“When we purchased the original barn that became the workshop,” says Nance Brown, owner of Windsor Chairmakers, “it was strongly suggested to never open the barn doors because no work would ever get done from everyone stopping in to look around and ask questions.
“That’s why to this day the doors have been and are always open wide,” she says with a laugh. “We welcome curiosity. You’re invited to touch, sit, ask.”
Approaching 30 years in business, the Lincolnville landmark is a step back in time. Examples of museum-quality chairs, tables, benches, desks, chests, beds and cabinets tastefully fill the Shaker-themed display rooms. Each piece—based on the original design of Brown’s late husband, master furniture designer and company founder Jim Brown—is made by hand. Production schedules are usually capped at eight chairs and two to three tables a week.
Each piece is crafted from blank stock by a single craftsman and then moves on to the finish room. Almost all the wood used is sourced in Maine, with a strong nod to tiger maple. Every item is created according to what a customer desires—from wood choices to varying degrees of surface textures to hand-blended finishes ranging from soft elegance to paints, dyes and glazes suggesting centuries of wear.
“Almost as much time is spent finishing as crafting,” says Brown. “We make the handcrafted furniture other places can’t.”
words Todd Bross
photography Joseph Corrado