materials representing the industrial age, like concrete and steel.

Contemporary:  Unlike modernism, contemporary architecture refers to the evolving architecture of the present day.  Contemporary architecture represents a broad range of styles and are homes that have been constructed in recent years, serving to meet all the needs of today (unlike historic modern homes constructed decades ago and usually holding landmark status).

…and there you have it.  Any questions?  Feel free to drop us a line or, even better, stop by any of our three factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!