Archives for category: [ OBJECTS ]

Hey all-

We’re getting ready to launch our new website soon which is why we haven’t been posting here as much. Thanks for bearing with us and feel free to let us know what you think about the redesign (all in wordpress, of course!)

Thanks for reading and we’ll let you know when the new site is up and running.


Kate & Craig


These small tables pack a big literary punch! The man-made, disciplined text contrasts with the natural form of the mountains and talks about entropy, or the idea that organized things tend to want to fall into a disorganized state. You can pick these up at modern coop to help get yourself organized (ha ha).

Great job on the photos Mike!

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Were your spider senses tingling? This intricate steel base and reclaimed wood table top with a criss-cross inlay add some amazing detail and texture to this office space. Even if you’re not a fan of spiders, don’t be scared of this webbed steel table!



You may have seen it if you live in Chicago, but you’ve probably never seen it on a credenza! This piece features spliced graphics of the Chinatown lift bridge. It’s one of the most iconic bridges in the city and now, in your living room.

Check it out in person at Modern Cooperative!

This hand painted credenza is about as punk-rock as you can get. Refinished, then defaced with a dripped stalactites clinging from the pulls, it’s sure to be a conversation piece wherever you decide to place it. Punk rock goes with everything.

Available at Modern Cooperative.

This cart is not for the faint of heart (or style). The angular edges of the industrial welding cart were picked up in the detailing of the reclaimed wood/resin top as well as the bottom shelves. The linear white & wood counter design looks great under almost every liquor bottle.

Check it out at Modern Coop, pics by fadeoutfoto.

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Do you like Star Trek? Do you like Boomerangs? Do you need a coffee table? Checkmate.

Check it out at Modern Coop (which is where these lovely photos were taken)


This desk is a great (reclaimed wood and lacquered steel) addition to any workspace. Repurposed index card organizers were outfitted with wood handles and used for drawers. It’s simple, it goes with everything.  (Re)claim it for yourself!

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Even though the natural habit of things is to fall into a disorganized state, you can break the rule with this handy cart! That’s right… a heavy reclaimed butcher block top with closed storage for pots, pans, records, or whatever you don’t want to see on the bottom! Pick it up at Modern Coop.

Thanks, Mike, once again, for the pics!


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This fabulous office is that of one of our favorite clients, Telos. Their fantastic style and eclectic mix of old and new go perfectly with the reclaimed wood and steel countertop we designed and made to fit over a standard cabinet box.

all our thanks to Mike at fadeoutfoto for the pics!

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This gnarly wood beam and simple flat steel entertainment center is sure to withstand the heaviest record collection (or even your collection of boulders). We left a ton of texture on the wood to contrast with the slick steel vertical support structure. This hard-core, heavy-duty storage shelf isn’t easy to move, but it sure is easy to love.


Every once in a while we get a chance to do a completely gratuitous project with no boundaries and no clients. This is that.

Spurred by our collection of dinosaur skeleton model kits, plywood bone profiles provide both a structural linkage between the split seat and a fluid form to enhance the chair’s ergonomics.  The original bent plywood chair was from the wonderful vintage store, Modern Cooperative and the plywood ‘bones’ were all scraps found around the shop. After some scribing, cutting, more cutting, finding some barrel staves, and then sanding, this is what we created for Chicago Magazine’s annual Chairs for Charity auction that supported Designs for Dignity.

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Photo by Brian McGuire

Quirky juxtapositions are one of our specialties here at MOD-O and this coffee table is no exception. This piece builds on our earlier series of dinosaurs and farm animals but places the subject (a plesiosaurus) with some common sea lions on a wild and rocky coast. We hope that this table makes people think about time and space relationships, but more importantly, we hope it creates good conversation with you and your friends. The structure is made from reclaimed wood (from the Rx as usual) with a mortice and tenon joint at either end. The image is bonded to 3/8″ tempered glass.

18″ wide x 48″ long x 15″ high

Available through Modern Cooperative


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plesiosaurus_sea lionsplesiosaur table w/ cat

What are table legs without knees? For this bar height table, we faceted the leg form to accentuate the connection of the horizontal leg braces and used a large gusset plate to act as a washer for the lag bolts. The ends are tapered to create a slick side profile. It’s constructed from reclaimed wood (thanks, Rx) and raw steel plate.

