About Dennis Shanoff

Dennis Shanoff
Dennis moved from Connecticut to south western New Hampshire 12 years ago to be closer to the outdoor recreational opportunities northern New England offers. His hobbies include regional travel, motorcycling, hiking, camping & woodworking. Dennis' main inspiration for writing is to share the great things he discovers about northern New England while out exploring the small cities & countryside.

Putney-craft-tour

By Dennis Shanoff

Since tropical storm Irene hit us this summer I had taken a little break from writing about Vermont’s happenings and attractions. I wanted to allow some time for the people, businesses, and roads to heal from the unexpected and in some cases overwhelming destruction. And just about all my favorite destinations and roads were hit pretty hard and I felt it was best to just stay out of the way until things had a chance to mend. Well tremendous progress has been made the past few months so I have begun to revisit my favorite places and resum my deeper exploration of this interesting and beautiful state.

Most of you probably know that Vermont is renowned for its fine arts & craft population. Scattered about the state are thousands of artists and craftspeople who make their living from their handiwork. And throughout the year various regional Vermont craft associations sponsor a “craft tour” weekend. What this means is that you visit a region where you can drive from artist studio to studio. And one of the more famous ones is coming up soon! Thirty two years in the running, the Putney Area Craft Tour will host their open studio event during Thanksgiving weekend from November 25 – 27. Putney has a great concentration of fine artisans so here is your chance to visit 27 working studios, meet the artisans and see where and how these unique craft objects and fine art are created. You name it and you will find it here, from all art mediums, to jewelry, textiles, wood & metal works, and of course pottery and glass blowing. You can preview the artisans work and plan your visit at the Putney Crafts Tour website. Here you will find a tour map as well as information on places to eat and stay. And it’s timed just right so that perhaps you can make this part of your American Made holiday shopping experience. Sounds more fun then the typical “mall madness trip” experience, doesn’t it? Hope you can make it!

Vermont Woods Studios Furniture

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Middlebury-solar-decathalon-results The 2011 Solar Decathalon final judging results are in and Vermont's own Middlebury College Team came in Fourth overall in a world-class line up of contestants. 

Congratulations from all of us at Vermont Woods Studios!

The team cam in FIRST place in the areas of Communications, Home Entertainment, and Market Appeal.  Learn more about the brilliant, hardworking students who made it happen.

The sustainable, energy-efficient home Middlebury students designed and built was filled with Vermont made furniture and accessories, including the Cherry Moon Dovetail Bed we donated.  Great job guys!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

By Dennis Shanoff

Here at Vermont Woods Studios, we have always (and only) sold 100% USA made wood furniture. Vermont made furniture to be more precise.  And the reasons this matters are many and compelling. Let’s start with superb, lasting quality and built from a natural and sustainable material. Well that’s good for your wallet and very good for the planet. And when you factor in the US jobs it creates and the local economies it helps support, well to me that’s when it becomes very compelling. Our product and service choices really do matter and can make a difference.

This past year ABC news ran some Made in America feature stories. You may have seen all or part of these week long series specials on the nightly news. They did a great job of raising awareness of how little we have in our homes that was produced in this country. And the obvious “reason this matters” drawn from these segments was how it has impacted the US economy and our jobs market.

So it did get me thinking that maybe I could shift at least some of my buying to US made goods (as challenging as that sounds).  I would do my part plus I certainly have been experiencing some quality issues with my offshore made products, especially tools. Why is my father’s power drill from the 1950’s still working while I am on at least my 5th one!

And my next thought was that I couldn’t be alone in this thinking and that sooner or later a “Buy American” movement would begin. If ABC news couldn’t push this movement, no one can! Well the whole ABC coverage did inspire and encourage me to think more about this and ponder what a small movement with “spreading potential” could do? When could we make a really big difference? How about the time of year when we really ramp up our spending? What would be an easy to adopt theme? And then it hit me, holiday shopping is right around the corner. How many Secret Santa office parties will there be? How many school children will be partaking in a holiday gift exchange? And how many families and friends will be having an old fashion Yankee Swap! So why not an American Made theme holiday gift party this year? And that’s just what we are going to do here in our Vermont Woods Studios office and that’s what I am going to do when it comes to my family and friend gift buying.

In the coming weeks I will be posting on this blog the results of my findings and ideas. So if you are curious as to what I find or if you want to share your thoughts or findings please come back and post your comments here (or even better– on our Facebook page).

Now imagine if a million holiday gatherings follow this Buy American theme this season… well that will really matter!  Join us and pledge to Buy American this holiday season.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

By Dennis Shanoff

Vt-wood-chairs Vermont Woods Studios has been showcasing Vermont’s finest wood furniture for over 5 years now. And as word of the Vermont furniture style and superb Vermont craftsmanship spreads outside the northeast we find ourselves hearing more and more lately from distant interior design and architectural firms.

A few months ago we were contacted by Susan Jay Design, a Los Angeles, CA based interior designer and space planning firm. For this particular client project Susan was looking for some modern and unique solid wood dining chairs and our Modern High Back Chairs caught her eye.  Susan had an interesting vision for these chairs. She wanted both light and dark wood colors and the seats would be upholstered with a custom bold pattern fabric. The contrasted toned chairs would be alternated around the large rectangular dining table. After reviewing some wood samples we sent, Susan chose to have a half dozen chairs crafted in natural cherry and another half dozen to be finished with a custom walnut stain. She then supplied us with the fabric for the seats and our craftsman went to work. Susan was gracious enough to share a photo with us. We think it looks stunning and are happy to report that both designer and client are very happy with the finished product!

Vermont Woods Studios is happy to work with design firms; we offer a 20% discount to the trade. Any design trade professionals interested in working with us can learn more by visiting our Designer Corner or by calling 1-888-390-5571.  We look forward to working with you and helping you and your client achieve their vision!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

By Dennis Shanoff

DSCN3983 Earlier this month I wrote a post regarding Middlebury College’s participation in a solar powered home design, build competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy. Well the Middlebury College team recently put the finishing touches on their energy efficient entry and celebrated the event with a housewarming this week. This was a great opportunity for friends, family, fans, and supporters to get an up close look at the team’s solar home before it has to be dismantled and shipped down to Washington, DC for the 2011 Solar Decathlon Event.

 

As a project supporter, we at Vermont Woods Studios were anxious not only to see the students hard work, but how the bed we contributed for the master bedroom fit in. So I made the scenic trek up to the Middlebury campus to attend the housewarming to get a firsthand look. And with a “finished” square footage competition maximum of only 1000 SF I was definitely curious to see how the design team would handle the layout. (especially as it was designed for a family of four) What I found was really efficient use of space in an open, yet still cozy arrangement. The interior had a very modern, clean and upscale look.

 

DSCN3980 So we at Vermont Woods Studios certainly felt privileged to be chosen to provide the centerpiece of the master bedroom. And the cherry moon platform bed looked fantastic in the room and worked perfect in the space. The team had us craft the bed in natural maple and its color and it’s strong yet simple design absolutely fit in with the light color and airy feeling of the home. Spend some time in this home and one may just start to rethink the need for larger homes. (and larger energy expenses!)

 

The next step for the team is to get the house down to the National Malls West Potomac Park in Washington DC for the September 23 through October 2 event. The event is free so if you are in the area I think you will find this to be a very interesting and educational event. We think the Middlebury team has a really good chance so stay tuned and we will let you know how they make out! Go Middlebury SD!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.