November 14th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
About three weeks ago, we held a one day sale for the Bonnyvale Environmental Educational Center. BEEC is a member-based non profit organization founded in 1991 with the mission to develop a more ecologically informed citizenry through education and action in order to enhance and sustain the vitality of southern Vermont’s bioregion. BEEC organizes and leads many community-based environmental research and conservation programs, including watershed stewardship, reptile and amphibian conservation initiatives, and biodiversity planning and protection.
Last Friday, Manjula and I traveled to BEEC to meet with Patti Smith and Belle Coles, two of BEEC’s amazing staff, to share the details of our sale and present them with a check for $800. They revealed to us that this money will go towards future wildlife rehabilitation efforts that they have been working on. BEEC is currently looking at the feasibility of being a hub for wildlife rehabilitation activities in Southern Vermont. If you would like to learn more about how you can help with their efforts, take their wildlife rehabilitation survey.
Part of our mission is to be involved with local non profit organizations, like BEEC, that support sustainable forestry projects. Vermont Woods Studios was founded to help protect trees and forests around the world, so we take our community service very seriously. We are proud to have been able to support such a great organization and we look forward to working with them again in the very near future!
Follow our blog to learn about how non profit organizations like BEEC fit in to our mission and how Vermont Woods Studios remains active and engaged in our community. You can also check out our Facebook to see other ways that we support local businesses and organizations.
November 6th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
It’s a fact that nothing classes up your home like an indoor plant or vase of fresh flowers. I’m not the tidiest person in the world, but I swear when I pick up a bunch of cut flowers at the farmers market on Saturdays, it makes my apartment look 10 times more neat. That may just be wishful thinking, but now that we’re in peak hay fever season and the changing of the climate is driving my allergies crazy, I’ve been looking for more reasons to add indoor plants to my apartment besides just for their beauty. Plants look great but have you ever thought of the health benefits behind adding greenery to your space? Here’s five reasons why houseplants are good for your heart, soul and decor:
Plants Make You Smarter! Studies show that plants have psychological and restorative effects that can lower tension and boost productivity and concentration. A new study by Texas researchers has linked these effects to college students and how plants can help to enhance performance in the classroom. Now if only they could link indoor plants to getting the motivation to actually DO your work, then we’d be in business!
Plants Help You Breathe Easier! Everyone knows that our bodies function by taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Plants are neat to have around because they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This win-win situation makes indoor plants the best roommates! Adding plants to your bedroom, especially orchids and succulents, can refresh the air at night and leave you sleeping easier.
Plants Increase Your Health! I found this really cool infograph that shows how plants have been found to help hospital patients get better faster and even aid in reducing stress related ailments for employees. Now I see why Peggy likes to keep plants at the office. No sick days for us!
Plants Can Help You Look Better! Well, this one is a little bit of a stretch, but plants have been found to improve skin tone. First, indoor plants make great little humidifiers. During the respiration process, they release moisture which can save you from dry skin during the winter months. Plants also relieve stress, which is a known factor in many skin ailments like breakouts, hives and blotches. Having plants around may just be the thing you need for a brighter complexion!
Plants Will Purify Your Air! If you’re one of our customers, then you already know that our furniture contains little to no VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). Unfortunately, if you are still purchasing products and furniture that contain VOC’s, then the air in your home might be making you sick. Plants help to remove 87% of VOC’s in the air every 24 hours!
What Kind and How Many? My favorite indoor plants are the ones that are the least likely to die if I forget about them for a day. Spider plants are very easy to maintain, have numerous health benefits and they look great, which makes them my first choice. Boston ferns, snake plants, english ivy and jade plants round out my top five. It is suggested that for optimal health benefits to place one large plant (6+ inch pots) or two smaller plants (4-5 inch pots) every 100 square feet. That comes to about 10-20 houseplants depending on if you’re in an apartment or house. Try to place the plants in areas where you go to work or relax.
These benefits plus the fact that plants make your home look brighter and feel more inviting mean that you have no reason not to add houseplants to your green interior decorating scheme. Go one step greener and pick up a non-toxic, eco-friendly Dana Thomas Plant Stand from our online store. Made with a low-VOC, water-based finish, our plant stand is perfect for holding your air cleansing plants and adding style to your space at the same time.
Tell us about how you decorate your space with plants in the comments below or on our Facebook page!
