November 17th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Perhaps the most rewarding part of our fine furniture business (or any business, I would imagine) is when a customer becomes a friend. This is a story about a friendship that developed between our staff and a family who lives in Alaska.
The truth is… the process of ordering handcrafted, made to order furniture is a (relatively) long one. Sometimes it takes 8 weeks or more for crafting a dining room set. After that shipping can take a couple additional weeks (depending on a customer’s distance from our workshops in Vermont) because “faster is not always better” when it comes to moving fine furniture.
So during this period we get to know our customers pretty well. We communicate back and forth regularly about our progress and about the schedule and logistics for delivery. Occasionally our conversations about logistics include personal details and once in a while this leads to a special friendship which develops unexpectedly. Such was the case with the family of Jeff F who recently sent us this kind note:
We recently purchased a dining room table and chairs from Vermont Woods Studios. We looked around before we made our selection, both online and in local stores. Although we had not made a purchase previously from Vermont Woods Studios, we made a leap of faith and ordered from them, as they seemed to offer the materials, design, and craftsmanship we were looking for.
It’s not often these days that people exceed your expectations, but ours were exceeded in all respects. The staff at Vermont Woods Studios was informative, knowledgeable, and responsive. Communications, estimated ship dates, and follow up all were timely and accurate. When the furniture pieces arrived, they were just as we had hoped. Each piece was extremely well-crafted. Joints were flawless. The cherry wood was gorgeous and the grain was very well-matched. The finish was nearly luminescent.
We found the people at Vermont Woods Studios wonderful to work with, and our experience could not have been more positive. They went out of their way to help and accommodate us at every turn. We have recommended them to friends without any hesitation, and I’m certain that we’ll be ordering additional pieces of furniture for our home.”–Jeff F.
Thanks, Jeff. Your letter made our day and reminded us what our jobs are all about. Cheers– to many happy moments shared together around your Vermont made dining furniture!
November 8th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’re grateful to Mike Faher (journalist), Kayla Rice (photographer) and the editors of the local paper, The Brattleboro Reformer for today’s article on our Stonehurst gallery, Vermont’s newest fine furniture showroom. Mike and Kayla visited us at Stonehurst yesterday and followed up on a couple previous articles Mike had written about Vermont Woods Studios.
Today’s article focuses on the fact that besides being a fine furniture showroom and art gallery, Stonehurst is a mini Vermont welcome center, providing tourist information about the Brattleboro area and the rest of the state of Vermont. Check out Mike’s article on Reformer.com and stop by our open house and ribbon cutting ceremony tomorrow. We’ll make it worth the trip!
November 7th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Today was a busy day at Stonehurst as we all prepare for our Open House and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday. But we do have our priorities and today Kelsey’s birthday was at the top of the list. Please join us on Facebook in wishing marketing maven, Kelsey Eaton a healthy and Happy Birthday with many more to come!
November 6th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Last week I wrote about customizing your furniture by using unique drawer pulls. We have many different style (Shaker, Modern, Mission, Traditional, Wood and Metal) custom drawer pulls to choose from at Stonehurst (our new fine furniture and art gallery). But often customers want something very special and unique so we work with a variety of local artisans to serve as connectors when the need arises.
Coincidentally we had a visit yesterday from Donlin Foreman, owner of Horse Hill Handles a small business that makes custom leather, brass, bronze and iron drawer and door pulls. You may know Donlin as a professional dancer and co-founder of On Common Ground Dance Performance and Educational Products. He’s a “20-year veteran of the Martha Graham Dance Company and has performed with Eliot Feld Company, Jacques d’Amboise National Dance Institute, and La Scala Ballet. He has staged works for NJ Ballet, Ice Theatre of NY, La Scala Ballet, and North Carolina Dance Theatre. As co-founder/director/choreographer of Buglisi/Foreman Dance, Donlin choreographed 25 ballets and presented six seasons in NYC at the Joyce Theater, two seasons at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the America Dancing series/Kennedy Center, the Melbourne International Festival and other international venues.
