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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.

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.

The beauty of rift-sawn hardwood

We love working with rift-sawn hardwoods at Brokenpress. Most commercial furniture nowadays is made from man-made board and not hardwood. Both hardwood and man-made board have their advantages, but our preference is rift-sawn hardwoods for long lasting pieces of furniture.

Rift sawing is a technique of cutting boards from logs. Each board is cut along a radius of the original log, so that the saw cuts at right angles to the tree’s growth ring. This produces lumber of great stability and a tighter grain pattern emphasizing the species’ beauty, but with an added cost. The outcome is a gorgeous example of whichever selected species. However, since this process of cutting yields much less than flat sawing, rift-sawing is much less-commonly used than flat sawing. We build most of our coffee tables and surfboard tables with rift-sawn hardwoods, and feel it’s the special edge that makes Brokenpress different.

Brokenpress surfboard table mcm chicago furniture

Finished top – rift sawn hardwood walnut surfboard table

The individual boards are milled from their rough sawn state coming from our favorite lumber yard. Then after jointer and planer passes it’s onto the table saw to final size, and then glued together to create a full panel or table of hardwood. The new larger piece is then sanded in our drumsander to give it an even flatness and glue clean up. From there, we continue to sand the board at various grits to ending with 220 grit then adding multiple layers of finish to make the natural colors pop while giving the piece added durability and easy clean up. It’s a time consuming process, but the end result is something that is extremely durable and gorgeous to look at.

Brokenpress furniture chicago surfboard table

Brokenpress walnut surfboard table in progress.

Another benefit of hardwoods is the ability to repair them. We were at an event selling Brokenpress surfboard and coffee tables. Someone at the event dropped something heavy on one of our tables, making a dent in it. Had a dent like this been in a man-made wood veneer table, similar to what you’ll find a most mainstream furniture stores like Crate and Barrel, Ikea or Ashley Furniture, the table would’ve been ruined. While it was a time-consuming task to refinish the dent out of the table, the hardwood surfboard table was repaired to its original state. You could never have known the table was dented. You can see some of our tables for sale in our Etsy shop.

There are still times where man-made wood veneer furniture is the right choice. We’ll be talking about the types of wood veneer and plywood we use in our other projects soon. Don’t let the word “plywood” scare you – it’s more prevalent in furniture than you’d think.

Contact Brokenpress Design+Fabrication today to find out about having your own hardwood furniture project completed. Live outside of Chicago? That’s ok, we’ll ship, too!

We’re gonna blog!

While Brokenpress Design + Fabrication is the work of Alex Dunham, it’s a joint collaboration with his wife, Jennifer Bakija.  Better known as Secretary Ladybird™, Jen handles the secretary stuff which includes marketing and customer service while Alex is focused on the making and creating. We decided to add a blog to our website after Ladybird found a new creative outlet for herself in Grocery Gal. Upcoming posts will be from one or the other.

These posts will help give you a little more on our passions, inspirations and why we do things the way we do. We’re more than just fans of mid-century modern living building furniture in our Chicago bungalow. We hope you check our Brokenpress Design + Fabrication’s future blog posts and learn a little more about us. Cheers!