November 4th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
Just over a year ago, Hurricane Irene tore through Vermont leaving much of the state flooded, damaged and powerless. Many Vermonters lost their homes, their belongings or their loved ones because of the storm. Luckily, our neighboring states pitched in and offered disaster recovery assistance on the ground, collected supplies and supported us with monetary donations. While damages from Irene can still be seen across the state, we’re much stronger thanks to the help we received from our fellow New Englanders and Northeastern states.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Vermont was luckily spared minus a few thousand power outages, which is nothing compared to the devastation found in other Northeastern states. With over 8 million without power, as much as $50 billion in damages, over 3 feet of snow, and a death toll of 80 and rising, Superstorm Sandy is the costliest Hurricane to hit the Northeastern states in history. Many coastal communities are still underwater and much of the area is in the dark.
As Vermonters, it’s time to pay it forward and help out those who helped us during dark times. Vermont Woods Studios is shocked by the photos and stories that are popping up all over the news and we’ve been scouring the web looking for opportunities to lend a hand. It’s still very early to assess what kind of assistance is needed, but here’s a list of helpful links that have some great information on what you can do.
When a disaster like this happens, especially one so close to home, our first response is usually to jump in and lend a hand on the ground or bring supplies to those in need. Right now, many areas are still in disaster mode coming out of this storm. Emergency crews are working tirelessly to help those in danger. If those areas were flooded with inexperienced volunteers or with mass amounts of unnecessary supplies, it would make the jobs of rescue workers even more difficult. Until the major areas affected are in recovery mode, there is not much that the rest of us can do except donate what money we can and send thoughts and words of support.
Vermont Woods Studios expresses our condolences to families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Since we have customers and employees with families in those regions, we feel a special need to offer our help and support. While we have not organized anything yet, we are currently looking for ways to volunteer or raise money to support the victims of the storm. Keep an eye on our blog as we update with new resource links as they become available and opportunities for you to give back.
October 31st, 2012 by Loryn Dion
With our fall dining sale just around the corner, I figured what better time to talk about dining tables! We have all of these shapes and sizes, but how does that apply to your dining space? What will look best in your room and will you be able to accommodate the right amount of guests? I’ll admit, it can get a little confusing trying to guess what kind of table is best for your situation. Hopefully this post can help to remove some of the mystery about what you’re getting when you order one of our fine, hardwood dining tables.
Rectangular Dining Tables
Rectangle tables are the most common dining table shape since they are ideal for accommodating large numbers of people for dinner parties and fit best in most dining rooms. Whether choosing a solid top or extension rectangle table, you’re sure to always have space for that extra guest. My favorite rectangle dining table would be the Sarah Shaker Trestle table. I love the curved leg work and simple shaker style, plus the added benefit of it being an extension table.
Square Dining Tables
Square tables create a more intimate dining experience. Perfect for small dining rooms or eat-in kitchens, a square table allows you room to entertain small dinners and conserve much needed space. My pick for a square table is our Catalina 40×40 Solid Top Dining Table. It’s elegant, simple and looks great in walnut wood. What more do you need?
Round Dining Tables
Round tables are also great for small spaces or modest dining rooms. Round tables are my favorite option for entertaining guests. A round table allows everyone to sit comfortably and also maintain eye contact with other guests. I would pick our Vermont-made Shaker Custom Round Table. It has an extension option, it is simple and durable and comes discounted in our Vermont Shaker Cherry Round Dining Set!
Oval Dining Tables
An oval table incorporates the best parts of a rectangle and round table. You can still accommodate large groups, like that of a rectangle table, while saving space with the rounded corners. An oval table can also be created by opting for a round extension table, which gives you the most versatility. I choose the Vermont Modern Wave Table. It can be dressed up or dressed down, but no matter what, it always looks classy and is sure to be a conversation piece.
One factor that all of our table shapes have in common is that they are completely green and made from sustainably harvested hardwoods. No matter what dining table shape you choose, you want it to last a lifetime and here at Vermont Woods Studios, we promise just that.
So there you have it! Our four traditional dining shapes, broken down and analyzed so you can find the perfect one for you. In addition to these, you can also find boat shape tables, live edge slab tables and glass top tables on our site, so be sure to check out all of your options before purchasing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our sales team and have Liz, Heather or Douglas work with you on dimensions and help you build your dream dining room.
Let us know in the comments what table shape works best for you and how it’s helped to bring your friends and family together.
October 25th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
Here at Vermont Woods Studios, we enjoy getting out of the office from time to time to work with our neighbors on good causes that help the community. We are involved with many nonprofit organizations to lend our support for projects promoting sustainable forestry and the protection of endangered forest species. One of those organizations is the Bonnyvale Environmental Educational Center (BEEC). That’s why we are holding a BEEC Benefit Sale this Friday, October 26th.
