Thursday, 30 July 2015

Mid Century Modern style sideboard...


Inspired by my recent trip to Copenhagen, and the spirit of the Danish architect and furniture designer Finn Juhl, to design and create furniture to suit my own taste and interior, I've made this Mid Century Modern style sideboard to fit into our new look living room.
This is not a hack....this was made from scratch, and although it is not perfect, I am rather proud of my first attempt at furniture making....And if I can do it, so can YOU!

So,  in today's post I am sharing how I did it.

During my Copenhagen visit I fell in love with this sideboard from Normann Copenhagen , I love the simple design and the mix of blond wood with the white gloss pegboard.
 But, as always, I could not afford to get one. 
But lack of money has yet to stop me from getting the look I want for our home, as you will know if you've been following Nostalgiecat for a while...
And after doing a bit of research online, I found this, simpler version of the look I wanted:

Image source : Houzz

So, this was my main inspiration when I came up with the design to make my own.
But instead of forking out £700 + for one I spent less than £100 in materials and made my own custom fit two days!

As whenever I share a tutorial for things I've made for the home, it is meant as a guide, so for example,if you don't share my love of pegboard, swap it for something else...
But below you can see my design and working drawings with measurements and read how I made mine:

Materials and tools:

Plywood (for the main box)
Furniture legs ( I ordered these from America)
Primer spray paint
Gold spray paint
White spray paint
Primer paint
Flush sliding door handles ( I chose these round ones)

Ruler or measuring tape
Drill and drillbits
The box

The first thing to do is to make up the main body of the sideboard, using the plywood.
I used 18ml thick structural softwood plywood, because it  has excellent stability and load-bearing properties, perfect for cabinetry + I really like the finish, coloring and grain of the surface wood.
Here's my working drawings with measurements to make up this box:

You can of course make this to a size to suit you and your space.

Cut out the pieces of wood, ( I used a jig saw with a guide to make the cuts straight )then assemble:
When assembling, the best thing to do is to pre-drill pilot holes, then screw together with 2" screws for stability.
Countersink the screw-heads into the wood.

PS! The middle, dividing piece of wood needs to be set back in the box to make space for the sliding door gear (see further below...)


Because I wanted a mix of wood and white glossy finish, I painted the inside "floor" and the top of my wooden box with white primer, to set the base for the finish later on....

Sliding door gear

Cut the sliding door runners to fit inside the top and bottom of the box...

Spray paint these in gold now, if you want...

Sliding doors

Whilst the primer paint on the box, and the spray-paint on the sliding door gear is drying, Cut your pegboard to make up the sliding doors:

One of your sliding doors needs to be slightly longer than the other,
 and the height of each panel will need to fit inside the box, 
so measure out the height of your box , minus the width of the wood x 2 
+ take off a few ml extra to allow for the thickness of the door-sliders,
 so that your pegboard sliding doors can move freely from side to side later...
But mind you don't cut the pegboard too small!!

NB! Please do not get pegboard that is thinner than 6 ml, as it will be too flimsy.

Use a fine toothed wood saw to cut the pegboard to avoid a splintered cutting line...

Spray paint the pegboard sliding doors

Because I bought unfinished pegboard (The already finished stuff costs a lot more), I then spray painted the front of it white: Using first a primer, then some glossy white spray paint..
The table legs

I did the same to the table legs...but this time using just a light dusting so that the wood grain would show through, which I think looks really nice!
I also sprayed the ferrule end gold to match the sliding doors runners...

 There are loads of mid century modern style table legs available to buy online, I chose these ones, because I liked the shape and they were cheap, but I had to order them from America....
Vinyl, not gloss...

Because I chose to make my main box for the sideboard out of plywood, I would've never gotten that smooth glossy finish inside and on the top of it, using just paints....
.....So instead I covered these areas with some glossy white sticky back vinyl to get the finish I was after, perfectly juxtaposing the rawness of the wood.

I simply used a squidgy to smooth it down on the surface.
(The primer I applied earlier in these areas helped prevent the knots in the wood etc. showing through)

I did the inside of the box first, then last of all I did the top, as I needed access to the screws at the top of the box still at this point, as you will see below.
Insert the door runners.

