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PRESS RELEASE, October 2016

WILLEM SMITH is awarded a US Patent for Comfort

WILLEM SMITH FurnitureWorks received the second of a two-part US Patent for its ErgoRide Comfort System.  The ErgoRide is a simple device that works uncannily well to meaningfully and dramatically improve the comfort of loose cushion seating.

“For decades there hasn’t been any fundamental innovation in lounge furniture comfort” owner and inventor John Smith explains. “And no one has presented an elegant and effective solution to the persistent problem of inadequate lumbar support.  Until the ErgoRide.”

The seating architecture with the potential to deliver the maximum level of comfort is a so-called loose cushion configuration.  But no matter the quality of the materials, design or craftsmanship, there is an inevitable void in the lumbar region; even occupants with good lower backs will eventually develop fatigue, if not active discomfort.  The ErgoRide literally and figuratively brings the components together to seamlessly complete the comfort proposition.

“It is the just-right dash of salt that raises the expertly prepared meal, made from the freshest ingredients, from good to heavenly.”  Says Smith, “It is particularly satisfying that virtually every industry product development person or R&D engineer who experiences the ErgoRide has the identical reaction: I wish I’d thought of that.”   For manufacturers not only does it contribute to a superior product but it may reduce costs.  For retailers, the ErgoRide is a genuine innovation and a differentiator that, unlike most upholstered seating features, their clients can see, feel and understand.

“At this nascent stage of its market penetration, no one begins the furniture buying process asking for it,” added Smith.  “Frankly, most customers are initially somewhat standoffish because they assume the ErgoRide is some sort of gimmick.  But then they sit it and immediately they believe it.”

About WILLEM SMITH FurnitureWorks

WILLEM SMITH is committed to designing, manufacturing and delivering a superior furniture experience - style, scale, materials, execution and particularly comfort - at a terrific value.  They distribute via interior design and architecture trade professionals and sell directly to retail clients.

Media Contact:  JB Behrens ( / 703-348-8600)

General:    Website:



MODERN LUXURY DC, January 2016

Best of the City

Sitting Pretty  At first glance, the tailored sofas and chairs at Merrifield’s Willem Smith FurnitureWorks look similar to other high-end North Carolina upholstery. But flip over a few cushions, and you’ll find a comfy little secret: what founder John Smith calls the ErgoRide, an ingenious device that connects the back and and seat cushions. “It keeps things from slipping and supports the lower back,” he says. “It’s just a better way to sit.” The system, which shows up on Smith’s handsome armchairs and loose-cushion couches, is such an innovation, the company sought—and quickly got—a patent last year. “We drove a sofa down to the U.S. Patent Office in a white van,” says Smith with a laugh. “The examiners were poker-faced as they sat on it, but they must’ve felt the benefit.”  See the Francisco Sofa here.



Furniture Today, November 2, 2015

Best of Market

"The Francisco Metro Swivel is a small-scale (27-inch wide) recliner with a spring-down seat and blend-down back available in one of 200 leathers or in COM."

Featured in John's Pick of the Week here...






H&D Sourcebook, 2015

Our Story

"For every new piece," Smith explains, "we set out to build a better mousetrap.  We are decidedly not more of the same.  Our objective is to design and manufacture a product that delivers a superior experience -- look, scale, materials, execution and 'sit' -- at a terrific value." 

Read more here...





Select Awards:

Interior_Design_Best_of_2013_logo            Willem_Smith_Capital_Chair_1

Interior Design

Best of Year Nominee


Capital Chair





Intuit Small Business Big Game


Fall/Winter 2013

View our video entry




Select Media:


009Home & Design Magazine

October 22, 2014

Star Quality

Click to read article


"In the family room, drapery panels by Osborne & Little

complement orange swivel chairs from Willem Smith."


