I’m always learning new things about designers.  I’ve earned degrees in theatre arts and education… not design.  So, admittedly, the learning curve is pretty steep for me.  So, as I do a little background research on designers, I thought it’d be fun to share some of that information with you.

Today, let’s meet Milo Baughman.

via Elle Decor

via Elle Decor

He looks like he was really serious, right?

Despite his European sounding name, Milo Baughman (pronounced, evidently, Boffman) was born in Kansas.  In his early teens he moved to Long Beach, California.  He spent some time in the military and then went to design school.  He then worked in California for Frank Brothers, Glenn of California, and Pacific Iron.  Finally in 1953 he began working with Thayer Coggin Inc as their sole designer.  This partnership is perhaps what Baughman is best known for.  Here are some examples of pieces they did together:

one kings lane


1stdibs – Occasional Table



1stdibs — “X” Desk


An article in Elle Decor has a great quote from Coggin’s widow, Dot.  “Milo’s sensibility was fresh, original, and architectural.  I have a houseful of his furniture, and you just don’t tire of it. With the resurgence of interest in designs from that era, I am not surprised that it’s in fashion again.”  I find that part about his design being “architectural” very interesting and right on the mark.

The Thayer Coggin website describes Baughman’s design philosophy  “was that good design is enduring design. Baughman’s characteristic restraint does not permit the look of mere novelty to enter in. Rather, he achieved a look that is uncompromisingly modern, but which never violates the timeless standards of classic good taste.”

Over the years Baughman partnered with many other great companies, including Drexel, Henredon, Mode Furniture, and Design Institute America.

Here is some of his other work:

1stdibs – Burl Wood Coffee Table

1stdibs — Swivel Chairs on Round Bases


1stdibs — Chrome & Leather Stool

1stdibs — Cantilever Lounge Chairs

1stdibs — Lucite Sofa & Chair


To me, his work is classic and timeless.  If you flip through some of the catalogs you get in the mail, I’m sure you’ll see pieces “inspired by” Baughman, though perhaps not with credit given!

I’ll end this with a great Baughman quote “Furniture that is too obviously designed is very interesting, but too often belongs only in museums.”





4 replies
  1. Barb
    Barb says:

    Thank you for this information. I have a Literature degree and then went on to teaching 3 year old pre-school of all things. Design is and always will be a never to be squelched passion. ( My parents did not want me to study design… they wanted a lawyer… long ugly tale of boring childhood/ parental strife marked by a stubborn streak on both sides!) I loved this information. I too, love the research aspect and learning more about design and it’s roots. Especially great American designers. Also, the baking soda “paste” worked wonders on my little chrome chair project. I will send you a photo when I get the upholstery finished. Best, Barb

    • Kristen
      Kristen says:

      Thanks for reading, Barb! Does anyone really use the degree they earn? I think we all end up doing different things, right? (Well, maybe not those med school people!). Can’t wait to see a photo of your chairs!

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