By now my spraypainted door sliders was dry, so I tacked those in place according to the instructions on the pack: Using nail tacks and making sure I placed the deepest of the runners at the top, inside the box.
Inserting the pegboard doors

As the spraypaint on the pegboard doors was now dry, I put them into the runners, by placing the top into the deepest top runner, then gently lifting the bottom into place in the bottom runner....
(I had to unscrew the space divider in the middle of my box to get enough movement in the wood to make this easier...Hence why I waited to apply the vinyl at the top...)
Positioning and attaching the legs

Turning the box upside down I loosely positioned the furniture legs, then stepped back to assess the positioning, before deciding on where they should go.
Then I marked their position with a pencil.

I chose angled leg fixing plates , because I wanted the legs to be slanted, but you can of course use a straight attachment, if you'd prefer...

These make attaching the table legs very easy:
Simply screw the fitting into position (don't forget pilot holes, or the wood might split) then screw the table legs into the fitting.

Starting to look like the finished article now...
Door handles

I wanted some round , brass door pulls , and ended up ordering these ones from America....
But there are loads of styles available online.

First I figured out where I wanted them on the sliding doors...
....then I marked the position with a pencil.

Because my handles were round , it was easy to cut a hole in the pegboard doors using a suitably sized hole-cutter bit for the drill .
(A rectangular or even square door handle would be much more difficult to fit)
Then I simply pushed the hardware into the holes, and secured with a dab of superglue on the back (not that I think this was strictly necessary as it was a tight fit)

With everything else in place, all I had to do now to finish off my new sideboard, was to fill over the countersunk screws and any little dinks on the top surface, using some quick dry filler, let it dry, then sand back with some sandpaper before applying the sticky back vinyl to the top. 
(Making sure the surface is dust free before...)

I also lightly sanded the edges of the wood, and applied a coat of clear wax to the untreated wood on the sides of my sideboard....
....but that's it!

I am so chuffed with how it's turned out...yes, it is a bit wonky here and there, but for my first attempt at making furniture, not bad at all....

Making your own has the advantage that you'll get exactly what you wanted, both in terms of style and finish....but also you can make it to the right size to fit your space...

I love the raw feel of the plywood mixed with the white and opulent gold touches...

And by using the vinyl on the surfaces , I have achieved a very smooth and glossy finish, that I would not have been able to get using just paint. And again, I love how this smooth glossy finish juxtaposes with the rawness of the wood.

So, how about that?
Do you like it?
Does this inspire you to make your own?
I hope this post has made it a bit less daunting to embark on making your own sideboard, from scratch!

Not only will you have something uniquely yours in your home, but also the smug sense of achievement when you look at it and think to yourself:
I made that!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Finn Juhl's house... Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen

Just north of Copenhagen, in the idyllic Charlottenlund, lies the Ordrupgaard museeum, home of one of Northern Europe’s most considerable collections of Danish and French art from the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. But it wasn't this that I wanted to see when I visited last month....

I was more interested in visiting the surrounding art park, where you can experience contemporary art by a number of high-profile artists, such as Jeppe Hein's magical Semi circular mirror labyrinth and other site-specific works made especially to fit into the museum's park surroundings....

Among all the contemporary works on display in the park, I found Jeppe Hein's work the most fascinating, as the use of mirrors  invites the visitor into a fascinating, kaleidoscopic universe.....but also the way his installations reflect the greenery and changing light of the park, and most importantly reveals glimpses of the architectural gem that is the Ordrupgaard extension to the museum:

The deconstructive extension to the original gallery building ,consisting of a three-winged trellised country mansion in the neo-classical style, was designed by radical architect, designer and painter, Zaha Hadid

This spectacular structure works with its surroundings and perfectly juxtaposes the old museum building with both it's form and choice of materials: Like a gem sitting in the landscape, Zaha Hadid's ultra modern building is made from black concrete that changes color and texture depending on the weather. It can thus be both dull and gray and shiny black....

The buildings design does not only let the surrounding nature and natural light become part of its architecture, but the use of curved and slanted  walls inside helps create an intimate atmosphere as well as wonderful acoustics, as I found out on my visit as there was a jazz concert in the main hall of the building that day....

And as another contrasting element , the foyer of the buildings cafe is furnished with mid century modern Finn Juhl Pelican chairs, wich brings me nicely around to what was the main event for me on my visit to Ordrupgaard:


Within the grounds of the Ordrupgaard park, hidden by a surrounding hedge, you will find an unassuming looking house, that is anything but....

