This minimalist dining room from the 1950s, filled with now-vintage Widdicomb contemporary furniture, was designed by mid-century modern architect T H Robsjohn-Gibbings, one of the major influencers of the era.
The modern furniture was built of walnut wood, and featured many design touches considered new and inventive when the line debuted in 1954.
The elegant silhouette created by the curving legs sweeping outward from the underside of the dining table was particularly striking. The same elegance and sweep occurred in the chairs as well as in the decorative accessories.
The chair seats and backs were made comfortable with slim surfaces of foam latex.
The table was set with stainless steel drinkware and grey dishes, along with pewter amphora-shaped vases, each with a red flower.
Note, too, the fine integration of colors and forms. Particularly notable was the three-door buffet framed with delicately projecting moldings and long, thin metal-studded handles.
Minimal color in this designer’s dining room
Color, other than the gray of the walls and the white semi-sheer textured curtains, was the sherry finish of the walnut, as well as a few touches of red, including the flowers and a pinstripe of deep red on white that ran vertically down the backs and seats of the wooden dining room chairs.
Both the furniture and the setting itself were tributes to minimalism. In fact, Robsjohn-Gibbings designed the rooms serving as backdrops when he modeled the furniture for the company based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
He paneled the dining room and other rooms in this home with weathered timbers collected from other midwestern buildings. The silver-grey surface, produced by sun, wind, and rain, was left untouched.
In the center of each of the rooms, there were large skylights, also fashioned from recovered wood. With this background, he used a floor of grey and white marble tile from Florence, Italy.
“Robsjohn-Gibbings gives us design flavored with the past, to serve the future… classic modern that holds up to good, bold architecture… simple, fluid, functional, in native walnut or birch.” – An ad for Widdicomb from Fowler Brothers Furniture, Chattanooga, TN (1952)