By Design Modern is your source for Danish Mid-Century furnishings

By Design Modern is western Canada’s largest importer of quality, Danish designed furnishings dating from the 1950’s-1970’s. We travel to Denmark several times a year to source items from estate sales, auction houses and private homes.

Denmark has a long tradition of fine furniture manufacturing. The Danish designers and quality of craftsmanship is known throughout the world. Arguably, the most prolific and award-winning designers hail from Denmark.

Our furniture collections include designers

E.W. Bach, Jens Risom, Omann Jun, Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen & Torben Lind, Poul Volther, Poul Cadovius, Quistgaard, Niels Moller Model 75 and many more.

The History of By Design Modern - A family business

It was the 1960’s. My father was still in university when he went to his first antique auction and fell in love with antique furniture. He loved the beautiful lines and different styles of the furniture he saw. He felt that antiques were built to last, that there was a quality to them that could only be achieved by being hand made, that each piece had it’s own unique story and that owning something that had already stood the test of time was better than buying something brand new.

Arriving as an immigrant from Germany after the second world war, by 1967 my father had opened a small shop called the Rocking Horse Trader located in the upscale Kerrisdale neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC.

By 1970 my father had made contacts in Europe and had started importing high quality antiques. He took on a business partner and re-branded the business Sugar Barrel Antiques.

With small stores in and around historic Gastown throughout the 70’s by the end of the decade business really began to boom and he needed a larger location with more floor space. In 1981 he moved the store to Main Street where he would stay for the next 32 years.

Working in the family business

I grew up helping unload containers from Europe and doing odd jobs on the weekends at my father’s store from the time I was about 12 years old.

When I finished school in 1993 I went to work full time for him.

It was around my nineteenth birthday that I really began looking at the business and saying to myself - this is a nice story, I would hate to see it end.

My father had started and built this business out of nothing over 25 years and to see this person commit so much time and effort to his business, his family and making sure we were provided for was something I felt very good about.

I thought it would be a shame if he had to sell the business or liquidate the assets and effectively end the era – to retire. It was then that I made the decision to work in the family business and carry it on to the next generation.

 

Transitioning from antiques to Danish Mid-Century furnishings

After opening my own antique store in 1997 and taking the business online in 1999, it wasn’t long after a fellow dealer said, "you should try selling 60’s teak furniture, it's gaining in popularity". So, I agreed to consign a few pieces from him and people just loved them.

I found myself beginning to really appreciate the quality and design of mid-century furniture and especially Danish designed furniture. The furniture is elegant and sophisticated, yet has a minimal style that boasts simple lines and smooth curves and has a timeless quality to it.

 

Within 6 months I was in Denmark buying Danish mid century furniture. 

I was sourcing, purchasing and packing up containers with two and three hundred pieces of furniture and shipping them back to Vancouver.

Nearly 13 years have passed and over time I transitioned this business entirely into sourcing and selling Danish mid-century furniture. Re-branding the business as BY DESIGN MODERN made sense and would allow me to take this business my father had built, ironically in the 60's, into the next era of offering high quality furniture and decor to a new and exciting clientele! With all the work that has been done over the past decade, By Design Modern is proud to be one of leading Danish furniture dealers in Canada and North America.

I strive to bring in good quality Danish furniture at affordable prices.

"I’m really trying to help people solve their decorating and interior design needs."

People come into the store for a variety of reasons, but those people that are coming into the store or on our website, are serious about looking for furniture that will fit properly into their space - ultimately their trying to solve a problem.

My job and the job of my staff is to try and help these people solve that problem.

We ask questions. We find out what the customer is trying to accomplish with a piece of furniture, what their style is and so on. That's how we approach or we're trying to approach every interaction we have with a new customer.

- Jeremy Froehlich