About 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.

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:



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.


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, AmericansWorking.com 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!

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.

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!


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.

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?

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.

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.

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.