With the increasing appreciation of mid-century Danish design in Australia many businesses who sell second-hand Danish designer furniture are importing stock from Denmark that needs tidying up and restoration before it can hit the showroom floor.
Many of these importers are using the services of craftsman/artisans such as Adam Stewart of Modanest. After having the opportunity to visit Adam, and his wife Nikki, in their beautiful Pettit and Sevitt split-level home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches I thought I would take the opportunity to do an industry interview about Modanest and Mrs Modanest.
Hi Adam and Nikki, thank you for taking the time to speak to Secret Design Studio today .
Q1) Adam, tell me about your work at Modanest and the pieces that you restore? Do you only work for the furniture importers, or will you also restore Danish pieces owned by private individuals?
A1) I do restoration work for both importers and individuals, specialising in pieces from the mid century.
Q2) Why do you think that Danish mid-century style is increasing in popularity in Australia in the 21st century, and what exactly is Danish cord weaving?
A2) I believe the aesthetics of this era are as sexy today as they were when they were first produced. The simple clean lines of the Danish modern style of furniture, as well as the the quality of construction, compliments todays current lifestyle.
Danish cord seat weaving started during WW2 as leather etc was scarce, so furniture manufacturers had to create/source alternative materials for seating. Danish cord is produced from paper fibres, and is incredibly tough and long lasting, sustainable and beautiful. It’s lifespan can be anywhere up to 40 years plus, depending on use and care.
Q3) I understand that you also design and build furniture such as your beautiful “Wovenest” bar stools, which you also have in your kitchen. How did that come about? Do you have any other pieces planned for the future?
A3) I have been weaving Danish cord for some time now, this was born out of my restoration work, I was lucky enough to find a retired master weaver who was generous enough to share with me her skills in this area. I currently produce several pieces in the Wovenest range. I am also working on some new pieces to compliment this range, a new bench seat in hand woven split cane, as well as a Danish cord folding lounge chair, beyond that there are plenty of pieces I would love to produce …. Just need more hours in my day!
Q4) As I would expect from somebody with such a passion and interest in Mid-Century Danish furniture your home has some really beautiful furniture. However, the bold use of colour is really the first thing that visitors notice, starting with your wonderful purple-front door. Who does most of the work on the colour selections, styling and presentation of your home? Where did the idea of a purple front door come from?
A4) Mrs Modanest is not afraid of colour! She has never shied away from mixing and matching bright colours! The front door is Monaro purple in the spirit of the 1970’s, when the house was built, a subtle hint of things to come? I reckon the use of colour within the house works well, these homes have such large windows and open spaces, so natural light is abundant throughout the home. The use of such bold colours contrasts well with the organic tones that we can view through the windows. Our interior rainbow is straight out of the vibrant mind of Mrs Modanest ….. I simply source and restore the furniture.
Q5) Nikki, what is your background to make everything look so right with the architecture of your Pettit and Sevitt home?
A5) My back ground is visual merchandising, shop layout, window display and styling. The open spaces within this home have allowed me to break out my inner colour fantasies! I’ve always had a keen interest in the simple lines and bold use of colours from the mid century period, Panton and Marimekko.
Q6) There are lots of sad looking Pettit and Sevitt homes that have suffered from unfortunate renovations over the past decades by people who don’t appreciate the iconic nature of these homes. What sort of condition was this home in, and why did you choose this one?
A6) We were lucky enough to get this home from the original owner, who left us all the correspondence that he had with Pettit and Sevitt during the construction of his home. The house had been maintained, kitchen had been updated, but there was still a bit to do and we wanted to put our own stamp on the house. The blue carpet throughout the house was removed and we sanded and sealed the cypress pine floor boards, which were in great shape. We updated the bathrooms, but kept the original footprint. The front courtyard was also updated. We still have things to do……….but are happy with the work we have done so far.
Q7) How do two creative people achieve such great style, and balance in the same home? Do you agree on everything, or is there a bit of toing and froing?
A7) We work pretty well together, I get excited by the furniture and Mrs Modanest gets excited about the colours and glassware! So far so good…..Occasionally we can get a bit stubborn with each other, we explain our rationale, and the most logical wins…ish!
Q8) Nikki you have a great collection of mid-century glassware displayed through your home. How did you get started, and do you have a favourite piece?
A8) I’ve been collecting coloured glass and ceramic pieces for a long time, namely anything that catches my eye. Favourite piece, so hard…. Mmmmm…. My Vasa cubes (current fav).
Q9) Does Adam have a favourite piece of furniture (apart from the “Wovenest” bar stools that you made with your own hands)?
A9) Only one???? I love my Wegner CH22 chairs….. and the Wegner couches, great to snooze on!
Q10) Tell me about Mrs Modanest? What services does Mrs Modanest offer, and who would be a typical client?
A10) Mrs Modanest clearly loves colour and would happily consult, assist, guide or create an interior space for any client that wants to bring some style to their environment. A typical client….anyone that wants help making the most of their home, or wants some reassurance about bringing a little brightness into their space. With my stylist background I can work with various styles to create a personal space that suits the needs and aspirations of any client.
Q11) How would somebody contact Mrs Modanest for help with styling of their own home, or business, or shop?
A11) The best way would be via email or a phone call, we can go from there.
To contact Adam at Moda Nest phone 0415 101 818, or email at email@example.com.