About Peggy Farabaugh

She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.

shaker-quality-wood-furniture

Shopping for Quality Wood Furniture?

It’s not that easy anymore, especially if you’re shopping online.  I just googled the phrase “top quality wood furniture” and came up with products like a 5 piece dining set for $356 at Target and a twin bed complete with underbed storage at Walmart for $139.  Those are not products that most of us would call “high quality”.

Checking Quality in the Showroom

At Vermont Woods Studios we’ve been working for 9 years to be able to provide a showroom (Stonehurst) where customers can come and experience the beauty and honesty of true high quality wood furniture.  I’ve noticed that when customers visit us, often they split up in the store.  One person chats with us about their needs and the style of their home, while the other person inspects the quality of our furniture.  He/she opens drawers, looks underneath table tops, moves dressers around to see how the backs are attached and so on.  This is an important part of the purchase process.  But what if you’re shopping online?

cherry-wood-buffet

How to Gauge Quality when Shopping Online

Online fine furniture stores must provide enough detail via photos and articles to enable customers to judge their quality.  On our website, for example we post a “Construction Details” page for every furniture collection we offer.  Here you’ll find details ranging from the natural characteristics of the wood, to the type of joinery used, to instructions for care & maintenance (which are dependent on the type of wood and finish selected).

Find more tips and advice on buying fine furniture here: Top Quality Wood Furniture: A Buyers Guide.

 

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.

Specialty Handmade Ceramics: Rooster mugs, plates, bowls, vases by Laura Zindel. USA made in Vermont!
These specialty handmade ceramics are the work of Vermont artist, Laura Zindel.  Find original hand-drawn roosters, hares, owls, bees, butterflies and ferns applied to a wide selection of dinnerware.  Laura’s original collections are all USA made, right here in Brattleboro. Vermont.

Summer in Vermont is a time to relax and enjoy the natural world around us.  Visitors to our home decor showroom at Stonehurst often spend as much time outside in our meadows & woodlands as they do inside the store.  Birds, bees, butterflies and bunnies are frequent visitors here, making the Laura Zindel dinnerware that bears their likeness a favorite Stonehurst souvenir.

Handmade ceramics: hare and bunny themed dinnerware
Laura’s hare and bunny collection includes coffee mugs, tumblers, vases, pitchers, plates and platters.  Each image is original and hand drawn by Laura in her Brattleboro, Vermont studio. 

Whether you’re looking to bring a bit of summer into your own kitchen or searching for a unique gift for someone special, check out our Laura Zindel Dinnerware Collection.  Each of Laura’s designs is inspired by nature, hand drawn and then printed onto high quality handmade ceramic or china.

Quail Collectibles | Handmade Ceramic Dinnerware Made in USA
Laura’s Quail Collection features 20 pieces of high resistance china including bread, dinner and charger plates, bowls, platters, espresso cups, jugs, pitchers, tumblers and mugs.

About Laura

Laura is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a BFA in Ceramics.  Later she went on to achieve an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Massachusetts.  Laura’s artwork is inspired by both the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century and the “Cabinets of Curiosities” encyclopedic collections of the Victorian era. Her process of hand drawing, silk screening and enamel transfer printing shows off the intricate nature of her designs.

Ranging from Bumblebee Cereal Bowls to Large Rooster Serving Platters, Laura’s collections are bound to include the special gift you’ve been looking for.  Stop by Stonehurst or purchase one of these collectibles online.

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.

Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture?
I think the best wood to use for outdoor furniture isn’t wood at all. It’s POLYWOOD, made out of recycled milk jugs and guaranteed for a lifetime of outdoor use.  Shown here is the new Bayline Dining Furniture Collection.

Tis the season for buying outdoor furniture.  Even in Vermont we have a couple nice days each year when everyone wants to lounge in the sun with a cold drink and a good book.

Our customers often discover us when they’re searching for American made, eco-friendly furniture.  We’ve worked in collaboration with Vermont furniture makers for many years but have stuck to selling just sustainable indoor furniture for the dining room, bedroom and home office.

So when customers began to ask for outdoor porch, pool and patio furniture we were at a loss.  What type of wood could we make it out of?  The cherry, maple, walnut and oak woods we typically use for indoor furniture won’t hold up to outdoor conditions.  Plus, we offer a lifetime guarantee on our furniture.  How would we do this for an outdoor line?

Adirondack Chairs | Polywood | Recycled Plastic
This POLYWOOD Classic Adirondack chair is made in America of recycled plastic.  We guarantee it for a lifetime of use!

American Made Outdoor Furniture

We considered many options.  Teak and mahogany are about the only types of wood that would meet our standards for weather resistance and longevity but they are both rainforest woods that are often harvested illegally and unsustainably.  Not an option.

So after researching all the alternatives we selected an American made wood-alternative material for our first outdoor furniture line. It’s called poly wood and it’s made in Indiana of recycled plastic milk jugs.  It’s not real wood, but it has the look, thickness, weight, and feel of real wood plus it’s virtually indestructible and maintenance free.  No more scraping, painting, or weatherproofing needed.  POLYWOOD recycled plastic furniture can even be left outside year round eliminating the need for seasonal storage.