Donlin performed at the White House for President Reagan and holds numerous honors, with critical and professional acclaim. He served as Professor of Professional Practice in the Dance Department of Barnard College, Columbia University, has published a book of poetic writing, contributed to the Martha Graham issue of Choreography and Dance, Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit magazines; and for two years chaired the Dance Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts. Donlin now lives in Harrisville with his wife Jenny and their two young sons. He is on the staff at the New England Center for Circus Arts.”
After an illustrious career in dance, Donlin is developing a business making handcrafted custom drawer pulls of unique combinations of leather, brass, bronze and iron suitable for doors, cabinets, and furniture. You can find a selection of his work at Hanna Grimes Market Place in Keene or contact him directly through Facebook.
We wish you all the best of luck with your new venture, Donlin!
November 5th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Have you noticed that Black Friday Sales have expanded over the years? I remember when it actually used to be on the day after Thanksgiving. Now in 2013 it’s all of November at many stores.
With American made, handcrafted fine furniture– sales work a little differently than with electronics or clothing, though. Made to order furniture, crafted especially for you doesn’t offer much economy of scale during a big storewide sale. So without compromising on craftsmanship or premium quality sustainable lumber, we’ve had to figure out other ways to add value and give customers the best price.
That’s where buying fine furniture as a set comes in. Craftspeople add efficiency to their system when building sets rather than individual pieces. And at Vermont Woods Studios we add efficiency (and save money) when shipping multiple pieces to the same address.
We pass that savings on to you so every day we can offer 2013 Black Friday sale prices — if you buy your furniture in a set. Check out our handmade bedroom sets, solid wood dining furniture sets and living room (coffee, end and sofa) table sets. They are all value priced at 20% off year round. Don’t see exactly what you want? Give Liz or Sean a call and they’ll customize your set now with the pieces you want. And when Thanksgiving comes around, you can relax with your family. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
November 4th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Cherry furniture is enjoying the top spot on our customer’s list of favorite wood species again this year. It’s been the trend for several years and no doubt 2014 will be another banner year for cherry wood. Most Vermont woodworkers are set up to offer customers a choice of at least the Top 4 American Hardwoods used in fine furniture making, that is: cherry, maple, walnut and oak. But cherry has always been the favorite as far back as I can remember.
In responding to customer preferences as well as the availability of high quality, sustainably harvested cherry wood, Vermont furniture makers have become America’s authority on fine cherry furniture. We work right alongside them at Vermont Woods Studios and have been sharing their knowledge on our website, in our blog and in a variety of articles. As we head into the furniture buying season, I thought I’d compile some of these resources and publish them as The Ultimate Buyers Guide for Cherry Furniture.
Check it out and let us know on Facebook, if you have additional questions we can add to the Guide.
November 3rd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Leaf peepers traveling through Vermont at this time of year often notice the sad demise of some of our historic barns and buildings. In some cases, over 200 years of wind, rain and snow have left these antique treasures in desperate need of rebirth. Fortunately, Vermont has many talented craftsmen who’ve taken on the mission of reclaiming the old boards, hand-hewn beams and timbers from these vintage barns. They recapture, de-nail and mill them into beautiful farmhouse tables. “Old wood – new life!” as reclaimed barnwood craftsman, Raphael Groton says.
Some of the common types of wood reclaimed are: oak, pine, elm, cherry, chestnut, walnut, hickory, maple, and quartersawn oak. Much of this vintage barn wood comes from original stands of America’s old growth forests and, as a result it has incredible architectural quality that could only be crafted by nature. Boards are extra wide with lush color and rich patinas. The beauty, density and stability of the wood, not to mention the unique character it attains after decades or even centuries of service in an old barn, factory or warehouse is captivating.
