About Us

Historic Techniques Evolved into Contemporary Designs

 

Furniture making in New Mexico is a centuries old tradition that dates back to when the first European settlers arrived in the area in the 1600s. By combining old world techniques with native materials and design influences, a style was created that became uniquely New Mexican. That is not to say that this style remained stagnant, however, as over the years, Furniture Makers in New Mexico have continually incorporated new and old design elements into their work, leading to furniture styling that has evolved alongside the state in which it was produced.

At Ernest Thompson, we are proud to be stewards of furniture making in New Mexico, and to continue a tradition laid down by our state’s original craftsmen. By applying some of the same artisanal techniques that have been utilized in traditional New Mexican furniture making processes for centuries, and combining them with modern technology and design methods, we not only carry on traditions, but help them evolve into a process that yields quality, one-of-a-kind furniture, tailored exactly to your wants and needs.

With one visit to our Albuquerque workshop, the Ernest Thompson difference becomes clear. Never will you see automated assembly lines of machines churning out pre-set designs by the thousands. Instead, you will be greeted by the smell of wood, the sounds of hand tooling, and the sight of a team of artisans working by hand to craft furniture to our customer’s exact specifications. In fact, we build each and every Ernest Thompson product “to order,” meaning your product is made specifically for you. Although you can always choose one of our classic standard pieces, if you have a custom design idea which you’d like turned into a new piece of furniture, our designers will work with you to come up with a piece that precisely meets your wants to bring your vision to life. This all amounts to a customization process that is truly unique in the modern day, with products made to fit our customers, and not the other way around.

We invite you to stop by our showroom to see, feel and experience the difference hand crafting furniture makes towards the finished product, and to work with us so we can begin creating your next piece of hand-tailored furniture.

The Story of Ernest Thompson

 

Ernest Thompson began building authentic, New Mexican furniture in his home garage over forty years ago. He sold his fine furnishings at local art shows and galleries throughout the region, opening his first workshop and showroom in Albuquerque’s south valley in the early 1970s. Classic Ernest Thompson furniture from this time period was constructed with ponderosa pine and featured durable construction which drew upon 400 years of New Mexico woodworking heritage. With thoughtfully edited, hand carved motifs, occasional painted accents, motifs and tenon joinery, white or gray washed finishes, and wooden nails, Ernest Thompson quickly developed a style all his own.

The response to Ernest’s furniture was astounding. Ernest Thompson customers were overjoyed to find that furniture, when crafted by hand using traditional techniques, had a durability that far surpassed mass-produced factory furnishings or import furniture. Furthermore, Ernest Thompson’s unique brand of “New Mexico” style furniture retains a classic quality that remains current and beautiful, even when home styles change. In a time period when the “Southwestern Style” was hugely popular and often adorned with turquoise howling coyotes, Ernest Thompson fine furniture was restrained, timeless, and a true reflection of the spirit of the Rio Grande.

We are proud to continue Ernest Thompson’s legacy of handcrafted furniture and timeless designs. Within our workshop resides a team of craftspeople who, largely, have a family history of handcrafted furniture making. At times, we have employed fathers, sons, brothers, nephews, and cousins who work hand in hand, building the tradition passed on by grandfathers and great grandfathers, a bond we think is reflected in the quality of our furniture. When you own a piece of Ernest Thompson Furniture, you are participating in a tradition of New Mexico craftsmanship that began hundreds of years ago. Whether you are interested in traditional designs, or contemporary styling, every piece of furniture that is made in our workshop embodies the commitment to quality and handcrafted techniques that were first started by Ernest Thompson over forty years ago.

Ernest Thompson, Fine Cabinetmakers

 

The 1990s & early 2000s witnessed a huge surge of custom homebuilding in the Rio Grande valley. Our customers, aware of our tradition of custom, high-quality, solid wood furniture building, began requesting our help in creating unique, furniture-quality custom kitchen cabinetry, kitchen islands, bathroom cabinets, entertainment & media room built-ins, outdoor kitchens, custom bar cabinetry, and home offices. We had been part-time cabinet makers for our design clients & customers for years, by request, and in the early 2000s, began to market our cabinetmaking to the public. Our cabinetry is now featured in some of the most luxurious homes in the southwest and across the nation, including many Parade of Enchantment homes.

To learn more about our cabinetry, we invite you to visit our sister website, Ernest Thompson Cabinets.