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.
CB2, 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