Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Factory Cart Table: Yea or Nay?


Design insiders have been touting industrial chic as the next big thing in home decor for a year or so now, but until fairly recently I'd been ignoring it as a passing fad that I didn't particularly have a great deal of interest in participating in. After all, metal chairs like the Lyle chairs from Crate&Barrel don't strike me as particularly comfortable and the rusty, dirty look has just never really been my thing.

But never say never, right? Despite my better instincts I keep finding myself surfing on over to the factory cart at Restoration Hardware. I can't get it out of my head. Made of white oak and iron, these tables are the real deal as they're all refinished factory carts from early 20th century factories in North Carolina. These carts aren't just made to look old (and there's little in design that I dislike more than "fake old"), they are old.

But as I continue to search for the "perfect" ottoman for my family room, I keep coming back to this piece. There's just something interesting about it that I think might really help shake things up in my otherwise brand-spankin' new space. That said though, I can't bear the thought of ponying up $1295 (not including taxes or shipping!) for what is essentially a wood crate on wheels.

At $599, this factory cart table from ZGallerie is less than half the price of the Restoration Hardware piece. And, while the ZGallerie version is not an actual antique from the early 20th century, it is still made from reclaimed wood from mills and warehouses making its industrial charm not entirely contrived.


Another great option online is Antique Factory Cart Coffee Tables, which has a large selection of original factory carts that start as low as $399 (though bear in mind shipping will run you over $100). With a little sand paper, Murphy's oil, and some serious elbow grease, I could refinish the table myself (or, for an extra $300, Mike will refinish the table for me, but then I'd be only a few hundred dollars less than the RH version). Of course, I might be able to snag something similar at the Urban Market in November, which would save me the cost of shipping such a heavy object.

So what do you think of the factory cart-turned-coffee table or the industrial trend more generally? Is this a great way to add a bit of character and earthiness to a room or is it doomed to become this decade's equivalent of Shabby Chic?

26 comments:

Laura@JourneyChic said...

You're a mind reader! Last week I was browsing wood/metal coffee tables because I think our living room is too matchy-matchy with all the dark wood. I found one at Wisteria and another at RH (the "Dutch Industrial" and the "Brickmakers" but both the price and size are too big. I have to say that I'm not a fan of the giant wheel (can just imagine it rolling and squashing my kitty's toes!).

Style Redux 2 said...

OMG no.

sarah @ realestatestyle said...

I am not sure how I feel about this. I guess it completely depends on your space. This would not work at all in my living room b/c it's too small.

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

I've come to be a fan of it, but I'm one of those people that just couldn't bear to pony up almost $1300 - I say go for the "less authentic" ZGallerie version. If you keep coming back to something, you usually need to have it (or at least that's what I tell myself). :)

KJJ Houston said...

I think its awesome and I say wait until UM to see if you can score it there! They try to keep up with trends there so I bet you can find it! Let me know when you plan to go and I will go with you again! (This time I will carry my own finds...lol)

Michelle (Three Men and a Lady) said...

Definetely yay! It is such an unusual piece that it would add some suberb interest to the space.

Kara said...

I think you would get sick of it fast.

Quotidian Grace said...

I think it would be great on your upstairs porch area!

Maple said...

I'm not a fan... IMO I think it would only look good in a loft in an old warehouse or outdoors as a plant stand.

Lucy F said...

I agree with Quotidian Grace and Maple. But you also asked our opinions about using it in your family room. Uh, no. No. No, no, no, no, no.....

Anonymous said...

If you have to have it, go for the cheaper one. You're going to want to replace it once you have toddlers! Auntie JA

ElastiGirl said...

it's a visually interesting piece without screaming "look at me" - and it has the potential to move heavy objects later... at least it's functional as something other than a table. Anon is correct about toddlers - although IMHO no one needs a coffee table with toddlers...

Jenn said...

I'm kind of loving the industrial look of late. Sundance Catalog does it very well. Although I haven't been personally affected by the recession (and I hate to be all "recessionista, blah, blah") it has made me crave for more authentic, earnest objects than I ever wanted before...That said, I hope this trend has staying power, but I wouldn't count on it.

