So... I like this project. I really like it, and I'll tell you why. First, it's made entirely from off-the-shelf parts from the home center. Then, because the parts are readily available, the only tool you need to make the entire thing is a cordless drill, which is awesome. And lastly, the attention
Mid-century modern is an umbrella term that describes the popular industrial design taste ranging from the mid-1940's to the mid-1970's across all disciplines—architecture, interior design, product design, and graphic design. It was huge shift in its time, orbiting around the desire to strip away excessive ornamentation and get things down to their most basic shape elements. Despite the changing aesthetics of the 1970's onward, it continues to endure—in the words gallery owner Patrick Parrish, "It’s been the new cool thing five times in the last 50 years."
Of course, no design era is the pinnacle of perfection. Elements of mid-century interior design can oversaturate our eyeballs—does anyone else completely overlook the Eames chairs placed in the corner of perfectly-styled rooms on Pinterest—and after living in post-Soviet East Germany for a year, I gotta say that the stark minimalism of Brutalist architecture can get really depressing in a snowless winter. (I also have to admit that sometimes even the word "design" is so overused that it feels like a gnat swarm to the face on a muggy day in August.)
Yet, I can't help but love the work of French-born, NYC-based designer Raymond Loewy (1893–1986). You probably don't know the name, but the guy was so prolific that unless you've been living in a cave, I guarantee you've seen his work. Let's take a look at some of his greatest hits.
Editor's Note: This project is an excerpt from the new book The Art and Craft of Wood: A Practical Guide to Harvesting, Choosing, Reclaiming, Preparing, Crafting, and Building with Raw Wood by Silas J Kyler and David Hildren. The book is available now at your favorite local bookstore, Powell's, or Amazon. Thanks to Quarry Books for sharing this project with us.
Building furniture is what first drew me to woodworking. The first coffee table I ever made was for my mom. It was a surprise gift, and I worked tirelessly, hour upon hour, to create something I was proud of. I remember the unveiling well, and the joy it gave her was well worth all the hard work.
The projects to this point have been small and technically much easier than building a piece of fine furniture. Going from making a serving tray or lamp to a coffee table may feel like a big step, and in many ways it is, but practicing with small projects gives you all the skills you need to approach a simple piece of furniture. Remember: with a good dose of patience, you will be well on your way to creating beautiful furniture.
I had a particular set of mesquite slabs in mind when envisioning this coffee table. The tree came from my neighbor’s front yard. When it was removed, they simply asked the crew to leave the trunk behind for me to gather. As I was giving this tree a new life, I could step outside my shop, look across the alley, and see where it lived and died. I could also see where the logs sat and seasoned for two years, driving my wife crazy.
Owning a piece of mid-century design brings a solid, artfully masculine vibe to any space...but many of the classics are out of your price range when just starting to pull your home together. So, instead of shelling out the bucks for a statement piece by a major designer, invest a little time, and thoughtfulness, and make your own!
This is a good one. Justin and Kayla from Home Coming Minnesota came up with simple way to turn basic cedar planks from the home improvement store into a modern outdoor planter stand to bring in some weather-resistant style to their backyard.
I'm super stoked by this design. It's simple, looks good, and can be built by someone (unfortunately like me at the moment) who doesn't have access to a full woodshop but still has a hankering to design some of the furniture around me....
Head to any discount store or the cookware section of a higher-end grocery store, and you'll all kinds of cool acacia and olive wood and walnut cutting boards and serving strays with rich, striking grain patterns.
The DIYer will, of course, then say: we should totally make something out of those.
I'm personally a big fan of the mid-century modern decor that has had such a resurgence as a result of Mad Men's influence. That said, I think it's easy in the men's blogosphere to preach its virtues as the be-all-end-all of masculine home decor and go a little overboard. However, I found all of the advice from this interview with set decorator Amy Wells to actually be incredibly helpful in thinking about the feeling you want to evoke with your home decor, and also how best to implement that on a budget.
When Sean came across this model 94646-E “Northwind” oscillating electric fan by Emerson Electric, dated to about 1955, he knew it'd be a stylish, character-filled replacement to his recently busted cheap plastic box fan. So, he got it home, plugged it in, and it whirred "like a cheetah."
And within ten minutes, he totally cut himself on the sharp, spinning metal blades. Yikes.
Eero Saarinen's 1962 JFK airport terminal, long since dormant and closed to the public, is finally being renovated and turned into a luxury hotel. But not before teams of photographers and architecture historians have had their way documenting it.
IKEA products can solve a great many organizational issues in the home, and be none to visually offensive in the process. But, therein lies the problem; their ability to blend seamlessly into any space means they don't offer a lot in the way of personality. They don't take away, but they don't bring along to the table, either.
Except, when they do.
Mid-Century modern decor has been making a comeback in recent years, and 2014 in particular saw a big resurgence in the industrial design world. The designs are often simple and sleek, with angular repetitions bespeaking an industrial creator. However, that doesn't mean the style can't be earthy or rustic.
I know it's a little cliche and HGTV-y, and like "man cave," I've vowed to try to avoid the phrase "curb appeal," at all costs, but...for real, switching out your house numbers can totally change how you feel about the entrance to your home.
An authentic Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671) set by Herman Miller is, to me, the most iconic piece of furniture, ever. And, vintage models and new issues are - while amazing - super duper expensive. There have been a few companies who have produced copies - namely Plycraft and Frank Doerner from Canada - and they can be a bit easier to find. Though, due to their knockoff status, they haven't always been as well cared for.
This sharp DIY furniture project is not only made from easy-to-find materials you can snag any any big-box style home improvement center, but the total cost for supplies hovers around $75. And for that reasonable sum and a couple of hours of work, you can net yourself one of these:
This season, I was excited to team up with DIY Network to create a series of original how-to projects with the theme of "Christmas at The Jetsons." The rest of the
Herman Miller, the design and furniture manufacturer behind such classics as the Eames lounge, Noguchi table, marshmallow sofa, and the Aeron chair, is giving away some seriously sweet free desktop backgrounds and wallpapers.