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Broyhill Premier Chapter One — in eye-popping 1970s yellow, green and orange — revisited

broyhill chapter one furniturebroyhill chapter one logoMy Color of the Year a few years ago — Broyhill Premier Chapter One Lime Green — was inspired by a particular line of Broyhill furniture that was love at first site. I kept seeing this furniture referred to as “Broyhill Loewy” style — so I decided to do some research to find out more about this line, including what the heck its real name was. That part was easy. Some clicks on the worldwide web, and the name came up, seems to be:  Broyhill Premier Chapter One. I was able to find photos of the line in three fabulous colors — lemon yellow, lime green and yowza orange. Above: Reader Steve sent me this ad from 1970. Woot! I digg it! Read on for more info and 35+ more photos of this technicolor dream design — in a story from our archives originally published in 2012 –>


broyhill premier chapter one bedroom Steve & I are also diggin’ the mural in the bedroom shot. Thanks, Steve!

Broyhill Premier Chapter One in Green:

drexel green

broyhill premier chapter one furnitureI only have two photos showing this furniture line with the green doors — from my visit to Furnish Me Vintage in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is when this furniture line really came into my consciousness.

Subsequently, I saw one of these pieces, in green, in the comedy movie “Dick”. The movie is a spoof on Richard Nixon and Watergate, starring Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst. The 1970s interior design and clothing are fantastic. And I love the movie — it’s hilarious — highly recommended — if think you have the same irreverant goofball sensitivities as me.

How we know this is called “Broyhill Premier Chapter One”

When searching online, i saw some references to this particular name, but I wanted to verify the information. Very quickly, I was able to find a mention of a 1970s Better Homes & Gardens two-page ad for the furniture line in this database. No image of the ad is still archived, though. Does anyone have 1970 issues of Better Homes & Gardens that they can search???

Of course, I also reached out to my contact at Furniture Brands — the big company that today owns the Broyhill brand. Lisa Hanly, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Relations — who found us the fabulous Broyhill Brasilia and Scupltra catalogs recently — was able to do some immediate searching among the Broyhill team. Alas, this must have been such a limited line that here’s what she found:

Pam-

This is not the answer I wanted to provide, but the people we have working on Broyhill (and this includes a 30-year-veteran of the brand)…have absolutely no record or even memory of this product from Broyhill!

We do have archives that go back, evidenced by the Brasilia find…but nobody can find this. I’m sorry we couldn’t help. Bring me another fun one and we’ll keep trying on something else!

Thanks, Lisa!

Why is it called “Loewy” style?

Raymond Loewy was a famous and super important industrial designer before and after World War II. I hunted around the intertubes, and it seems he was the pioneer of this look, with his DF2000 line of furniture, this site says it was for Doubinsky & Freres. This site shows a number of pieces. So: It is shaping up to sound like the Broyhill design was a knockoff aimed at the middle class America. In just cursory examination of online values, it looks like the vintage Loewy today costs about two- to 10-times more than the vintage Broyhill Premier Chapter One. Although: All this stuff seems to be constructed of plastic and laminate. I am guessing the drawer fronts are some sort of injection molding of high-gloss plastic. Interestingly: Ikea has lots of furniture and cabinetry with exactly the same look as the white of the Loewy / Chapter One furniture. They could design shiny plastic drawers and doors — and they’d have yet a third-generation homage.

Is it “rare”?

I tend to think so. I am guessing this was seen in the marketplace as a “novelty” design. Not “timeless”. So it would have been an extravagance. Also, it doesn’t look all that durable. Even on the yellow pieces, which look well cared for, you can see the difficulty in keeping the laminate from getting chippy. And, if the furniture went in a kid or teen’s room, I bet it was even more likely to get beat up. So there might not be a lot of Broyhill Premier Chapter One furniture still around.

Yellow Broyhill Chapter One furniture — big set of bedroom furniture

This yellow bedroom set — sold! — are used here with permission of estatestore.org and communitywarehouse.org, which are based in Portland and metro Portland, Oregon. Thank you so much for letting us add these to our archive.

broyhill premier chapter one as featured on retro renovation

broyhill premier chapter one

Broyhill-Premier-Chapter-Onemirror

Broyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-nightstand

Broyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-high-dresser-side

Broyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-High-DresserBroyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-Dresser-sideBroyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-dresserBroyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-dresser-and-mirror

Broyhill Premier Chapter One yellow china cabinet:

broyhill premier chapter one buffet

Hunting around, I also found the fabulous example above — a china cabinet. It was over on flickr, where Oliver says he found this Broyhill Premier Chapter One buffet (he calls it a buffet, I would call it a china cabinet) on craigslist. In fact, he called it the Craigslist Find of the Century — $100 clams, including light bulb. Thanks, Oliver, for permission to feature your great find!

Broyhill Premier Chapter One — Another dresser style, in yellow:

Broyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-dresserBroyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-dresser-inside Over on ebay, I found another Chapter One dresser, in a different style, for sale by searching the terms “Broyhill Loewy”.

Thanks to seller spoonbill3 for permission to show the photos. Store information:

Antiques & Crystal Repair
3411 N. Dixie Highway
Oakland Park , Fl 33334

Broyhill Premier Chapter One desk and chair:

Broyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-deskBroyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-desk-with-chairBroyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-desk-drawersBroyhill-Premier-Chapter-One-desk-chairFinally, check out this desk and chair, which are for sale from ebay seller twin_powr right now and who gave us permission to enter these into our archive. So groovy, baby!

Broyhill Premier Chapter One Green Dining Room SetBroyhill Premier Chapter One Green Dining Room SetUpdate: Reader Mitch sent me this photo of his new/vintage Drexel Premier Chapter One dining room set. Luv.

