The high-pitched buzz of a saw echoes from the back room of a glass-fronted building several blocks east of Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall. Two men with safety glasses stand at a worktable, shoulders hunched over their project. It’s a pretty standard design studio—except that a few yards away, shoppers are strolling the hardwood floors of a shiny, contemporary retail space. Factory Made, which opened last winter, serves a dual purpose: The lab in the back comprises the creative “Factory,” where aspiring and seasoned furniture makers, artists, and other designers develop ideas, hone their craft, and attend workshops (classes are open to the public); and “Made”—which is an acronym for Manufactured And Distributed Ethically—is a traditional retail store, which showcases contemporary home goods made by smaller-scale manufacturers from around the globe, including many from Denver.

Factory Made founders Mae Martin and Daniel Conroy use this two-pronged approach as a way to educate the consumer: By combining retail with creative experimentation and mentoring under one roof, they’re inviting the consumer to be more conscious of how and where that new chair or bench or table was created—kind of like a slow-food movement for furniture. “It’s about being more involved with your purchases,” says executive retail manager Dorian Ferlauto. “The nuts, the bolts, the wood, the material—where does all that come from?” The result is an ever-rotating display of “new-century modern” home goods that, as the staff likes to say, tell a story. “Furniture is a hard industry,” Ferlauto says. “A lot of people don’t know what goes into making these pieces. This is a way for them to learn.”

2000 21st St., Boulder, 303-927-0802,

GET SOME: Three finds from Colorado designers, now at Factory Made.

Find: Ilex leather lounge chair, $2,400

Designer: Elemental Living

Details: Architects-turned-designers Jonathan Coppin and Scott Dergance achieve style, function, and simplicity with this leather and walnut chair.



Find: Midcentury-inspired coffee table, $699

Designer: RSH Studio

Details: Designer R.S. Henderson’s clean, 38-inch coffee table with maple base and white top also comes in walnut and mahogany.

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Find: Reclaimed oak side table with hairpin legs, $289

Designer: The Wicked Workshop

Details: Husband-and-wife team Toby Hardman and Nishma Yadave of the Wicked Workshop used timber from a 1930s cargo train and cold-rolled steel legs to build this sleek-yet-rustic accent.