Broyhill Furniture’s Brasilia collection, bold and futuristic on its commercial introduction in 1962, has become an iconic representation of mid-century modernism in home decor. The line was an up-market-yet-mainstream offering and encompassed dozens of case goods, dining and accent table options. (There were no lighting or upholstered seating entries.)
The groundbreaking architecture of the then-new capital city of Brazil – Brasilia of course – served as the inspiration. One of the clearest examples of building-to-furniture interpretation is a dramatic round coffee table named the cathedral coffee table for its visual connection to the new city’s towering Metropolitan Cathedral.
When MidModMen+friends acquired one of these hard-to-find coffee tables, we took it through a systematic process to rebuild and restore it to match the original finish. Luckily, Brasilia furniture was well built using quality materials. But real-life use, a number of moves and age began to take its toll on this piece. The top of the table was marred with water rings and scuffs, as well as a lack of luster to the finish – no doubt dulled by the use of conventional furniture dusting sprays. In addition, the individual legs had separated from the base structure, leaving the table wobbly and in danger of coming apart.
We disassembled the table – all the better to completely refinish the legs and undercarriage – and cleaned all of the joinery locations for stronger reassembly. We used an General Finishes antique walnut stain to achieve uniform tinting on the top and base, then sealed the finish with three layers of polyurethane.
Although it has nearly 60 years of history, this coffee table is now back in top form and ready to serve for several more generations.
Learn more about the design origins of the Broyhill Brasilia collection here.