Broyhill-Chapter-One-Padded-headboard-White Broyhill-Chapter-One-Padded-headboard-WhitePam spotted the 1970 Broyhill Premier Chapter One padded headboard above for sale by Etsy seller MidCenturyModOne.

Broyhill-Chapter-one-bookshelf

Broyhill-Chapter-one-bookshelf-closeupReader Rose — who sent us images of her original Broyhill Premier Chapter One catalog for our post — Broyhill Premier Chapter One Furniture Catalog from 1971 — also shared a few photos of her rare Broyhill Premier Chapter One lime green and white bookshelves.

red-and-white-broyhill-premier-furniture Broyhill-Premier-coffee-table Broyhill-Premier-furniture-red Broyhill-Premier-coffee-table-red Broyhill-Premier-coffee-table-back Broyhill-Premier-logo Broyhill-Premier-end-tables-vintage Vintage-Broyhill-Premier-night-stands-red vintage-broyhill-premier-end-tables Broyhill-Premier-nightstands Broyhill-Premier-nightstand-drawer

Mega thanks to Ebay seller aprilsantiquesandmore for allowing us to feature these very rare ‘bittersweet’ red-orange Broyhill Premier Chapter One coffee and end tables she has listed for sale in her Ebay store.

broyhill premierSo what do you think, readers?
Are you feeling the luv for Broyhill Premier Chapter One?

Categoriesfurniture
  1. Dan says:

    For such a short lived line, there certainly was a wide variety of pieces. I especially love the pedestal end tables. Those plain white surfaces must be a bear to maintain, though.

    I, too, love the movie ‘Dick’. The many razor sharp cultural and political references are especially funny to those of us who were around to watch Watergate unfold in real time.

  2. Carolyn says:

    I wasn’t onboard until the filled china cabinet and subsequent photos…my goodness! these would be so fun for a tween/teen and then your first place! Or your summer getaway with that fireplace thing! Glad you also showed the solid wood construction which makes me wonder why there was/is so little around. Maybe it was just too fun and whimsical for the times. This reminds me of the interchangeable bedroom set featured in the recent past, with brights instead of pastels.
    Good idea to hack the Ikea pieces to make them less generic and more personal.

  3. Jay says:

    I like the end tables and the china cabinets – noticed the green one is larger then the yellow. I thought at first the white finish was a laminate over particle board but the open bittersweet drawer clearly shows it is painted solid wood with mortise and tenon joints (quality construction). With such a wide variety of pieces, wonder how much was produced in the initial run and if it sold well.

  4. Steve says:

    I have a number of these pieces in green and yellow. The tops are all white laminate and the rest of the frames are painted wood. You can repaint them if they get too chipped or scraped up. They’re actually very sturdy and well made pieces (much better quality than Ikea). It’s just insane how many different designs they made. I wonder if perhaps they were made by some other company and just sold under the Broyhill name.

  5. Melinda says:

    I have a citrus hued kitchen and dining room planned for my someday dream house and this dinette would be fabulous.

  6. Debbie in Portland says:

    Oooooh, late ’60’s lime green. That was my childhood favorite color, I would’ve covered every surface in my room in that shade had cooler heads not prevailed. (Thanks, Mom!)

    I live in Portland and LOVE The Estate Store. They get some really amazing things donated, and they recognize the importance of these fun, mid-century-and-beyond designs.

  7. Carolyn says:

    Joan, is there any way you can get scans to Pam for the weekend? And are the prices listed?
    I’m crazy for history and it’s kind of weird to think that I, personally, lived through these eras. Some things I recognize and others are new to me.

  8. lee says:

    My eye was most drawn to those end tables too. Reminds me alot of Electrohome Smarties stereos from the late ’60s and early ’70 (Google them for an awesome eyeful).

  9. lee says:

    That was my thought too. These were probably too “far out” for Broyhill to commit to without first doing a trial run by rebranding furniture made by another company. If they proved popular enough then they could start making it themselves.

  10. Joe Felice says:

    These colors were introduced in the very-late ’60s, and achieved great popularity for 10 years. Unless my monitor is ‘WAY OFF, the green is more “green apple” than lime, which is actually what I also recall from that day.

    I love the furniture. Being a “color” person, I could have a blast with it.

    In 1969, American Motors debuted the “Big, Bad” colors: Big Bad Blue, Big Bad Green, and Big Bad Orange. See http://www.themusclecarplace.com/the-outrageous-muscle-car-years-bellbottoms-pistol-grip-shifters-and-plum-crazy-colors
    I used these colors as inspiration for my ’70s/disco room. My favorite is Big Bad Blue. I started with that for the doors, and the project just took off from there. The green is a true lime. Chrysler joined in a year later with its plum and banana yellow. Has anyone else noticed how these colors have become popular again?

  11. Joan St. Doll says:

    This is a riot – thank you! That desk is fantastic. All of it reminds me of dollhouse furniture – so of course, I love!
    p.s. crazy you have more info now than Broyhill.

  12. Neil says:

    Those red-orange end tables on pedestals are Duh-reamy. The yellow china cabinet is Fab U Lous.
    It’s funny how the green dining room set, sitting along in a garage, looks like a set of injection-molded dollhouse furniture that’s been blown up to giant size; like Nancy Sinatra nibbled one of Alice’s “Eat Me” cookies and her toys ballooned, along with her white plastic go-go boots.
    It looks like an approximation of real furniture, but not quite real. Actually it vibes with the 70’s nicely: All the previous, 50’s societal norms and suppositions that we were rejecting and shattering were being gleefully replaced, but with experimental verions of a new zeitgeist; one that had no grown-up reality yet.
    It was about, “It’s your thang; do what you want to do….”, and boy, did we have fun trying on a parade of wacky esthetics and personal styles.
    Neil

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