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Barzilay Multispan Vertical Storage System — another valuable Scandinavian Modern wall unit design

barzilay wall unitI am loving seeing all the different kinds of midcentury Scandinavian Modern style wall units. Eric responded to my stories about the String System and the Royal Cado and Cado Systems by sending me photos of his Barzilay Multi-Span wall system – along with scans of the brochure for it. Oh — and yowza — look at his gorgeous living room. All that rich, warm wood is so stylish and comfortable. Eric’s story, more photos of his living room, and the brochure follow…

erics barzilay wall unit

Eric writes:

I was just looking your post about vintage wall units and I thought I would share these pics of one I recently purchased. It was made by a Gardena, California company called Barzilay and it’s called the Multispan: Vertical Storage System. They appear to focus on a lot of entertainment wall units with stereos and speakers in them. What little info I could find was on stereo forums. They have other wall units I have seen, however, I have yet to see a unit like mine.

barzilay… A little drawer unit slides into the far left cabinet slot. I don’t really have a use for it so I pulled it out and stuck a speaker in there for the time being. I’d like to make a screen to cover the speaker opening so it looks built in and not a speaker just sitting there. There use to be a record player where my tuner is but it is long gone. Luckily my tuner fits into that slot perfectly so not all is lost. Oh and yes the Invisible Boy poster is original. I use to collect vintage movie posters, but now I just buy screen prints like the Jabba the Hut sitting to the left of it.
barzilay wall unit
The wall unit I got is sadly not complete. The guy I bought it from still has three cabinets — two big one like the bottom two and a narrow one. He is saving these for himself, but I told to let me know if he ever wants to get rid of them. If there had been brackets for those it would have been super awesome to have the whole unit go from the living room into the kitchen. I think with all of those pieces it would have been over 20 feet long. Right now it’s a little over 8 feet long. Maybe one day if I can find some more parts, and afford them, I’ll add on to the unit.
barzilay brochurebarzilay brochureMy set also has some brackets for shelves but no shelves. I’ll eventually get around to making some shelves and additional brackets. I do have some additional floor to ceiling braces that I hope to use one day.
Eric
Yeah. Some people aren’t fans of those kinds of doors but I really like them. The unit does look great the way it is now but I think it will look even better once I get a couple of shelves made. I want to put a magazine shelf on the left side and a flat shelf or two on the right. However, I am in no rush since it looks fine the way it is.
Eric
Thank you, Eric — Gorgeous, and now I also have a new appreciation for Jabba The Hut. Well, sort of. Readers, check out Eric and Susan’s blog, Our Modern Mess, for more of their adventures.
Readers, I am currently scouring craigslist daily for a midcentury wall unit for a particular spot in my husband’s office. I’m searching these terms:
  • cado
  • barzilay
  • danish modern shelf
  • danish modern shelving
  • danish modern wall unit
  • modern wall unit
  • modern shelf
  • modern shelving
  • modern wall unit
  • teak shelf
  • teak shelving
  • teak wall unit

Ugh. What other terms should I search?… so I can get my wall unit fast… before all these stories I’m writing drive prices up even higher. This is going to be a hard search, I think, because sellers know they have something. I may have to revert to standing in line to get into estate sales early so that I can look to the walls. Ugh.

  1. Shane says:

    Anyway to put me in touch with Eric? These Barzilay multispan units are fairly rare but I’ve got a rather large array of these pieces, some without brackets or necessary parts. I’d love to see if he and might be able to barter for a few pieces that would be mutually beneficial.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Shane, if Eric is subscribed to this thread he will see your message and have the opportunity to respond. Good luck.

    2. Ernie says:

      Shane, I would be interested in talking with you about how the pieces assemble. Pam, if Shane is open to communicating with me, can you send him my email?
      Thanks

      1. pam kueber says:

        Ernie, with 400,000 readers a month I cannot get in the middle of sharing emails…. Not sure what else to tell you…..

