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Meet Bobby and Kacy Middleton of Wayward Machine Co in Pilsen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bobby and Kacy Middleton.

The story of Wayward Machine Co starts with vintage motorcycles, Harley Davidsons to be exact. The founder of Wayward Machine Co, Bobby, had a long career building custom vintage motorcycles and this is where he honed his metal fabrication skills and collected most of the specialty machines and tools that now build furniture and custom fixtures for some of Chicago’s favorite restaurants and bars.

While living neck-deep in custom motorcycle work, Bobby was contacted by a very good friend of his, Meg McMorrow, who worked for a Chicagoland interior design firm, Siren Betty Design. The Siren Betty team was working on a restaurant project and needed a custom light fixture. All the tools and skills necessary to build this fixture could be found in Bobby’s shop, so he took on the project.

During this time, Bobby and his wife Kacy had decided to give up their lives in the suburbs of Chicago and move the motorcycle shop and home to the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. Now that Bobby was more local to the restaurant projects that Meg was working on she continued to pass work his way. This is where it all snowballed.

Being a part of the Chicago scene provided Bobby with more opportunities to collaborate on creative projects. One such opportunity was with a now good friend, Elliot Bergman. Bobby fabricated a series of steel frames for an art show Elliot was having and this collaboration introduced Bobby’s talents to Michael DelPiero who has continued to call on Bobby for many different types of metal fabrication projects.

There was a need for creative metal fabrication and Wayward Machine Co has had the opportunity to work with so many talented designers, entrepreneurs and restauranteurs which now include Michael Del Piero Good Design, El Che Bar, Hue Design, Estereo, Bad Hunter, Brown Bag Seafood, Prairie School, Beatnik, Pleasant House, Pink Squirrel, Solo Salon and Little Toasted to name just a few.

Within less than 3 years, Wayward Machine Co became a team of 9 and has outgrown their “motorcycle shop” sized space. The crew is currently moving their operation to Pilsen and is constantly adding completed projects to their portfolio and many of those completed projects are for the design firm that started it all, Siren Betty Design.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Because Wayward Machine Co has grown at such a rapid pace, there have been bumps along the way. The team has had to be willing to work long hours to meet deadlines, has had to work in a small shop on giant projects and we have all had to be very flexible and willing to learn.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Wayward Machine Co story. Tell us more about the business.
Wayward Machine Co is an artisan metal fabrication company that specializes in custom work for the interior design and hospitality industries of Chicago and surrounding areas. With the help of Chicagoland design firms, we have had the opportunity to expand our reach to the east coast and also to Las Vegas.

Steel and glass walls are the hot thing in design right now and are our most repeated orders. We have fabricated these walls for both commercial and residential spaces and have had the opportunity to get very creative with the designs.

Wayward Machine Co is known for being able to take on very creative designs and work through the details with the clients. We also have very talented fabricators on our team and that allows us to not just work with steel but also brass, stainless, aluminum and cast iron.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has played zero part in the building of Wayward Machine Co. We contribute the success to hard work, long hours and a lot of risk-taking.

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Image Credit:

Nicolette Nunez

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