Telos: 10th Floor Lyric 1Telos: 10th Floor Lyric 3Telos: 10th Floor Lyric 2OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were lucky enough to have our table featured in a number of photos by the talented folks at Steinkamp Photography. Wright/Heerema Architects (who designed this lovely build-out) were kind enough to collaborate with us to design a custom table for this space. Now, we’re working on a few more designs with them for some other offices, so stay tuned for those photos in the near future!

© Connor Steinkamp, Steinkamp Photography

© Connor Steinkamp, Steinkamp Photography

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© Connor Steinkamp, Steinkamp Photography

Wright Heerema 55 West Monroe_2

© Connor Steinkamp, Steinkamp Photography

Are you a cat owner that lives in an apartment with no where to hide the litter box? Well we have been there and done that, which is why we decided to build these functional cat-box-boxes (think ‘Inception’). It’s a credenza on the outside, and a functional litter box holder on the inside! It even has plenty of room for your litter and litter accessories.

Each are unique with individual graphics or a ebonized finish. The doors feature reclaimed wood strips and integrated pulls. A hand-rubbed polyurethane finish will keep  them beautiful for years to come.

If you don’t own a feline friend, you can still find a use for these unique credenzas. Records? TV stand? Books? Collection of G.I. Joe’s? Your creativity is the limit.

$425 available through Modern Cooperative

32″ long x 22″ deep x 24″ high

This tall-boy desk is composed of a black, lacquered mdf center sandwiched between two (yes 2!) naturally ebonized reclaimed wood slabs. Yum! Simple steel angles and tubes hold these functional layers anywhere from 42″-50″ off the ground for optimal standing comfort for our tall client. It’s meant to be used as a desk, but can also function as a bar or high kitchen island.

24″ wide x 60″ long x 42-50″ high

This was a custom piece for a client. If you like it and want something similar, please contact us at

This giant table is sure to turn some heads at the office it will call home. It features a steel frame (large enough to hold up a small house), plenty of reclaimed wood (from the Rx), a ‘cute’ finger joint detail at both ends and an extra durable finish that will hold up for years to come. When we make furniture, we make FURNITURE!

48″ wide x 108″ long x 42″ high

*special shout-out to Brian McGuire who shot the first 3 great pics. Photo props! More pics to follow soon as well.

Shiny- yes. Durable- of course! This awesome vintage all-steel tanker desk was stripped bare and finished with lacquer. It will surely hold all of your office supplies and out-last any other desk on the market while looking universally stylish in any decor, guaranteed!

60″ long x 30″ wide x 29″ tall


This amazing cabinet has it all! Its contents are partially hidden by a bright, white barcode pattern and partially open to allow remote control operated items to work from within. Gorgeous skim-planed reclaimed wood (from the Rx) encloses your contents like a warm, wood hug. Adjustable shelving adds to this consoles versatility. It’s an eclectic blend of modern and rustic, so surely it will look stunning wherever you decide to place it.

60″ long x 18″ deep x 28″ high


Yes. You read right. Dinosaurs and domesticated farm animals are together at last! These four tables depict different dinos and other ‘more accessible’ animals living in the same space/time. Read what you want into them, but surely they’ll make for great conversation for your dinner party! Warm reclaimed wood is held together with a mortice & tenon joint and contrasts sharply with the cool tinted glass and black & white images. Use them together or use them separately.

25″ x 18″ x 15″ high

Available through Modern Cooperative

This cute low-boy credenza has both style and functionality in mind. Made from oiled reclaimed wood, it also sports some slick gun-metal grey doors and a glass panel. Hexagonal detailing follows the glass door to the interior of the storage space.

45″ x 15″ x 20″ high

Available through Modern Cooperative

We recently were invited to submit a sculpture for a show at the awesome Peanut Gallery entitled ‘Form over Function’. Twelve local furniture designers participated by making ‘non-fuctional’ art… quite a feat for those of us trained to do the opposite! The opening was a ton of fun with some seriously talented people showing off their skills. We’re honestly just excited to have been asked to participate! Check out the ongoing exhibition at Peanut Gallery… 1000 N. California until the end of February.

This table was designed to have an industrial yet clean look. We accomplished this in the base with some mitered c-channels and i-beams, which also help to create some gorgeous shadow lines. We then blackened the steel to make it blend with the color variation of the wood top. The super sexy wood is reclaimed douglas fir from our favorite vendor, the Rebuilding Exchange, planed and sanded to retain much of the original patina.