So that’s what we chose for our first outdoor furniture line.  We really do feel that POLYWOOD is the best “wood” to use for outdoor furniture.  With summer being so short up here in Vermont, we want to spend it enjoying our all-weather outdoor furniture rather than maintaining it!  How about you?  Check out the POLYWOOD furniture collections we offer.  It’s eco-friendly, Made in America outdoor furniture and it comes with free shipping and a lifetime guarantee.  Pretty tough to beat, I say.

Rec ycled Plastic Chaise Lounge
This POLYWOOD chaise lounge weighs over 50# so it won’t blow away when high winds come in off the ocean.  It’s available in 12 different colors including red, yellow, blue, orange, green, black and white.

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.

Recycled Plastic Outdoor Furniture | Polywood
If you’re shopping for wooden outdoor furniture this season, you’ve probably noticed there are a lot of new faux wood furniture sets, made from recycled plastic. Shown here is the POLYWOOD Euro dining set. It has the look and weight of wood but lasts longer and doesn’t require any maintenance.

Why Recycled Plastic Instead of Wood?

When customers asked us to start carrying outdoor furniture naturally we searched for a real wood product. However, while there are weather resistant species such as cedar, teak, eucalyptus and redwood that make fine outdoor furniture, we still worried about the longevity of the furniture, maintenance, and the environmental impact.  Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and is a key factor in our decision making process.  While researching high end outdoor wood furniture we discovered recycled plastic lumber (RPL) made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE).  Also know as Poly-Wood, it looks like real wood & has the heavy weight of real wood plus it’s durable, versatile and environmentally friendly.

Outdoor Chaise Lounge | Wood or Recycled Plastic
Polywood Chaises are heavy and sturdy like real wood furniture. Each of these South Beach Chaise Lounges weighs 53 pounds!

White, Black, Blue + Many Colors & NO Painting or Scraping

If you want colors, you’ll have to paint wood furniture and re-paint it over the years.  But with Poly-Wood the color is evenly mixed throughout the RPL boards so when scratches occur, they rarely show.   No painting, oiling or maintenance is required other than simply washing with water.    Poly-Wood tolerates harsh weather such as rain, snow, ice, and salt water and unlike wood it’s insect, mold & mildew-proof.

Colorful Blue Adirondack Chairs | Recycled Plastic Polywood
POLYWOOD outdoor furniture comes in many different colors and styles.  In addition to the Pacific blue and Aruba colors shown, these Adirondack chairs are available in slate grey, blue, teak, tangerine, red, sand, mahogany, lime, lemon yellow, green, black and white.

I love the quality and style of POLYWOOD furniture and the fact that it’s American made.  But I have to confess, the biggest reason we chose this recycled plastic outdoor furniture is the environmental aspect.  We are a company that works to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from.  So how cool is it that with POLYWOOD our customers are not just helping to save trees in the rainforest, they’re also taking waste out of the waste stream and keeping it out of our landfills?

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.

Pine Top
Pine Top looks a little different today than it did as a vibrant ski area in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  But it retains the natural beauty and welcoming charm that made it special to the Stoddards and many other families who vacationed here.  Have your own memories of skiing at Pine Top or vacationing at Stonehurst?  Stop by and visit or give us a call!

Pine Top fans: Throwback Thursday TBT brings another treat to revive your memories of the good ol’ days in South Vernon, Vermont.  Last Thursday we posted Part 1 of Sandy Stoddard’s memories and today we bring Part 2.  Enjoy!

  • At Pine Top, Pelley Hill was a beginner/novice slope and the first to be opened with a rop tow
  • The second rope tow provided access later to Tobey Slope (intermediate) and then also to Stoddards’ Run, when it was added a few years later
  • Romey also designed and built a very unique portable “tiny tot” rope tow, possibly first of its kind. It was operated on the gentle grade below the “old” warming hut in the direction of the base of Pelley Hill. Romey also very generously took it into Brattleboro periodically, setting it up at Memorial Park on the west side of town for use by the children of Brattleboro
  • One summer, when I was working for the Racines at Stonehurst, I was responsible for tearing down the historic old barn on the property, slate by slate, board by board
  • Romey built the “new” warming hut above Pelley Hill to better accommodate the ski crowds. The “old” hut was still used occasionally to serve house guests bowls of fresh snow with heated Vermont maple syrup
  • Elsie had a large collection of bells, which were traditionally rung by house guests on the front and side porches to bid other guests farewell, as they drove down the hill
  • There was an old swimming hole, behind a small dam, which was reached by walking along a narrow dirt road that started next to the foot of Stoddard Run and the tow house for Tobey Slope
  • That same rough road lead to a small dump site. I learned to drive a 1947 pickup truck as a 14 year old and periodically made dump runs
  • Summer guests used to gather on the front lawn to play croquet and there was a cement shuffle board court close to the driveway entrance
  • Mr. Marsden, who was a farmer living up the road, used Stonehurst property in summertime for grazing his cows. I was responsible for their care and feeding
  • Romey supplemented their revenue from Pine Top/Stonehurst by being the Town Road Commissioner for Vernon
  • Elsie often helped out at the town library

Along with these notes was a reference to Rich Racine, Elsie and Romey’s nephew.  I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to connect with Rich. Anybody know home I might reach him?  Give us a call or join us on Facebook if you do.  Thanks!

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.