Noir and CFC opened their doors to top interior designers on Thursday, September 15th for the second time this year. Headquartered less than a mile away from each other in Los Angeles, both companies work under the talented and esoteric founder and lead designer, Georg Baehler. Designers from all over the nation and Canada gathered on a beautiful, late-summer morning to discover the many processes of the affordable, handcrafted furniture that Noir and CFC produce.
Started in 1999, CFC quickly grew from a one-man show to be one of Southern California’s finest furniture manufacturers, catering to some of the country’s most exclusive stores and designers. With unique designs and quality in mind, CFC strives to build furniture and home accessories that last for generations to come. Many of the furniture designs incorporate recycled Douglas Fir from torn-down homes and reclaimed oak from barns, fences and box cars. These reused materials add to the hand finished characteristic of each piece. All production is handmade in Southern California and designed by master woodworker and owner Georg Baehler. Georg’s designs are natural, simple, classic and timeless. He believes in manufacturing furniture the old fashioned way, by hand, in the United States. His designs are made to last a lifetime and have natural imperfections which make them all unique.
THE CFC TOUR
“Thank you so much for the wonderful tour. I have always been a big fan of the product line and now appreciate the company itself. Thank you so much for the wonderful hospitality. We all enjoyed every minute of it.” – Cindy Hattersley, Cindy Hattersley Design
The tour began at CFC, the original company that Georg started on his own, where guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast catered by Porto’s Bakery and Cafe.
From the headquarter’s offices, the designers were split into small groups and lead to the warehouse to see where and how the magic is made.
Every piece of CFC is designed and then constructed by hand right in the Los Angeles building.
Georg Baehler explains to one group how no computers are used in the processes of making of CFC furniture.
Piece by piece, CFC’s unique products are given the utmost attention and care while crafting.
Wood isn’t the only material being crafted on site, as CFC workers use [one of the only] machines (above) to press steel.
It’s recommended you should only clean solid wood with a dry microfiber cloth.
Inventory reports are sent out weekly on Wednesday. Items that are in stock have a lead time of 1 – 3 weeks. Items that are not in stock have a lead time of 6 – 8 weeks. All items are shipped with blanket-wrap carriers (i.e. Cal Metro, Trail Lines, and American West). Customers may arrange pick up from CFC’s corporate offices with their own trucks or trucking company.
Upholstery is applied by hand.
All CFC furniture is made and/or finished to order. The customer can choose fabric/finish and Customer Own Material (COM) is available. Grade A fabrics come standard with all UP items, Grade B fabrics have a 5% upcharge, Grade C fabrics have a 10% upcharge, and Grade D have a 15% upcharge. You can view all of their fabrics HERE.
Did you know CFC has a lighting collection that is also made at the Los Angeles property? You can see all of their lighting HERE.
“I feel like I learned a lot and am excited about using Noir & CFC!” – Mary Ann Pickett, Chez Vous Home
In 2004, Georg Baehler and Stephanie Lu formed Noir Trading, Inc. with a mission to manufacture furniture that deftly balances design and affordability. Over a decade later, Noir has established itself with a hand-crafted line of over 1200 products that is consistent, sustainable, available, and affordable.
As the Lead Designer, Swiss-born Georg Baehler creates every item for Noir the old-fashioned way: with a pencil and paper. Whether wholly original or classically inspired, every Noir product is meticulously designed to scale by Georg’s hands. With Noir, co-owners Georg & Stephanie provide customers affordable handcrafted furniture that can last for generations. Noir’s goal is to make furniture that is uniquely beautiful, useful, and environmentally friendly.
THE NOIR TOUR
“Thank you for a fantastic tour today. So much food for thought. ART, SYSTEMS and HUMANITY! It doesn’t get much better than that. You all should be so proud of what you’ve built. We’ll keep doing our tiny part, installing the special pieces and happy surprises you make into our clients’ homes. Thank you!” – Shannon Ggem, Ggem Design Co.
About a mile away from CFC’s headquarters, designers continued their tour at Noir’s headquarters. Splitting up into small groups again, designers had the intimate opportunity to go into lead designer, Georg Baehler’s loft-style office above the corporate offices.
The group gathered around one of Georg’s drafting desk, where his building and creative skills comes together by hand-drawn renderings. Georg is constantly designing new product each week. Co-founder Stephanie Lu and him have built a dynamic and loyal relationship with manufacturers in Asia. Much of Georg’s creations stem from the raw materials and skills available to the local population in Asia that they work with. One of Noir’s missions is to create economical value and eco-friendly systems to the indigenous craftsmen overseas.
