First the bad news: American factory production has been in slow decline since the seventies. Now the good: Salvaged industrial furnishings—great for breaking up a sterile modern décor—are easy to find these days, especially online. Here are the best websites for scoring a machine-age look. Monica Khemsurov
The husband-and-wife team behind this 12-year-old Columbus, Ohio, company sticks close to home, rescuing car parts, bookshelves, and giant dough-kneading hooks from midwestern factories. The best finds are restored or transformed into furniture, with old labels and just the right degree of chipped paint.
This Los Angeles–based outlet got its start selling Latin American folk art—then its owners fell in love with metal furniture. Now it specializes in office wares like desks and brushed-steel file cabinets, plus the odd vintage globe. It's also a good source for two industrial-chic favorites: old sign letters and medical cabinets.
If you're afraid too much metal will leave your living room looking like a dentist's office, turn to this Connecticut company's wood drafting tables, tool cabinets, and theater seats. The vintage medical posters are also worth checking out—though not for the squeamish.
THE KEY PIECE: THE TANKER DESK
In the fifties and sixties, hulking metal desks with integrated file cabinets were standard equipment for middle managers. Now vintage lovers are hooked on hunting down those originals—especially the ones made by Steelcase (available at retrooffice.com)—and stripping them of their finish.
To master industrial style, you don't need blue-collar roots—just a little time with resources like these.
The Blog: The Material Review
Michael Williams, the Americana-obsessed style blogger responsible for A Continuous Lean, has an obvious affinity for bygone eras—which means this photo stream brings posts of old freight trains, vintage Braun radios, and weathered factory workers.
The Space: Rough Luxe Hotel
With nine rooms to decorate, Rabih Hage—a gallerist and the creative force behind this new hotel—took the time to get the details right. The effort shows in the distressed wall treatments, rusty-looking chandeliers, and copper bathtubs that make Rough Luxe a nice antidote to Starck-style slickness. (1 Birkenhead St., London, 011-44-20-7837-5338; roughluxe.co.uk)
The Book: Charles Sheeler: Across Media
Charles Sheeler documented the rise of America's industrial age a century ago, with hard-edged images of factories and smokestacks. Fifty examples of his work as a filmmaker, painter, and photographer are cataloged here, including a series he shot at Ford's famed River Rouge plant in 1927. (University of California Press, $45)
Photographs courtesy of americanfurnishings.com, sonrisafurniture.com, getbackinc.com, and retrooffice.com