Mainely craft: Inside Windsor Chairmakers

Lined up Windsor chairs in a variety of finishes at Windsor Chairmakers, Lincolnville, ME

Lined up Windsor chairs in a variety of finishes at Windsor Chairmakers, Lincolnville, ME

Touring Maine doesn’t only mean frequenting tourist shops filled with lobster magnets, moose-shaped chocolates, and blueberry muffin mixes.  It also means, at least for us, looking for quality products designed and created by local craftsmen.  So you can imagine that Windsor Chairmakers in Lincolnville, Maine, was quite the find.

A light-filled showroom filled with custom tables, chairs, and stools of varying heights at Windsor Chairmakers

A light-filled showroom filled with custom tables, chairs, and stools of varying heights at Windsor Chairmakers

With a passion for fine craftmanship and a love of woodworking, Jim Brown and his wife Nance founded the business of building furniture to a customer’s specs, one piece at a time, in 1987.  Since Jim’s death in 2015, Nance has continued the tradition of using quality wood and traditional building methods to provide some of the finest furniture in the area.

Nance Brown, owner of Windsor Chairmakers, shared details about custom designs and finishes used by the craftsmen she employs.

Nance Brown, owner of Windsor Chairmakers, shared details about custom designs and finishes used by the craftsmen she employs.

When you walk in the front door, you immediately know this is a place for quality.  Hand-stenciled white walls and painted wood floors form the perfect backdrop for custom tables, highboys, pencil post beds, and the like. And the tasteful decor continues all through this house-turned-showroom.

White walls and floors form the perfect backdrop for Shaker and Colonial designs.

White walls and floors form the perfect backdrop for Shaker and Colonial designs.

According to Nance, Jim Brown knew a thing or two about comfortable chairs.  He talked to people, even observed them as they sat.  He wanted to see if he could make a seat that would conform comfortably to the body while fitting the back with spindles that “give.” Jim succeeded, in our estimation.  And so we did a lot of sitting.

Perfectly engineered for comfortable sitting.

Perfectly engineered for comfortable sitting.

Custom finishes are another perk at Windsor Chairmakers where craftsmen mix their own dyes and traditional milk paints to create custom hues for any piece.

Hand-mixed paints on the shelves at Windsor Chairmakers

Hand-mixed paints on the shelves at Windsor Chairmakers

You can request antiquing — light, medium, or heavy — to enhance the aged look of a piece. Or just allow the natural graining to show through.

Wood graining makes this highboy even more special.

Wood graining makes this highboy even more special.

We strolled through the showroom, noting collections of old wood planes, sailboats that looked right at home, and authentic room settings showing off hand-crafted furniture.

But perhaps the best feature of our entire visit was the conversation with Nance, the owner who spoke lovingly of what all of the craftsmen attempt to do at Windsor Chairmakers:  please the customer with hand-crafted pieces that will give years of pleasure in a home anywhere they can ship it to.

Custom sideboard can be built to your specifications.

Custom sideboard can be built to your specifications.

If you’re driving Route 1 near Lincolnville, stop by and take a look.  We guarantee you’ll want to “sit a spell.”

For more information:

Windsor Chairmakers, 2596 Atlantic Highway on US Route 1, Lincolnville, ME 04849; 207.789.5188.

 

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Autumn Down East, Maine, Retail Shops and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Mainely craft: Inside Windsor Chairmakers

  1. Amy says:

    So wonderful to see these handcrafted furniture. Thank you Rusha for take us there. 🙂

  2. What dazzling work…A delightful wooden seat is a gem, yet a wonderful wooden seat that is agreeable is near paradise.

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    A wonderful feature celebrating local creativity and craftsmanship. The chairs do look comfortable and so beautifully made. I hope that Nance is experiencing success and not being over run by the big box stores. Again a lovely article and glad to know about this artisan and the ongoing quest for quality in design and production.

    • It is amazing that independent crafters like this company employs are making it, but I believe they are doing well. They cater to a distinct buyers’ market — ones who appreciate fine craftmanship as well as comfort. I don’t know how long places like this will last. And that’s part of the reason I try to support them. Thanks for taking a look.

  4. Tina Schell says:

    Such beautiful work – wonderful to know there are still craftsmen and women who focus on excellence and then deliver it!

    • Thanks, Tina, for visiting and leaving a reply. I feel as you do: we need to value craftsman so that they will continue to produce all the beauty they can. I fear we’ve become a society of quick fixes and mass production. These chairs, beds, chests, etc. are treasures.

  5. The work they do is astonishing! I would love to have all those chairs in my home. 🙂 They definitely create wonderful pieces of furniture.

  6. I’m with James on this one. A beautiful wooden chair is a work of art, but a beautiful wooden chair that is comfortable is close to heaven. Thanks, Rusha. –Curt

    • We sat a while in several of the chairs — all comfortable — and wondered why we didn’t have such at our house. These are true quality pieces with the style that fits in Tennessee as well as in Maine. So, who knows? We just may have to place an order for a piece or two. Here’s hoping you and Peggy have a wonderful Thanksgiving no matter where you’re spending the holiday. As always, we’re grateful for your posts — they bring us so much enjoyment and enlightenment!

      • Well thanks, Rusha. We’ve been up on the north coast of Oregon for Thanksgiving and will be heading up to the south coast of Washington today for our 25th Anniversary. Hope you had a great Turkey Day as well. –Curt

  7. Rusha, I’ve always admired master woodworkers and their ability to create beautiful pieces of furniture. But what I like about this story is the emphasis on building wooden furniture that’s also comfortable. I don’t know how may times I’ve dropped down in a lovely chair and said “Oooomph.” The concept of beauty and comfort is right up my alley. ~James

    • We, too, admire woodworkers because we don’t have the talent or patience to do anything similar. And you’re right to pick up on what keeps them in business — comfort as well as style. These timeless pieces could fit into any home (They ship to Kentucky!) at any time, I do believe. And they seem to get the fact that we want sideboards to hold flat-screen TVs now rather than just bountiful food and drink. Wishing you both a very Happy Thanksgiving and all the blessings of the season.

  8. What stunning work. Always fun to see and understand the process behind a finished piece of work. An art form for sure. Not easy finding wooden chairs that are comfy and good posture wise.

    Peta

    • These pieces really are art forms — mostly Colonial designs but updated to please modern tastes. I find these furniture pieces to be timeless — mostly they will fit into any decor. And oh, they are so comfortable and well made!
      Here’s wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving even if you’re not in a place that celebrates the season. It’s a good time to be thankful no matter where you are!

    • Thanks so much for taking a look at these lovely creations from the heart of Maine. I wanted them to ship just about everything to our house! It’s exciting to hear how a company gets started, but in this case, it’s more heartening to hear how it has remained so viable. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s