Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

Author: Liz Francese

Liz Francese

Liz works as a customer service representative and part-time office DJ. If she isn't at the gym (which is more often than you might think) she is indulging in the culinary arts, practicing her moves at local music events or hunting for records and cassette tapes with her boyfriend. Liz is also an avid reader, mediocre knitter and holds a B.A. in English with a focus on Writing.

Posts by Liz

The Most Stylish Way to Hide your TV: Our Retractable Pop-Up TV Media Center

March 31st, 2014 by Liz Francese

Do you dislike having your television as the centerpiece of your living room? If so, we’ve got a solution for you!

Retractable Pop Up TV

 Presenting the coolest piece of furniture you have ever seen.  No, it is not an ejection seat on a Bond-mobile or bed that rocks you to sleep, but, I can assure you, it is both stealthy and pleasurable.  I’m talking about our Retractable Pop-Up TV Media Center… the easiest and most stylish way to hide your TV.

Retractable Pop-Up TV Media Center 85" - CLEARANCE


Attach a Flat Screen TV up to 42″W to the hardware inside the media center and, with the click of a button, watch it rise of the entertainment center when you want to watch TV and then slowly descend back into it when you’re done! This now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t inspired media center features 85″ of pure media storage space or, for the smaller home, is also available as a 44″wide cabinet or bookshelf.  In Cherry, Maple, Oak or Walnut, this unit is slick enough for any man-cave and classic enough for the most traditional home.

If you’re not in the neighborhood or unavailable to see, touch and smell (if that’s your thing) the piece yourself, take a look at this exciting video which expertly captures the Retractable Pop-Up TV Media Center’s allure:




Sink Into a Quilted Rocking Chair

February 26th, 2014 by Liz Francese

Visitors to our new showroom often remark how wonderful it must be to come here every day for work. The beautiful views and hiking trails paired with the cozy interior and friendly faces of the VWS staff are true tonics for the hard work we grind on from nine to five.  And let’s not forget how nice it is to gather by the stove after work, open a bottle of wine and sink into a Custom Quilted Vermont Rocking Chair.

Ahh… the quilted rocker.

Handmade Vermont Rocking Chair

The understated simplicity of design only makes this rocking chair more ingenious.  Everyone from new mothers to grandfathers can appreciate the comfort of a rocking chair from time to time, but these handmade rockers are undoubtedly the best seat in the house. The wood panels comprising the back and seat are held together with a durable, yet flexible, rope which enables them to conform to the user’s body.  The feeling is more akin to a cloud than a piece of wood.

Quilted Walnut Rocking Chair

Quilted Rocking Chair in Black Walnut

The quilted rockers are a main attraction in the Vermont Woods Studios showroom—this is mainly because our sales staff can’t help but direct visitors to them.  Whether coming to look at beds or explore the forestry at Stonehurst, a visitor is almost always stopped and asked, “Have you sat in our quilted rocking chairs?”.  A picture of the Vermont-made rocking chair or simply admiring it in person does not convey the associated experience.  We even created this video in hopes of bringing our distant viewers a bit closer to the real thing:

The rocker comes in several lovely woods—Cherry, Oak, Birdseye Maple and Walnut—and in two different sizes.  Whatever the look, there is no more unique or comfortable rocking chair out there.


| 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. |



5 Out of the Ordinary Gift Ideas for Newlyweds

January 13th, 2014 by Liz Francese


The invitations are in the mail, the bridal expo is just around the corner and this Valentines day will undoubtedly turn out plenty of men on one knee.   What does all this mean?  It’s almost wedding season and as, I have finally reached that gag-inspiring time in life when all of my peers are getting married, it’s time to do my part.  As much as I balk at the developments taking place between my peers (“she’s marrying WHO?!”), I have to relent and rejoice for those I care about outside of the Facebook.  Though each marriage is original, the wedding registry can be a pretty apathetic affair.  So, if you’re looking to order off the registry for once or if you have some special newlyweds in your life with birthdays or housewarmings coming up, here are five, off-the-registry, gift ideas.


