Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kurt Ostervig - Mid-Century Modern Designer Chair

Now and then  I run across some surprises in my furniture travels---Such as the chair pictured above.  I responded to a craigslist ad for a wooden desk which I thought would make a decent table for my sewing machine.  I'd been using an unusual antique desk for my sewing table and thought I needed something a bit less precious and more functional.  So I went to look at the desk, a sturdy no-name piece from the 1950's and decided to buy it.  The couple selling the desk had been using this chair with the desk and said I probably wouldn't want it but was welcome to take charge.  I already had a chair to use with the sewing machine, but I liked the design of the chair, though it was a bit wobbly.  I took the chair, too.

Many, many, many months after having the chair sit in the garage, I decided I'd take a look at replacing the worn out vinyl seat cover and fixing the wobble.  I removed a few tacks from the dust cover under the seat and saw the label and stamps shown in the photo above.  Now, I was certain there was good reason for the appealing lines I saw in this chair.

A bit about Kurt Ostervig:  Kurt Østervig 1912 - 1986.  (from

Kurt Østervig was educated as a ship building engineer at Odense Stålskibsværft, which soon led to his employment as a furniture designer with one of the leading furniture producers during the 1930s and 1940s - E. Knudsen's Design Studio, Odense, .

In 1947 he opened his own studio becoming a freelance furniture designer.

During his career he developed all types of modern furniture and worked with many of the leading Scandinavian furniture factories of the period.

In the 1960s one of Kurt Østervig's design was accepted for exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

His search for challenges resulted in many original design solutions for specialized furniture used in rest homes, ships, hotels, and movie theaters.

Kurt Østervig's favourite material was oak, especially in combination with leather. He was well-known for his unusually detailed and perfect drawings, which resembled pieces of art or coloured photos than working drawings.

Today his designs are produced by Tranekær Furniture who have taken control of the production of designs previously manufactured by the company K.P.Jørgensen.

He is in good company with other great Scandinavian furniture designers such as Hans J. Wegner and  Arne Jacobsen.
My chair has some joinery problems.  I don't think this particular chair design was one of Mr. Ostervig's best.  It is probably an early one and can explain why I can't find this chair anywhere on the internet.  I think the rest of them didn't hold up well and were most likely discarded.

Above:  Seat padding and vinyl cover removed.

Above:  The stamp on  another seat bottom from Kurt Ostervig chairs on the internet
Above:   These are six of his "butterfly" chairs that have this stamp on their seat bottoms.
Stunning Kurt Ostervig Rosewood Butterfly Dining Chairs
Stunning set of 6 dining chairs designed by Kurt Ostervig for Brande Modelindustri circa early 1960′s. These sculptural chairs are done in incredibly grained solid rosewood with subtly curved butterfly backs and tapering legs and stretchers. The upholstery is original off white Turkish cotton.
These chairs are the only examples of these chairs that we can find and are truly one of the better designed dining chairs that we have ever come across.

Measurements Height: 19" x Height2: 18" x Width: 19" x Depth: 20"
Price Sold
Above:   1st Dibs has this set of six chairs listed at $5000, with three parties interested.

I still like the lines of my chair.  I am repairing the joints and plan to replace the padding and stretched out exhausted seat cover.  I'll use it with the three other Mid-Century Mod no-name chairs I already have and love, shown in the photo above.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Full Story - Beginning a New Painting Technique - Rescued Nightable

This is a story of a sad little night stand in need of some TLC and a decorative technique I've wanted to use.
Above:  Inspiration - A small mirror framed with an intriguing cut wood motif.  This is actually a scanned image of the mirror which was small enough to fit on my scanner's bed.
Above:  I applied green painter's tape to the area on the nightstand where I wanted the shape to appear.  I printed out the scanned image of the frame to use as a pattern.  With scissors I cut out and then tacked the paper pattern over the tape.  Following the lines of the shape with an X-Acto knife, I incised through the paper and the tape.
Above:  After incising all the outlines of the motif paper pattern, I removed the paper pattern from the tape and began pulling tape off the areas of the nightstand that would receive paint.
Above:  More tape removal.  In this particular project, I wanted more than just the outline of the pattern, I wanted to include the openwork on the original frame.
Above:  More tape removal keeping in mind which areas to block the subsequent paint and which will receive it.
Above:  The desired masque in tape remains.  Note that I gave the entire nightstand a sanding beforehand to roughen the surface for better adhesion of the paint.
Above:  I used a burnishing tool (a spoon works well for this) to press along the cut edges of the tape masque to secure them against paint seepage.
Above:  Painting begins...

Above:  The first coat of paint.
Above:  After the final coat of paint dried, I use the X-Acto knife once again to incise around the edges of the tape masque.  This time the incisions were made to freshen and create a distinct separation between the tape masque and the paint and prevent the paint from pealing off with the tape.
Above:  All the tape has been removed.  I gently feathered the edges of the design by sanding thus preventing a harsh paint line.  I did not paint the top of the table, as I wanted the top and the new motif to match in finish, but I did sand, stain and apply clear coat for durability.

Above:  A big part of the necessary TLC on this piece was the modification of the front panel on which the decorative motif was applied.  When the nightstand came to me, the original drawer box no longer existed and the drawer front was very sloppily glued to cover the drawer compartment.  We carefully  removed the glued drawer front and cleaned off all the messy dried glue from it and the compartment surround.  We dug into our stash of antique hardware for the two hinges you see in the photo above and installed them on the original drawer front to make a fold-down panel so the compartment can still be used for storage.
Above:  A new life begins for this little piece...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More Lace Window Screens

Today we completed two more lace window screens.  Earlier in the summer this year, I came up with this use for old salvaged window screens and put together three matching tall frames and a smaller painted one. You may remember seeing them here and in my Decor and Furnishings Shop.
The two frames pictured here were meticulously cleaned of their peeling paint to expose the naturally aged patina of the wood beneath.  We removed the old rusted screens and carefully removed and set aside the wood strips that cover staples (that attached the original screens to the frame).  I was happy to find enough of the graceful lace fabric for these two panels to be beautifully book matched.  We have two more window frames of this size from the same lovely old home, enough lace for them and will recondition them later.
I attached the lace to the window screen frames and re-nailed the wood strips over the new staples.  Each of the panels has its original crystal knob intact.  These "new" screens are wonderful as privacy panels sitting on the window sill, room dividers suspended from the ceiling, wall art and more that you will imagine according to your own needs.

I will place this pair in my WALLMARKS blog Decor and Furnishings Shop for a week or so...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Birds, Bees, Sunflowers and Me

I love these volunteer, virtually no maintenance flowers that provide casual beauty to the human eye, provide work for the honey bees in summer and food for the birds in the winter. This painting is a tribute to this year's crop of Sunflowers that remembered to reach for the roof as every year's bunch tends to do.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Art Cards Now in Sets

Above:  from Natural Wonders cards
Natural Wonders 
Watercolors of the Mediterranean
Sketches of Italy -Two different sets 
Birthday cards (coming soon)
See the details in Art Cards.



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