I think it is now safe to say that Industrial Furniture is not just a passing fad. How could it be when it began not just a few years ago but a few centuries ago during the Industrial Revolution? Machines were made to expand the human abilities to create things not even dreamed possible. The industrial style has a special place in our hearts here at Chatham Home since we are housed in what used to be a thriving Tool and Die shop. This Tool and Die shop began in the 1930s and continued until a few years before we bought the building. For those of your wondering, Tool and Die makers are workers who make all of the pieces and parts for the machinery used in the manufacturing process of other goods. When we purchased the building from Bob Schumaker of Schumaker Tool and Die he let us sift through what he called his trash pile. There were amazing gears, hand crafted tools, broken wheels from a cart, piles and piles of hand drawn plans of machinery. What he saw as trash, we saw as art. We kept a lot of it and are working on ways to implement our collection into the building's decor or to perhaps make some industrial furniture or accessory pieces ourselves. I know some of you have spotted an old gear used as a support bracket for the sink in the bathroom or those broken cart wheels used as finials on the newel posts at the bottom of the stairs.
There are many great things about industrial furniture. First of all it's extremely durable. It was made to withstand daily use around lots of heavy tools and equipment. Authentic pieces were built to last forever. Today you can find an abundance of replicas on the market. But most of these replicas are still made from a decent amount of metal. It's hard to create faux metal that looks like metal and is cheaper so most of the time manufacturers just use the real thing. It may not be hardened steel meant to withstand several tons of force but it can withstand your family just fine. The wood in the replicas can vary from solid to laminate but even the laminate versions can hold up fairly well. This is thanks to all of that metal strapping protecting it. Another great thing about it is if you do scratch, dent, or gouge it... it just adds to the look of the piece. Pieces are not perfect. They are made to look not like they came out of a box but straight off the floor of an old factory. Perhaps the best thing about industrial furniture is it can go with nearly every other style out there. Country? Farms had tons of machinery from the industrial age. Modern? Lots of industrial pieces feature clean lines. Any kind of ornament was wasteful. Rustic? With the age-worn look of these pieces they blend right in. Eclectic? Worldly? Transitional? Without question these styles go hand in hand with industrial.
Industrial can be done with just a single piece or with a collection. An easy way to add a little industry to your home is with counter or bar height stools. We've got a great trio of stools that come in bright colors if you need spot of color in your kitchen. Or perhaps an industrial coffee table, it won't matter if you prop your feet up on it, it can take the abuse. One of favorite new industrial pieces is the teak and metal sideboard cart below. This piece would work well in a spacious entry or as a buffet in a dining room showing off a collection of serving dishes.