CB2 tweets

furniiture design 101 / CC BY 2.0

This past Wednesday night, Sandra and I had the honor of critiquing student design projects here in Chicago. Our five person panel was invited by our friend Paul, who teaches a architecture and furniture class at IIT’s College of Architecture.

During the semester, 14 students refined their prototypes with Paul’s guidance and presented them with their thought process and budget. Held in the timeless and inspirational Crown Hall (designed by Mies van der Rohe and shown here), we reviewed photo frames, tables, chairs and stacking bookcases.

To say we were impressed with their creative designs, and ingenious use of select woods, would be an understatement. And it isn’t often we get to see hand-crafted solid wood modern furniture using age old manufacturing techniques—ie. mortise and tenon joinery, 50-degree mitered slip joints, etc.

The initial assignment was to visit CB2 and design a frame and a piece of furniture based on our aesthetic. There were a handful that we’re so crazy about, we’re checking to see if they can be manufactured for CB2. If they make the cut, watch for their story and remember this is when it all began.

In the meantime, the event brought back memories of all-nighters at design school for Sandra and high school shop class for me. What about you? Ever put pencil to paper to sketch out your furniture ideas? / CC BY 2.0

the prairie avenue bookshop / CC BY 2.0 This past Saturday I walked into the Prairie Avenue Bookshop for the last time. It will be closing on Monday, August 31st.

Started in 1961 as the Prairie School Press, the bookshop opened in 1974 in the historic Printer’s Row neighborhood in Chicago to support the Prairie School Review, books on the Chicago School, the Prairie School and related subjects. Over the decades the shop grew and moved to Wabash Avenue. Tucked under the elevated mass transit system, it was a modest gem.

One of the greatest pleasures of living in a city committed to architects and architecture was a carefree afternoon at the bookshop. Just walking in the door and breathing in the musty air was sheer joy. Air that was filled with the scent of books—old, new, out-of-print, imported—the broadest range of just one subject: the spaces we live in.

Whether about construction techniques or materials research, famous and/or controversial architects, furniture design and decorating indoors and out, multi-million dollar projects, city planning or village homes in Vietnam; Prairie Avenue was world-renowned as the best resource for print materials on architecture. And thankfully, it was right in our backyard.

As much as we love new technologies and all the information at our fingertips, we recall all that we’ve learned from the books we bought. We will miss you.


under construction: miami

cb2 miami under construction

It may not look like much more than rebar, hardhats and trucks but at least it’s no longer a swimming pool and soon it’ll be a new CB2! To our future neighbors, we hope you’ll pardon our dust as the construction of our first ground up location is underway. We’re thrilled to enter the South Beach scene and we’re counting the days until we open the orange doors in January at Lincoln Road Mall,1661 Jefferson Avenue.

rendering of future CB2 miami store - looking southeast

We’d love to share more photos of the progress so if you happen to pass by, upload them to Flickr, tag them as “CB2” and drop us a note!


big van on campus

Similar to camping, campus life is a matter of focusing on the basics to survive the elements…of academia. And being prepared for just about anything—within the smallest of spaces and budgets—takes some research and creativity.

As mini-vans are packed to haul students back to college, would you believe some bring chandeliers!? But have you ever thought how one could transform a dorm into a home away from home?

Instead of a conventional bed, consider lubi. It can be used as a bed, a sofa, and opens up to a crash-pad for road-trip friends. Claim your space with Flor tiles around the bed—buy only what you need and remember they’re replaceable and eco-friendly. On top of the bed, organic cotton sheets are a no-brainer.

The trig desk is a basic design that will mix effortlessly with roommates’ furniture, and with its bungee cord construction the studio desk chair is comfortable into the wee hours of all-nighters. To maximize space, consider air space. Array bookcases stack textbooks, towels, and hoodies 60” high within a 14-square inch footprint!

If you only have space to store one item from the kitchen—make it a silo mug. It’s generous size is perfect for caffeinated drinks, chili after the kitchen’s closed, and yogurt with granola at midnight.

Not only are bamboo towels eco-friendly, they’re anti-bacterial…a major safety feature in dorm showers!

CB2 products will last much longer than a school year, so the quality and versatility from dorm room to apartment or house is a smart way to go green affordably. For example, the items mentioned total less than $1500. but post-graduation, their future’s priceless.


something old, something CB2

When we started planning our wedding, we envisioned something romantic and definitely casual. Luckily we found an old barn in Michigan which was both.

Once that big decision was made, many smaller ones would follow that would give us the opportunity to personalize the setting. For example, to express both our modern and traditional sensibilities we chose to juxtapose the clean modern lines of CB2 accessories with the weathered barn and woodsy setting

So for half the tables we used tall and short glass cylinder vases filled with river stones and white pillar candles, and simple arrangements of yellow orchids decorated the others.

We loved the look—not to mention the price and the easy assembly! Our guests also loved the CB2 centerpieces because they got to take them home at the end of the night. So now when we visit friends, we see them displayed proudly. And not only do they bring back wonderful memories, by giving this gift we continue to share the joys of our special day.