My advice is to go ahead and buy that one piece you must have. Even as trends change, you'll still be able to incorporate it somewhere with the right styling.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Tough decision - first reaction is "nadda", but it starts to cozy up to a person. I fancy (such as most design styles) the industrial appeal but in moderation, just as I am sure you would do. Let's put it in a practical way - no worries about using coasters, or fears of marks from kids, or those putting their feet up on it. Now those are some positives. Personally, I'd opt for the Z Gallerie version; like you said, it's still made with reclaimed wood and if you tire of it down the road, you could use it for another purpose. Hope all is well in Sugar Land!?

Sarah Klassen said...

It's funny, about 6 years ago, my favorite antique dealer/specialist came up with this as well. Perhaps he had seen it somewhere, or perhaps it was his own concept. He often takes objects and restores them, and either adds or takes away from their original state. These coffee tables have been very popular sellers for him -- not just in Vancouver, but throughout Canada and the U.S. (you should see some in a few upcoming movies) I think, given the right space, they are awesome. They're innovative, which I like. To me, they have a very masculine, rustic meets industrial look, and combined with over-sized leather and an open space, could look pretty cool. I'm not sure if this is the ideal table for your place, but I know you will find the perfect piece!

And...moderation, as was previously mentioned, is key with this style.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

I DO like the look, but all I think when I see these tables is that they would be like a Christmas tree - when you get a large one in your home, it can TAKE OVER the scene! Having said that, I hate tiny, wimpy Christmas trees!

I tend to think it probably IS a bit faddish, although maybe not quite so much as Shabby Chic - if you go for it, my vote would be for the reclaimed wood Z Gallerie version - if not, head to Round Top in April, they'll have 'em!

Bromeliad said...

I like a touch of the rough-hewn. When it comes to industrial-looking stuff, I can't help but think that it shouldn't be expensive. Otherwise what's the point?

Anonymous said...

They are available on ebay for $50 plus shipping... you'll pay anywhere between $150 and $300 for shipping (depending on how far and method of shipping) but it's still a deal compared to RH and ZGallerie. PS- antique stores are now carrying these heavily!!! Only trouble is they don't see a problem charging $2500 for a table... try craigslist (wanted) and ebay...

AddCaster said...

I know this isn't what the blog author was looking for, but, I am looking for one of these as well and am not as concerned about it's age as I am the look and quality. Has anyone seen DIY plans or the hardware to build these carts? I have seen some wheels on ebay. But I would be interested in purchasing all the hardware, then building, distressing and staining the platform myself. This would be a snap! Anyone have any links?

Anonymous said...

I found a new site that sells factory cart tables finished or unfinished. I have purchased a finished one and was pleasantly surprised! Here is a link: http://www.redtruckantiques.com/
The owner was great to deal with.

Pat said...

I found a place to buy factory carts and had a great experience with the owner. He sells unfinished and finished. He shipped to Michigan for me. Good luck.
http://www.redtruckantiques.com/

rob said...

i have one of these,already finished,ready to go,including bevelled glass top..im asking 550.00 ..5195784892

Kitty said...

i couldn't put it in my home, though its industrial strength durability is just what we need. i can't get over how much it reminds me of billy ray valentine's scooter scam in trading places. i know, wrong, but true!

Anonymous said...

Go to http://www.antiquefactorycarts.com. They offer carts from around $400. You won't find a better deal anywhere else and they are a small business!

Anonymous said...

Actually go to http://www.woodstocksupplyinc.com

they have quite a few starting at $90 and refinish them too!

Anonymous said...

I too really like the idea of factory cart coffee tables. However, we reproduce them because the restored or many other reproduction ones can smell like oil, are poorly restored, move all over the place because they don't have wheel locks and are typically way too big for most rooms.
So our solution, locking wheels, reclaimed wood and fir clean of oil smells, large casters, plenty of iron for that rustic industrial look, each is uniquely numbered, old nails, practical sizing and can also be customized.
If you are in need of a factory cart coffee table consider our USA made cart at:http://www.iadecor.com/factory-cart-coffee-table-p-201.html we personally build them! 800.664.8876

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