Our Story


Chilton is a family-owned, Maine company dedicated to selling fine wood furniture, all American-made. We specialize in traditional and modern Shaker-inspired furniture, as well as Scandinavian, cottage, live edge, and Arts & Crafts. All of our collections feature quality craftsmanship, and simple, clean lines that highlight the natural beauty of wood. These qualities reflect our guiding principles of utility, quality and simplicity.  

We are passionate about wood furniture, especially our growing collection of original and exclusive designs. One example is our Acadia Live Edge bed, which was recently featured on the cover of Art Maine magazine. Our newest pieces are unmistakably modern, yet clearly inspired by classic Shaker and Scandinavian forms.  Chilton's roots as a Maine company date back to 1885, and we still apply traditional values to modern woodworking and design.

We are also committed to building locally.  Much of our furniture is handcrafted in small Maine workshops, and we also work with boutique craftsmen in New Hampshire, Vermont, and the Midwest, many of whom have been partners for decades. Many of our pieces can be custom built to your specifications. All of Chilton's pieces are built to our high standards, and Chilton offers white glove set up and delivery service nationwide.

Chilton's Showroom in Freeport, Maine

SHAKER INSPIRED

"Beauty rests in utility."  – Shaker Maxim

The Shakers hold that beauty results when form follows function. Shaker furniture highlights the natural beauty of wood, along with solid joinery, sensible balance, and proportion. The clean, unembellished lines of Shaker design blend effortlessly with other styles. These timeless qualities are why, more than a century on, Shaker furniture is still in high demand, and why subsequent schools of design such as Arts & Crafts, Danish and Mid-Century modern have borrowed and continue to borrow from Shaker principles.

The Shaker aesthetic is celebrated at Chilton where we offer a classic Shaker design in each of our furniture categories. We are particularly proud of our affiliation with the Maine Shakers of Sabbathday Lake, America's last active Shaker community. In 2014, we collaborated with the Shakers to bring the classic Alfred Village chair and rocker back into production. 

MADE IN AMERICA—COMMITTED TO MAINE

We are proud that all of our furniture is made in America—because of the quality inherent in traditional American craftsmanship and because we have some of the highest standards in the world for sustainable forestry. Nearly half of our furniture is designed and built locally in Maine, known for its rich heritage in ship building, cabinet making and furniture craftsmanship. Chilton's emphasis on Maine-made furniture also reduces our carbon footprint and contributes to a sustainable local economy. And with rising inflation overseas and high shipping costs, locally made furniture is increasingly competitive in value.

The influx of cheaply made, imported furniture in recent years has profoundly impacted the job market for American craftsmen. If we allow our tools, knowledge, and skills to go fallow before passing them on to the next generation, it will be very difficult to get them back. For this reason, Chilton is extremely proud to provide opportunities for local craftsmen to ply their trade. 

VALUE, BUILT TO LAST

Chilton works with its trusted family of cabinetmakers to offer heirloom-quality furniture and long-term value. We cater to customers who recognize that value and who believe, as we do, that investing in quality furniture that graces families (not landfills) for generations honors the rare materials nature provides us—materials that are either not renewable or that can take decades to re-grow.

Shaker founder Ann Lee encouraged believers to build "as if you had 1,000 years to live, and as if you were going to die tomorrow."  A Chilton corollary to her wisdom: choose furniture you truly love, of a timeless style that is built to last. Our mission is to provide it for you.

UNCOMPROMISING SERVICE

Service at Chilton begins with a relaxed and informative shopping experience. Most of our furniture is available online and our team is here to answer all of your questions as you browse the Web—just give us a call. If you visit one of our Maine showrooms, you will notice that our salespeople do not work on commission. Their purpose is to inform and to help you find the best furniture for you and your family.

At the time of your purchase, we provide our best estimate of the time needed to build and deliver your furniture. Once your order is completed, our local delivery company will carry your new furniture blanket-wrapped into your home. We deliver to all fifty states and several countries around the world.

At Chilton, delighting our customers is our greatest joy. Our general manager and store managers are here to help, and you always have direct access to our owners. Email Jen with any questions or feedback or leave her a message at either of our stores.

FAMILY OWNED

Chilton was founded in the nineteenth century as a maker of paints, varnishes, and industrial coatings. In the 1970s Chilton began selling furniture coated with Chilton finishes and stains. Customers loved the beautiful wood furniture with clean lines and furniture soon became Chilton's central business.

In September of 2014, Chilton was acquired by current owners Jared and Jennifer Levin. Jared and Jen met at Columbia Law School in New York, where they first made their home. After Columbia, Jen went to work as a corporate attorney before retiring from practice to raise their three daughters. When their youngest entered school, Jen was ready to start a new career. She had a passion for furniture and design, and as a Bates college graduate who spent her childhood summers in Ocean Park, Jen also longed to move the family to Maine. She searched the Internet for "businesses for sale in Maine" and Chilton was at the top of the list!

Chilton met all of Jen's criteria—a respected brand with beautiful, American-made wood furniture and a seasoned team. Jen was also attracted to Chilton's specialization in the simple, clean lines of Shaker-inspired design. Chilton also spoke to Jared, who spent his finance career working with consumer and retail companies. 

In the summer of 2015, just before their first anniversary as owners, Jen convinced Jared, a lifelong New Yorker, to take the plunge and relocate to Cumberland, Maine—halfway between our two stores, and within striking distance of all the natural beauty, great skiing, friendly communities, creative opportunity and gifted builders a family could hope to know.

The Chilton Name

The Chilton name is as old as New England.  James Chilton and his family were passengers on the Mayflower. Legend has it that James' daughter, Mary Chilton, was the first to set foot on Plymouth Rock.  She was reportedly so excited to arrive in the New World that she leapt from the dinghy and waded ashore.

According to company lore, descendants of Mary Chilton were among a group that founded a corporation in Portland, Maine to capitalize on the manufacturing boom that followed the Civil War. That corporation reorganized in 1885 under the name Chilton Paint Company, making a wide range of paints, varnishes, and industrial coatings.

In the 1970s Chilton began selling furniture coated with Chilton finishes and stains. Customers loved the beautiful wood furniture with clean lines and before long, furniture became Chilton's core business.  Quality wood furniture remains our focus today.

The original Chilton Paint Co building in College Point, NY.

The original Chilton Paint Co building in College Point, NY.

COMING TO MAINE?

We invite you to visit one of our two Maine showrooms to see our full line of furniture.
We look forward to seeing you!
Jared & Jennifer Levin
Owners
Chilton Furniture Co.