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Modern Midwest features Brokenpress Design+Fabrication

We are honored to have been featured recently in Modern Midwest. The article can be read here.

Functional and stylish furniture design by Brokenpress

Brokenpress Design+Fabrication is a family business consisting of Alex and myself. The more we work together, the more we find ourselves collaborating on pieces. Our first collaborative project was our audio bench. We live in our 1923 Chicago Bungalow, named Beatrice, and our living room has 8 windows: four in front and two each on the sides. Radiators flank the two smaller sets of windows, and the low window frame makes it awkward to have a couch pushed up against the window.

Brokenpress Custom Designed Furniture Chicago

Ever since we found our bungalow, I always imagined having a bench up against the window. Once we started collaborating on furniture design at Brokenpress, we found our happy medium: a bench not only for sitting, but also for overflow record storage! Our vinyl LP collection keeps on growing (yes, I’m a crate digger), and why not find the right place to store all those records in a useful space?

Brokenpress LP vinyl record music storage chicago

While we have room to grow with this storage space, it highlights how we at Brokenpress design our furniture for both style and function, and not just to fill a space. It’s a perfect solution for Beatrice, and the design could easily be adapted other Chicago Bungalow owners.

Our next collaborative effort was a bar cart.  I had been eying bar carts for a while, and none of them seemed functional to me. Some were slick and metallic – but who would want to be mixing up a bunch of cocktails when bottles would be banging against a glass shelf? It seemed to be loud and fragile, not to mention a lot of fingerprints to clean up. Other carts too simple to be functional for cocktail creation – a top shelf and one at the wheel level – nothing to support glassware or accessories. Where do the cocktail books go? And the drink umbrellas? Yes, I stock up on liquor at Costco, but who needs to store a 3 foot high bottle of booze? Even if it was a dessert cart for wheeling out desserts and apertifs, space is still needed to store glasses, plates, napkins and forks.

Brokenpress Design bar cart mixology cocktail chicago

We designed our bar cart prototype with multiple levels for various needs. Casters help make the cart mobile, but the brakes on two of them help keep the cart stable when needed.  The removable wooden bottle insert helps organize bottles, and secures them when the cart is in motion. The shelves are wood to dampen sound, and they’re heavy duty, won’t chip and are really easy to clean. Additional shelves and drawers hold ice buckets, store highballs and martini glasses, while concealing necessary accoutrements needed for crafting perfect cocktails without gathering dust. All you need to be the perfect mixologist is contained in one cart! The Brokenpress bar cart is airy and lightweight and built in the signature Brokenpress style of wood and steel.

So, next time you’re thinking you need a furniture piece for your home or office, don’t settle with big box furniture stores, contact Brokenpress instead. We don’t just build furniture, we listen to your needs. Vinyl record storage? Fireplace surround? High traffic storage bench to hold kids toys? Family heirloom? We work with you to design a beautiful piece of furniture that is functional and stylish. When you see what we can0. come up with for a simple storage bench or cocktail bar cart, imagine what we could do with other types of custom storage? Don’t forget, even if you’re not in Chicago, Brokenpress can ship, too. Contact us today to find out more.

Furniture made with Chicago Hardwood

Furniture made from reclaimed wood is definitely hot these days. People enjoy seeing pieces of lumber salvaged to create a distressed piece of furniture. However, distressed lumber might not have the same appeal of local urban forestry lumber, What’s the happy medium to having sturdy, solid hardwood furniture that’s still environmentally responsible? At Brokenpress, we use responsibly forested hardwood for our furniture, but some customers are asking for something even more sustainable. For those requests, we go to  Horigan Urban Forest in Skokie, IL.
What’s great about Horigan is the lumber they carry comes from fallen tress in the Chicago area. It’s a source of solid, hardwood local which came about naturally and without a tree being cut down, and isn’t trucked across the US to get to us. A lot of black walnut, we were told, simply gets turned to mulch. Instead, we’ve created a new life for it at Brokenpress.
We’re working on a special project for Morlen Sinoway Atelier‘s 10th Annual Guerrilla Truck Show on June 10th, and chose some live edge black walnut for the piece. After Alex hand selected the boards, he brought them back to the shop to mill, thickness, size and get ready for glue ups for panels.

In addition to our super-secret Truck Show project, Alex was also able to create another surfboard table. Check out how his finishing technique really brings the color of the black walnut to life. Who would think this as reclaimed?

Now, whenever I see a huge tree cut down from a storm, I want to wonder, Is it going to go to Horigan?  It might be! They do offer the history on some of the wood pieces when they have it.

If you’re looking for a piece of custom furniture using reclaimed hardwood, don’t think you’re limited to something distressed. Brokenpress can build you a custom piece of modern furniture that’s been given a second life. Live outside of Chicago? Don’t worry, Brokenpress offers delivery options, too. We can provide a custom quote for the project and for shipping, just send us an email and we’ll get back to you.