Can you name any other natural, renewable resource that’s as beautiful, strong and durable today as it was 200 years ago? Make a visit to Stonehurst, Vermont’s newest fine furniture and art gallery to see how Vermont farm tables can lend a touch of authenticity to both traditional and modern home decor.
October 29th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
You just never know who you’re going to run into when you visit us at Stonehurst, Vermont’s newest fine furniture and art gallery. This morning we had a visit from Georgie Runkle and her sister. Georgie’s a plein air painter– she loves to be outside painting the scenes she comes across that speak to her heart. You may see her along Vermont’s rural by-ways painting a covered bridge, an old barn, a general store or a grand old home with rockers on a wrap-around porch.
Georgie left an original oil painting of a covered bridge with us as well as a print of a classic red Vermont barn. Both are available for purchase in our art gallery. Loryn is working on making Stonehurst artworks available in our online store as well so stay tuned. Visitors from Manhattan, Boston and beyond are always pleasantly surprised at the affordable prices they find for high end original artwork in Vermont’s art galleries.
Our neighbors, the Millers also visited us today. Paul and Mary Miller own an organic dairy farm, now being operated by its fourth generation of Millers. We can see the farm from our window– it’s a quintessentially beautiful Vermont farm, nestled along the Connecticut River. Besides Holstein cattle, the Millers raise golden retrievers. They have a well-deserved reputation for honesty, hard work and service to the community.
So don’t think you have to be shopping for furniture to stop by and see us at Stonehurst. There’s always someone interesting to talk to or a beautiful piece or artwork that will catch your eye. It’s worth the trip!
October 28th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Much of the bedroom furniture purchased here at Vermont Woods Studios is customized to meet specific style or dimensional criteria specified by our customers. Contrary to popular belief, custom bedroom furniture can be surprisingly affordable! Over the coming weeks I’ll share our Top 5 Tips for customizing hardwood furniture.
Here’s my #1 Tip and it applies to bedroom chests, dressers, armoires and night stands as well as any other case goods that have doors or drawers:
It sounds like a small change but it’s the quickest and easiest way to get a custom look for your furniture. Of course with some dressers and chests, the pulls are an integral part of the overall design. Our Cherry Moon and Modern American collections would be an example of this and you wouldn’t want to change pulls.
But many interior designers are taking a fresh look at Shaker and Mission style furniture and saying, “hey I can jazz this up and create a whole new style by changing the pulls.” You can find a variety of different pulls on our website and in our showroom at Stonehurst. Each of our independent workshops carries their own collection of pulls so if you’re ordering online you’ll want to give us a call to make sure we can match a given pull with the chest or dresser you’re interested in. You can also send us your own pulls and we’ll install them!
Stay tuned for more tips on how to customize your bedroom furniture easily and affordably. Next up: combining two contrasting wood tones (like maple and cherry) into a single piece.
October 27th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
I received a call from Jim Westphalen last Wednesday, explaining that he’d been tasked by Vermont Life Magazine to photograph Stonehurst. Woohoo! Vermont Life is the premier advocator of our state’s culture and creative economy. It’s considered one of America’s premier regional magazines featuring “the best writing, illustration, art and photography Vermont has to offer”.
So this is pretty terrific news for us! Back in June we attended a Pitch Party sponsored by Vermont Life and Luke Stafford at Mondo Media Works in downtown Brattleboro. Such a cool idea: Editor Mary Hegarty Nowlan and her staff were traveling around Vermont inviting people to pitch their artwork, businesses, personal stories and such– for future articles. So we pitched our Stonehurst Fine Furniture and Art Gallery story and apparently they liked it.
We’re grateful to Jim Westphalen and Mary Hegarty Nowlan for their support of our green mission at Stonehurst. We’re honored that they feel it fits into Vermont Life’s mission which “celebrates the unique heritage, countryside, traditions and people of Vermont and explores issues of contemporary interest to Vermonters and visitors to the state.”
Can’t wait till the article comes out next Fall!