Out of respect for the gift-givers, most wedding registries are limited to the essentials-yes, a stand mixer is essential-with the mildest bit of unique taste.  Beyond the color of that essential stand mixer and the pattern on their bed linens, there is little room for the soon to be completely broke newlyweds to foster their personalities.  Gifting a piece of art can not only lighten up a home but draw the newlywed’s attention away from that vacuum cleaner that cost more than its inevitable use.

If you feel uncomfortable picking out décor for someone else’s home, a simple chalkboard can allow the receiver to decorate any way they please.  Or, if you have a particularly gifted recipient, a gift card to their local craft store may be the most welcome (and needed) gift for a bare-walled home.


Perhaps this item is just forgotten when signing up for a registry, but it seems highly unlikely newlyweds will have an affordable handy-man on speed dial for every household malfunction.  Even if the Mr. is a fairly handy man himself, he may still benefit from some new tools or replacement parts.  If you’re not sure where to start, features a page completely dedicated to tools made in the USA.


I was impressed when my sister requested a tent on her registry – not only because I knew her fiancé had changed her from a spider-fearing princess to a rugged camp mom, but because it was out of the ordinary.  Thankfully the family of her now husband had respect for the request because my mother certainly wasn’t eager to contribute to another generally expensive, photography/scuba diving/architecture/floral art -esque hobby she might drop one day.  Either way, it is nice to think of the utility behind a present and it’s longevity of use.

Other inventive outdoor gifts could be an outdoor bench (or other outdoor furniture), a bird house or a fire pit.

Outdoor Bench

An outdoor bench is a great addition to a newlyweds first home!

Miscellaneous Kitchen Supplies

The bride may have thought those flower printed, coral plates were going to match everything from her curtains to her shoes but now they’re the only thing she has in that suddenly wretched color.  In kitchens new and old, things may never quite match but having a few out of the ordinary pieces to love can make it all come together.

Vermont Woods Studios features an array of unique kitchen items made in Vermont.  The Cricket Table Riser or a lazy susan (in slate or hickory) will come in handy for their first housewarming. A unique wine or pot rack is also desirable but will likely be put on the “after we pay our mortgage” list or purchases.



The Cricket Table riser is as functional as it is fashionable


Give the gift of a night on the town!  Tickets to the theater, a movie or a concert could be just what the doctor ordered for the cash-strapped, home-confined couple.  Better yet, offer them a new experience by gifting a day pass to a rock climbing gym or a local motor coach tour.

Whatever you decide to give, these unique ideas can be both personable and purposeful!


Making Time for Family this Holiday

December 22nd, 2013 by Liz Francese

My grandma occasionally calls me indecent names when I forget to call or miss a family get-together.  The berating is really a gesture of love (like when she noticed my jeans started fitting a bit tight and she slid the store-bought cookies in my direction) and it really just means she wants me around more often.   I don’t miss these occasions out of preference for hanging out with my mean cat, but the three hour commute from Vermont to Rhode Island often deters my ability to swing by on a moment’s notice.

As our family grows larger it is more and more difficult to track down every member for my once in a blue moon trips to the Ocean State.  During the holiday season, I can sometimes feel like I’m missing out or even experience a bit of guilt when I miss a get-together.  This year, however, I’ve found new ways to connect and enjoy my family;  I hope others can use these resources to connect with theirs as well!


Christmas Cards

First on my agenda this year was getting my new address out to everyone, either directly or by reporting it to the family bulletin board… aka Mom.  This way I can be sure to receive photos and cards in the mail.  Then, as my co-workers pass by and admire the dimple-dotted cheeks of my nephews and nieces, I can quietly brag about how inevitably cute my future offspring will be.

Christmas Card

Christmas cards with little kids are the best… pets work too!

I only hung my lights this past week so I can’t honestly say I am sending out cards this year.  Besides, without kids, who really cares to see my mug on the front of a cutesie shutterfly Christmas card?  In all seriousness though, this will certainly be first on my list next year-with or without little feetsie-toed babes.

iPhone Photo Library

My brother also has a telecommuting relationship with my family and, given my grandma’s warm embrace of his every visit, it’s pretty obvious he is better at keeping up with the fam’ than I am.  This year, as he adopted his first iPhone, he found yet another way to reinforce the bond: a shared photo library.  From the erecting of my parent’s Christmas tree to Gingerbread house decorating and cookie baking, we have shared Christmas moments across distances.  We can even send comments and “like” each other’s photos; it’s like a themed, personalized Facebook without all of the ads or other “friends” peering in.