This fabulous table was custom made for some amazing clients. We’re always happy to work with you to design something that you’ll be sure to enjoy for years (decades) to come.

Now our clients are ready to have some ferocious dinner parties!

92″ x 40″ x 29″ high

Even in the middle of January, this coffee table is smokin’ hot. The reclaimed wood shell wraps and holds a thick piece of steel to create a bottom shelf. The steel was chemically blackened for a dark, even look to contrast with the varied color and texture of the reclaimed wood.  All of the mechanical fasteners on the outside are hidden to create a smooth, sleek wrapper and the inside has a more industrial feel with exposed angles and lags along with the steel shelf itself.

All wood was salvaged and from the amazing  Rx here in chicago.

This was made as a custom piece for some amazing return clients. If you like it and want something similar, contact us at We’re happy to work with a variety of budgets and styles.

45″ x 26″ x 16″ high

Not only are these tables cute-as-a-button, you can store your buttons in their hand-carved, sexy indentations!  These tables are made from reclaimed walnut and salvaged steel frames and finished with a durable oil/lacquer combination. The wood was all cut angularly to emphasize the amazing grain of these solid walnut boards. They are as amazing to touch as they are to look at, so come see/feel them for your self (and then buy them and take them home).

24″ x 24″ x 15″ high

inquire for pricing

A band of horses and a pterodactyl are living in harmony (or not so much…the jury is still out) on this glass table top.  This mid-century base was restored and painted and the graphic art was permanently bonded to the back of the smokey glass top. If you find yourself at a loss for topics of conversation with house guests… or if your 2 favorite animals are horses and pterodactyls… or if you’re a creationist that believes that horses and pterodactyls were created on the same day a few thousand years ago and lived together simultaneously and this may just be one of the oldest known photographs of these animals in their natural habitat… than this table is for you.

24″ wide x 24″ deep x 21″ tall

we <3 functional art!

Can you store things in them? yes! Can you sit on them? you bet! can you use them as end tables? for sure! what about a coffee table? of course! Basically these cubes are only limited by your imagination.

They’re made from 100% reclaimed wood (from the rebuilding exchange) and finished with tung oil and a hand-burned blackening process . Now… here’s where the fun part comes in…. we can put almost any graphic you’d like on them! do you have a favorite poem? or sweet image of some amazing place? yep, we can put it on these cubes for you. Just contact us and we can give you the parameters. We can also do custom graphics for you… or make the cubes sans graphics if you are a minimalist.


We like the 1920’s. Both the work of El Lissitsky and the streamlined art moderne movement…. So why not combine the two?  Slick, rounded aluminum stock sharply contrasts with angular (reclaimed) wood in these two matching side tables. Map inlays were added that highlight international shipping routes from North America.

Use them side by side as an entertainment stand: use them as end tables: use them as bedside tables: just use them.

26″ wide x 19″ deep x 26″ tall


This awesome industrial floor lamp was crafted out of common materials to make a one-of-a-kind piece. The poured concrete base and the angled gas pipe compliment each other both in form and material. It stands about 6′ tall and is finished with a 60w antique bulb that is left exposed. Turn it, twist it, use it as a huge paperweight/desk lamp… it will look sweet no matter what.


This rounded 50’s inspired boomerang coffee table can fly into almost any decor. The top is made from reclaimed wood and finished with a deep danish-style chamfer around the edges. Grey hairpin legs accentuate the curvature of the form. It could also be a great gift for a star-trek lover without being too, well…. dorky.  Beam it up! (to your living room). Engage.

48″ long x 30″ wide x 20″ tall


We designed and constructed this amazing counter with plenty of storage for a super-hip new furniture store called Sojourn up in Sawyer, MI. We wrapped the birch plywood box with skim-planed reclaimed wood (from Rebuilding Exchange) and capped it off with a versatile and modern back-painted glass top as well as some distressed steel casters.

Set of 3 side tables for chicago lovers! These black and white danish tables can stack and unstack as table space is needed. If you like chicago and helvetica, these beauties are for you!


Amazing useful and very functional cart! Use it in the kitchen as an island… use it in the living room as a beverage cart… use it on a patio for dinner parties… use it in your office to  hold your printer…. It’s handy casters make moving it a breeze, but they also lock to ensure the cart is stable while you slice your onions.

