Brian Madsen was almost literally born into the furniture business. His parents stopped by Skarbos, the Scandinavian furniture store where his dad worked, to show off the new baby on the way home from the hospital. He and his brother Brandon grew up witnessing the inner workings of a furniture store, spending teenage summers on the warehouse crew, and developing a deep love of furniture design. Years later, tiring of desk jobs in tech and media, the brothers teamed up to start Madsen Modern.
The Madsen brothers and their employees breathe new life into vintage furniture through thoughtful restoration, whether it's the pieces they sell or pieces clients bring to them to be renewed. Their focus area is Scandinavian and American modern furniture from the 1950’s through the 1970’s -- the mid-century modern roots of the contemporary designs the brothers worked with as kids in the 90's.
When asked what it’s like to work with family, Brandon shared that it’s tricky but also has benefits. From the tremendous amount of time they’ve spent together, according to Brian, they now have the superpower of practically reading each other’s minds. “We've basically been working together for 35 years, and you tend to mind-meld over that stretch of time."
Even though the brothers share a love of furniture, they have very different styles. “Brandon is more eclectic, whereas I prefer a more casual and contemporary design,” explains Brian.
In business since 2011, Madsen Modern sells one-of-a-kind pieces online to buyers all over the country. Seattle-area customers shop by appointment at their workshop, which can function like a retail store, but without the high overhead. They're able to stock more inventory than they could in a showroom, and the cost savings keep the value in the product rather than in the facility.
Explaining their approach to consignment services, Brandon says, “We don't take just anything -- we stick to our mid-century modern specialty -- but because we run a full-service restoration shop, we're able to take on worn or damaged pieces that other consignment shops would turn down. Since in a consignment you split the sale proceeds with the shop that sells your furniture, there's a huge advantage in working with a shop that can restore and add value to your furniture rather than just liquidating the pieces as-is. We feel great about giving that advantage to our consignors.”
According to Brian, “Restoring and selling furniture isn't something you do if you’re looking to join the 1%. We do this because we're passionate about furniture and we love this work." "These older pieces need help if they’re going to stay in use, and we’re happy to reset them for the next generation,” adds Brandon.
This mentality is the reason people trust Madsen Modern with their family heirlooms. Whether they’re restoring a dining chair set or a coffee table, each individual piece requires custom-tailored attention. "Every piece is a distinct puzzle," says Brian, "but our depth of experience means we've seen most of the puzzles before, so we're good at finding the solutions."
Whether you’re looking to restore furniture to its fullest potential, or buy or sell vintage furniture, Madsen Modern is a good place to start.