Traditional Furniture With a Japanese Twist


To learn woodworking, furniture designer Richard Massey apprenticed to both his father and his grandfather. “I’m a fourth-generation woodworker,” he says. “It’s in my blood. I learned a tremendous amount from my grandfather, and not just about woodworking, but also about life. He was a wonderful person.”

Massey, who lives in Florence, Ore., moved from Arkansas less than a year ago, but had long planned on relocating here. “About eight years ago, one of my daughters and I took a trip up the coast on Highway 101,” he says. “We each decided we’d move out here, but she beat me by a few years.” Now he works in an old commercial building that has studio space and living quarters that overlook the town and the Siuslaw River.

His latest furniture collection, the Bow Arm Outdoor Collection, brings an Arts-and-Crafts sensibility to the great outdoors. “I’d been kicking around the idea for about 25 years,” he says. “Noone was making outdoor furniture in an Arts-and-Crafts style. I wanted to bring that aesthetic to the outdoors.”

Japanese design also influences his pieces. “I always add some element of Japanese style,” he says. “It visually lightens up each piece and takes away some of the heaviness that most Arts-and-Crafts furniture traditionally has.”

Each piece is designed to survive the elements. “I use Pacific Northwest woods such as Port Orford cedar that weather the elements, and I finish them with a special wax that has UV light inhibitors,” he says. The chairs, which come upholstered in Sunbrella fabrics, have quick-drying foam and stainless steel hardware that won’t rust.

Each Bow Arm Chair (pictured) takes from 30 to 40 hours to make, but has gone through a long process before then. “My designs start in my brain then move to napkins,” he says. “From there, they’re turned into working drawings and then prototypes before I finalize them.”

The Bow Arm Chair costs $2,750. Pieces in the outdoor collection range from $375 for a planter box to $6,500 for a sofa.

Contact furniture designer Richard Massey via his website,