The Background Story

JOHN HUMPHREYS, founder and tinkerer-in-chief.

Born in the mid-Eighties, John grew up on the Texas gulf prairie, in a place known as El Campo. With more than enough to tinker with from metal sheds to small airplanes and everything in between, John would tear everything apart and rebuild it in his own perhaps more thoughtful way. He spent his time mostly outdoors on his bike, fishing, or reluctantly attempting sports with his father, Paul, a former pro football player. Full-grown at 6’5”, John still preferred climbing trees to throwing and particularly catching.

From the very beginning, John was most curious about how things did and did not work, how everything fit together, and how people and their spirit interacted with the things in their lives.

After trying his hand in the management of several family businesses, John realized he was pursuing a path that was, well, a bit misaligned with his spirit. As a result, he spent most all of his time wondering about how he might have a life that would be more expansive and fulfilling. This led him to such far-flung and disparate places as Iowa and throughout Central and South America, befriending and, as importantly, learning from an extensive collection of artists. John recognized that the part he found most appealing about their lives was how much of their time was centered around design and the impact it could have in one’s daily life, crafting ideas and breathing life into them. With no experience beyond his childhood instinct to build, John set out on an adventure he referred to as "the big experiment," Texas Rover Company.

It began with a chair. A beautiful chair that took a lot of time to get right. It went from its original design to prototype 1-20 and still did not meet his, shall we say, “exacting” standards. To 6’5,” John, it didn't sit right, fold right, the finishes were all wrong, and the seat was not comfortable enough. Once he successfully managed to make it comfortable, it suddenly became ugly to him. With his drive for perfection and balance, he knew something more was needed.

Putting himself out there, John had hundreds of people participate in his "big experiment" and offer their input. With the thoughts and needs of others considered, his vulnerability leads him to a final structure. A charming albeit utilitarian piece of art surpassing his initial expectations, the chair John finally landed on had earned the opportunity to be shared with the world.

From GQ Magazine accolades to working with Neiman Marcus, John earnestly exceeded marks beyond his expectations. From the prairie lands of Texas to the rooftops of Brooklyn, Texas Rover was finding an audience through sustained effort and pluck. In order to maintain the integrity that is core to John’s beliefs, this growth pushed John to dig deeply into the ongoing manufacturing process. For years he honed and shared his design with people around the world and ultimately found that again, he wished for just a bit more.

Texas Rover was always an experiment. Its life was invaluable. It furnished hotels, was featured in respected design-centered magazines, and has humbly made its way into some of the most swish homes anywhere. Like many wonderful experiments, they often come to an end. And in this case, the experiment became an evolution. That evolution is Humphreys. Humphreys’ mission is to build things of beauty that are durable, thoughtful, and lasting. We can’t wait to get started and are excited to have you join us in discovering what is possible.