The Red Hook childrenâ€™s furniture company Casa Kids crafts birch plywood furnishings designed with compact, urban spaces in mind. Its modern bunk beds and loft beds â€” the company also makes desks, storage and custom pieces â€” can be customized to fit any space.
â€śIn a way itâ€™s a bit like architecture for children,â€ť said the companyâ€™s founder Roberto Gil, an architect by training. â€śA loft bed with a desk and stairs, for the scale of a six-year-old, itâ€™s almost like the size of a home with a second floor.â€ť
The pieces are defined by bare plywood with occasional pops of color and exposed hardware. Gil said he steers away from trends or themes like fire trucks or princess castles.
â€śWhat characterizes my work is the simplicity of design,â€ť Gil said. â€śI donâ€™t adhere to stylistic considerations. I try not to do anything that is ornamental or decorative. I restrict my design elements to the functional, the practical, and the usable.â€ť
Gil emigrated from Buenos Ares to study architecture at Harvard, where he dabbled in furniture design. After graduation, he struggled to find work as an architect due to a recession, Gil said, so he designed a simple childrenâ€™s chair and showed it to a store in Soho.
â€śThey liked it, and I started a business,â€ť he said. â€śIt was a bit of timing, luck, and I just wanted to stay in New York. I saw that there was not much good furniture for kids in the city. So, I started making it from my own apartment. It started taking over, and I started taking orders.â€ť
The company moved from Tribeca to Dumbo, then to a 10,000-square-foot space in Red Hook, where it has been operating for 18 years. The space includes a workshop and showroom.
â€śI always enjoyed designing and manufacturing,â€ť Gil said. â€śWe like working with customers. We like going into peopleâ€™s homes and proposing solutions. We can design the whole room, do a lot of partitions, cabinets or a sliding door.â€ť
For a fee of $450, one of Gilâ€™s assistants will visit a customerâ€™s home to take measurements, draw up a floor plan and sketch a proposal (the fee is applied as a credit to projects of $7,000 or more). Gil customizes his existing pieces to fit in the space or designs something from scratch.
â€śIf a customer is budget conscious, we try to use standard items,â€ť Gil said. â€śIf they have a larger budget or a problem that requires a new solution, then we will design something new.â€ť
The most popular item, the cabin bunk bed, starts at $1,900. Loft beds start at $3,400, and desks start at $800.
The company recently introduced a less expensive line, the Euro collection, that is made in Europe and ready to ship. A bunk bed is $1,600 and a daybed is $800.
The company will deliver and install pieces for a fee starting at $300 in Brooklyn. Furniture can also be shipped or picked up in Red Hook and assembled at home.
â€śOur furniture is way easier to assemble than Ikea,â€ť Gil said. â€śAnd itâ€™s easy to disassemble and reassemble if you move.â€ť
[Photos by Casa Kids]