My brother and sister have a photo conversation using photo stream


This old, by tech standards, tool works great for those spreading themselves a bit thin this holiday season.  After all, each family has at least two sides and when the kids get older, it is common they start dividing their holiday time among their newly formed families.  Skype is also great for those with loved ones serving with the military abroad, or working that indecently long yet eloquently paid Christmas shift at the hospital.

Is Skype a bit much for you?  Shoot a quick video on your phone or, better yet, give your relatives a call.  If you’re lucky, you’ll be put on speaker phone so you can talk to  everyone at once.


Eventually, you’ve just got to go visit.  Whether or not you can make it on the big day, coming for a short stay in recognition of the holidays is just as valid.  If you want to take it a step further, invite everyone to your little visit, like my brother Frank did by hosting Franksgiving.  When he knew he would be spending Thanksgiving with his significant other’s parents, he created a whole holiday for himself.  The shindig turned into an opportunity for all of our loved ones, especially those with other Thanksgiving plans, to join us at the kitchen table.


Brayden Cookies

It’s always a good idea to stop, if only to sample the holiday cookies!



Inquiry of the Week: Copper Tops

April 5th, 2013 by Liz Francese

Buffet and Hutch

Rustic Reclaimed Barnwood Buffet with Copper Top and Hutch

It is our hope when the Googlers of the world click happen upon our site they see more than just photos of fine furniture but all of the possibilities in our product.  Try and take a pair of scissors to a shirt off the rack at the mall and you’ll see the fastest ever Segway dismount by a security guard in known history. At Vermont Woods Studios, come in with your scissors and scrapbooking supplies- we take to herding the flocks of creativity that come our way and we hope it is apparent at first glance.

Jay from Massachusetts picked up the hint we were dropping when he first made contact with us.  His dream piece began with an unusual material- copper.  Unusual, that is, if you were dealing with any other fine wood furniture retailers.  Fortunately for Jay, we knew just the guy to make his dreams come true.

One of our artisans, Mitch, has been hammering the stuff (copper) onto table tops, coffee tables, buffets, you name it, and was even open to slapping some on a  side table.  The specifications were simple: tapered legs, 24″ round and a sage green painted base.


Sidetable with Copper Top

From the first schematic to the end product, Mitch works flawlessly.  You would’ve thought he was meant to be Jay’s fairy godmother the way he turned this little pumpkin of an idea into a side table with the grandeur of a royal chariot.

And Jay isn’t the only one bestowed with Mitch’s high end custom work.  Anne in VT was captivated by his reclaimed barnwood  masterpieces featured on our artisan page and thought ‘media center’.  What a better way to merge the history instilled in the wood with the modernity of contemporary life.

Custom Media Console with Copper Top and Reclaimed Barnwood

With extreme precision, Anne placed her custom order.  Crafting it- no sweat.  So, give us a shot- what custom furniture can you dream up?


Customer Photos

March 25th, 2013 by Liz Francese

Recently my fellow office inhabitant, Sean Henry, began spear-heading our mission to obtain more customer photos or ‘real life’ images of our furniture.  His unbroken concentration certainly lends much, sometimes unnecessary, dedication to his projects- so, as the more vocally inclined, I’ve taken it upon myself to help spread the word via VWS blog.  This word is not just a want for more customer photos but the undying effort of our sales team to obtain these images.

Why customer photos?  Well, the long and short of it is best told visually.  This is a bedroom set:

Cherry Moon Bedroom Set

Cherry Moon Bedroom Set

And this is a bedroom set:

Cherry Moon Bedroom Set- Customer Photo

Cherry Moon Bedroom Set- Customer Photo

Which do you want more?  And it isn’t even just the marketing power behind these inviting images but more the representational power of them.  These handcrafted works of art are meant to please your eye and provide restful sleep or feed your family or hold your cable box- they’re meant for your home!