BEEC is a member-based non-profit organization founded in 1991 with the mission to develop a more ecologically informed citizenry through education and action in order to enhance and sustain the vitality of southern Vermont’s bioregion. BEEC organizes and leads many community-based environmental research and conservation programs, including watershed stewardship, reptile and amphibian conservation initiatives, and biodiversity planning and protection.
Patti Smith, Director of Conservation Initiatives and Public Programs for BEEC, organizes volunteers to brave cold, rainy nights every Spring in a passionate effort to protect, preserve and guide Vermont amphibians as they cross busy roads on their annual migration. In honor of her efforts, we named our Smith Natural Vermont Furniture Collection after her.
For tomorrow only, 10% of our overall sales will go to benefit the programs of the Bonnyvale Environmental Educational Center. By purchasing any of our handcrafted bedroom, dining room, living room and home office furniture, you will help to secure the future of BEEC initiatives for years to come. You can also rest assured that all of the furniture pieces you buy from us are crafted from sustainably harvested hardwoods right here in Vermont. We’ll even make the deal better by offering you our lifetime guarantee and free shipping.
Don’t forget, our American-made Bedroom Furniture Sale is still going on. Save up to 20% on all beds, nightstands, dressers, chests, armoires and mirrors. Buy as an American-made bedroom set and save even more. Or you can save big on our Patti Smith Natural Collection and support one of our favorite Vermont naturalists.
October 23rd, 2012 by Loryn Dion
I have a small confession to make. I, Loryn Dion, am a Pinterest addict. Every time I have a spare minute, I find myself flipping through DIY projects and cooking recipes on my laptop, Kindle, cell phone and even on my TV. It’s a very big problem. One of my favorite ideas that I’ve seen pop up on Pinterest in the last few weeks, and you’ve probably seen it too if you’re an avid Pinterest user like me, is the DIY closet office.
Basically, the closet office is exactly what it sounds like. For modest homes that do not have the luxury of having a separate room for an office, you take a large closet or nook space, outfit it with a desk, chair, filing cabinet and a plethora of shelves and organizers, a little paint and voila! A secret office space that can be closed up when you’re done.
There are a few versions of the office that link to pages telling you about chairs and desks from Ikea or Pottery Barn that would fit perfectly in your spare closet. While it may be true that these pieces will fit in your closet now, in 5-10 years you’re going to be tossing out that “disposable” desk to replace it with a new “disposable” desk that will just fall apart in another 5 years. Plus, these pieces are no friends to the environment. So I’m here to tell you that you can get that dream closet office space with our lifetime guaranteed, eco-friendly, office furniture.
First, I suggest starting with our Cherry Moon Writing Desk. I think it has a nice mission-flair that works well with many styles and has a unique, two-toned drawer pull option. This desk also comes in 5 different sizes to fit whatever shape your closet space is. Also check out our Vermont-Made Shaker Writing Desk if you like these options but prefer a more traditional shaker style.
Next, pick up our Cherry Moon 2-Drawer Vertical File Cabinet for additional, under-desk storage (Or our Vermont Shaker 2 Drawer File Cabinet, if you like the shaker option). If you have the room, browse our customizable book shelves to find a bookcase that will fit in nicely with the style of your closet office.
Now, you can decorate how you’d like (If you’re choosing cherry wood, I would suggest earth tone colors. They look great with cherry wood no matter what age it is) and fill up your space with supplies and appliances (I love thegreenoffice.com. They have some great deals on office supplies that are green and energy efficient).
There you have it! A quick guide to an environmentally-friendly closet office. If you have a closet office or have some great ideas for one, tell us about it in the comments or show us your pictures on our facebook page!
October 16th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
This week in our green interior design column, we’re talking about nesting tables. Earlier this year, House and Home magazine listed nesting tables and other small accent tables as a “must-have” in their 2012 Decorating Trends issue. Not only are nesting tables trendy and unique, but they’re also great for homes with limited space. Nesting tables allow you the versatility of having three separate tables while only taking up the space of one. These tables would be great to bring out during parties as floating tables for drinks or even as a tray for food. The possibilities are endless with these magic tables.
Here at Vermont Woods Studios, you can find nesting tables that do their job as convenient space-savers and, as an added bonus, they are environmentally friendly and made right here in Vermont.
Our New England Shaker Nesting Tables are traditional and simple, designed to match any home decor. With clean lines and dovetail joinery, these tables are meant to be displayed. With your purchase, you’ll receive 3 nesting tables in your choice of cherry. maple, oak or walnut woods. I’ll also point out that with our current sale (ending today!), you’ll be able to save up to 20%*.
