The Designer At A Glance
Milo Baughman is the father of the California Modern aesthetic. He is most well known for his collaboration with Thayer Coggin, a manufacturer in North Carolina, that continues to produce his furniture to this day.
The Life Behind The Design
Although he was born in Kansas, Milo Baughman would go on to become one of the designers most closely associated with the California Modern aesthetic. After moving to Long Beach, Baughman’s family tasked him with designing their new home at the age of just 13.
By the time he was 24, Baughman’s passion and drive led him to open his own design studio. He took various jobs across the state and worked with other prolific designers who were on the cutting edge of the mid-century modern movement.
As with the entire California Modern aesthetic, Baughman’s design invites the outdoors inside. With spacious, open floor plans and large windows, Baughman made moving between interior and exterior spaces a seamless experience. It was a revolution for residential American architecture, and one that endures today.
While Baughman designed for a number of manufacturers, his longest-lasting collaboration was with Thayer Coggin out of North Carolina. For five decades, the partnership defined mid-century American furniture — simple, bold aesthetics with an emphasis on functionality.
Baughman’s design principles are still serving future generations at Brigham Young University, where he organized the Department of Environmental Design (now Interior Design). The department’s objective is to “train students in improving the condition of our natural environment” through the lens of urban, product, graphic and interior designs.
Notable Works: 825 Sectional
While he had an immaculate eye for design, Baughman knew that aesthetics aren’t the end-all-be-all for interior decor. “The structured environment,” he argued, “has to be good for the human inhabitants of that environment. It must offer significant social and emotional benefits; it cannot simply look good.”
The role of furniture in the American home, Baughman reasoned, was to strengthen the interpersonal connection between families and their guests. To that end, many of his pieces encourage bonding and social interaction. Nowhere is that philosophy more evident than in his 825 series of sectionals in collaboration with Thayer Coggin.
With its semi-circular design, the 825 sectional allows for eye contact between everyone sitting on the sofa. Even the people seated on the “far sides” can easily engage in conversation with one another, especially when compared to a traditional rectangular sofa. The shape also gives everyone equal access to a small circular table placed in the center.
While such considerations might be commonplace today, Baughman was one of the pioneers of human-first design. Naturally, many of his works have earned a spot on display in museums — but it’s only in a home that their true genius can be fully appreciated.
Liberty & 33rd & Milo Baughman
Strike the perfect balance between appearance and functionality with our Milo Baughman collection. We frequently carry pieces from Baughman’s collaboration with Thayer Coggin and other prolific mid-century modern brands.
Milo Baughman Style Patchwork Burl Wood Parsons Extension Dining Table, Newly Refinished
Milo Baughman for Directional Walnut and Ebonized Sideboard Credenza, Newly Refinished
Milo Baughman for Drexel Perspective Exotic Mindoro Wood Bedside Chests, Newly Refinished
Milo Baughman for Directional Burl Wood Parsons Extension Dining Table, Newly Refinished
Milo Baughman for Drexel Perspective Exotic Mindoro Wood Full Size Headboard, 1950s
Milo Baughman for Directional Walnut and Ebonized Triple Bookcase on Hairpin Legs, 1960s
Milo Baughman for Directional Black Lacquered Large Bedside Chests or End Tables, Newly Refinished
Milo Baughman for Directional Cherry and Brass Double Dresser, Newly Refinished