The West Elm Industrial Storage Console is one of those items that has been with West Elm for as long as I can remember, and honestly, I think for good reason. It looks damn good, it goes well with a number of different decors, it’s sturdy, it’s functional. It has very few things to complain about, and not complaining is very unlike me.
For starters, it’s made from solid mango wood. There’s no engineered wood or veneer, and best of all mango is a hardwood meaning this isn’t going to dent or scratch easily.
Its metal legs are solid and heavy and combined with the lower shelf it makes for a very good support system. No wobbling, no worrying about small children pulling it down or pets knocking it over. It stays in place on carpet and on wood and tile flooring.
It has two drawers and both have adequate space to store a number of items from books to papers to knick-knacks and then some. We’ve filled our with all of the collections of things we want to hold onto but don’t want anyone ever seeing (extra iPhone screen protectors, cables, etc.), but it could be put to use for fine silverware or more purposeful items.
Once it’s together, it’s going to last you a long time. We’ve had ours for 6 years and the only problems we’ve ever had with it have been due to our own negligence. If you take care of this piece of furniture, it will take care of you.
Here’s the bad:
We love the mango. It’s really, strikingly beautiful. But mango is also notorious for one thing – it stains easily, and it holds water. The console has a wax finish but that won’t be enough to protect it from an errant glass leaving an unholy water ring forever within the wood, always reminding you of that one time you foolishly left a glass there. For this reason, I recommend keeping items that could stain the wood far away or placing a cloth over the top.
On the “wow, that’s disturbing” front, the original version of this console came with a warning saying it contained lead. It’s either the paint on the metal parts or the metal parts themselves, but either way… why? Lead has had so much legislation over its safety hazards and there are so many better options, you have to wonder how many idiots there must be at West Elm to have OK’d this. (Update: As far as I can tell based on the current West Elm site, they must have changed this in the newest model(s) – whew! Still something to be aware of if you’re buying second hand.)
More upsetting and apparently still an issue, the damn thing was a nightmare to put together due to shoddy overall build quality. At a sticker price of $499 (thank god I had a nice discount), the craftsmanship in terms of “buildability” is simply not there. No, $499 is not a lot to spend on a nice piece of furniture, but I have seen plenty of easier to construct items from the likes of IKEA and Target at a fraction of the price. The materials West Elm is using are certainly superior, and the end product seems sturdy enough… after some major legwork on my part:
- First off, I had to hammer out a bunch of the metal screw tabs to get them straight so the screws would align. I am a pretty handy person so no big deal; I saw a problem and made a solution. There’s no way in hell West Elm expects the average Joe to do this, though. I’m sure they get a lot of exchanges due to problems like this.
- Even after hammering away, most of the screw holes did not align exactly with no solution other than having a new frame or drilling out new holes. This resulted in me having to find the best way to make sure the least amount of screws were pulling at the wood to prevent too much tension on the wood so it didn’t split apart.
- Last but certainly not least, the vast majority of screws provided were too short. Actually getting them to catch was the most aggravating process, especially when the alignment was off.
Maybe I got a dud, but out of many dozens of “build your own” furniture items I’ve thrown together, this was the one that has given me the most problems. It probably took me in the ballpark of 3 hours to complete when if it had been designed better from a build standpoint it should have taken about 30 minutes.
Ok, so where do I stand after all of this complaining? I love it. It’s doing what we needed and it looks great doing it. I probably would opt for white-glove treatment if I ordered this again (if they offer it?). I would not recommend someone attempting to put together something from there who does not have some tools laying around and is somewhat handy. End product-wise, since the only potential issue is a short-lived one, I’d say this is a winner among the West Elm catalog.
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