Brief anatomy of a mid-century furniture transformation project


Restoring – and sometimes totally transforming – rescued 20th Century modern furniture is deep in the DNA at MidModMen+friends. It’s a process that sometimes requires as much creative imagination as it does physical determination.

This well-worn but high-quality chest of drawers from the 1950s is a case in point. It began as a probable restoration, but when the heavily tinted and lacquered original finish was stripped away we found wood with complex and dramatic figuring. The decision almost made itself: embrace and elevate that beautiful wood rather than hiding it again under a dark stain. The solution was a lightly tinted stain with a polyurethane finish.

The chest’s base and its bow tie-shaped drawer handles were worn, too, so they were finished in a durable black paint.

This piece and its companion dresser and nightstand all received the same treatment and ultimately went to the same home.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. kennesutter says:

    May I use this as a post, similarly to what we did last time?

    Thanks Neal. Hope your health is progressing fast, and you’re able to enjoy a good summer.


    1. Without some kind of new front end narrative, this is missing context for your readers. There’s really nothing about celebrations, customs, shared experiences, etc.

  2. gerald williamson says:

    Good morning guys , this is Gerry from Chicago. So enjoy getting post from you And thrilled to view your success. Wondering if you can answer a question. In your photos of the new lamp shop in town you showed a picture of two cube chairs. Any idea the history of those chairs? Maker, designer , age. I have one in my living room and have never seen another . Thanks and continued success to you . Gerry Williamson

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Those are actually our chairs in our friend’s shop. We had new seat and back cushions made and restored the frames. I’m not certain but feel fairly confident that these were made for commercial use, e.g., offices, lobby areas, etc. I have no guess on their age, but again suspect that they might be from the 1970s. Good to hear from you and hope you’re well. Best – Neal Kielar

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