If you’re looking for more of a modern twist on nesting tables, check out our Copeland Coonley Nesting End Tables. With two sleek nesting tables crafted in natural cherry wood, you’ll add twice the luxury and class to any room. Part of Copelands Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, these tables embody the styling of the modern architect.
October 9th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
Interior design is not a new concept. For decades, people have been making a living by creating works of art with furniture and accessories as their palette and empty rooms as their canvas. It is probably not a surprise that fashioning the perfect design for the inside of your home is crucial to how you feel and react in your environment. Interior design is all about aesthetics. It’s about taking items that are visually appealing and combining them with your personality to create something unique and personal to you.
With consumers becoming more conscious about their impacts on our environment, it is no shock that people are starting to ask for green, eco-friendly furniture and building materials for their homes. Interior designers are capitalizing on this trend by offering environmentally friendly alternatives when creating a design for a client’s home. Now this begs the question, what exactly does sustainable interior design mean?
Basically, the difference between interior design and sustainable interior design is the difference between beauty and beliefs and how much they mean to you. Sustainable (or green) interior design can probably be broken down into 4 major components:
Air quality is very important to interior design. The biggest decision a designer has to make is choosing pieces that are free of chemicals that can make people sick or pollute our environment. This usually means watching out for volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can be found in paints, primers, glues, ink and cleaning products. Luckily, you can now buy furniture that uses glues and finishes that contain little or no VOC’s.
The area of energy saving interior design techniques is very broad. It can mean anything from choosing light bulbs that use less energy (like LED) to choosing products that are produced in America to reduce the energy it takes to ship them.
We’ve all heard some form of “The Three R’s”. Now-a-days it feels like there are many “r” words related to conservation. When it comes to green interior design, it is important to remember to recycle, re-purpose and reuse. Choose materials that have been recycled, like furniture made from recycled plastic. Remember that there are many products that are made by re-purposing old materials, like Reclaimed Barnwood Furniture. And always keep in mind things that can be used again before you toss them out.
When you purchase items without checking where they are sourced from, you risk supporting imported goods, rather than supporting the local American worker. Always research where your furniture and building materials come from and support American jobs and our local economy by buying American-made.
Creating a sustainable interior design concept doesn’t mean that you have to be 100% green, but you can make smart choices that will benefit the environment in the long run. You also don’t have to overhaul your entire home to start a green interior design. Make small changes around your home, like opting for new cleaning products or donating that department store furniture piece and trade it in for one made in America that has little to no VOC’s. These little changes will someday make a big difference.
If you are an interior designer, check out the discounts we can offer on our Vermont-made fine furniture.
September 15th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
In case you haven’t heard, this Saturday is International Coastal
Clean-up Day, organized by the Ocean Conservancy. This year marks their 27th
anniversary of celebrating this initiative and they don’t look to be slowing
down anytime soon. In 2011, almost 600,000 volunteers worldwide collected more
than 9 million pounds of trash from our oceanic ecosystems. These trash items,
such as cigarette butts, plastic bottles and bags and food wrappers, are
responsible for polluting our waters and endangering our wildlife.
Vermont Woods Studios makes every effort we can to support initiatives
like that of The Ocean Conservancy. In many areas of our company, you can find examples of how we support the preservation of our environment. We donate to local and national
environmental organizations, we “green-up” our office space and we even sell
Our Polywood Outdoor Furniture is the perfect addition to
any green home. Made from more than 90% post-consumer recycled containers like
milk or detergent bottles, these pieces are constructed using a process that
makes them look and feel like real wood. That’s right. Durable, beautiful
furniture that doesn’t harm our environment and actually helps to keep plastic
out of our oceans. How much better can you get?
Here in the office, we decorate our “beach” area with
Polywood and enjoy it all year long. We also have BIG plans for Polywood at our
new Stonehurst home. Because that’s the thing about Vermont Woods Studios:
While we are a fine, hardwood furniture company, VWS is built on sustainability
and on protecting our environment.
This weekend, make plans to do something to support our
oceans. Find a beach clean-up site near you, start or improve a recycling
resolution in your home or office, or relax in a luxurious Polywood Adirondack
Chair. However you choose to help, you’ll be glad you did!
Loryn Dion is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods Studios, an online furniture gallery which showcases Vermont's finest wood furniture. Follow our blog to learn about Vermont fine furniture, Vermont happenings, our mission, and our team.