Reader Design: Johanne's Black & White Beauty

Today, we're off to Canada! Johanne, who is a professional interior designer, is welcoming us in to her Montreal home that she shares with her husband and two adult children. 

Johanne and her family moved in to this 1950's cottage 15 years ago. It sits outside Montreal in a town known for its stunning mountains and parks. Johanne doesn't use a lot of color, but that doesn't mean that her home is devoid of depth or emotion. Her neutral palette just bring other features to life - like the wood fireplace, used year-round, that Johanne calls "the best investment in the house." 

From Johanne:

Many things come into play when designing a house. The first thing I look at is the architecture. This cottage has very large windows, so our first move was to open up the space and take advantage of the ever-changing light and nature surrounding the house.

The second thing Johanne considers? Location. 

We live in a Nordic city, so I am very influence by Scandinavian design not only for its style but also for its way of life: simple, modern, warm, and practical. I love wood and try to use it as much as possible along with natural materials such as stone, straw, wool, and cotton.
Midcentury and Scandinavian furniture design offer modern furniture that blend well with many different styles. They are good quality and timeless which is always a good investment. I like to mix them with older pieces such as our tulip dining chairs with our rustic dining table, which we found in an old barn and have had for many years.

The third consideration is nature. Johanne seriously considered the world around her and took advantage of those influences in every way she could. 

Soothing grays, greens, and earth tones are always a good choice for me. Those are the colors I see when walking on the mountain, but they are also the colors I see when I go on the gorgeous beaches of Maine, USA, where I have spent every single vacation of my childhood and where we have taken our children as well since they were born.

I think we can all agree that Johanne has some incredible style. Thank you, Johanne, for letting us in and sharing your design influences with us. 

Learn more about Johanne on her website or follow along on Instagram

Ladies & A Gentleman's Chest

It's not very often you score a "white whale" on Craigslist - or in my case, a teak whale:

I think I got lucky because the listing (written by an interesting Russian man as I found out at pick-up) was titled "Drawers."  Any furniture flipper's usual search for dresser would have ruled it out - so luck was on my side!

Upon closer inspection I found out the full good news and bad news.  The bad news:  there was some serious damage on the base - mysterious splatter stains and what appeared to be some water damage.  But here was the good news: it was certifiably a true Danish Mid-Century Modern piece.

Very exciting!  Once he was home, the repair-sleuthing began.  I had to figure out how to treat the mystery splatter and how to repair any wood rot.  I tried stripping the finish to see if that would get the splotchy stains off - no such luck.  I tried carving out the bubbled and soft wood on the base so I could correct it with wood filler.  Futile.  And as I chipped away at the damage, I began to realize from the stench it was not water damage I was dealing with at all.  It was dog urine!  YUCK!!!  Now what?!  Who would want to buy a dresser that's already been claimed by some pooch's bottomless bladder?! 

Not gonna lie - I panicked a little.  I lay it down on it's back to put some desperate elbow grease in it.  After trying a few more things (to no avail) and pacing around the garage for a while, I noticed the affected area seemed to be contained to the base and not the drawers.  Upon even closer inspection, the rotten "shoe" proved to be removable!  I was saved! 

I couldn't unscrew that stinky piece of wood fast enough.  And go figure, my natural instinct was to replace it with sleek tapered legs.  You know me...

I sanded the whole beast down to a buttery-soft naked smooth.  Then I oiled him up with some Watco (wow that sounds sexual).

Every suspected drop of urine was buffed right out. (Twice for good measure).

Now, instead of being greeting by a fowl smell, you can take in the rich and pleasant wood grain.


You can actually appreciate the dovetailed drawers are and beautifully crafted wooden tracts.

The storage goes on for days...

and days...

Yessir, he's a gentleman just as bit as dapper as the lucky fella (or lady) who will one day take him home ;)


Mid-Century Danish Gentleman's Chest
45"L x 18"D x 45"H
$800  SOLD

Hey Washington, DC friends!  If you are interested in this piece or a custom order like it, please email me at