Ordering furniture over the Internet can be dicey proposition. Flat-pack shipping keeps costs low, but it usually means a frustrating assembly experience awaits. Also, it can be hard to judge from the pixelated rendering on a screen if the item really will look good in the living room, and returning the furniture can be cumbersome.
These are among the issues that John Humphrey sought to untangle when he founded Greycork. The Boston-based company, which launched its website and its inaugural Brooks furniture line in late 2014, makes durable, solid-wood folding tables and benches that are designed to be upright seconds after they are unboxed. Return shipping is free if for some reason the table proves not to be a perfect fit.
Humphrey, who comes from a woodworking and manufacturing family, founded the company with Alec Babala and Myung Chul “Bruce” Kim, both of whom are recent graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design. Their first collaboration was the Brooks line. It includes a coffee table, a bench, and a standard-height table that functions as either a work surface or dining table. Each is available in ash, white oak, or walnut, with metal legs in either white or charcoal finishes. Prices range from $500 to $950.
The company currently makes its furniture in Massachusetts but has plans to establish regional manufacturing hubs across the United States, and to tailor its designs to match regional tastes and materials. More immediately, the company has plans to introduce a sofa and other furniture in 2015.