MCM and Modern Upholstered Objects

Mid-century Modern (MCM) and Modern Classics are called that because of the time they were conceived and also their design intent. Often these objects were designed by architects to use in their own modern buildings, where traditional pieces might seem out of place. This page discusses upholstered items.

If treated properly, these pieces will one day be the next generation’s valuable antiques (usually defined as at least 100 years old, although the term is often used loosely to describe any object that is old). We recommend proper care and treatment. They are a part of modern history, representatives indicative of a period and movement.

Two Wassily Chairs circa 1925

A modern family heirloom circa 1925, these Wassily chairs have their original leather strapping. MPFC needed to repair the original leather, making them viable for another century! Designed by Marcel Breuer, Modernist Architect 1902-1981.

Art Deco Channel-Back Chair circa 1950

This modern chair from the fifties was covered in bright green vinyl; the new owners wanted something a little warmer to snuggle into, and this lovely chenille fit the bill. Mitchell restored the failing channels before re-upholstering.

American Mid-Century Modern Boomerang Shaped Bench Seat Sectional Sofa circa 1949

The clients were tall, and wanted to find a way to keep the integrity of the original piece without ruining its line.

The pieces ere restored with solid latex slabs over spring construction, wrapped in cotton batting with muslin inner linings.

Mitchell found an inspired show cover and looped fringe for the sectional. He created a completely removable cotton batting and down-filled topper to give the lift the client’s needed without altering the historic seat elevation.

Above and below, before and after comparisons with the addition
of the pillows and the restored label, below right.

The Crown Chair circa 1955

It was made in Los Angeles, California, in 1955 by the father of our client, an upholsterer at the Crown Company.

The frame was repaired and restored, and the original finish restored and polished. New upholstery needed a new buildup, and Mitchell found a showcover fabric that looked quite like the original showcover.

Some of the original fabric was intact; MPFC salvaged it to make Pillows for his son.

Egg Chair circa 1958

A modern family heirloom, this early Egg Chair was destroyed by an untrained upholsterer who drilled holes through the back and placed buttons to hold a thick polyester woven cream fabric in place.

MPFC restored the piece to its original condition using conservation techniques, appropriate materials, and approved upholstery. Arne Emil Jacobsen, Hon. FAIA, 1902 – 1971.

Before treatment, left, and after treatment, right.

Before treatment, left, and after treatment, right.

Eames Chair circa 1960

Many people now simply send their Eames chairs off to Herman Miller to be restored. That might be fine if you have a newer chair, but the historic chairs used down and latex in their stuffings, and sat differently than the modern chairs which do not use either. This chair was one of the originals, and so our client wanted it to keep its value with the original stuffings and “sit”.

MPFC disassembled the lovely old modern chair and ottoman, repaired its innards using the same stuffings originally utilized, and recreated the leather cushions, which our client and MPFC thought fitting.

In keeping with the original finish, we restored the finish using an oil varnish whose base was linseed oil infused with beeswax and honey, and added an earth pigment to bring it close to the original color.

The chrome was polished and the Eames Chair is good for many decades.

Before treatment, left, and after treatment, right and bottom,
before it was sent off to our client’s home..

Two Paulin Chairs, Ca 1965

The frame, once painted, was repaired and the finish restored to a natural appearance and polished. The internal buildup was restored, and a new chenille showcover much like the original blue was used.

Pierre Paulin (1927-2009) grew up in France, under the inspiration of his two uncles, both designers and artists, Georges Paulin, and Freddy Stoll. Both were influential in his education, as well as Ray and Charles Eames and George Nelson.

“Mr. Tooth” Chair, American, circa 1940

The frame was restored and repaired, and the original finish conserved. Buildup restored with new horsehair over springs with new cotton batting and muslin toppers. A new period-appropriate showcover was used. The designer of this chair is unknown.

Steelcase Executive Chair circa 1947

Sentimental to our clients, this Steelcase chair was in poor condition but stable structurally. We gave it new life!

Solid latex buildup over coil springs with a muslin cover and cotton topper, and an inspired combination of fabrics.

We have three pages of Mid-Century Modern (MCM) and Modern Classic objects: