While it is easy to admire Ernest Thompson products for their beauty and quality, its more difficult to appreciate the finesse that transforms raw materials into fine furniture and cabinets. We owe our distinctive products to time honored techniques that include mortise and tenon joinery used in all ET furniture construction and the French dovetails used in our drawer making, hand carved details and multi-step, hand rubbed finishes.
In an era of bell bottom jeans and love beads, Ernest Thompson came into existence in the early 70’s. Ernest Thompson, a self-taught artist, began woodworking as a way to make frames for his artwork. This humble start in woodworking evolved into Ernest Thompson Furniture.
By the late 80’s, Ernest found that running a furniture company on a day to day basis was not his passion. In 1989 Ernest met Mike and Doreen Godwin, Wall Streeters looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. The Godwin’s were enamored with Ernest’s designs. They recognized the craftsmanship and exquisite design elements in each piece of his furniture.
In 1990, Mike and Doreen purchased the company vowing to continue and expand the legacy created by Ernest. Having no previous experience in furniture making, the Godwin’s threw themselves whole heartedly into learning the business by relying on the incredibly talented woodworkers that had been working for Ernest. Today, three of those original woodworkers are still handcrafting furniture for the company.
Over the course of the next 30 years, Mike and Doreen expanded the company by adding several other premier furniture and cabinet makers to the Ernest Thompson family.
The first company that the Godwin’s added was Sombraje, the original twig shutter company. With its roots in Dixon, NM, Sombraje also had a fabulous storefront on Canyon Rd. in Santa Fe. Over the years, Mike and Doreen became friends with noted artist, Hillary Riggs, the owner of Sombraje. Ultimately, Hillary decided to sell Sombraje to Ernest Thompson Furniture and the company is still a valuable part of the business more than 25 years later.
Two additional companies that are now signature collections of the Ernest Thompson line, are Taos Furniture and Southwest Spanish Craftsmen. Both were long time Santa Fe based furniture companies with a combined history of 150 years of manufacturing in Santa Fe. During the early 2000’s, the two companies had been acquired by one of the very prominent home builders in Santa Fe, Tierra Concepts. As their thriving home building business grew, they concluded that furniture making no longer fit their business model. As such, they started looking for someone to take over the stewardship of these two historic companies. Ernest Thompson Furniture is proud and honored to have been chosen to take over these two exceptional companies.
Ernest Thompson is also known for stellar cabinetry design and manufacturing. Mike and Doreen met Cindy Mauchly, who for 30 years, owned one of the area’s leading cabinet companies, Santa Fe Custom Works. As Cindy began thinking about retirement, she, Mike and Doreen started some casual conversations about the possibility of Ernest Thompson buying Santa Fe Custom Works and in short order, Cindy and her company were welcomed into the family.
All of these wonderful segments make Ernest Thompson what it is today. We are a much larger company today than we were 30 years ago. Despite our growth, we are still committed to timeless designs and unsurpassed craftsmanship of our furniture and cabinets.
Doing business with Ernest Thompson is very much a family affair. Every Ernest Thompson team member is dedicated to providing our customers with exceptional service and unyielding craftsmanship. We are often asked, by our customers, about the craftsman that built their furniture or perhaps about the friendly voice on the phone who answered all of their questions. Please meet a small sampling of the folks that are Ernest Thompson.
We love helping people realize their furniture and cabinet vision, whether it’s designing a single, beautiful custom piece, or creating a stunning space in the home. The process starts by talking with one of our designers, either in person at our Albuquerque showroom/workshop, or by phone and e-mail. Our expert staff will guide you through decisions on wood species, finish, fabrics, embellishments and any other design elements needed to create your perfect piece.
We have samples and swatches to facilitate the vision. We handle local deliveries with our in house team, and can arrange white glove delivery service anywhere in the country.
When you’ve been at this as long as we have, you accumulate lots of design drawings. We have large archives of hand renderings, many dating back 50 years or more. Today, many of those custom designs have become some of the most treasured standard designs in our catalog. Our unique ability to customize, allows an endless design resource for all to enjoy.
Part of what makes each piece special is the wood choice, the texture, distress level and the finish. The size of the piece can also be altered to fit perfectly in your own personal space. Our unique ability to add hand carved embellishments is another customization choice to be considered. All of these elements will transform the piece to be distinctly yours.
"The artisans of the American Southwest are caretakers for the land, and their works depict the origins and roots of their culture and heritage." - Louis Sagar
Recognized for our timeless designs and handcrafted quality, Ernest Thompson is proud of our team of designers and artisans who transform our clients concepts into breathtaking reality.
It takes a passionate heart, loving hands and incomparable talent to produce our heirloom quality furniture and cabinets.
We are very proud of the fact that 100% of our furniture is made in our Albuquerque, NM workshop. During that time, thousands of pieces of furniture have been shipped to all 50 states as well as Canada, Mexico and various European countries.
If you combined the number of years our three brands, Ernest Thompson, Taos Furniture and Southwest Spanish Craftsmen, have been hand crafting furniture in New Mexico, that number would exceed 200 years. We feel a huge commitment to our community, as well as our skilled artisans, to continue that tradition for many years to come.
In Their Words
The credenza is absolutely magnificent! I’m thrilled! This was so worth waiting for and so exceeded my expectations!
We are very happy with the work that you and Ernest Thompson did to manifest our dream visions into the backbone of our bedroom. Thanks again!
I just returned to the house and was ecstatic to see how the designs and finishes make the furniture a work of art. To think we did this over the internet and phone is amazing and really speaks to your skill at design and execution. Again, thank you…they are gorgeous!
Every single room in my house has Ernest Thompson furniture. When people visit me they say that they don’t feel like they’re in NY but someplace else. They are…they’re in the beautiful Southwest, thanks to all you guys at ET.
Please contact us to learn more about our process or products and our knowledgeable staff will respond promptly.