For Jim Boisvert, life as a craftsman began at age ten. While other children his age tuned into Saturday morning cartoons, Jim watched the Woodwright’s Shop. For the last twenty years, Jim has kept a notebook cataloging every piece of furniture he has made as a Thos. Moser craftsman.Read More
A Sense of Place
From the moment we first realized we needed a space in which our customers could interact with and get to know our furniture, we’ve purposefully chosen the building intended to house our showrooms with the same attention to detail we apply to making furniture— including fidelity to each region’s unique characteristics. Each of our showrooms has its tale to tell about the building it inhabits, its region’s architecture, and the local community surrounding it.
Tom and Mary Moser founded Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers in 1972. Their first official shop was located in the old grange on Cobb’s Bridge Road in New Gloucester, Maine. After they cleared out what had been left behind, they transformed the space into a functioning workshop. The stage where the band played on Saturday nights became the finishing room, the box office became the shop office, and workbenches and machinery replaced the risers that had previously lined either side of the dance floor.
Eventually, they would acquire an abandoned vestry and move the building to reside next to the Grange Hall workshop. Managed by Mary Moser, the vestry would become their first official showroom. The grange hall and vestry were home to Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers for eight years. With the company’s success, we soon outgrew this new space. In 1987, the workshop, call center, and a small showroom in Auburn, Maine, became our home.
Our Freeport showroom has been in the same residence on Main Street since 1998. The modest 19th-century home has seen the historic town of Freeport change from a small, quiet neighborhood to a 21st-century bustling shopping environment that hosts several million tourists each year. A classic example of the Victorian Stick style, our cozy building stands almost unchanged on the outside from its inception. A cape house may have existed initially on the land, but in 1871, a local dry goods dealer named Oxnard is recorded as the owner of the current structure. In historical pictures of the town taken around 1909, the house is nearly the same today.
As we move through time, the contemporary history of the showroom is mainly medical. In 1950, a physician and surgeon, Dr. Lous. V. Dorogi and his wife, Maria, bought the house. They were from Eastern Europe. Mrs. Dorogi, a survivor of World War II, refused to live in any structure without a bomb shelter. Dr. Dorogi had the basement bomb shelter constructed that still exists.
As we move through time, the contemporary history of the showroom is mainly medical. In 1950, a physician and surgeon, Dr. Lous. V. Dorogi and his wife, Maria, bought the house. They were from Eastern Europe. Mrs. Dorogi, a survivor of the horror of World War II, refused to live in any structure without a bomb shelter. Dr. Dorogi had the basement bomb shelter constructed that still exists.
We leased the building in 1998 from another doctor living there and have happily shown our designs there ever since. Showcasing our furniture in a real house where people have lived for over 150 years has a subtle but lasting effect. In this location, it is easy to see how our furniture designs transcend time– equally at home in a Victorian or modern house — much as the house itself has transcended Freeport’s evolution.
Our Boston showroom on Arlington Street along the famous Newbury-Boylston shopping corridor has a varied past. Standing a good stone’s throw from the Boston Commons, it is a short walk to the duck pond made famous by Maine author Robert McCloskey in his book Make Way for Ducklings.
The connections to Maine don’t stop there; it’s thought that Benjamin E. Bates lived in our building in 1875– the same Benjamin Bates who was treasurer and Maine financier of the Bates Mill in Lewiston and the founder of Bates College.
In the 1920s, the building housed a few important clothing retail stores. The famous Peck & Peck outfitted an entire generation of upscale Bostonians and helped coin a new term: “preppy.” From the late 1940s to the late 1960s, our building was home to the women-clothier Neals of California.
In the 1970s, the building was transformed into the Garden Cinema and The Back Bay Screening Room, where neighbors remember seeing legendary cult and indie hits like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and silent films. Our showroom exists in what used to be the theater’s atrium. Moving into a building so rooted in local tradition just made sense. Our furniture is as deeply rooted in historical interpretation as is the city of Boston and its Back Bay neighborhood.
Our Georgetown showroom is located along a historically significant stretch of properties tucked behind M Street, known as Cady’s Alley (named for the late 19th century Washington family). Like helping a phoenix rise from the ashes, visionary real estate developer Anthony M. Lanier took a group of dilapidated industrial buildings along a downtrodden alley and transformed them into an appealing, pedestrian-friendly cluster of small shops specializing in high-end furniture and design.
Cady’s Alley quickly became our favorite choice when looking for the ideal location to house a D.C.-based showroom. Lanier, a native of Vienna, retained as much as possible from the century-old brick walls and structures in his restoration, imbuing the neighborhood with an Old World graciousness that seems fitting to the nation’s capital. The going hasn’t necessarily been easy, however. When Lanier brought his first property here in 1998, the waterfront district had fallen into disrepair, its commercial viability undermined by the rise of rail and auto transportation. He had trouble finding even one retailer willing to venture to the other side of the tracks.
Today, strolling along the Alley that has maintained at least 70% of its original exterior walls, one can feel the history of Cady’s Alley, undiluted by contemporary retail development. The perfect marriage of architectural preservation and commerce proves the fallacy of cookie-cutter design.
San Francisco, California
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The Thos. Moser workshop is a playground to the makers who call it home. Every piece of our furniture starts its journey in this 80,000 square foot facility in Auburn, Maine. Join us for a peek inside.Read More