Walter E. Smithe Furniture is Exclusive Chicago Retailer for Turning House Furniture, Made From Reclaimed, Renewed, Reborn Woods

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Walter E. Smithe Furniture, with 13 showrooms throughout Chicagoland, is the area's exclusive retail source for Turning House Furniture, a new line that is made from reclaimed, renewed and reborn woods.

"Investing in the pieces also helps preserve the environment and a small piece of history."

The Windy City’s best-known furniture retailer, Walter E. Smithe Furniture (, is confirming that “what’s old is new again” as the exclusive Chicago retail source for the recently launched Turning House Furniture (, made from wood that is reclaimed, renewed and reborn.

“Turning House Furniture offers our customers the chance to experience the best of both worlds: the beauty of authentic century-old woods and the style and functionality that 21st Century living demands. Investing in the pieces also helps preserve the environment and a small piece of history,” said President Walter E. Smithe.

Turning House Furniture is made from more than 15 vintage wood species that has been rescued from abandoned factories and structures destined for landfills. Most buildings are 75 to 150 years old. Through a special process, manufacturers have renewed the vintage and sometimes extinct Appalachian hardwoods to craft it into furniture.

“While the buildings have no historical value, they offer a treasure trove of beautiful, heavily-aged woods in beams, flooring and other structures. The woods bear nature’s fingerprints with features such as worm holes, natural mineral streaks and wind checks caused as the trees twisted in the wind,” said Machiko Penny, Walter E. Smithe Furniture merchandise manager.

“Turning House Furniture allows consumers to furnish their homes with the beauty of century-old birdseye maple, the striking grain of old-growth oak or the lovely warmth of vintage pine. With the fresh designs and finishes, the pieces as are truly sculpture masquerading as furniture,” she added.

Pieces for every room in the home are presented in three artistically inspired portfolios. Turning House has organized the portfolios as groupings of unique pieces with a common creative aesthetic, rather than conventional collections.

  • Summer House references warm summers at the beach or fall mornings in the crisp mountain air. Relaxed and light hearted with a casual elegance, its vintage finishes feature rich rubbed patinas.
  • Fresh Heritage honors traditional design elements with an updated twist and celebrates the aged patina of its rare and exclusive woods. Driven by shape and function, it evokes gracious living and conveys a classic lifestyle.
  • Belgian Modern is about organic beauty and the simple use of natural materials. Gentle striations of heartwood combined with rough hewn edges give life to sophisticated clean lines in a bold scale.

Smithe Furniture is carrying items from each portfolio, with emphasis on the Summer House and Fresh Heritage portfolios, according to Penny. “The Figure 8 dining room from the Summer House portfolio is very special with its weather grey and blue finishes that look to have gracefully aged over time, yet appear refreshing in its cool hues. The timeless Old Bloomfield dining room from Fresh Heritage is a nod to the past, yet has a contemporary attitude that is relevant for today.”

“In many cases, Turning House Furniture showcases rare species of wood that were predicted to never be available again. It’s a joy to see these beautiful aged woods that have been transformed into one-of-a-kind art pieces with fresh designs that do something good for the planet,” concluded Smithe.

About Turning House Furniture
Unlike “new” furniture, Turning House Furniture is authentic, each piece with a documented history of the source of the lumber supplied by sister company Turning House Millworks ( Launched in April 2009, the original three portfolios include approximately 100 pieces created by industry veterans Caroline Hipple and Dixon Bartlett of HB2 Resources. The company is based in Bassett, Va., and is a member of the Sustainability Furnishings Council.

About Walter E. Smithe
Walter E. Smithe is a four-generation, family owned and operated furniture retailer that originated in 1945 on Chicago’s northwest side. Today, from its Itasca, Ill., headquarters, it operates 13 showrooms throughout Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. The company’s “you dream it, we build it” approach allows consumers to customize their furniture purchases with thousands of different upholstery fabrics and leathers, and a variety of special treatments. Design services from more than 300 company designers are included with every purchase.


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