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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?

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