Fresh eyed and bushy tailed, Sean joined our crew only a few months ago, eager to make his mark and share his ideas (or “i-dears”, as he calls them).  Though he’s tossed quite a few light bulbs around, it is really his re-kindling of the long forgotten ‘obtain customer photos’ mission that’s become his baby.  Our white glove delivery crew might have barely made it out the door before the proud new furniture owner receives an email from Sean, adorned with this thoughtfully designed marquee:

Customer Photos

So, if you’re a perspective buyer or just a handmade furniture fan- take a look at our customer photos album on Facebook or the Testimonials page on our website.  If you already own a piece of Vermont Woods Studios furniture, well heck- we’d love to see it!  Do it for Sean, at least.


Inquiry of the Week | Mom’s New Coffee Table

March 9th, 2013 by Liz Francese

One can only assume when I popped out, kid number 5, over 22 years ago, my mother rationalized, “That’s probably enough- one of them will keep me out of a nursing home.”  Well, the results aren’t in for that prospect yet (the sanity clock miraculously ticks on), though she does occasionally reap the benefits of breeding an army.  One of them- awesome Christmas presents.  When we get our pockets together, the Francese kids can really rev up the opportunity to give back; this Christmas, Mom was blessed with a new coffee table.

Mom’s New Coffee Table

A second-hand store enthusiast, Mom has an eclectic array of furnishings sprinkled through out her home.  When it came to designing this beauty, she had a few goals in mind.  First it had to match a very unique, sofa-table-esque piece she must have found at the corner of Lost and Forgotten.  Of course, the sofa-table thing undeniably brings the room together but it is a one of a kind in terms of build and style. Second, it had to be large enough for five grandchildren to simultaneously play, color and read.  Third, it had to withstand the sticky, smearing, careless hands of those same five grandchildren (with the inevitability of more to come).

Mom’s Small Army

We threw all that into the Vermont Woods Studios custom furniture crock pot and, in due time, served the beauty now resting front and center in the family room.  The top is a natural Cherry with a rustic finish to match the antiquated look Mom loves so much.  The base is Maple, painted black.  I chose Maple for its durability and light color.  Overtime, the Cherry will darken and serve a smooth transition from bottom to top.  And finally the finish-a non-toxic, kid friendly and kid resistant, lacquer.

Mom is thrilled with her new coffee table and the results her small army is yielding. And next year?  Her outdoor coffee table won’t last for long- why not some Polywood furniture that will last a lifetime!


Christmas 2013?


Inquiry of the Week | TV Media Unit

January 23rd, 2013 by Liz Francese

Catalina Walnut TV & Media Wall Unit

Pieces like Copeland’s Catalina Walnut TV & Media Wall Unit make me think two things: how cool and when would anyone ever need that.  Well the point is, you don’t need a TV Media Unit. Heck, you don’t even need a TV- any one can just grab a pencil and paper and scrawl away listening to the nearest radio frequency for entertainment.  But even coming from a girl who enjoys spinning a vinyl on a Sunday morning- I want that TV and I want it on that entertainment unit.

Apparently another woman had the same thought this week- which is what brought my attention here in the first place.  She loved the piece but… well there were a few changes she wanted to see.

Truth is, at Vermont Woods Studios what you see is not all you can get.  With a  combination of her vision, my knowledge of the Vermont Woods Studios inventory (not to mention, incredible talent with a Sharpie) and the expertise of our craftsman- Viola!  Mary Shelley herself couldn’t have concocted a better recipe.
Maybe it is a bit strong to suggest we ‘Frankenstein-ed’ the piece together- it comes a bit more gracefully than that- but the idea was essentially inspired from what the numerous Vermont craftsmen we  work with do every day.

