Ah love. You know the feeling. The initial interest, the intrigue, the mystery… and the excitement.
Earlier this week, I collected my mother from the airport. In making the most of the drive, I decided to stop at a few shops on that side of town including an op shop which sits in fairly industrial style warehouse. Dust, the nose-wrinkling odor of cleaning agent and lots and lots of junk… All the same, I am a believer that amidst such shambles, there can be a hidden gem.
I walked the rounds of dilapidated furniture, the abandoned dressing tables and shelves and tables. Whole decades and fashions seem to lay in ruin there. Obselete. Forgotten. Unwanted. My mind was set on finding a piece that I could restore, sand back and eventually paint in the months after the baby has arrived.
On the second round, I found a piece that caught my eye, heavily coated in dust and poorly illuminated by the light of the warehouse. But it appeared to be solid timber, the lines were fine, simple and clean. The drop down door reminded me of the liquor cabinet in my parents wall unit when I was growing up and my eyes gleened with pleasure the green, velvet lined silverware drawer. I was sold. It was love.
Today the sideboard was delivered. After days of research, I have identified it as midcentury Danish modern, probably from the 1950s. Having cleaned, oiled and polished it to expose the brilliance of the grain, there are a few subtle nicks but all in all it is in fabulous condition. It is so full of promise! Whilst I couldn’t find a manufacturer’s mark, it bears the greatest similarity to postwar Broyhill furniture, particularly in terms of the handles. Whilst that was an American furniture manufacturer, my husband and I have discussed its possible providence and how it happened to make its way to an opportunity shop in Australia. It would not be difficult to imagine that with the transient diplomatic corps in the capital that its original owner brought it from overseas and it lived a full life here, maybe making its way to a garage, being sold or given away, labelled “too sixties or seventies”, “retro” or “unfashionable”.
From all accounts, Danish midcentury modern furniture was built to last and the golden red grain is likely teak. Whilst the lines are not as sleek and more rigid than Swedish design, the wood is gorgeous and makes it far more versatile than mere “retro”.
Wherever it came from and whatever its story, the sideboard shall live a new life, cherished for its beauty, simplicity and functionality. It shall become apart of our story.