Here are some pictures of my work at the Smith Commons restaurant in DC.
Here is a new version of the 308 series, a desk with a rare 2″ thick mahogany top. The large aged pipe base sits on old spoked casters. This piece is 60″ x 19.5″ x 30″ tall and weighs in around 225 lbs. It would also make a nice console or display table. Price $1,750
Here’s a custom set of rigid casters I just made for a mid-century modern table. The handmade forks are roughly polished and sealed with a durable satin coat. The cast iron wheels are painted satin black. Weight is around 10 lbs per caster. These are priced at $295 per set and you won’t find them anywhere else as I’ve looked. Non polished casters are $250/set.
Here’s my A Frame table with a customer’s glass top. I love the look!
Just finished a pair of these for a customer. The design is based on a european vintage piece. They are all steel, riveted together with a thick steel top and an aged rust finish. These would work well as side tables, outdoor tables, use a couple of the bases to hold a coffee or dining table top, or use as a display table for your pet elephant. These measure 22″ x 22″ x 24″ tall and weigh around 75 lbs each. I can make these in a variety of size, finishes, and use different materials for the tops. Prices are around $995 each.
My TV needed something under it so I decided on this French Industrial inspired design. The Ironworker Console Table, 48″ x 20″ x 32″ tall (custom sizes and finishes available), weighs around 200 lbs, on 5″ locking cast iron casters, a 50lbs steel riveted top, 124 rivets and 28 braces, aged sugar pine lower shelves, and a rust patina. It got it’s name in honor of the old time ironworkers who, back in the day, built things with pride to last. We can make this in many variations, sizes, finishes, enclose it, add drawers, chrome, copper or polished finish, etc. This would also make a nice kitchen island or worktable. Prices vary, but this size and finish runs $1,650.
I’ll be making a run of casters soon similar to the design below. They’ll use a heavy duty 6″ cast iron wheel and have a rigid industrial frame. So they will roll but not swivel. I’ve been looking for casters like these for a year and can’t find them so I decided to make them. Pricing is going to be approximately $225 for a set of 4 and they will be handmade here in America, Phoenix to be exact.
I now carry aged Tolix cafe chairs (made in France) available in white, red, gray, and custom colors. Example prices, 2 in standard color $440 each, 4 for $420 each, 8 for $395 each. These have some light rust and wear marks, and are triple sealed with a satin industrial outdoor clearcoat. Not available like this anywhere else. Shipping for 2 chairs to NY is $65, CA $50.
These are new Tolix chairs that I age, not antiques which can run $600+ each. They were designed back in the 1934 by Xavier Pauchard for Tolix and are lightweight, yet very sturdy, and stackable, making a perfect outdoor cafe chair. These are the Marais A design. I can also get the wider Marais A56 chair, stools, barstools, tables and more.
Today I stumbled across some vintage sign letters that were going to be sent to the scrapyard. They are made out of tin, 32″ tall each, and show signs of fading and wear. I’ll get some better pictures of these soon.
Double drawer vintage industrial filing cabinet – 34″ tall x 16″ wide x 27″ deep. Makes a unique side table and fits legal or letter size files with room to spare inside. The drawers were salvaged from an old filing cabinet and the rest was handmade. Available in custom sizes, finishes, with casters, and different drawer combinations. Heavy duty, solid design built to last!
This custom piece is 79″ T x 16″ d x 24″ w, weighs close to 200 lbs, and has 192 rivets. It’s all handmade and built to last centuries. I named it the Ironworker Bookshelf in honor of the old time ironworkers who, back in the day, built beautiful things to last.
We can build these in custom sizes and finishes tailored to suit your needs (a chrome or rust steel finish would look great too). Price mainly depends on the size and varies from $1,650 on up . And I can give discounts for quantity orders. I plan on making a larger 4′ wide one for my wife so stay tuned…
Got the frame built for this new bookshelf design. Used 192 rivets in the construction so I might call this the 1920 bookshelf. Just need to add casters, seal the steel, then bolt on the aged wood shelves. This design was inspired by the French Industrial era.
You can see the finished piece here: http://shop.retro.net/?p=857
Took some pictures of some new designs just finished. Includes a couple filing cabinets made with some new and salvaged steel, an NYC kitchen table which weighs in around 150 lbs, and a new Brooklyn design.