Georg’s original drawings are sent immediately to their manufacturing partners in Asia, and then Noir waits for the product to be constructed and shipped back. Since Noir introduces so much new product at such a fast rate, prototypes are not created. Not only is Georg the lead product designer, he also designs each showroom at the four major markets twice a year. He then travels to the showrooms before the markets begin to set up with just a few other members from Noir.
Stepping inside Georg’s office, one gets a much better understanding of the inspiration behind Noir.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Georg has an eclectic old-world style with a modern twist based on his inspiration of antiques and appreciation and respect of the aging process of materials.
“As a child in Europe, I had no conscious awareness of a product line. There were simply things my family owned and loved; a home filled with beautiful objects tied together by my family’s affection for them. I hope we embody that spirit with the deep variety of pieces we offer.” – Georg Baehler
He prefers to mix styles, elements, and time periods. This is why Noir and CFC do not necessarily have furniture “collections” of identical pieces designed to pair together in a room. Instead, Noir and CFC pieces are made to pair in non-“matchy” ways.
After designers were able to ask Georg questions in his studio, they continued the tour throughout Noir’s two, expansive warehouses.
Noir receives 5 – 7 containers from Asia a week. Each container is unloaded by hand and takes about 1-2 hours to unload one.
Noir product is manufactured in Indonesia and China. Furniture pieces are made of solid wood (Birch, Elm, Mahogany, Mindi, Oak, Teak, and Walnut), acrylic, glass, steel, and stone. Unlike CFC, Noir product cannot be customized.
One of the specialties of Noir is their beautiful lighting line. While lighting is manufactured overseas, each item is opened and wired in-house to meet UL’s U.S. certification and Canada standards. All hanging light fixtures include 6 feet of chain and 8 feet of cord. Additional chain is available at an additional cost. Light bulbs are not included.
Don’t forget, Noir has beautiful artwork and accessories!
Some of the planning that the Noir team puts together for the four major markets twice a year.
It takes 5 business days to prepare wood and lighting products for shipping. Because these products are being shipped overseas from China and Indonesia, there are elements that need fixing (ships crossing the ocean = water, moisture + wood = elemental changes). The Noir team fixes chips, cracks, and all hinges are replaced.
Since the furniture is not mass produced, and then individually treated in Los Angeles, finishes will slightly vary. When the same finish is placed on the same order, Noir’s team will try to match them as closely as possible.
White Weathered Wood is built with floating frames instead of one piece panels because wood warps and cracks while being transported due to temperature and moisture. More moisture will expand the wood while dry heat will constrict it and the finish cracks.
To fix cracks on this “antique” finish, simply use spackling (dries white).
All Old Wood is different, so finishes will vary for each product — but that adds to the character!
Hand rubbed black is coated with schlack, so it’s more forgiving. The finish has white powder hand-rubbed into the grain of the lumber so pieces will vary as well for this finish, which adds to uniqueness of the line.
As a natural material, shipped stones may vary in color, pattern, texture, or veining. Variances may include spots that are darker in tone than the rest of the stone. Plated over steel – this stone table is not powder-coated, meaning it oxidizes!
Steel products are hand welded. When they arrive at Noir, they are then sanded and repainted because steel rusts when transported on ships. Zinc tops, vary significantly and can rust but are sealed immediately, so that the nails do not end up rusting.
Because wood in a naturally porous material, it shows pretty much all foreign matter that graces it. You can easily get rid of grease spots such as finger prints or oil that has risen from inside by lighting rubbing a mineral spirit spray. The color does not come off and you can get a spray at a local hardware store. This will not work for water! Make sure to tell your clients to always use coasters, glass, or books because wet ring marks don’t come out!
One of Noir’s missions is to be sustainable, by creating quality furniture that will last for generations (if taken proper care of). If a piece gets damaged, you can contact Noir and send them photos to help you decide the most efficient and effective way to fix.
All upholstery from Noir is hand-woven fabric. This means the fabric is looser, but gives it character with its imperfections. Steamers get out indentations that occur from packaging and transportation.
Noir has over 85% of the product line in stock. The website is updated twice a day. If an item is out of stock, the website lists how many of the product will be arriving at Noir within 2 – 6 weeks. If there are no items listed as arriving in 2 – 6 weeks, the lead time is 10 – 12 weeks (and up to 16 weeks on some items). Most new items will have a 10 – 12 week lead time.
Noir Quick Ship Program Noir has curated approximately 150 of its favorite and bestselling items that it is committed to keep in stock and ready for your customers. All items in the Quick Ship Program will usually ship within one week from order confirmation, normal transit time applies.
Shipping All items are shipped with blanket-wrap carriers (i.e. Cal Metro, Trail Lines, and American West). Items can be shipped White Glove upon request. Customers may arrange pick up from Noir’s corporate offices with their own trucks or trucking company.
Thank you to all of our wonderful customers that came out to experience this informational and hopefully beneficial event!