Hemingway returns: Three manufacturers partner to reinterpret iconic furniture line

HIGH POINT — A familiar name is returning to the furniture industry, and three companies — Charleston Forge, McKinley Leather and Mackenzie Dow — have created a new look for a product line inspired by arguably one of the most iconic literary lifestyle figures of all time.

Charleston Forge, McKinley Leather and Mackenzie Dow are introducing a new Ernest Hemingway furniture collection.

Debuting at High Point Market, the Ernest Hemingway at Home collection includes upholstery and case pieces and is inspired by key residence locales of the famed author, beginning with Key West. Angela Hemingway, daughter-in-law of the late author and president of Hemingway Ltd., said the family is very pleased with the results of the collaboration.

“It gives me great pleasure as President of Hemingway Ltd., to introduce ‘A New Ernest Hemingway home furnishing collection,’” said Hemingway. “Working together, the four distinguished entities — Mackenzie Dow, Charleston Forge, McKinley Leather and Lane Venture, our long time licensee for outdoor furniture — are fully involved in the creation of fine quality home furnishings bearing the Hemingway name. And, happy to report, all are made in America.

“We hope the family presence in this enterprise will continue to perpetuate the Ernest Hemingway legend, his spirit and sense of adventure in this exciting undertaking, and on behalf of the family, I am extremely proud to have Ernest Hemingway’s name representing this collection.”

Principals from the companies working on the new collections said they were inspired by moments in time from Hemingway’s life, as well as the unique lifestyle each individual locale represents.

“We were honored when we got the opportunity to partner with Charleston Forge & MacKenzie Dow to create a new Hemingway Collection,” said Lori Sadowski, chief operating officer, McKinley Leather of Hickory, Inc. “These partners are highly respected and talented; our combined talents allow us to offer a multi-dimensional upholstery, occasional and case goods collection that is built here in North Carolina with exponential ability for customization. Dan Minor had the vision for our direction of four separate introductions over the course of the next five years, each representing different Hemingway lifestyles, and our inaugural introduction this April is dedicated to Hemingway’s Key West influence.”

“Ernest Hemingway had four loves — Ketchum, Idaho, Cuba, Key West and Kenya — and we started to envision what that might look like,” said Minor. “We took elements from his homes and life and incorporated them into the product designs.”

For the Key West occasional pieces, those unique features include a tiered drink table inspired by the author’s typewriter, cocktail and end tables with a flared foot modeled after his desk, and architectural elements such as arches repeated as both form and details.

In the Key West upholstery collection, McKinley has developed four basic groups including Key West Life and Paris Runway that feature anchor sofas and coordinating reading chairs. Additionally, McKinley will show the “Key West Mob” in the showroom at High Point, featuring four swivel chairs surrounding a cocktail ottoman and representative of Hemingway and his best friends who would fish and then come back to the house for drinks and stories.

The Hemingway Home Whitehead sofa by McKinley Leather of Hickory is one of the collection pieces debuting at High Point Market.

“As we reflected on Hemingway, we have been drawn to the man himself: his strong character, love of travel and outdoor adventures,” Sadowski said. “We have a strong affinity to his classic literary works that almost anyone can relate to, that have endured the test of time.  Likewise, McKinley has built quality furniture with enduring value. Our furniture is also relatable and easy to live with, not trendy or locked into any single generation or venue, and we build furniture with universal appeal.”

Both Sadowski and Minor believe the new Hemingway Home collection brings with it almost unlimited storytelling potential. From the inherent appeal of the locales featured to the life and history of the author himself, the furniture collection checks off several boxes for new product.

“People have been creating new furniture for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, so creating ‘new’ is not easy,” Minor said. “We have this incredible treasure trove of inspiration in front of us, and that allows us to tell a story that can then be shared with consumers. It is design with a purpose, and that’s what we do. We can’t wait for our customers to see this at market.”

Hemingway For the Home product snapshot:

Paris Runway

  • Frederic sofa – This Chesterfield is trimmed with exotic South American hardwood bocote and features a distinctive square tufting pattern. 
  • Old Town reading chairs These curved-arm chairs feature a painterly Key West print with a Paris-inspired peek-a-boo back.  
  • Tortuga swivel chairs feature couture-inspired pleating details.
  • Blake swivel chair A swivel desk chair, designed with lower back support and an easy-to-use height adjuster.

Key West Life 

  • Whitehead sofa – The selected leather complements a nail head trim design suggesting sweeping waves.
  • Whitehead chair and ottoman – Generous scale, a slight barrel back and padded English arms define this chair, while a matching ottoman completes the look.
  • Pfeiffer reading chair – Designed for sitting back with a book, this chair is covered with  soft woven fabric. Supportive padded arms and base showcase quality leather.

Club Havana 

  • Antigua setteeA Deco-inspired silhouette is complemented by luxe fabric on the seating and pattern detail on the back.
  • Passos guest chairMinimalist, modern styling features quality leather, embossed with a botanical pattern.
  • Duval barstoolWith Spanish influence and flair, this padded stool is topped with an embossed aniline leather in a deep ocean blue-green shade.

Key West Mob

  • Fleming swivel chairScaled for deep seated comfort, this chair’s soft leather repels minor spills.
  • Lower Keys cocktail ottoman – This piece is wrapped in leather that has been embossed with a weave pattern resembling a fishing basket.

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