Illinois brothers bring metal, wood along with office furniture

Owners of iRCustom metal and wood office furniture business

Brothers Anthony DiVito and Rob DiVito are the only employees of iRCustom based in Lake Zurich, Illinois.

you will not be confused iRCustomized with any other furniture manufacturer.

Its 4,000 sq. ft. The store may be smaller than some showrooms at IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer with three stores within an hour’s drive of the Lake Zurich, Ill., business. But that’s okay.

“We’re not looking to be IKEA,” said co-owner Rob DiVito.

With their large, asymmetrical and colorful designs made of wood and metal, iRCustom office desks and tables stand out from the crowd.

Furnishings, layouts, and operations are the brainchild of Rob and Anthony DiVito, who are brothers and sole employees of iRCustom. The two feel that their offbeat approach to making furniture, such as combining metal fabrication with woodworking, is what sets them apart and attracts customer attention.

The modern industrial look

Prior to iRCustom, the DiVito brothers were not involved in metal fabrication or woodworking. Rob was in graphic design while Anthony was in finance trading stock options. They both wanted a change of pace.

About six years ago, office furniture came to mind and iRCustom was born.

“We saw a bit of a gap in the industry by making a modern version that people need,” said Rob, the younger of the two brothers.

Rob is primarily responsible for the look of the desks and tables. He said the transition from graphic design to 3D rendering was easy; whether such desks or tables could be built was a different story. As Rob points out, they’ve been learning what works and what doesn’t since their first piece.

“Every time you take something out, you learn something new,” he added.

Wood and metal furniture

IRCustom takes an unusual approach to office furniture, combining metal fabrication with joinery to create custom desks and tables. Images: Rob DiVito

The DiVitos describe their products as “modern industrial.”

“We like metal and wood. It’s not raw metal, but I know a lot of people consider [metal] be industrial,” said Rob. “But we definitely keep a cleaner aesthetic with the frosted joints and powder coating and the brighter, solid colors. That’s where modern comes in.”

“I think the industrial component comes more from strength and durability,” added Anthony. “All of our pieces are made from a very heavy gauge, which in the furniture industry is basically unheard of.”

They typically use 10 gauge. 2 x 4 in. A500 steel tubing. or 6 by 6 inches. plates, as well as 10-ga. cold rolled sheets for brackets. Walnut, maple, oak, ash, padauk and others have been used for the wood.

While Rob focuses on the design of a project and Anthony handles the work and logistics behind the scenes, they both get involved in cutting, welding, grinding and polishing the furniture.

“Proper preparation of the cut parts is always a significant time factor, but a necessary task,” Rob said. “Fixing cut parts for welding is a big process, and our [welding] table has reduced that time substantially. Once the welds are smooth and the finishing touches are done, we send the large steel frame parts to be sandblasted and powder coated. Us [powder coat] the smaller parts internally.”

They typically receive rough-sawn lumber from semi-local suppliers, which they ultimately grind into square, uniform thicknesses, but different widths, which are glued together. The DiVitos sand the wood panels with various grains and finish them with oil and wax.

“Finding an ideal workflow and keeping workspaces separate is what we’ve found to be key,” Rob said of working with wood and metal.

“Normally, we’ll do our best to keep the two processes completely separate, but often we find ourselves switching between the two while fitting and finishing a part, so it can still be a balancing act.”

Desks or tables vary in size, but DiVitos said the most common desk size is around 7 by 3 feet, and his conference tables range from 10 to 16 feet long and 4 to 6 feet tall.

metal welding

The DiVitos do the cutting, welding, grinding and polishing of your office furniture.

“People often say, ‘That looks heavy.’ Well, it is,” Rob said.

IRCustom’s website and social media pages showcase the different designs and concepts. One desk, “Gulf”, is described as a “hypermodern desk” constructed of steel and ash, its orange and light blue colors inspired by Gulf’s livery. Meanwhile, “Aeround” is a round dining table with solid aluminum, CNC-milled legs, and a black diamond richlite tabletop.

All his work is commissioned. Clients can look to previous designs for ideas, but each piece is unique.

“Everything is literally one-of-a-kind, custom, handcrafted, and made to client specifications,” Anthony said.

two are required

The company’s social media pages have thousands of followers. For example, iRCustom’s Pinterest page has over 28,600 followers; described Pinterest as their “secret horse.”

“It’s the world we live in,” Anthony said of social media.

Its products have attracted clients such as offices, corporate clients, YouTube personalities, podcasters, and even metalworking equipment companies.

Despite the growth, the brothers like the size of their company, even if it means they do pretty much everything: design, ordering, logistics, etc. A two person workshop is fine for them right now.

“We hope to be pretty accurate and precise,” Anthony said. “We’ve maintained [the business] small on purpose.

“We don’t necessarily want to be dependent on a second or third party. We don’t want to mass-produce them to the point where they’re in boxes in warehouses and nobody knows who made them, where they came from,” she added.

That’s not to say they haven’t considered growing up. The two have considered hiring additional workers, and may one day do so.

“Every day that goes by, we are debating whether to hire someone. You have to find the right person, and I’m sure they are there,” said Rob.

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