January 5th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
This is for Sally, Pam, Ellen, Annette, Mo and all our friends from the South and West who have escaped this year’s good old fashioned Vermont winter. Today’s storm took a break this morning just in time for me to snap this photo of the furniture showroom and art gallery we call Stonehurst. It was 5F when I got to work today but warm and toasty inside.
Plenty of toboggans and sleds are out on the back porch, ready for action. But where are our young, hearty, adventurous riders? No need for a membership to Outer Limits this winter, Sean. Just bring your boots to work and trade your lunch for a couple good runs down the ski slopes. I’ll go too and we’ll share the prize for biggest loser in the 2014 weight loss challenge. Any teasing from Liz, Michelle and Loryn will surely cease and desist when we walk in all strong and fit.
Here’s Ken’s baby. This Central Boiler Outdoor Wood Furnace from Temple Plumbing and Heating in Putney keeps us warm and toasty all winter long. A green source of energy, it’s fed by wood from around the grounds at Stonehurst. The furnace supplies a radiant heating system under the floorboards throughout the furniture showroom.
So that’s what Stonehurst looks like today. Stop by and see for yourself. Sean has hot chocolate and his own homemade cookies waiting for you. Shoes are not required inside the showroom.
January 3rd, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
Since 100 million of us are now stuck in the middle of a blizzard, this might be a good day to curl up by the fireside with your favorite book, a cup of hot chocolate, homemade cookies and a pleasant companion. Like this Vermont Teddy Bear. He’s a recent arrival at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture showroom and art gallery in Vernon Vermont.
In showcasing the best of Vermont handmade home decor and accessories we felt Stonehurst would be incomplete without representation from the world’s largest teddy bear maker. Vermont Teddy Bear handcrafts roughly 500,000/year in Shelburne and Newport, VT. The company was started in 1983 by John Sortino, who sold handcrafted teddy bears in an open-air market in Burlington, Vermont. One of his customers was a tourist who wanted her bear mailed to her home. That request evolved into the “Bear-Gram”, a customized teddy bear placed in a box (complete with an “air hole”) and stuffed with other goodies. The rest, as they say is history.
If you can’t bear the idea of going through another Vermont snowstorm on your own, head on over to VermontTeddyBear.com. It’s not too late to get a Christmas bear like Stonehurst but keep in mind that other holidays like Valentine’s Day (Big Hunka Love Bear) and St Patrick’s Day (Kiss Me I’m Irish Bear) are just around the corner.
January 1st, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
People ask me why on earth I would put a fine furniture store in the middle of nowhere, aka rural Vermont. Finding people who are looking to buy American made sustainable wooden furniture is hard enough. After all, customers typically have to wait 6-12+ weeks to have their furniture custom handcrafted and specialty shipped to their homes. Plus… compared to imported furniture, American made furniture is more expensive. With such a small number of people fitting our customer profile (willing to wait for their furniture to be handcrafted of sustainably harvested wood by Vermonters earning a living wage), wouldn’t it be smarter to have our store on main street in a big city with maximum exposure and traffic?
I’m sure that’s true for most fine furniture stores but at Vermont Woods Studios we’re on a mission to raise awareness about where your fine furniture comes from. Wood furniture comes from the forest and we believe the people involved in all aspects of furnishing your home have an opportunity to show you how choosing sustainable furniture makes a difference: in forest conservation, global warming, clean air, wildlife preservation and in the way you feel when you’re sharing a meal at your table.
See this barred owl who visited us at Stonehurst today? He’s able to be here because (under the direction of professional forester Lynn Levine) we’re managing 100 acres of forest for wildlife habitat. We believe businesses have as much obligation as governments to conserve our planet’s resources and protect endangered species. We believe our customers support that philosophy and want to see it in action. As we venture into the new year we extend our thanks to them and pledge our continued efforts in the area of forest and wildlife conservation.
Come visit our sustainable furniture showroom at Stonehurst. See first-hand how your choice of furniture can make the world a better place.
December 30th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Much has happened to our little Vermont furniture store in 2013. Most notably, we’re no longer housed at George’s Mill, adjacent to the Vernon post office. 2013 brought continued growth that gave us enough confidence to expand into a permanent location.
Stonehurst is our new home– a 200 year old farmhouse sited on Pine Top, a former ski area in Southeastern Vermont. Citing our furniture showroom on a scenic 100 acre forested lot helps us raise awareness about our mission of forest conservation and show customers where their furniture comes from. It was this concept that the state of Vermont supported through a $100,000 competitively awarded 2013 Working Lands grant that helped us complete Stonehurst renovations 2 years ahead of schedule.
Other progress in 2013 included adding a fine art gallery to our offerings. In addition to expanding our Vermont made furniture selection, we’re proud to offer original artwork by many important Vermont artists including Susan Osgood, Linda Marcille, Georgie Runkle, Donna Scully and Janet Picard.
Another 2013 showroom (and website) addition was Vermont made home decor. We now carry handcrafted ceramics by Brattleboro artist Laura Zindel and Vernon potter Bronna Zlochiver, kitchen accessories by JK Adams of Dorset, textiles by Donna Tosi of Vernon and Cricket Radio of Shelburne and hand-turned pens by Micah Ranquist of West Brattleboro. New artisans are joining us frequently to increase the variety of Vermont made home decor accessories we can make available at Stonehurst.