37″ long x 17″ deep x 38″ tall


Slick? maybe. Cool? definitely. This coffee table has character galore. The main frame was salvaged from a piece of old industrial machinery and fitted out with oiled birch plywood. A splash of red contrasts nicely with the original teal painted metal and exposed zinc fasteners.

16″ deep, 45″ long, 16″ high


Who knew produce pallets from the early 20th century could make your modern room into a flexible and multi-functional space? We did! These old pallets were oiled (and a few painted), made into panels and hung together using old door hinges (of course from the Rx). Mod-O is a huge proponent of room dividers and actually voted for them in the last mayoral election (sorry, Rahm). But they can change a room faster than he can change our lack of city-wide recycling!

Price TBD, OBO

Old office chair, meet plywood! We found this office chair with it’s upholstery in sad condition. We used the size and shape of the original seat and back as a template for the stacked plywood you see here. We added a reclaimed wood racing stripe (because that’s how we do) for fun. Did i mention it swivels?


‘Vintagy’. Yep, i just coined that term. Why would you do this to a perfectly fine piece of furniture you ask?

1) Because it’s fun.

2)Because distressed ‘vintagy’ Tolix chairs cost 3-4 times more than the new ones.

3)Because it involves chemistry and muriatic acid.

Ok, now lets get started. First step is to take your new Tolix chair (ours came in yellow) and give it a good rough sanding. You don’t have to be too gentle, 100 grit will do just fine. You’re not really looking to take the original paint off, you’re just helping the next paint color adhere to the surface by scuffing it up a bit.

Now you’re ready for paint. Don’t don’t don’t try to use a latex paint, or any kind of lacquer-based coating. Just enamel or a suitable enamel-based spray paint. We chose this ravishing orange color. Lovely, right? For the application, we use a compressor with spray accessories, but like i said, you can always use cans of spray paint.

Now that the painting is done and you’ve given the chairs adequate time to dry (24-48 hours), the fun part begins! Get out your orbital sander again with some 100 grit discs and go to town! Hit the edges and other places you would think would get the most wear down to bare steel. Then take some 220 grit paper and smooth out the sanding marks left by the 100.

Then…. RUSTING TIME! I find it really amazing that you can literally rust anything in an hour.  For this part, go get some muriatic acid from your local hardware store and some hydrogen peroxide from your local drug store. Take a capful (or a tablespoon if you want to get all technical) of muriatic acid and add it to a clean spray bottle. Take a full hydrogen peroxide bottle and dump that in there as well. Now spray all of the exposed steel with this solution.

Walk away.

Come back in 1/2 hour or 45 minutes.

RUST! Amazing, right?

The final step is wiping them all down with a soft rag and then paste waxing them to get a consistent sheen and to ensure that rust doesn’t get on your pants or jeggings or whatever.  Rub the paste wax on, give it a 1/2 hour, then buff it off with a clean, soft rag. And there you go! ‘Vintagy’ Tolix chairs!

Check ours out at the new Lou Malnati’s opening at Rush and Division.

Don’t like sitting at a desk? Well have you tried sitting at a bright, sunny tanker desk with plenty of storage? That’s what we thought. This awesome Steelcase desk was refinished to include a lacquered steel top and sunshine yellow drawers, sure to keep your desk space organized and clutter-free. It also has a slide-out writing tray and pencil drawer. It’s sure to keep you happily working, even on the gloomiest of days.

45″ wide x 30″ deep x 29″ tall


What can we say, we like wood. This is another reclaimed wood table with another salvaged steel base made as a custom order. If you, or anyone you know happens to like what we make, we are more than happy to do custom work for you! Email us at for more info about your project.

Multi-purpose, adjustable height, rolling table/bench/desk/island! Wow, there’s a lot going on here! The table itself was fashioned out of locally reclaimed wood and glued up in a butcher-block style. There are variations in length, width, color, age and texture of the wood slats which create a striking palette! The base (formerly a conveyor belt base) was salvaged from a local scrapyard; cleaned, sanded and waxed. The possibilites are endless for this piece, the only limit is your imagination.

28 1/2″ wide x 70 1/2″ long x 24-33″ high (height adjustable)


A salvaged steel base, sunshine yellow fiberglass shell chairs, and a reclaimed wood table top… together forever! This awesome, integral table and chair set will definitely add some cheer to, well, anywhere. If you’re constantly misplacing your dining chairs, then this table is for you!

