My jaw hit the floor and pulse started to race when I read an email from a local estate sale company promoting a sale at the former home of Folke Ohlsson (1919 – 2003) in Atherton, California – about a 40 minute drive south from San Francisco. Here’s some background on this furniture legend and personal photos of my shopping spree.
Born and raised in Sweden, Folke Ohlsson moved to the United States in 1953 and established DUX, Inc. in San Francisco the same year. Six years later, Ohlsson moved the company to Burlingame, California. His has received world-wide acclaim for his furniture designs which are generally referred to as “Scandinavian Modern” but often get categorized as “Danish Modern” or “Danish Teak”. Ohlsson’s designs blend graceful details of traditional style with the simplicity and good proportions of contemporary style.
Ohlsson received more than 30 awards including the Triennale Exhibit in Milan and the Good Design Show of the New York Museum of Modern Art. He lead the operation that has given DUX furniture its international distinction. In addition, his timely, but timeless designs are some of the world’s most copied. A patented, knockdown armchair, has been widely copied and mass-produced by more than 100 furniture designers.
Folke Ohlsson made a significant contribution to the widespread acceptance and tremendous popularity in the United States of modern Scandinavian furniture design. In recognition of his work, he was awarded Sweden’s Royal Order of Vasa decoration by King Gustav VI Adolf in 1964.
The Ohlsson family moved to this Atherton, California home in 1960.The home designed by architect Bill Houd reflects not only Ohlsson’s own designs, but also the designs of his friends and his taste in the decor of the time. Because he was a “saver” there were many delightful treasures at the sale. In fact I went back several times!
These are images of the Ohlsson’s living room during the estate sale. I’m sure it was never this cluttered when the Ohlsson’s were living there! The home also had several original painting by Lemort Hall, Bengt Ossler, Bonde and Leo Riez. The two oil abstract paintings – one in white and the other to the right in blues & greens – are by Sweden’s Lemont Hall.
The incredible bronze patio dining table and chairs are by Walter Lamb and were priced at $3,800. It was contructed of solid bronze tubing – all joint brazed with brass – no plating. It will never rust and doesn’t require refinishing. The chairs have white cotton cording that shows age, but adds incredible character.
The side petal table (right), also patio furiture was by Richard Schultz and was going for $600 in “as is” condition.
This lovely seaside oil painting caught my eye and is by Swedish artist, Bonde (1955) who was a family aquaintance from the 1950’s. The wooden frame and linen matte compliment the painting beautifully.
The Ohlsson’s large kitchen was packed with crystal, ceramics, flatware, serving trays and Swedish wooden ornaments. The custom Scandinavian style wooden built-in was still gorgeous even though it was cluttered by sale items.
The Ohlsson’s home had so many treasures, but one of the finest was an early 19th century Swedish case clock. It went for $950. A steal!
Another gem in the home was the round teak dining room table and chairs. They were Ohlsson’s design while at DUX. And I really wanted that table, but my bid wasn’t high enough and my husband wouldn’t let me go any higher – darn it! I did however, walk away with some beautiful cane furniture by McGuire, vintage wallpaper, mid-century decor books & DUX catalogs and some darling wooden handpainted home accessories from Sweden.
This kind of estate sale only happens once in a blue moon. I am glad we had a blue moon in California last weekend!
Also, I have more personal photos of the sale and home – do you want to see more?
*first image from 1st dibs and all other from Simplified Bee