I live in a house with traditional and antique furniture but I love mid-century modern design. It’s partly nostalgic for me because I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and partly because I love the clean lines and the look of the wood in a lot of the furniture. I am particularly fond of Scandinavian glasswear such as the beautiful salad bowl that is visible in some of the pix in this post. It is an Oiva Toikka Flora made by iittala of Finland. If you are interested in the history of mid-century design, you can read this piece or read my earlier post on Atomic Design.
This is a before photo of the sideboard that I bought. It was made in Canada by Gibbard, a well-known manufacturer of mahogany and walnut furniture. It’s walnut and the design is typical of furniture from the time-period with straight lines and decorative door handles. Gibbard knew their customers wanted something modern looking but not teak and sleek. You can often tell whether something is Scandinavian or North American by the wood since most pieces made in America were walnut.
I stripped the drawers and the top section for a colour block effect. I decided not to use stain since I wanted to see the beauty of the grain as much as possible. I could have put straight poly on top of the clean wood but I opted for Tung oil. There are 2 advantages to using an oil finish like Tung or Danish oil: they penetrate the wood and really raise the grain and they can be easily fixed with sanding and re-application of the oil. The disadvantage is that they are not waterproof like poly. They are water-resistant but you have to treat the surface like fine furniture. I have a mahogany side table with a Tung oil finish that has never had a mark on it in 25 years.
I painted the body in a mid-grey milk paint. For an added touch of colour, I painted the insides of the drawers in AS Provence and added a Provence stripe inside the cabinet.
You can see the ittala salad bowl in the above pix. I went for a colour-block effect which gives the sideboard a contemporary look. The wood is very beautiful and I am happy with how it turned out.