Designer Profile

Milo Baughman

Milo Baughman was a pioneer in modern design. His designs made him one of the leading modern furniture designers of the later 20th century.


Milo Baughman, Pioneer in Modern Design (1923-2003)

As a young man, living in Long Beach, California, Milo demonstrated a high-spirited, creative flair, especially for the visual arts. When he was thirteen years old, his parents decided to build a house. So Milo’s parents challenged him to develop an architectural plan for the house, both interior and exterior. His parents constructed the house Milo designed, and lived in it for 34 years. Baughman graduated high school in 1941, then served in the Army Air Forces until 1945. After the war, he attended California Institute for the Arts, majoring in Product and Architectural Design.

He began his professional career at Frank Brothers, an all modern specialty furniture store. Soon thereafter, he co-founded “Furniture Forum,” an important publication on modern design. Then, in 1947, he established Milo Baughman Design, Inc. There, he utilized mainly walnut, iron, and Formica, and created designs for Glenn of California and Pacific Iron. Both companies became identified with the burgeoning “California Modern” furniture style.

In 1951, Baughman designed a major line for Drexel of North Carolina and Winchendon Furniture of Massachusetts, which brought him to the east coast. He moved to High Point, North Carolina following his acclaim by “The New York Times.” His innovative designs were called “elegant and fresh” and “strong and greatly sophisticated.” Baughman hoped to attract interest in his modern designs in High Point because it was the national center for furniture manufacturing. Thayer Coggin was the only manufacturer to strike a deal with Milo Baughman and the history of the American furniture industry was forever changed by their meeting.

Design Philosophy

Milo Baughman was a pioneer in modern design. His designs made him one of the leading modern furniture designers of the later 20th century. He designed the first lines for Thayer Coggin’s collection of related upholstered groups. Baughman’s uniquely American designs are forward-thinking and distinctive, yet unpretentious. His furniture is relaxed and timeless. Baughman’s design philosophy stems from his belief that good design is enduring design. His work is uncompromisingly modern, while maintaining the timeless standards of classic good taste. His designs have proven to be highly influential and continue to be collected and revived by designers around the world.

  • Baughman’s work was included in “High Styles: Twentieth Century American Design” at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
  • In 1987, he was inducted into the Furniture Hall of Fame.

Thayer Coggin and Milo Baughman collaborated on designs, engineering and manufacturing techniques. Their partnership came to define the mid-century modern era of American residential furniture. Following Baughman’s death, Thayer Coggin, Inc. and the Estate of Milo Baughman entered into a lifetime licensing agreement. As a result, the design classics of Milo Baughman will be built forever, according to their original specifications, by Thayer Coggin. And all are available at Hansen Interiors.