014 013




001 008H&D Sourcebook


Ask the Pros

"The concept of scale in interior design refers to the integration of a piece of furniture so that its mass and relationship to other pieces and to the space is correct. When used in reference to a piece of furniture, scale refers to size, proportion and functionality -- for example, a small chair may be for small people, but a small-scale chair may fit all sizes. Pictured here, the Charla Trestle Table, which can be custom configured." -- John Smith, Willem Smith






  Connection Newspaper

  June 12, 2013

  Great Falls Furniture Designers Open in Merrifield

  Click to read article






Best_of_Fairfax_WashingtonianBest_of_Fairfax_Washingtonian_2 Washingtonian Magazine

April 12, 2013

Best of Fairfax

Click to read article

"One-of-a-Kind Furniture: Furniture retailer WILLEM SMITH recently opened a showroom less than half a mile away from Mosaic District (It was formerly in DC's Washington Design Center.) The move means that the brand's environmentally conscious line of transitional wooden furnishings, previously available only to the trade, can now be purchased by the public.  Beautiful pieces by Ochre, Powell & Bonnell, and other high-end labels are also for sale."





Furniture_Today Furniture Today

May 2009

Best of Market

"Laser-etched details on the side rails give extra flair to WILLEM SMITH's Etesian chair.  Made in North Carolina, the chair features 100% recycled fabric with soy-based foam and sustainably-harvested hardwood. "












Furniture_Style_August_2008Furniture Style

First Impressions

August, 2008

Willem Smith's Hibiscus table -- made with offset, book-matched, fiddleback makoré and mottled makoré petals floating on a redwood burl background with ebony shadows and burl center -- would look similarly striking beneath a stylish showroom light fixture.  This table is availaable with any size top, in a variety of leg configurations and in five finishes.





TIME_Article_Page_1_2008-07_pic Time Magazine

July, 2008

10 Things You Can Like About $4 Gas
Globalized Jobs Return Home
By Amanda Ripley

"When John Smith started a furniture company in Washington in 2003, he couldn't make everything in the U.S. and stay competitive.  So his company, Willem Smith, started operations in Vietnam and Ecuador.  He found himself visiting factories11 time zones away from his four small daughters.

By last year, the cost of making and importing one of his favorite pieces, the Caballero Chair, was ballooning.  He was shipping Italian leather to Vietnam and then shipping the large chair back to the States.  There were other problems too, like inflation in Vietnam.  So last January, Willem Smith "repatriated" the Caballero to Hickory, N.C. That shift helps contain shipping costs and has other perks.  "People are happy to buy American," Smith says. "And it felt kind of nice to bring this one home."                                                                 

                                                              Click to read full article





The Washington Post Magazine

Making It

November 25, 2007

"John Smith had already made the big leap of leaving "a very good job" as vice president and treasurer or Nextel, so why not make another? he thought....Taking into account his interest in antique furniture and design, and his desire to create something tangible, he decided to open a furniture company."

Click here to read full article







Washington_Life_Magazine_Whats_Hot_Section_-_June_2007 Washington_Life_Magazine-_June_2007  Washington Life

  What's Hot
  Worldly Gifts for the world's best dad

  July, 2007

  Club Chair and Ottoman by WILLEM SMITH.






Washingtonian_2007-06_Spotlight_2 Washingtonian


June 2007

Going With the Grain 
He left a good corporate career to make furniture -- and build a different life.

"Why leave a high-flying career to start a business in a field you know nothing about? "You have to be consumed by what you do," says John Smith, who three years ago left his post as a vice president at Nextel to make furniture.  Smith, 42, owner of Willem Smith, has a hand in every aspect of the wood furniture he produces, from sketching ideas with his designer to overseeing production in three countries.  Although he denies he's a detail freak, Smith frets over how quietly a box closes or how a chair feels as it is pushed into the table."  

Click here to read full article





FFI_-_Nov-Dec_2006_p_2 Fine Furnishings International

Designers Walk

Nov-Dec, 2006

"The challenge of identifying and branding high-end furniture - which can look similar to inexpensive furniture to the lay person - was taken up by Willem Smith in a new way.  In business two years, the company faces the challenge of product rSmithecognition by putting their signature scroll motif in all their Art Nouveau inspired pieces.  The goal is to have their upscale and customizable pieces easily idenitifable as Willem Smith, gaining owners instant recognition for investing in quality furnishings.  The scroll work is more easily identifiable on some pieces than others, but it still creates an easy visual reference which an owner can point to and say, 'This is a Willem Smith.'"





InFurniture_2006-11_001 InFurniture

Editor's Pick

November, 2006

"Willem Smith let the wood speak for itself in the Eclipse credenza that stayed natural for the finish."