Lindsay Jackson
Lindsay Jackson
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  • Joshua, TX
Asked on Feb 6, 2013

Refurbishing 1960's Danish Modern Dining Room Set

Joan LeVasseurNicolasTammy
+18

Answered

Any advice or suggestions for 'updating'/refurbishing a 1960's Danish Modern Dining Room Set - not sure of what type of wood, though it's darkish with a slight red tint? The table has 2 removable leaves as well as 2 dropdowns (it slides together without leaves and with dropdowns lowered to make a nice side table) but when fully extended can seat 8 comfortably; There is 1 'arm' chair and 5 side chairs - the seats are padded and can be recovered easily (my mom recovered them several times) and the 'scoop-type' horizontal backs are a laquered black. Also in the set are a china cabinet (unfortunately has solid wood shelves up top and is unlighted) and a buffet cabinet. I love the nice, clean lines but they seem/feel a bit 'dated' and a bit too dark in color. I'm a DIY kind of person and open to any suggestions/advice. (Excuse my mess in attached pictures!) Thanks!
1960's Danish Modern Dining Table and chairs
1960's Danish Modern Dining Table and chairs
1960's Danish Modern China Cabinet/Hutch
1960's Danish Modern China Cabinet/Hutch
1960's Danish Modern Buffet
1960's Danish Modern Buffet
21 answers
  • Cheryl M
    on Feb 6, 2013

    Not sure if your painting or stripping them.But just a thought,I just refinnished an old desk that appeared to be maybe cherry or red oak.Suprisingly the top was solid wood OAK and the sides were Vaneer.so needless to say they didn't strip evenly.I had to find a stain to try and match the vaneer.So matching your table with the hutch check and see if they are solid wood.

  • Miriam I
    on Feb 6, 2013

    Tagging @Lisa DeNardi Galati and @Refreshrestyle D they both paint furniture regularly and may have some great advice.

  • Gail Salminen
    on Feb 6, 2013

    @Lindsay Jackson - Danish and other scandanavian furniture tends to be made of a teak wood - your table looks like the grain of teak to me, here is a site to ID teak - http://www.bagoesteak.com/reading-articles/1239-how-to-identify-genuine-teak-wood.html . You should establish if it is solid teak or a venere on top of wood - might make a difference to the sanding process. Are you sure you want to paint it, Perhaps you achieve an effective transformation by just painting out the inside of the china cabinet, redoing the chair apholstery and changing the colour of the black doors on the buffet. Just a thought and it would be a quicker and easier project. Thanks for posing the question and please do post pics of the project :)

  • Lindsay Jackson
    on Feb 6, 2013

    Thanks so much! I have no idea what to do with them other than that *something* needs to be done. (and I'm in no rush to make up my mind) ;) But I will be fabric 'shopping' later this month for the chairs - chili pepper red... haven't decided if I should cushion and cover the scooped backs as well; hopefully some advice will be coming in before my shopping trip.

  • Z
    on Feb 6, 2013

    Absolutely beautiful Lindsay. Danish Modern and Mid-Century Furniture are in high demand now. Is there a maker mark anywhere on the pieces? That could help you identify more what type of wood you have, though Gail makes a good point if they are Danish. Many American companies copied the style and often used walnut and ash wood. @Douglas Hunt might be better at helping you there. Though I love furniture from that era I don't know enough about it to help here.

  • Lindsay Jackson
    on Feb 6, 2013

    I haven't found a makers mark anywhere, just some numbers on the frames of the chairs (bottom) and underneath the table. They are probably American made (knowing my dad and how he made buffalo nickels bellow before he let loose of them). The drawers in both the buffet and china cabinet are flocked/felt lined, so at least the silver doesn't tarnish - LOL. I inherited them when my mom passed away a few years ago. I'm pretty sure they were purchased in Nashville, TN sometime around 1960-1962 - I remember playing in the boxes the buffet and china cabinet were delivered in - though it could have been the box the console stereo (that sort of 'matches' the dining room set) was delivered in; and we were living in the first house there my parents owned, but before they purchased and we moved (sometime in 1962) to a larger home out closer to Brentwood, TN but still 'in' Nashville. I'd like to do 'something' with them but also don't want to ruin any real value that they may have.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Feb 6, 2013

    Lindsay, I have exactly that buffet (although, unless your photo is flopped, the drawers and doors on mine are reversed). It is made by American of Martinsville. If you pull out the top drawer and look on the side you should find the name. They are usually described as being walnut, but my kitchen cabinet maker told me he thought they were maple. The less you can do to them and get them in a condition that you are comfortable using them the better. Do not even think of stripping them or painting them.