I’ve been asking myself, why do people like industrial furniture for their homes and businesses? My first memory of buying this type of furniture was at Costco, I bought a chromed shelf made of welded wire on casters. Some people call them metro shelves. It was rated to something crazy like 500 lbs per shelf or a ton total. I loved how this piece looked, and it was built to last a long time under high use.
In college, I bought stuff at Target that fell apart after a year or two of light use. It was made of particle board, veneers, went together with an allen wrench, and it was cheap. The wood ended up bowing over time, and if you got it wet, the particle board would bubble. I had some Ethan Allen furniture ever since I was a baby. That lasted until I was in my 30s until I sold it for a good price.
I guess what many people don’t understand, if you pay more at the beginning for something that is quality, it ends up costing less in the long run because it will last, maybe outlive you. And if it has classic lines and is not trendy, it can stay in style for a long long time. A fan of mine, Naomi Siegler wrote me recently about this:
“I can easily see your pieces used in “hospitality” for “accent” pieces or “focal point” pieces. I can see it for restaurant or cafe too, because, it will be so enduring and strong and commercial use gets so much abuse.
Many people don’t realize it but, “hospitality” and “restaurant” furniture may often look residential but, has hidden reinforcement and strength. I think sometimes small businesses or new businesses make the mistake of not having an “experienced designer” specify for them. I will visit an establishment and a year or two later see that they are on their second round of furniture! Architects don’t support too, much in referring or advocating our expertise but, reps. and specialty fabricators like you see we can make a difference.
Did you know the famous metal chair …the “navy” chair by Emeco was originally designed more than 75 years ago for US Navy destroyers? Now it is all the rage and the authenic ones are still being made and sold and are kind of expensive compared to junk but, cheap if you look for chairs that will last more than a lifetime! You follow in a powerful tradition of metal furniture making that’s for sure.”
When I build something for a commercial application, it’s usually identical to the residential version. That’s because I way overbuild all of my designs. None of my designs can be disassembled, except for the 308 shelf. They are permanently welded and/or riveted together. I typically use structural steel like angle iron. I only use solid wood, no veneers. And one of my favorite parts, the casters, make it easy to move things around in your home for parties, cleaning, and rearranging.
So why are people drawn to vintage industrial furniture? It’s meant for heavy use and is well made and thought out. It’s a strong reminder of the past when people cared more about what they were making than the money they were putting in their pocket. While I do care about making money, I won’t build anything that I don’t like or that is or looks cheap. If I’m not proud of what I am doing, then I won’t do it, which is one of the perks of being self-employed. I love my job, even though it’s quite physically demanding work with a bit of danger mixed in.
An even rarer style is American made Vintage Industrial. Restoration Hardware used to make some stuff here, but has since moved just about everything to China. While I like their designs, I am trying really hard to support America by buying from here. And most of the industrial shops I visit (in person and on the web) are selling either true vintage pieces from Europe or new stuff from India. India is a HUGE maker of the vintage industrial style. And if you touch the pieces, the steel, although fairly strong, is about half or less the thickness of what I use. I get emails from Indian companies all the time and their prices are crazy. $17 for a metal stool, $50 for a coffee table, $150 for a huge dresser. This is about 10% of what I would charge. And they claim to use reclaimed wood. I’ve been told that they lie about this sometimes. How do you check? And where are they getting this wood? Maybe it was somebody’s beloved home or it’s a lie or who knows what. Reclaimed seems to be all the rage right now, but that doesn’t mean much to me unless I know where it came from. I recently bought a lot of reclaimed mahogany that was originally installed as bleacher seats back in a 1912 New Mexico schoolhouse. How do I know this is true? Well it looked to be reclaimed, had the proper screw and worm holes from age, and one piece had an old sticker that looked about right. So it’s probably true.
This Brooklyn coffee weighs around 100 lbs and would probably support 2000 lbs. While it will probably never be subjected to that much weight, it’s always nice to know just incase 10 people decide to dance on top of it.
Anyways, I’ve got to get back to work on this restaurant project. Thank for listening to my rant and please feel free to comment below!
Here is another variation of the Ellis console table with 4 doors with solid fronts and 2 shelves in the middle. There is a hole in the back of each section for wiring. The piece is 60″ wide x 22″ deep x 32″ tall and weight around 225 lbs. This piece will price around $2295.