J.C. Hryb is an expert in heavy metal. But instead of electric
guitars, he specializes in furniture made out of metal.
Hryb has opened a new outlet called Twenty Gauge at 3803 W.
Magnolia Blvd. Inside is a shiny world of metal desks, steel drawers,
chairs, tables, lockers and bookcases. Hryb has created a niche by
finding vintage metal wares, and then restoring and selling them. He
also frames and sells graphic art from Europe.
“There’s an aspect of nostalgia to it that attracts people,” Hryb
said of his recycled-steel merchandise.
Hryb scours the country in search of metal relics that he and his
staff of 10 can restore. He finds furniture in old school locker
rooms, government offices, aviation company offices and other
buildings that are either remodeled or razed. But the furniture
mostly comes from the era that spans the 1930s to 1950s.
“We take the old stuff and give it a modern twist,” Hryb said.
“Even though it is vintage old, it fits into modern decor.”
In his store, a group of multicolored basket lockers recycled from
a school locker room stand as an example of his line of furniture.
“It is streamline, it is steel, and it is in everyday life, and
it’s all around us,” he said, adding that younger people tend to
enjoy the furniture.
Among the customers who have bought Twenty Gauge products are Sony
and NBC studios, and actors Brad Pitt and Michelle Pfeiffer, Hryb
The whole idea of creating a business out of steel stuff came from
Hryb’s interest in art and his own attempt to find a desk for
The native of France spent his last year of business school
studying in the U.S.
He then went into the art gallery business, and started a framing
company that sold unique prints of European pop art from the 1900s to
the 1970s. After an attempt to restore an old metal desk, he showed
it to friends who said they liked it. He weaved the restoration niche
into his art business.
While growing over the past 10 years, Hryb has noticed it is not
as easy to find vintage furniture and has plans to contract with a
factory that duplicates the vintage items.
“I don’t think this kind of furniture is going to go away,” he