2013 also brought many important upgrades to our website, thanks to Neville and Martin up in our genius room. As a new employee in 2013 Martin, was joined by Michelle (in Sales and Customer Service) and Kelsey and Nina (in Marketing). We feel very lucky to have them join the Vermont Woods Studios family!
After 8 years of building this sustainable furniture business– in 2013 we are finally in a space that’s truly worthy of the beautiful handcrafted furniture Vermont is so famous for. With customers journeying here from all across the country, we can finally say “Come to Stonehurst. It’s worth the trip”.
We are immensely grateful to our creative and hard-working staff for making this 2013 progress possible. Although we’ve come a long way, we know that in many ways our efforts have just begun. In 2013 we built it. In 2014 we have to make sure they come. Please help us spread the word! Join us on Facebook or in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Vermont’s sustainable furniture and/or the Stonehurst experience.
December 28th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Are you the kind of person who makes New Years resolutions? What are you determined to do differently in 2014? With all the work we do here at Vermont Woods Studios in promoting American Made Furniture, you can probably guess that one of my resolutions is to buy more American made products next year. I’m not alone. We surveyed our customers earlier this year to find out why buying American made is so important to them. Have a look at the results:
Good reasons– and not exclusive to furniture by any means. Let’s hope 2014 brings renewed commitment to the Made in American movement. What are your New Years resolutions? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.
December 21st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We are so lucky at Vermont Woods Studios! Neville’s wife Carol surprises us with delicious treats every now and then. This week: Christmas cookies and a loaf of stollen. Which is your favorite? Sugar cookies, nut cups, chocolate chips, brownies, gingerbread?
If this is making you hungry and you’re not on Carol’s “Nice List,” not to worry. Check out Vermont Cookie Love. They offer “fresh-baked cookies that we ship the same day they come out of the oven. Or if you want the optimum hot-out-of-the-oven experience, you can buy our frozen cookie dough and bake the cookies yourself. Our cookie dough is all natural, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. We source ingredients that are non-GMO, we use no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, and cookies baked from our dough contain 0 grams trans fat.”
Could be the next best thing to Carol’s cookies. What do you think? Let us know on Facebook or stop by Stonehurst, our new fine furniture showroom and art gallery in Vernon, Vermont. Better be quick though– I’m not sure how long these irresistible Christmas cookies are going to be around.
December 19th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
The last few days have brought a bounty of fluffy white snow setting us up for a beautiful first Christmas at Stonehurst. Ken went out to the old carriage shed and rescued this antique sign that marked entry to the Pine Top Ski Area from the 1940s to the 1960s. It’s now resting safely in our mudroom (er- entryway) accompanied by all the latest maps, magazines and brochures on Vermont travel (did I mention that we’re now an official Vermont Information Center? More about that later).
For a small ski area in a small town, it’s amazing how many people have stopped by to tell us stories of when they skied here at Pine Top 50 years ago. We had a lovely couple from Manhattan visit us a few weeks ago. They were here to shop for furniture but after looking out the window at the ski slopes and seeing the Pine Top sign, Marcia realized that she had skied here when she was a boarding student at Northfield School (now NMH). What a coincidence!
Today the sign out front welcomes people to Stonehurst, Vermont’s sustainable furniture showroom and art gallery. With all the freshly fallen snow, now is one of the prettiest times of year to visit Stonehurst. If you’re longing for the old fashioned Christmas you remember as a kid, stop by and see us. We’ve got hot chocolate, warm apple cider and of course there’s always a bottle of red in the wine rack. Christmas shopping was never this fun, even back in the 1950s!
December 16th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Christmas is drawing near. How did that happen so fast? If you’re like me and haven’t made much of a dent in your shopping yet, don’t panic. Stop by Stonehurst and experience the gift of “shopping relaxation”. Sounds like an oxy moron? Picture this: you get off Interstate 91 in Bernardston, MA and enjoy a scenic 6 mile drive along a lovely country road lined with old farmhouses, maple trees and scenic mountain vistas. Winding around the corner into Vernon, Vermont you come upon the snow-covered site of a lost ski area: Pine Top. It’s now the home of Vermont’s newest destination shopping experience, Stonehurst: an upscale furniture, home decor and fine arts showroom.
You turn in the driveway and tread up the entrance path to enter a 19th century homestead that’s been lovingly restored and renovated into a Vermont furniture store, showcasing authentic Vermont made home decor, gifts and artwork. Upon entry you are greeted by Liz who warmly welcomes you to Stonehurst and offers you a choice of hot chocolate, warm apple cider or a glass of chilled chardonnay. Now that’s what I call shopping relaxation.
What kind of Christmas gifts does a fine furniture store have to offer you ask? Here’s a partial list of the handmade home decor items you’ll find for sale at Stonehurst:
Take the stress out of your holiday shopping. Come shop with us at Stonehurst and remember what the holidays are really all about.
December 12th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’re sending thanks out to journalist Steve Noble and publisher, Lynn Barrett of Southern Vermont Arts Magazine for their insightful articles about three Vermont woodworking businesses. Vermont Woods Studios was featured along with Charles Shackleton of Shackleton Thomas and Gail Grycel of Twin Birch Woodworking.
Steve’s article, “Three Vermonters and Their Love of Wood” explores how many of us in Vermont’s artisan community share a vision of using the timeless power of wood and woodworking to change the world:
We appreciate Lynn’s support for our craft and her help in raising awareness about value of Vermont’s fine wood furniture business. Keep up with the latest news about the Arts in Southern Vermont and these 3 woodworking businesses: