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Audio furniture that fits “just right”

Our last few pieces we’ve build have been customized versions of our Princeton small audio credenza. We began customizing our pieces with the Standard, and wanted to share our original story from March 2014.

Originally posted March 29, 2014

We recently finished a beautiful walnut credenza for an audiophile client. Sean has a lot of gorgeous equipment, but he was struggling to find an upgrade to his IKEA shelving to hold all of it .

Brokenpress Audio Credenza

The “before” – an IKEA shelving unit showing way too much stuff

He wanted to display his Jolida JD202 tube amp and VPI Classic 2 turntable, while his other components including his Oppo BD83-SE Bluray/Universal Disc Player, Mac Mini and Xbox 360 were to be hidden when not in use. It was a Goldilocks story: at traditional furniture stores, the products were wide enough to fit the tube amp and turntable, but not deep enough for the Bluray player; they were deep enough for the Bluray player, but not wide enough to fit both the tube amp and the turntable. When he did finally find one to fit his specs, it was extremely expensive, and he wasn’t happy with the design.

After a lot of unsuccessful searching, he found the “just right” solution at Brokenpress Design+Fabrication. We came in to measure and view the components. At that time, we noticed it would be best to have the credenza not as tall as our traditional credenzas to make sure the cover of the VPI turntable had enough clearance next to the wall-mounted tv. We left walnut, cherry, white oak and birch samples so Sean had time to decide which species of wood fit best in his home. He decided to go with one of our favorites, the walnut.

brokenpress design audiophile furniture

The “just right” solution – a lower credenza to accommodate the VPI turntable and wall-mounted tv

With his previous IKEA unit, all of Sean’s components were in plain sight.  Now Sean has a beautiful piece of furniture which really highlights his high-end pieces while eliminating clutter. When he needs to access his other components, he just slides the bypass door and is able to access them. Sean chose to upgrade the interior shelves to walnut because he loved the wood’s rich color.

With sliding doors, the components are exposed only when needed.

With sliding doors, the components are exposed only when needed.

One of the unique features of Brokenpress Design+Fabrication audio and video furniture is cord management. We’re all too familiar with the pile cords stuffed behind any audio or video components. At Brokenpress, we take cord management seriously, creating openings large enough for clients needs, while not being overwhelming on the backside of the piece.

Brokenpress Design Chicago Audio furniture cord management

Adjustable shelves and multiple output options for cord management

Brokenpress Design Chicago Audio furniture cord management

Subtle cutouts for cord management

 

Brokenpress Audiophile Record Storage

All cords organized thanks to Brokenpress

Being such an audiophile, Alex wanted to give Sean record storage for immediate access near the VPI turntable. The shelves are adjustable, so if Sean’s storage needs change in the future, he has the ability to change the shelf height.

Easy access for some of Sean's favorite records.

Easy access for some of Sean’s favorite records.

Sean was very happy with his new audio credenza by Brokenpress. You can read his review of it on our Facebook page. Have questions about an audio credenza for yourself? Send us a note and we’ll get in touch with you!

 

Vinyl Storage for Audiophiles

Today’s article is a repost from 2014.

We’re big fans of music at Brokenpress. Alex has played music for over twenty years, in post-hardcore bands Hoover and Regulator Watts in Washington, D.C. and Abilene in Chicago. After a big of a hiatus from music, he’s excited to start playing again. My musical knowledge is limited to a chuck wagon triangle, but it’s always been a big part of my life. Together we have, and keep building, a great vinyl collection.

At first, our audio furniture and vinyl pieces came out of a need for storage, and has since evolved to be prototypes for Brokenpress designs.

Brokenpress Audio Storage Vinyl Records Chicago

One of our largest pieces created is a media library center which focuses around my father’s 1976 Kenwood KR-9600. This was the receiver to have during the monster-wars of the 1970’s. I have memories of hopping out of my mom’s car to check the mail, and hearing Dirty Deeds by AC/DC  blaring out of the house that was over 200 feet away. While it gathered dust in my dad’s basement for more than a decade, it’s now the centerpiece of a Brokenpress audio / media shelving unit.  It’s almost at capacity!

Since that piece is almost filled, where else can our records go? We came up with the perfect solution and married our love of vinyl with the need for more seating in our living room. Our bungalow has a beautiful front room with eight windows. The room is long with radiators flanking the sides of the room, making it difficult to put a couch near the front window.  The Brokenpress Design + Fabriction solution? An audio media storage bench. It’s following the same clean lines of the large audio/ media library piece: Baltic birch with white oak plugs, mounted on a steel base. The height is perfect for sitting, and the window sill can be used to hold your cocktail or snack plate when having a party and watching the new season of Mad Men. We’ll add cushions in the near future.  It’s currently holding part of Alex’s vintage radio collection, but we hope to have it filled soon with some great used record finds.

brokenpress-bench-web

Looking for some ideas for your own audio storage? Contact Brokenpress and let us come up with a solution perfect for your needs.

CD Storage? Not a Problem!

As much as we love vinyl at Brokenpress, we’ll admit, there are still some CD’s lingering in our music collection. So many great compilations and box sets came out on compact disc in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when vinyl was almost dead, and we still listen to them. The good thing is, we’re not alone. We recently received a commission from a client who loved our standard credenza, but needed to store 500 CDs and DVDs for a media room. After visiting the client’s house, Alex recommended to build it in a combination of white oak and birch to compliment the existing wood in the house.

Brokenpress came to the rescue with a new take on CD storage. Honestly, every CD storage tower I have seen in the past had the CDs displayed spine side forward like a book and was relegated to being propped up against a wall. Many people with large collections are looking for a more subtle way to store their music, such as our client. Based on these needs, Alex chose to build drawers as CD storage; a much cleaner and organized way to hold CDs. It also gave the flexibility to hold wider box sets or some of the more creative CD packaging that doesn’t fit in a pre-drilled slot. What if the clients’ musical needs change in time? The CD dividers can be pulled out, making it a traditional drawer.

We also introduced a new longer hardwood pull in solid white oak. It follows the extra wide width of this piece without making it overpowering. The drawers open with ease, and you an easily move back and forth between drawers with our extra sturdy drawer design.

The deep drawer on the left holds everything from DVDs and video games to snacks and remotes for the perfect movie night. The lower shelf of storage with bypass drawers hold both vinyl albums and board games. The Otto Credenza shows that even though Brokenpress Design+Fabrication builds for audiophiles, we can create beautiful and functional furniture for anyone’s needs. Tell us how we can help you!

Modern Midwest features Brokenpress Design+Fabrication

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

Groove in the Lounge during the Fine Arts Building’s Second Friday

Chicago is known as one of the best cities in the world for architecture. One of the oldest structures along Michigan Avenue has been around since 1885:  the Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue. It’s been known as the “Nation’s Oldest Artist Colony,” but that’s not how it began.  It was first known as the Studebaker Building from 1885 – 1898 as their carriage assembly and showroom. According to the Fine Arts’ website, in 1890, the Studebaker brothers added 4 stories for the Art Institute to the building, which helps explain the two styles to the building’s exterior.

Brokenpress Fine Arts Building Chicago

The beautiful 410 S. Michigan Avenue

In 1898 there was an extensive renovation, and then it became known as an Artist’s Studio building. Artists, sculptors, writers, musicians and architects used these studios for over 100 years. In 1961, the Artists Cafe  opened and remains a staple on Michigan Avenue with it’s charming lighted sign and counter seating. There’s free wi-fi, too!

Brokenpress Fine Arts Building Futility

Artists Cafe at 410 S. Michigan Avenue

Besides the Fine Art Building’s gorgeous exterior, it’s the restored interior which is definitely worth seeing. The elevators are original and still use hand operators; that alone is worth stopping in! You can tour the building alone or take a proper tour.

Brokenpress Fine Arts building chicago

Grab an elevator on the left

The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a $10 tour the first Tuesday of every month.  If you don’t want to wait until August, then stop on by this Friday, July 11th from 5pm – 9pm, and explore all ten floors for free during their Second Friday Open Studios tour.

Brokenpress Fine Arts building chicago

When you’re there, be sure to take a hand-operated elevator ride to the 5th floor to see Chicago Custom Costumes‘ gallery space.  Vintage vinyl will be spun in the mid-century modernized lounge created by Chicago’s Brokenpress Design+Fabrication and Futility Studios.  Brokenpress Design+Fabrication’s creates stunning furniture using fallen Chicago trees, along with steel and aluminum. Brokenpress’ main focus is audio component and vinyl record storage, but this lounge will feature rift-sawn hardwood tables and the Plotkin hutch in addition to the signature audio credenza. With vinyl making a big comeback, people need a place to store their records. Brokenpress offers many solutions. Futility Studios artfully brings the garage into the living room by reconstructing vintage car and motorcycle parts as unique lights suitable for any home, grotto, or (man)cave. Together, they pair up wonderfully.

Groove along with vintage sounds in their lounge on the 5th floor from 5-9pm this Friday, and enjoy the studios and works of other artists throughout the building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue. If you can’t make it, the Brokenpress and Futility lounge will be on display through July.

Brokenpress Futility fine arts chicago

Don’t miss the  Brokenpress and Futility Lounge on the 5th floor

 

Showcasing Record Cover Artwork

Did we ever mention that we’re vinyl junkies at Brokenpress Design+Fabrication? One of the reasons why we love to design and build custom audio furniture is because we love music. It’s rare when a record isn’t being spun at our home on Chicago’s northwest side.

Brokenpress Chicago Audio Furniture Vinyl Records

Back when Reckless Records would use post-its for their album reviews

A favorite part of collecting records, besides hearing on early 1970’s monster wars audio equipment, is enjoying incredible album cover art. Maybe my background in graphic design makes me a little biased, but album cover artwork, notably from early 1960’s albums, are often works of art in their own right. To highlight that, we designed a record rail to not only display beautiful album covers, but to also let inquiring minds know what you’re spinning, as well as what’s up next. It’s form and function all rolled up in one.

Brokenpress Audio Furniture Chicago record rail vinyl

Les Baxter is one of our favorites – in both 10″ and 12″ varieties

Brokenpress Furniture Alex Dunham Clash London Calling 12" single vinyl

Who doesn’t love a Clash dance party?

We think our record rail is the perfect way to display album artwork that we even brought it to the Guerrilla Truck Show.

Guerrilla truck show brokenpress design furniture audio chicago

Esquivel and Man from U.N.C.L.E volume 2

Don’t have room to put a record rail above your turntable? At Brokenpress, we can make any size record rail in the wood species of your choice to match your existing furniture. It can showcase your favorite records as both functional and artistic pieces. Don’t think your record collection is worthy of an LP display? Pffft! Our record rail can be used to display artwork, too.  Want to find out more? Contact us and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

 

More than just audio furniture

At Brokenpress we love vinyl; record shopping is one of our vices, for sure. We buy our records in Chicago and during any travels, so it comes natural to us to create audio furniture and vinyl storage solutions for ourselves and people who enjoy music as much as we do. By no means, though, does that limit what Brokenpress can create!

Many people contact us when they’re looking for built-in and custom furniture. A recent client moved into a new home, added a fireplace and wanted a mantle, surround and bookshelves. Our clients had a budget they needed to stick to, so Alex said they could reduce costs if they wanted to paint their cabinets instead of using wood veneer. He came in to measure the space and worked closely with our clients to find out what their exposed and enclosed needs were, and created the piece below.

brokenpress-inprogress

The mantle is walnut veneer with a hardwood walnut face; Alex found a great piece of walnut that had blonde accents on it. He knew it would look great with the aesthetic of their house.  If you look in the photo below, you’ll see how the grain cascades along the sides. He even added the electric during the installation, helping negate the need to bring in an electrician. Our clients will have their fireplace tiled and the cabinets painted soon – we’ll be sure to update with an image when it’s finished.

brokenpress chicago furniture fireplace mantle

Brokenpress also did the electric work during the installation

So don’t let our focus on audio furniture or vinyl record storage make you hesitate contacting us. If you’re in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, need a built in or some type of custom furniture, but aren’t quite sure exactly what you want, please contact us. We can work with you to design something that fits your space and your budget.