  • Lindsay Jackson
    on Feb 7, 2013

    thanks for the info Douglas. Nope pic is not flipped; drawers on left and doors on right. After doing some mor research, since you so helpfully helped me locate the makers mark - though I kept looking on the outside side of the drawer instead of the inside - I found out that behind the far right cabinet door there are supposed to be 3 white lacquer/enamel open drawers/bins. Mine doesn't have them, but I checked and the slides are there. Then it dawned on me. I remember years ago seeing them..... My mom had taken them out of the buffet (obviously) and turned them into... Wait for it... Cat beds in our carport..... =S

  • Lindsay Jackson
    on Feb 7, 2013

    oh and Douglas, everything I've found in my research indicates these buffets are walnut - the grain looks too fine, to me, to be walnut, but what do I know?

  • Z
    on Feb 7, 2013

    Ah I thought Douglas would be able to help you out. Thank you @Douglas Hunt Lindsay, if you can take a close up of the wood we'd be able to help you out more. Here's a great source on finding what wood something is made of... http://www.wood-database.com/wood-identification/ If you scroll down on each page you'll see what it looks like sealed and it's endgrain among other views. If you love wood, as I do, you'll love browsing the above website. I've also added a photo of walnut below.

    refurbishing 1960 s danish modern dining room set, painted furniture, An example of walnut wood grain
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Feb 7, 2013

    Amazing those drawers were still around, Lindsay, given their, eh, repurposing. They're one of my favorite things about the piece, which is part of American of Martinsville's Dania collection, designed by Merton Gershun. It contained some 50 pieces of furniture that were designed to be mixed and matched. Check out this 1960 ad from the Schenectady Gazette: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1917&dat=19600609&id=MmktAAAAIBAJ&sjid=AIoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3558,1354530 In good shape your buffet is reasonably valuable: http://www.ebay.com/itm/American-of-Martinsville-Mid-Century-Walnut-Louver-Drawer-Long-Dresser-Buffet-/180990279289?pt=Antiques_Furniture&hash=item2a23dc7e79

  • Tammy Lynn Hebert
    on Feb 7, 2013

    I'm not a purist and believe if it is for your enjoyment in your home and not for resale then do what you want with it. Paint it and have fun.

  • Refreshrestyle D
    on Feb 18, 2013

    Hi @Lindsay Jackson I think Danish modern pieces look great painted in colors of their era. For the table, I would paint the bottom and leave the chairs the color they are now and replace fabric to coordinate with the painted table bottom. The buffet would look great leaving the top, sides wood and paint the front. Or the opposite, but I would definitely leave some of the wood tone. I would also just paint sections of the hutch, for instance the drawer fronts and doors. I can't wait to see what you do.

  • Somewhat Quirky
    on Feb 18, 2013

    Lindsay, if you aren't worried about altering the value....I stripped (because it had already been painted) a Danish Modern dresser and stained it with an Ebony stain. It turned out beautifully.

  • Eq4bits
    on Mar 2, 2013

    I decided to deactivate my Facebook account so had to make a new account here. This is my new hometalk.com i.d. ;)

  • Z
    on Mar 3, 2013

    @Eq4bits are you saying you were Lindsay?

  • Eq4bits
    on Mar 3, 2013

    Yes *blush*

  • Z
    on Mar 3, 2013

    I wanted to make sure. I've left fb a couple times before and will never associate anything else with it because it takes over and I'm a control freak when it comes to certain things so I completely understand. Have you done anything with your dining set yet?

  • Tammy
    on Feb 4, 2016

    I have the same table and chairs I am going to redo the chairs

  • Nicolas
    on Feb 7, 2016

    The dining set, or at least the hutch and credenza, are by American of Martinsville and made of walnut. I wouldn't really change these because this seems like the original finish and are worth more in this condition. Also, this look is really in right now.

  • Joan LeVasseur
    on Nov 21, 2016

    The table sure looks like teak to me as I have a teak table very much like it. They are in great demand as teak is not readily available now. I hope you didn't paint it!

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