New Westminster News Leader

Mid-Century Modern Home moves to River Market

Jenny Cashin is getting ready to move her furniture store, Mid-Century Home, from Front Steet to the River Market. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Jenny Cashin is getting ready to move her furniture store, Mid-Century Home, from Front Steet to the River Market.

Moving day is stressful.

Imagine moving an entire store filled with furniture.

That's the daunting prospect facing Jenny Cashin, who's preparing to move her Mid-Century Modern Home shop from Front Street, where it's resided midway along Antique Alley for more than three years, to 1,200 square feet of airy, open space at the River Market. Preparing is the operative word.

The actual distance may only be a couple of blocks, but when you've got enough furniture to fill a store, plus storage in the back, a two car garage and a friend's basement, moving day is more like moving month. Already Cashin's enlisted a network of friends to help pack up the hundreds of pieces of art, lamps and decorative items. The big items—sofas, dining tables and cabinets will be handled by pros.

"It's amazing how much stuff I've acquired over the years," says Cashin.

But that's the nature of the vintage furniture business. The showroom floor is only the tip of the iceberg because when a sofa or dining set is sold, Cashin can't order more from the factory; she has to find more pieces that already exist, which can take time and considerable sleuthing.

Mid-Century specializes in modern furniture from the 1950s and '60s, most of it from Denmark. The sleek, low-profile pieces manufactured with light-coloured teak and rosewood are the product of a design aesthetic that tried to merge the natural and manufactured worlds. Homes had large windows that made the living room seem part of the backyard. The clean lines and smooth curves of the furniture made it look as it could only be produced by a machine, yet much of it was handmade. It was also functional; pieces could often be reversed to have multiple uses, chairs nested into tables to minimize their footprint.

It's timeless design, says Cashin, that still influences contemporary furniture, much of it available from a certain Swedish behemoth.

And while the mid-century modern style never really disappeared, it's enjoying a resurgence in popularity because it fits well with the large wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling windows that are now used in so many condos. Young shoppers are also evoking memories of their parents' living or rec rooms.

"Every day I hear someone say 'we had one just like that,'" says Cashin, who expects to be in her new location by Jan. 5.

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