Our son, Michael, haunts Craigslist, especially now that he broke his foot at rugby. I try to keep up but with his foot elevated and nothing but time on his hands, I’m no match for him.
During one of his late night scavenges, he found a mostly complete bedroom set from the Kent-Coffey Sequence Collection, so David and I hit the road for a look. We liked what we saw and offered the seller $50 less than her asking price. Nothing doing. She knew she could get her price. We all knew she could get it — so we gave her the money.
The Kent-Coffey Manufacturing Company was a furniture powerhouse in the 1950s and 1960s, producing modern, sturdy, affordable designs for a rising middle class. It was part of the American Dream.
Based in Lenoir, NC, Harold Coffey began the company in 1907. He counted among his friends James Broyhill and John Bernhardt, local owners of their own iconic furniture companies. Quality furniture flowed from little Lenoir’s factories.
Here’s a 1956 Kent-Coffey ad for its Sequence Collection:
While walnut is the primary wood, the secondary wood is mahogany. The drawers have a mahogany bottom rather than a cheaper, softer wood such as poplar.
We unloaded the pieces in our driveway for the Before photo shoot. You can see the dresser and chest here; you can’t see David holding up our bamboo rug as a backdrop.
Four vertical parquetry stripes on the dresser’s top surface are visible in this next photo. All of the pieces in this collection have the same surface: mahogany veneer forming the perimeter as well as running vertically down the center and dividing the tops into thirds or halves.
And the night stands:
David cleaned the pieces thoroughly, which was a tremendous job. He applied Watco Medium Walnut Danish Oil to highlight the rich tones of the wood and to restore the top coat.
All four pieces of Kent Coffey sit on a floating frame, a design feature borrowed from Danish Modernism. It makes heavy, blocky furniture feel lighter and expands the visible space of the room. Alas, our set doesn’t include the original Atomic Mirror pictured below. If any of you have or know of one, we would be thrilled to reunite the dresser with a matching mirror.
For those of you paying attention, just last week we finished an exhausting rearrangement in our booth featuring a 1933 Heywood-Wakefield furniture set. Those pieces came with such a romantic story that we were determined to keep them together despite many offers for individual items. We succeeded and in the blink of an eye sold out half of our booth.
This serene new configuration in our booth at Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery doesn’t show the hours of labor David, Michael and I put in over the weekend to achieve this elegant look. But we walked away pleased with our efforts.
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Ann Marie and David