Duncan Phyfe: The Traditional Side Of Mid Century Furniture

When we think of mid century furniture we see sleek, clean, modern pieces. Symmetry, balance, and restraint are elements in the design of modern furniture. Photo from Rocket Century.
They are also elements in the traditional furniture that was used in the same time period. The 1940's and 50's saw the return in use and popularity of Duncan Phyfe style furniture. Originally designed and produced in the early 19th century Duncan Phyfe furniture is an American interpretation of the European Regency and Empire styles.

The styling,size and proportion of Duncan Phyfe pieces work well in homes designed and built in the 1940's and 50's.
Many of the pieces produced at this time are now available from vintage furniture shops and since I live in a home built in the late 40's with traditional details I seek out the elegant Duncan Phyfe styled furniture. My dining room buffet is vintage D Ph.
I recently found and purchased a small scaled dresser in the D Ph style that is the perfect for the size and proportion of my bedroom.
I love the classic lines and bowed front but the dark mahogany finish wasn't working for me. So in the tradition of the great Elsie de Wolfe, who took the bold step of using white paint to to lighten Victorian furnishings, I painted the exterior of the dresser in a beautiful vanilla white and the interior of the drawers a luscious pink.
Now it's mine.

Mid century modern furniture was produced with a great amount of creativity and forward thinking. The traditional side of mid century borrowed from the design of an 18th century Scottish/American whose furniture works wonderfully in our mid century traditional homes.

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