American Hardwoods
Real American Hardwoods

Young people setting up a first home or apartment are often unable to find furniture that’s attractive and well-made but also affordable. They end up at big-box stores where the products may look cool and be reasonably priced but are made of inferior materials that will not last long. That predicament faced Lulu Li and her partner Hansley Yunez when, as young design school graduates, they moved into their first apartment together a few years ago. So, in 2015 they founded Akron Street, a direct-to-consumer company that produces a range of flat-pack furniture made of solid American hardwood. Sharing the pleasing simplicity of Shaker and mid-century modern design, the collection includes beds, tables, chairs, and case goods that are clean-lined, sturdy, and take less than 15 minutes to assemble at home. And with no piece costing more than $1,600, you won’t get sticker shock when the bill arrives. Here are some of my Akron Street favorites.


Made of solid American white oak—an Akron Street favorite, much of it sourced in Appalachia—the Tenon Table features a traditional woodworking detail, the wedged mortise and tenon joint, which gives the irregular-shaped piece a handcrafted look. Even assembling the kit has an artisanal feel, since it requires using the supplied mallet to drive wedges into the precisely carved joints, a delightful twist on the usual DIY procedures that also ensures the construction will never loosen. Available in a natural or smoked finish, the low table comes in two sizes, small ($445) and large ($995).




The renewed popularity of vinyl records and CDs among millennials means media storage is back in demand. The Case Console ($1,295) is a sleek and compact solution that’s especially suitable for apartments where space is at a premium. Comprising a solid American white oak cabinet sitting on a blackened steel base, the handsome unit features a pair of deep drawers and height-adjustable open shelves with rear cable access to accommodate pesky connector wires. The wood is finished with two coats of nitrocellulose lacquer for a matte effect that looks great and provides good protection.

As with all Akron Street flatpack kits, the solid oak pieces of the Ko Desk ($945) are cut using computer-controlled machinery, which ensures precisely calibrated end products—and no problems fitting them together at home. And yet the elegantly proportioned, thoughtfully detailed desk has the look and feel of a handcrafted furniture, a quality that will only grow stronger as the durable wood ages beautifully over time. An equally well considered design also crafted in solid white oak, the Concorde Chair ($345) is a stylish take on the traditional wood chair but executed with a fine-boned refinement that’s totally modern.

Written by Wendy Silverstein

Akron Street
60 South Eighth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249

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