Designer Samantha Sacks shares the secret to designing an elegant mid-century modern furniture space. See how she mixes color, pattern and vintage heirloom furniture to liven up a Victorian home.
Mid-Century Modern Furniture
I often end up starting a room based on something that I’ve fallen in love with. Somehow I’ll walk into a house and the house will speak to me. There’s something that I’ve seen in my travels and I know that that thing is going to be the foundation. So in this living room, that thing was this rug that comes from a company called Alfea in Brooklyn.
It is a little bit mid-century and it’s geometric. It’s also kind of Indian to me. The Indian softens the mid-century so that’s what made it a great jumping-off point.
We were working with the clients existing furniture. We had some really wicked stuff. There was her grandfather’s old turntable which we had refurbished. The other pieces that we were working with were pieces that they had bought already. They were mid-century modern furniture likely which it’s not always my favorite thing because it can be kind of hard and a little bit mad money and kind of sticky in a weird way.
Patterns and Materials
I needed to soften all of those pieces somehow. Part of what did it was the rug, part of what did it was the cane front on the record player and then we upholstered those pieces in some softer lighter fabrics. After that, we brought in some more modern bolder present-day patterns and materials.
When you’re working with a little bit of a theme, you want to bring in almost the opposite of it. So that you don’t go too far in one direction. So, in this case, we brought in this really crisp white on the walls. This just freshens it all up. White just makes everything else sing.
Mid-Century Modern Dresser
The shell of this house is this amazing Victorian. The bones were just ridiculous, the ceilings soar forever, there are crown molding and baseboard that will knock your socks off. So I was really working with his amazing infrastructure. Then really we just had to fill it with beautiful things. That’s a pretty good job to have, giving the look of mid-century modern furniture to space.
The easiest thing to do in this room would have been to put built-ins flanking the fireplace. Everybody would have been thrilled with it. But in this case, I just wanted to go with something totally different. We ended up using these boxes from Traditional Interior Design Within Reach called Muto boxes. You can configure them any way you want. They made the perfect spot for us to house our records.
Mid-Century Modern Dining Set
For some of these pieces like the dining room chairs, they had so much old character that there was no question in my mind that we were going to use these pieces. I think that that brings so much warmth and life to space.
This is a family space the kids are here nothing can be precious. I feel like it’s so laid back and it’s still a really good grown-up entertaining spot. I’m thrilled that we were able to achieve that balance because mid-century modern furniture look is a really tricky one.
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