  2. Ernie says:

    Hi Pam
    My wife and I fell in love with this Barzilay system. We have been working with a few woodworkers in an attempt to recreate it. Is there any chance you can share the brochure scans? There are a few “engineering” aspects we would like to compare with the original design. I don’t want to waste some beautiful wood.

  3. Bill says:

    I own two #441 (?) low profile full tambour walnut credenzas (72″Wx 14″Tx18″D) that were components of their Multi-Span wall system. Bought them at an estate auction in East Texas back in 1990 where the units were used as stacked base cabinets with the lower one having a 3″ rectangular wood base to support the weight. The late owner and I used them for LP storage (got over 800 into them).
    I couldn’t find a maker’s mark or tag on them but knew I’ve seen them before on early 60’s TV shows like Perry Mason. Just recently discovered that they were made by Barzilay and were also sold in unfinished kits, which I had suspected from the way the oil stain was applied and that the units were finished with amber shellac. Shellac is just fine if you keep it waxed. Oil finishes are durable but require periodic reapplications of oil to build up a durable film and renew the color where rubbed off.
    Tried selling them as a set last year on CL for $400 and failed to get one inquiry about them. Then I noticed a few individual units with 3″ bases listed on EBay for $900-1800 so jacked the price of mine up to $1600 which got a few folks attention on CL. Most just wanted only one and thought they should be setting higher off the floor. None could tell me just how high so I made another 3″ base plus 6 period short feet from 2×4’s to raise them up to 21″ and plan to buy tapered legs w/mounts to raise them up to 22.5″ without the 3″ base with the buyer getting all three arrangements to see which one suits their taste.

  4. Drew says:

    I recently inherited the same Barzilay wall system but I can’t figure out how to attach the shelves! It’s just not making sense to me. Is there anyway you could send me the scans of the brochure?? It would help so much!

    1. Bill says:

      Last time I saw a Barzilay wall system was 27 years ago so am taking a guess from examining the photos. The skinny metal rods on those serve some purpose yet I can’t see any swung out as supports nor catches. My guess is that the shelves are notched on their ends for those rods to fit into to hold them between the brackets.

  5. Jeanni Daniel says:

    I just bought a Barzilay six cabinet wall unit with supports as well as the matching credenza with separate glass cabinet – all in mint condition. I am hoping to sell them, but because the pieces are heavy I’d like to sell them for local pickup only. CL has not produced many viable buyers. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  6. Billwil says:

    Are you showing pics of the installed system or ones showing loose parts? Buyers won’t care to pay much over salvage value for disassembled items that don’t come with assembly instructions and a parts list. I managed to sell the base cabinet of the stacked Barzilay units after making some period legs to raise up the counter height then posting pics of it alone with the stacked units. Ran my ad on Craigslist East Texas and sold it to a young MCM collector from DFW that drove 140 miles to pick it up. You may want to consider delivering those pieces yourself if you have access to a minivan, Suburban or pick-up just to make the sale. I just sold a 22 yr. old lawn tractor for $350 by delivering it to the buyer’s home that was 95 miles away. Cost me $30 in gas but I got rid of something that wasn’t needed nor wanted at that price in my area. You need the ad headline to read Mid century Modern Barzilay Wall Storage System. There’s collectors Googling that phrase to see what shows up on RBay, CL, etc. I was getting inquiries from both coasts and in-between. The cabinets should come apart by removing the screws. They arrived disassembled in flat packs at the furniture store then assembled during installation.

  7. Juleen says:

    I just acquired a barzilay tension multi-span unit. I have six tambour cabinets and 4 shelves, 2 floor to ceiling tension poles and 2 poles that are slightly shorter(I’m not clear what these are for), And a box of assorted parts. I’m having trouble figuring out how to assemble it. Does anyone have a site suggestion where I could find more info? Or personal insight into assembly ?
    Much thanks

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Juleen, I see this question has come up before and never been answered. I don’t know where to point you. I see some others for sale online right now at mid mod shops – perhaps they can help you.

  8. Pam Kueber says:

    I’m closing the comments on this story, as they are becoming redundant.

    For buyers/sellers, I recommend: ebay, etsy and Facebook Marketplace.

Comments are closed.