Scandinavian Modern 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

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!

Scandinavian-Modern Design in The 20th Century

Wegner-Style Wish Bone Chair with Black Leather Seat

Wegner-Style Wish Bone Chair with Black Leather Seat

During the 20th century, the Scandinavian countries, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, were inarguably all recognized as furniture design hot spots, with some of the most iconic designers who created some of our favorite Scandinavian-Modern furniture.

Scandinavian-Modern designers were unique in the way they upheld the fundamental ideals of modernism and combined it with their traditional skills acquired in woodworking and cabinetmaking.  This meant incorporating their knowledge of hardwood joinery and framework techniques to create some of the most iconic furniture designs of the 20th century.  These furniture designs that are still highly regarded today came from famous designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Paul Volther, Finn Juhl, Borge Mogensen, Poul Kjaerholm and Eero Saarinen.

Our Scandinavian-Modern Furniture Collections honor the original and intended iconic furniture designs created during the Modern age.  With the minor adjustments we added for optimum comfort along with the use of top quality materials these designers did not have during their times but that we do have thanks to technological advances in the decades since, these iconic Scandinavian furniture designs can be enjoyed for years longer than ever thought possible.

You can come see and have a seat in any of our Scandinavian-Modern furniture in any of our factory showroom locations in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!

Modern Classics

William Morris’ Useful and Beautiful Advice to Future Designers

Kjaerholm-Style PK22 Lounge Chair

Kjaerholm-Style PK22 Lounge Chair in Black Leather

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  William Morris

I have always considered these words to be the boiled down essence of interior design, rather than just another famous quote on a needlepoint pillow (although I do have it on a needlepoint pillow but I also think its hip to square).  Abiding by these two qualifying factors, useful and beautiful, William Morris’ words serve as a simple guide to eliminate unnecessary clutter and ornamentation from a space.  I can only assume Poul Kjaerholm, 20th century iconic and minimalist designer, was also a fan of William Morris.  Kjaerholm’s minimalist furniture designs bring an unexpected serenity to a room with their perfect balance of form and function, nothing more, nothing less.

Our Kjaerholm Style PK22 Lounge Chair honors the original design Kjaerholm created and that launched him to fame in the modern design world.  With the low seat height and minimal design, it brings an astonishing impact of sophistication to any room of the house.  It possesses an ageless beauty and level of comfort that will forever remain a classic.
Come check it out in our BellinghamChicago or Dallas showrooms along with everything else we have to offer!

Interior Design Trends In 2017: Our Top Picks

Fiddle Leaf Fig and Our Ox Chair Replica in Camel Tan Leather

Fiddle Leaf Fig and Our Ox Chair Replica in Camel Tan Leather

As much as I love pouring over the lists of upcoming interior design trends at the start of  every new year, my eagerness in seeking to know more about 2017’s interior design trends has been in more of a ‘no, say it isn’t so’ kind of way (I will never get on board with butterflies as home decor, nope, not in any way, shape or form).  Although, it is not all bad news for 2017.  In fact, I’m excited to pair some of these interior design trends with my favorite unwaveringly classic pieces.  It is important to remember these trend lists are not the end all, be all and going with your own first instinct is where your personal style lies.  That being said, here are a few upcoming trends I can get on board with so far this year (and I’m going to try and remain as objective as possible, but no promises):

Natural Textures and Earthy Tones: If last year’s stark white and minimalist look left things feeling a bit too cold, this year you will see a lot of earthy tones and textures being added in and warming up these spaces.

Navy Blue:  Navy blue being my favorite color makes this particularly good news for me, but I’m not going to get behind anyone claiming its replacing last year’s gray trend. That is like saying oxygen or water is out… its just not possible.  The really great part of this trend is Navy Blue works well with almost any gray, so it will be easy to combine this trend with last year’s.

Bold Florals:  This is a welcome change to last year’s solid color blocking, but its a fine line between having just the right amount and overdoing the florals, thus making a space resemble a middle schooler’s bedroom.  Same as with color blocking, look at bold florals as something you can always add more of but not always take out of a space.

Bronze: Well, its about time!  I have always loved how bronze pairs with the clean lines of a modern home and furniture (and the fact its predicted to bring about the end of rose gold is just icing on my cake).  Whether it be a cool lighting fixture or smaller accents, I can see the bronze trend staying around for a few years.

Olive Trees: Supposedly the olive tree is going to be replacing the insatiably popular Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, but I’m guessing anyone claiming this is probably stuck on the waiting list to get a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree.  Considering there even is a waiting list, I’m not going to be tossing out my Fiddle Leaf for an Olive Tree anytime soon, especially when there’s plenty of space for both.

As with any interior design trend you come across this year (or ever), its important to remember they have a shelf life, unlike the classics which will always be on point.  If you are ever seeking out some modern classic inspiration, visit any of our three Modern Classics Furniture Showrooms in BellinghamChicago or Dallas!