6 Classic American Modern Furnishings from Thayer Coggin

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By Marianne Colahan / Published by Dwell
Located in North Carolina, Thayer Coggin is a furniture company that has been producing modern home furnishings for over sixty years. Each piece in the brand’s collection maintains the clean, modern lines established by the company’s original design director Milo Baughman. Some of Baughman’s exact designs are still produced today, and remain some of the most recognizable furnishings in modern design. Explore some of our favorite Thayer Coggin designs at the Dwell Store.

Thayer Coggin founded his eponymous furniture company in 1953. With a commitment to modern, classic design, the company has created some of the most celebrated furniture designs in the world. Milo Baughman, Design Director for Thayer Coggin from 1953 until his death in 2003, designed furniture that set the brand apart from other furniture companies. Where many brands thought that Baughman’s work was too radical, Thayer Coggin saw his passion, vision for modern furniture, and gave him the opportunity to design for the brand. Baughman’s work for the Thayer Coggin brand remains some of the most revered in modern furniture design, and is sought after by modern design collectors and midcentury modern enthusiasts alike. Thayer Coggin’s children grew up with a close connection to the design and manufacturing process, and Coggin’s daughter Royale Wiggin effectively took over the company upon her father's death in 2003.

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Based on the original sofa designed by Milo Baughman in 1959, the Darren Three-Seater Sofa and Lounge Chair are timeless furnishings that feature high seat backs and undeniably midcentury modern silhouettes. Featuring updated enhancements by Guy Hill—current Design Director for Thayer Coggin—the Darren Sofa and Lounge Chair exude comfort while maintaining crisp, modern lines. The Darren furnishings include fiber seats with double needle rounded front seams. Maintaining Milo Baughman’s original comfort detail, this sofa and chair include a lumbar support made of foam and fiber. The frames are made from kiln-dried American maple wood that is joined at the corners with double dowels for added strength and stability, and rests on solid walnut legs that are handcrafted in New York.

The family-run business maintains the same values sixty years after its founding, focusing on completing furnishings the right way and never taking shortcuts. Many factory workers have worked for the company for over thirty years, and feel that the small factory is an extension of the Coggin family. Every made-to-order home furnishing is handcrafted in the company’s High Point, North Carolina factory and adopts the same bench-made production model that Coggin established when he opened the company. The Thayer Coggin brand remains true to its original mission of designing and producing sophisticated, timeless furniture with a dedication to exquisite craftsmanship and design that ranges transitional, modern, and contemporary styles. Through thoughtful design and incredible attention to detail, Thayer Coggin endures as a preeminent luxury furniture design company. 

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Inspired by a 1950s sofa designed by Milo Baughman, the Button Up Sofa is a refined furnishing that prominently displays the sofa frame and cushions. The Button Up features loose ultraplush cushions and a supportive foam fiber back that is upholstered with simple buttons for added visual interest. The sofa is double-stitched and includes a welting outline along the back, sides, and across the upholstery base. Available in a range of inviting fabrics and luxurious leathers, each Button Up Sofa is upholstered by hand by an individual upholsterer, from beginning to end of production.

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The Laid Back Lounge Chair and Ottoman capture a decidedly midcentury modern silhouette. Handcrafted in North Carolina, the lounge chair and ottoman adopt the bench-made production method from Thayer Coggin that has been in place since 1953. This style of production is a truly custom approach, and takes the Laid Back Lounge Chair and Ottoman step by step to create furnishings that are defined not only by their clean design, but also their impeccable craftsmanship. The Laid Back Lounge Chair features a handcrafted walnut frame, foam fiber tight back with a comfortable ultraplush seat and a corresponding foam fiber ottoman.

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Inspired by Milo Baughman’s original design, the Sit in 1294 series exudes comfort while maintaining crisp, modern lines. The two-seater sofa has high arms and pronounced cushions, creating a cozy, inviting look. This sofa features a supportive and comfortable trillium fiber back and a loose foam fiber seat with double needle rounded front seams. The sofa frame is made from a kiln-dried American maple wood and rests on solid maple legs. The welcoming cushions are supported by a matrix webbing system, which is a more stable option than traditional springs.

This series also includes sectional sofas.

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Designed by Milo Baughman in 1964 and featuring updated enhancements by Guy Hill—current Design Director for Thayer Coggin—the Design Classic Sofa is a comfortable sofa that has crisp, modern lines. Supported by stainless steel legs, the sofa features ultraplush cushions and a supportive fiber back. One of Thayer Coggin’s most celebrated furnishings, this sofa has a sophisticated yet inviting look that has remained in style since its design over fifty years ago.

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The Tighten Up Recliner is a furnishing that is so striking, it’s no wonder it has remained an iconic design for fifty years. More streamlined than typical recliners, this chair has a hand-tufted, buttonless back and supportive seat with “no sag” technology. The chair has a pronounced, handcrafted walnut frame and includes a reclining mechanism that extends the chair 64 inches. The Tighten Up Recliner is at once luxurious and relaxed, and will make a statement in a living room or den.