Left to right, top row: New England Shaker Large Entertainment Center- Wall Unit, Vermont Made Shaker Entertainment Center 40″, New England Shaker Corner Entertainment Center #2  Bottom row: New England Shaker Media Center 57″, Retractable Pop-up TV Media Center 85″, Modern Shaker Bi-Fold Door Media Center

Combination pieces, like our TV Media Units, might be a bit of luxury but they’re well worth it.  Along with offering organization (especially for those pesky AV wires and extra remotes), they are beautiful works of art with the added bonus of the purpose they serve (who wants to watch TV on the floor?).  Better yet, they can be crafted to match your own artistic vision.  If this post has inspired you to dream up your perfect media unit- give us a call! We’d be happy to help make that dream a reality.





Shipping It Out

January 3rd, 2013 by Liz Francese

Maybe the best things in life aren’t free…

Usually when we see the word ‘Free’ it is associated with a couch that belonged to someone’s great aunt and is now sitting on the curb in your neighborhood hosting exposed springs and splintered upholstery.  As a result of this common association, we’re apt to raise a skeptical eyebrow at the word.  Is anything really free?  Sure, you can take the couch at no cost, but you’ll be paying for the tetanus infection later.

Rest assured, there is one place where you can trust ‘Free’, and that’s right here at Vermont Woods Studios.  Our free shipping guarantee is applicable to most locations in the lower 48 states- that means you too, California!  And just because it is free does not mean it’s cheap!  Nay, we only trust our furniture to ship with the best.   Shipping companies and types  will vary with individual customer orders and needs as we see fit, guaranteeing the best shipping match for you and your furniture.

White Glove Delivery

Our cream of the crop delivery service comes wrapped in a blanket and delivered by our go-to shipping guys- Clark & Reid.  These guys know furniture- how to carry it, how to assemble it- and they do it with finesse and professionalism.  For local deliveries, however, Vermont’s own Green Mountain Messenger may be the ones at the door boasting the amicable attitude that comes standard with a Vermonter.

Another noteworthy white glove shipper we place our faith in is Manna Distribution Services- another good name for them would be Road Runner (we hear that’s taken though).   With them, the furniture may not come blanket wrapped but it will be there fast!

Threshold Delivery

For smaller orders, like a single coffee table or nightstand, or orders from our Copeland line, our standard shipping treatment is threshold delivery.  It means exactly what it sounds like- it is delivered right to the threshold of your home.  This is usually done by the popular shipping guys like UPS or FedEx, though we use a few others for larger pieces.  Occasionally we have a real do-it-yourself customers who insist on this sort of delivery, so they can put their new furniture together themselves.

Far Out Shipping

As I said above, free shipping only qualifies to most places in the U.S but those really determined to get a piece of the Vermont Woods Studios pie are more than welcome to contact us about shipping.  We’ve successfully shipped to Hawaii, Alaska and Canada and we’re even in the process of sending a Dana Thomas Grand Extension Dining Table to Kuwait!



Behind the Veil: The Order Processing Process

December 21st, 2012 by Liz Francese

order processingAside from a few harmless office pranks, helping customers is the fun part of our job.  The moment your order is sent in, however, the real work begins: order processing.

 Step One: Translate the Order

Your order is first taken in by Heather and Douglas- these two practiced order processors translate your ‘language heavy’ Order Notification into a series of short phrased descriptions and codes.  These descriptions and codes are written in forms unique to each of our craftsmen.

Step Two: Peer Checking

As the orders are pending review by the craftsmen, they undergo peer checking by Sean. With the eye of a hawk, Sean compares each document  (order notification, invoice, purchase order) associated with your order.  Sean’s trained mind can decipher the differing languages in these documents and assure they all are saying the same thing.

Step Three: Correspondence with Craftsmen

The craftsman eventually replies in the form of a Sale Order- which Heather then scrutinizes one last time before assuring all documentation is accurate and crafting is a GO.  All the while Douglas (our supervisor) plays a few rounds of Snood and grunts his disapproval of our work.

Step Four: Post Processing Party

We don’t actually have a party after each order but we do have a good time all the while.  This holiday season has been a real test to our team’s order processing skills.  The large influx of giving spirit has put Vermont Woods Studios sales above our goals. In return, we’d like to give a little back.  If you’re looking for a belated Christmas gift or just want to finally get something for yourself after all your holiday shopping, check out our Winter Holiday Sale and save up to 20% off.