Prepping for the Guerrilla Truck Show

We’re very excited to have been selected to join Morlen Sinoway Atelier‘s 10th Annual Guerrilla Truck Show on Tuesday, June 10th.  What is it, you ask? It’s a one-night-only popup design show, using moving trucks at gallery spaces, in Chicago’s Fulton Market. Trucks back up to dock height sidewalks of the area, open up the back of the truck, and boom – there’s your gallery.  The Guerrilla Truck show coincides with Neocon, the world’s largest Contract Furnishings International Trade Fair. We’re excited to be included as one of the sixty trucks in this year’s Guerrila Truck Show and introduce such a large audience to Brokenpress’ Mid-Century modernized furniture. We definitely adhere to their manifesto:

The GUERRILLA Manifesto:
1. To achieve excellence in design
2. To galvanize the design community locally and nationally
3. To select forward thinking individuals that are innovative with both products & display
4. To achieve a high quality of craft and presentation

We’ll be teaming up with Futility Studios for a second time this year. Futility has artfully been bringing the garage into the living room since 2012, and compliments Brokenpress’ furniture well. It’s a great collaboration that we’re excited about. We partnered together for the first time at Retro Rewind in Dubuque in January.

Brokenpress Guerrilla Truck Show Futility Studios Furniture

Futility Studios and Brokenpress Design+Fabrication at Retro Rewind Dubuque

We were part of the 8th annual truck show in 2012 when Brokenpress was intially a side project for Alex. Even though we were new to the scene, Brokenpress was mentioned as one of the favorites by Design Bureau. See some of our images from the 2012 event below.

Brokenpress Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago 2012

The beginning of Brokenpress alongside McBride Housewrights in 2012

Brokenpress Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago 2012

Our humble beginnings with the Brokenpress cocktail credenza and hardwood dining table with inlaid trivet.

Brokenpress Guerrilla Truck Show Chicago 2012

We learned a lot our first time and can’t wait to dazzle the crowd in 2014.

We have big plans for our truck interior this year, and plan on debuting a new item or two at this event. Find out more on the event’s Facebook page, and be sure to stop on by to say hello! Have a specific question? Let us know and we’ll get back to you.

 

Our first official ad in Atomic Ranch magazine

Starting out a business isn’t as easy as one would think. For many years I did graphic design work in the evenings and the weekends. I never really thought much about professional advertising. However, I knew Alex’s work needed to be in front of the right audience. After spending an afternoon picking up magazines at City News, we came across Atomic Ranch. I used to subscribe years ago when I was living a modern condo life. I don’t know why I forgot about it, but when brought the issue home, we immediately renewed our subscription. After a couple of weeks we thought where else would be a better place for Alex to advertise Brokenpress? I emailed and fortunately we were able to make it in by the Spring issue’s deadline.

Mid-Century Modernized Advertisement for Brokenpress Design in Chicago

Our first official ad – great outside of page placement!

Today two copies arrived in the mail – our subscriber copy and our advertiser copy. It’s their 10th anniversary issue and it features a lovely property in Chicago. We hope this helps give Brokenpress an introduction to the larger mid-century modern audience that his work fits so well into. If you haven’t looked at Atomic Ranch before, pick up a copy today. If you see it, please contact us via Facebook or here and tell us what you thought of it!

 

Brokenpress Design Midcentury modern furniture Chicago

Atomic Ranch’s 10th Anniversary Issue – Spring 2014