L.A. at Home

Design, Architecture, Gardens,
Southern California Living

Category: Catalogs

The story behind CB2's Bobby table and Shop chest


Here's a peek behind the curtain of how furniture chains operate. Although most have on-staff designers, much of what you see in their catalogs and stores are simply basic pieces manufactured overseas and given custom finishes.

Happily, some home decor stores have begun to work with American designers, including a few in Los Angeles. Urban Outfitters, for instance, recently collaborated with the Millwork Group, which licensed Alexander Girard designs to create a collection of home textiles.

ShopChest3QS10CB2, the modern offshoot of Crate & Barrel, is producing designs by Mash Studios founder and owner Bernard Brucha.The first two pieces include the 6-foot Bobby dining table, above, which derives its name from the bobby-pin iron legs. It debuted in late 2009.

The Shop chest, right, hit CB2 stores and catalogs last month. It is clearly an homage to industrial red Craftsman tool cabinets. The minimalist storage unit has recessed finger pulls under each drawer, a signature in Mash Studios' cabinets. It sits on slim recessed metal legs, an element that Brucha also employs in his new PCH series collection.

In  contrast to Mash Studios' locally made, hand-finished, solid wood collections, however, both CB2 pieces are manufactured outside the U.S. and made from wood composites with lacquer finishes. But at $399 each, they offer well-considered design and high style at low prices. 

-- David A. Keeps

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Photo credits: CB2 

Catalogs: Global Equipment for the industrial loft


I don't think of catalogs as shopping opportunities. I think of them as forays into my fantasy parallel lives. Like the one in which I've inherited great sums of money and live on a farm in upstate New York (Thos. Moser). The one in which I scored a little Neutra house in Silver Lake (Design Within Reach).  The one in which I own a cottage with a lot of wainscoting near -- but not on -- a lake somewhere in New England (Pottery Barn).

But the fantasy I most often indulge comes courtesy of a catalog from the Global Equipment Co. In this version, I dwell in a big industrial loft. Not one of those doorless, new-construction apartments that Los Angeles developers call "luxury lofts," but a real factory space -- high ceilings, exposed beams, brick walls, concrete floors. The works. Let's say it's in Seattle.

3283Global's products vary not at all from one catalog to the next, but I examine every page all the same. Because in my fantasy loft-life, I might need a pre-engineered, modular steel mezzanine with optional handrail and staircase (seen right). Or an oscillating I-beam-mounted fan (30-inch diameter, please).

The loft will certainly require a red 48-gallon wire-mesh trash basket. For recyclables.

My kitchen might be well organized in Hallowell Clear View lockers -- or open steel restaurant shelves. I'm considering a red Air Tread rubber mat instead of an IKEA rug. But for the counters, I'm holding out for the European red beechwood woodworking bench from high-end tool-seller Garrett Wade, seen at top.

-- Robin Rauzi

Upper photo: Woodworking bench. Credit: Garrett Wade

Lower photo: Steel mezzanine. Credit: Global Equipment Co.


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