Mid Century Modern Furniture Meets Art

Mid Century Modern Furniture Meets Art

What is Mid Century Modern? A brief intro...

These days, we can't visit a homeware store without noticing the strong influence that Mid Century Modern design has on our furniture designs, but what exactly is Mid Century Modern, or MCM, which has fast become the trendier abbreviation?! 

This is a design style defined by a simple and functional furniture, designed with a more modern and convenient way of living in mind which led to practical and sleek designs with less ornate details than furniture from the past; and so this leads me on nicely to my latest piece recently filmed for BBC1 Money for Nothing.

I love Mid Century pieces but don't you think there are a lot of them about these days? Whether original or reproductions, I am of the opinion that a little bit of art to add a unique feel wouldn't go a miss but for me it's all about balance!

BBC Money for Nothing with Chloe Kempster

The Project

Honestly, I've had worse projects in their 'before' state... at first glance it may seem like this project would be an easy one, it was typically mid century modern, with the original brass handles, stylish legs, and those sleek mid-century lines as I was talking about in the intro, and of course that beautiful wooden veneer. Not bad for a refuse site find!

But that said, it was almost too nice for an upcycle project, (I sometimes prefer the really battered old pieces because there is no pressure!) But, being a furniture artist who respects Mid Century design, it was a challenge to come up with the right design for this Chest of Drawers. Something that would honour and make the most of the original character, but also add a contemporary twist and make use of my artistic skills, which ultimately is my job on the show!

BBC 1 Money for Nothing Furniture Upcycle with Chloe Kempster

The Concept

So, in the end I turned to a mixture of restoration, stripping, repairing and refinishing the veneer; and of course, creating my own bespoke artwork to compliment the natural wood look.
I was keen to add a handmade element to an otherwise quite straightforward looking piece of machine made MCM, and to do this I decided I would create a resin panel for one of the drawers. Sticking to one drawer and leaving the rest natural wood would add real impact, and though it was hard not to cover everything in colour, I feel like I made the correct choice!
The artwork was done using a mixture of squeegee art and collage, which I then sealed with resin to give a high end look. To mention I used clay and chalk based paints mostly for the artwork by Daydream Apothecary which worked really well with a squeegee effect as I could also blend them if I needed to, yet they layered up really nicely to create texture.

Furniture Upcycle Mid Century by Chloe Kempster

The Result

This piece definitely has high end interior design vibes and the stylish look I was hoping for and though in this profession sometimes all the bells and whistles are tempting, I've learned you have to be quite brave in learning restraint too (especially on TV) staying true to your design and the integrity of the piece without going over the top for impact. Sometimes less must be more as this Chest of Drawers sold instantly!

Upcycled Mid Century Chest of Drawers

But in addition to this and with sustainability and reusing as much as possible always being at the forefront of my mind; I was left with a lot of leftover paper from my collaging experiment so I decided to turn this into some extra art panels. I have a couple leftover which you can buy here priced at £195 each with free UK Postage and Packaging. Shop artwork here. Though if you live outside of the UK, International delivery is available, you can check out our deliveries policy here or please ask me for more details!

Keep up to date

Though this chest of drawers may have escaped your grasp, if you are interested in a bespoke commission, I'm currently filling the rest of my available spots for 2024, please inquire here for availability as I can create something similar for you.

And of course if you want to be kept in the loop regarding any new projects coming up on the show and available for sale before anyone else,  please subscribe to my newsletter here!

This particular episode of Money for Nothing airs in Autumn 2024 so keep an eye out for the official announcement, but a little heads up... there is such a lovely story attached to the person this chest originally belonged to, it makes all the hard work worth it at the end! 
Big Love!
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