Built in 1942, this house has a modest and almost utilitarian feel to it, typical of design coming out of wartime Europe, and looks quite unassuming from the outside...
But this is not an ordinary house....listed as one of the world's most iconic houses, this was the home of Danish architect and furniture designer Finn Juhl.

 Most known for his furniture design, Finn Juhl was one of the leading figures in the creation of "Danish design" in the 1940s and he was the designer who introduced Danish Modern to America, sparking the Mid century modern design movement there...
And this, his private home was his stage upon which he could try out his ideas about design: 
Finn Juhl's approach to architecture and design was unique as he did not put the building first, but rather strived to attain a coherence in every detail, hence his forays into furniture as well as textile and tableware design. 
The architecture and interior of the house is inextricably linked to the outside surroundings: 

"The light, translucent character of the gardens flora and the house's colors, materials and construction is intended to continue into the interior through the furnishings, color choice and furniture."
Finn Juhl

And as well as emphasizing this artistic harmony, his use of materials, color combinations and designs that make up his home, form a scene where furniture, paintings, utensils and sculpture find their place and allow daily life to unfold in a very functional way.
Finn Juhls house is a testament to his complete thought process behind everything that he did: A unity of things, from practical, but beautiful furnishings, to carefully selected art and crafts by his contemporary's alongside his own iconic furniture designs.

Finn Juhl’s “from the inside and out”-philosophy is today used as a model for user-driven innovation in modern industrial design.

Finn Juhl died in 1989, but his home is today seen as a treasure trove from a significant époque in Danish design history 
The house is now a museum and provides an opportunity for the public to feel and sense the design ideas, which became known as Scandinavian Modern.

Curious to see the house?
Here's a few snaps I shot on my visit: 
(Please excuse the foggy lens, this was shot shortly after having a delicious Danish pastry at the cafe )

I felt that upon a basic, modest utilitarian background (See the kitchen), typical of the wartime era, Finn Juhl has brought a very bohemian and artistic feel to his home through his choice of art and beautifully crafted furniture. There is a definite coherent and functional style to his home, and you'd definitely perceive this to be a working home, designed to live in...
All the houses furniture is designed by Finn Juhl, and you can see some of his most iconic chair designs, like the FJ45, the FJ46 and the Chieftan chair. I loved the Poet sofa, situated by the living room's fireplace, in front of the portrait of Juhl's partner , Hanne Wilhelm Hansen, by the modernist, Danish painter Vilhelm Lundstrom.

Something in me really related to this place...It could be the nostalgic memories the utilitarian style of Finn Juhl's house evoked in me, reminding me of my grandparents home in Norway. Or that it's furnishings appealed to my love of Mid Century modern style design ....
...But in retrospect I think that Finn Juhl's centiment that modern free-forms and colors of arts and crafts were an inseparable part of modern home decor, so evident in his home through the display of art and design by his contemporaries (such as Asger Jorn, William Lundstøm, Egill Jacobsen, Richard Mortensen and Erik and Anna Thommesen), along with his " I'll make it myself" attitude to creating a coherent interior is what I found most inspiring...

And the way this iconic home combines beauty and functionality within all aspects of it's design, down to the smallest detail, making it a home for living and working in.

A unique example of The Danish modern epoque within architecture, furniture design and visual art, a visit to the Finn Juhl's house provides you with a snapshot of an era where design was considered instrumental to peoples quality of life, so typical of Scandinavian design tradition.
Finn Juhl's house showcases the beauty of Scandinavian functionalism and resourceful craftsmanship, and in my opinion it is not just the designs, but also the focus on quality, pioneered by Finn Juhl and his contemporaries, that has ensured the continuing popularity of mid century modern design and furniture today, hailing them as classics.

If you are the least bit interested in the history of modern design, which I assume you are if you are reading this, I would highly recommend that you visit Finn Juhl's house and the Ordrupgaard museeum and art-park should you ever visit Copenhagen.

I know, I for one, came away inspired...
....and in the spirit of Finn Juhl, I decided to try my hand at furniture making, making my own sideboard for the livingroom, as seen in my previous post here....this way getting exactly what I wanted both in terms of style and function...

I will be posting the tutorial on how I made it in my next post, so do pop back for that later this week!
In the mean time: have a good one peeps!