DISCOVER THE THRILL OF SCULPTURAL BROYHILL DRESSERS
The fastest way to land adventurous, atomic-inspired Mid-Century style? Broyhill chest of drawers and dressers, of course. While there’s no shortage of iconic makers to choose from when shopping for Mid-Century dressers—Kent Coffey, Heywood-Wakefield, Lane Furniture, to name just a few—not many offer the sculptural prowess of Broyhill furniture chests of drawers. From their illustrious Brasilia line to their more refined, but no less statement-making Sculptra line, Broyhill dresser sets are in a league of their own.
Broyhill was founded in 1926 in Lenoir, North Carolina. The brand quickly earned a reputation as an esteemed maker, capable of churning out forever classics at an impressive pace. But it wasn’t until about the 1960s that the brand really hit its stride. Broyhill’s flamboyant take on Mid-Century styles spoke to consumers, who appreciated the brand’s attention to details and high-style approach to affordable, everyday design. Another perk? The sheer number of options offered in virtually every Broyhill collection. Broyhill’s breadth is perhaps no better illustrated than by its dresser sets. Both the Brasilia and Emphasis collections, for instance, included no less than 8 Broyhill's chests of drawers for sale.
This is all to say that if you’re shopping for vintage Broyhill chests of drawers, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the options. Add to that any specifications on your list—i.e. A 7-drawer Broyhill dresser, a 9-drawer Broyhill dresser—and things are bound to get even trickier. To help, we’re spotlighting some of the most iconic discontinued Broyhill collections and giving you all of the details of their matching dresser components, from mirror variations to drawer pull options!
Broyhill Emphasis Dressers and Chests of Drawers
In contrast to Brasilia, Broyhill’s Emphasis collection is a bit more demure. The collection’s main motif is a convex rectangle that is slightly rounded at the center and tapered at the ends. These veneered rectangles are applied to both cabinet doors and solid front panels vertically. Like most Broyhill collections, the drawer pulls are especially noteworthy. Narrow, ellipse-shaped handles sculpted of wood are mounted on wooden rectangles. When Broyhill released Emphasis in the 1960s they put literal emphasis on the luxury of its veneering. In fact, the original Emphasis collection catalog likens the collection’s construction to ancient Egyptian cabinetmakers. “This outstanding group brings you superb graining and bonded strength, through the ancient art of veneering” reads the collection’s tagline.
Emphasis dressers and chests of drawers come in a variety of styles. Some feature just drawers while others integrate flat panels or cabinets. The entire Emphasis Broyhill bedroom dresser collection could be customized with three different mirror options, including a trifold mirror version. Additionally, many of the collection’s dining and occasional pieces could be subbed for dressers or chests of drawers. Among the collection’s most noteworthy chests is an 8-drawer model known as the “Magna” gentleman’s cabinet. It comes equipped with five small stacked drawers on the right and three large drawers on the left that are topped by an upper cabinet portion adorned with the signature quadrilaterals.
Broyhill Brasilia Dressers and Chests of Drawers
Released in 1962, the Brasilia line paid homage to the City of Brasilia, the recently unveiled capital of Brazil designed by the eminent Oscar Niemeyer. Every bit as futuristic as the city itself, the Brasilia line’s main motif was a swooping sculpted arch that mimicked the ones used on buildings like the Palácio da Alvorada, designed to be the official residence of the Brazilian president. The double arch motif was also used for the collections’ drawer handles, and as a result, the handles have become almost as collectible as the dressers themselves.
Broyhill Brasilia dressers and chests number among the most plentiful. The bedroom portion of the collection included five dressers total with four different mirror options. When you consider the fact that some chose to outfit their double-width dressers with a pair of single dresser mirrors, the options become even more robust. The dining room and occasional collections also contained four more pieces that could be swapped in for a dresser, if desired. Worth noting is that Brasilia is one of the few Broyhill collections to offer a traditional tallboy dresser. That said, this 7-drawer Broyhill dresser was actually offered as a part of the living room collection and features none of the telltale swoops. The easiest way to link it to the collection, minus a brand tag, is the feet. Almost all Brasilia dressers feature fin-style legs connected with a crossbar.
Broyhill Sculptra Dressers and Chests of Drawers
The Sculptra line debuted in 1957 and marked one of Broyhill’s first forays into Danish-inspired Mid-Century design. Likely for this reason, Sculptra dressers are some of the brand’s most minimalist-feeling. Crafted of walnut that’s been bleached and hand-rubber to reveal a patina, the collection feels a bit lighter than some of the brand’s other offerings. The collection’s main motif is a bit more refined as well, consisting of two inset rectangles. The motif adorns drawers horizontally and cabinet doors vertically. For the handles, designers elected to use elongated, eye-shaped recessed handles to lend a sculptural effect. Like many of the other Mid-Century Broyhill chests, the dressers in this collection also feature pencil legs connected by an arched crossbar.
The Sculptra collection features a mix of low dressers, high boy dressers with cabinets and credenzas that could be utilized as dressers, if desired. Vintage hunting enthusiasts might also be intrigued to know that the original Sculptra line offered case pieces with Colorlith top options. Colorlith was an industrial material typically used for lab table tops, shelves, and oven hoods. Today, these pieces are extremely rare, so take note should you happen across one.
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