Table measures 25″ wide x 43″ long


This table was an awesome collaboration between MOD-O & new found studio, so check out their site & see what else they have for sale!

Who doesn’t like playing a good game? Thats exactly why we incorporated a backgammon board into this danish-style coffee table. Not only do backgammon boards have a great, mid-century look, they’re functional! No more sitting around the coffee table wondering what to do. Play backgammon.

72″ long x 20″ deep x 16″ high


This little vintage cart is great for storing things. It has a retracting lid, a small bottom shelf, and it slides out of the way easily! Simple, cute, multifunctional.

13″ wide x 19″ deep x 28″ high


This lovely mid-century credenza was found in the basement of a salvation army with a putrid off-green varnish covering the entire piece. We got it to the studio, stripped the varnish off, and viola! Gorgeous walnut drawer faces. We painted the rest with a subtle matte black and used a scrap piece of metal to stencil a dot matrix pattern on the drawer faces to finish it off. It was well worth the effort!

19″ deep x 65″ long x 30″ high


We stumbled upon a set of these chairs at the scrapyard one day, unmarked reproductions of the classic Marcel Breuer Ceska Chair, circa 1928. The backs were perfectly intact, however the caning on all but one of the seats was broken beyond repair from years of use. Rather than track down one of the few people left on Earth who have the ability to reproduce the original caning, we decided this was a perfect opportunity to try our hand at silkscreening. We created a photo-emulsion screen from a picture of our one remaining piece of intact seat caning, allowing us to print that image onto a new sturdier wood seat.The beech wood frames were refinished in a dark stain, the back caning painted white to match our new black & white seat graphic. The final product? From a few feet away, you may very well be convinced that the original seat caning is still there. Mission accomplished.


Well, this coffee table isn’t Danish. However we did use mid-century Danish design principles… In the end, we built a low table with sexy, slim lines and canted tapered legs. The irony, perhaps, is that this modern & refined table is built entirely from discarded floor joists that were locally salvaged (and a bit of black gas pipe). This table was finished with many coats of tung oil ensuring a satin sheen that will last for years to come. Shiny, sexy, long lasting… what more could you ask for in a coffee table?

19″ wide x 56″ long 15″ high


These 60’s all steel tanker desks are relatively easy to track down, and they are usually in good shape because they are INDESTRUCTABLE! Painstakingly removing the old enamel and rust reveals a like-new shiny steel surface. The mixed reclaimed Douglas Fir and Pine top is sealed with a layer of clear resin creating a harder, more durable work surface. A little splash of Tang colored enamel provides your recommended daily value of vitamin fun.

32″ deep x 62″ long x 29″ high


“She don’t use nothin’…you buy at the store. She likes her desk to… be real orange!” – The Flaming Lips… kind of….

Shout Out to Apartment Therapy for featuring this desk in their Scavenger Section!

This is the second iteration of this wine rack we have done, the first having been submitted for a competition/auction at the Living Room Realty and Rebuilding Exchange charity event…The requirements were very simple: Design and build a wine rack out of reclaimed materials, provided by the Rebuilding Exchange. It should hold five wine bottles in any orientation that allows the cork to stay wet. Almost too simple really, with so few restrictions where does one begin? It becomes an exercise in form and fabrication. How to make an interesting shape through a simple construction process.

We started by imagining a simple C-shaped module, mitered out of pieces from our single 2×12 board. Each module would hold one upside-down bottle and one wine glass if vertical, or two wine bottles if mounted horizontally. The “C” profile was glued up as one long extrusion, then chopped into five pieces and arranged in a shifted pattern, hinting at the fact that they were once one but still expressing each individual bottle/glass module. The form can be mounted on the wall in any orientation still allowing it to do its job. The douglas fir wood, already dark in color from decades of dirt, was charred on the inside with a blow torch, a little homage to the wine barrel I guess.  We think the satin finish really shows the texture of the original beam subtly and beautifully.

5 bottles, 5 glasses, that’s one bottle per person, right?

#1 SOLD – Living Room Realty Auction

#2 SOLD – Custom Commission

This side table features a simple reclaimed butcher-block style pine top with a durable oil and wax finish, mounted atop a vintage mid-century chrome rolling chair base. This table is height-adjustable to fit whatever purpose you see fit. A little modern, a little rustic, its perfect for use as an end table or as a versatile compact mobile side table for eating pizza on the couch.

23″ x 23″ x 22-25″ high