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Custom Retro Mid-Century-Modern TV

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

It's not lost on me that literally billions of dollars and countless hours have been spent to engineer the thinnest TVs on the market. Yet, I still ended up here.

I made this custom retro mid-century-modern TV in 2022, and a couple more since then. Its an updated take on the mid-century-modern era home TV featuring sound bar storage, a 32" flat screen and additional storage for your gaming console.

It was one of those custom woodworking projects I couldn't say no to. The client originally wanted something more traditional, a bit bulkier and detailed. I definitely knew what she was talking about, my Grandparents had a TV like this in their home when I was a kid. You know, the wooden TV with the huge dial.

The Design

I thought about the design for a few days and I came to the conclusion that the general form and material used is what is going to make it convincing as a retro-tv. Not the familiar analogue details and hardware.

I was convinced, so I went a bit rogue. This is always a risk as a designer-maker. After all, if the client asks for something specific and the design work goes in a different direction at best its wasted unpaid hours and we have to recalibrate, or at worst the client loses confidence.

Once the sketches and renders were done she was really happy, and so was I. The minimal design style appeared incredibly fun and inviting without diluting any of the mid-century-modern nostalgia.

I chose perforated stainless steel for the soundbar grill which came out incredibly clean. It was a simple solution that also pushed the aesthetic in a more minimal and modern direction. Oh... and the back of the cabinet. Yes, I put doors. I couldn't help myself.

The Build

I used sapele for the base and cabinet. It was suitable as it looks similar in appearance to mahogany, which was very popular in the mid-century. I think the straight grain also looks beautiful on waterfall edges which compliments the minimal design style.

The actual woodwork was fairly straightforward - it is a box, after all. What was most challenging was designing the custom white face frame for the TV. It was critical that there was no gap between the back of the frame, and the actual TV screen. On top of that, because of the curved frame, some of the visible screen area would be lost. So after a few attempts and sweating over millimeters of extra visible screen area I was able to achieve what I thought looked like a factory fresh mid-century-modern retro TV. Nothing to hide.

modern retro tv

If you're looking for a custom piece of furniture, please send us an email:

Our studio is Penticton, British Columbia. We design, make and deliver custom furniture for customers in the Okanagan, and Vancouver/Lower-mainland areas.

Check out our instagram for our most recent work.

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