Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

Author: Peggy Farabaugh

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.

Posts by Peggy

All Weather Adirondack Chairs

January 7th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

All Weather Adirondack Chairs from Vermont Woods Studios

The backyard of Stonehurst yesterday.  These wooden Adirondack chairs are longtime residents and have actually weathered quite gracefully.  But today’s Polywod recycled plastic outdoor furniture lasts a lifetime… guaranteed.

We’re in the middle of winter here in Vermont but elsewhere in America people must be getting ready for Spring.  We’re getting lots of inquiries about our Polywood all weather Adirondack chairs.  It seems we’re not the only ones unwilling to haul outdoor furniture back and forth from the basement every year.

Polywood all weather Adirondack chairs | Recycled plastic milk jugs

Which Adirondack chairs do you prefer?  Wood or recycled plastic?  And which setting do you prefer?  Winter in the backyard of Stonehurst or summer on the banks of Lake Champlain?

Unlike the wooden chairs above, today’s all weather Adirondack chairs are made of recycled plastic milk jugs or Polywood.  They offer the traditional design that’s proved itself comfy for generations along with new state of the art plastics technology that makes these chairs super durable.  Polywood holds up against harsh weather such as rain, snow, ice, and salt water.  It’s insect, mold and mildew resistant, requires no maintenance and even comes with a  lifetime guarantee.  Best of all, there are over a dozen colors to choose from and you’ll never have to touch up or paint (Polywood’s color runs all the way through each recycled plastic board).

So, let us know which Adirondack chair (wood or Polywood) and which seasonal setting (winter in the mountains or summer on the lake) you prefer on Facebook.

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Wintry Scenes from Stonehurst

January 5th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Winter in Vermont | Stonehurst is Warm and Toasty on the Inside

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.

The sleds are ready.  But where are the riders?  Snug and warm with no intention of going outside in the 5F weather today.

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.

The outdoor wood boiler that keeps us warm in the winter

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.

Shoes are not required at this 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.

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A Vermont Teddy Bear to Weather the Storm With

January 3rd, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Vermont Teddy Bears are handmade in VT and can be customized with your name or initials

Stonehurst is a “Night Before Christmas” bear but you can order these American made Vermont Teddy Bears for any occasion and have them customized with a name or emblem.

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.

Vermont Teddy Bear waits for Santa on Christmas Eve | Stonehurst Furniture Showroom

Not wanting to miss Santa and his reindeer, our Vermont Teddy Bear sat in front of the fireplace all throughout Christmas eve.

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.

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This Is Why We Do It

January 1st, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Fine Furniture Store | Where Does Your Wood Furniture Come From | Stonehurst

This barred owl visited us at Stonehurst today, reminding us why we located our fine furniture store in the middle of Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest, rather than on a downtown street.   We want to give customers a way to experience the beauty of the forest we’re trying to conserve through the promotion of sustainable wood furniture.  (thanks to Nina for the owl photo!)

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.

 

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Looking Back at 2013

December 30th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

2013 Year in Reivew for Vermont Furniture Store

2013 went by faster than Michelle’s girls sledding down the hill at Pine Top (now the Stonehurst fine furniture showroom and art gallery).

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.

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Why Buy American Made?

December 28th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

American Made Furniture | Online Shopping for the 4th of July

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:

Top 5 Reasons to Buy American Made Furniture

  1. Local Jobs and Local Economies – The American furniture maker has suffered over the past 5 decades as most large, quintessentially American furniture companies moved to China, Vietnam and other third world countries.  Consumers are weary of seeing their communities struggle to recover from the loss of skilled jobs.  Small manufacturers like Vermont’s Lyndon Furniture, Copeland Furniture and Pompanoosuc Mills remained in the USA during the age of outsourcing and maintained their commitment to local communities.  Their loyalty and integrity has not gone unnoticed.
  2. Quality and Craftsmanship – American made furniture is well known for it’s high quality and craftsmanship.  States like Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania and Ohio have a long tradition of making heirloom quality furniture from local wood.  In Vermont, fine furniture making has been a part of our heritage for over 200 years and that translates to superior quality, sophisticated style and great values in handmade furniture.
  3. Reliable Customer Service – Ever try getting a piece of furniture fixed after purchasing it from IKEA or Pottery Barn?  Not.  That furniture is more than likely going to head out to the curbside rather than get repaired.  American made furniture companies stand behind their quality, with many companies offering a lifetime guarantee.
  4. Sustainable Furniture from Well Managed American Forests – Where does your furniture come from anyway?  Americans have become more aware of where their food comes from over the past couple decades.  Now it’s time to learn where other things come from, including wood furniture and flooring.  As consumers become more aware of the link between imported wood furniture and rainforest devestation, they are seeing the value of acquiring sustainable furniture for their homes.
  5. Healthy, Natural Furniture with Non-Toxic Finishes – American furniture companies are subject to strict consumer protection laws and regulations governing product safety as well as safety and health for the craftspeople making furniture.  Consumers don’t want to worry about lead based paint or formaldehyde in the coatings of the furniture.  American companies are leading the way in the area of safe, non-toxic furniture finishes.

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.

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Wood + Metal = Beautiful Handmade Furniture

December 23rd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Wood and Metal Furniture - Mixing Old and New for a Beautiful, Unique Home Style

Our Vermont made collection of reclaimed wood and steel coffee tables and sofa tables mixes old and new to achieve a beautiful, unique style.

There’s a new metal shop in town and it’s popularity is red hot.  These beautiful reclaimed wood and metal coffee tables are the result of a collaboration of three generations of the Mosheim family in Dorset, Vermont.  We’ve been working with Dan Mosheim and his fine furniture studio for many years.  He creates some of the most original and high quality furniture we’ve seen.

Earlier this year Dennis and I made a trip up to Dan’s shop to see his latest project.  He and sons Will and Sam have teamed up to build a series of unique occasional tables.  Dan and Will select and assemble reclaimed wood for the table tops, “toast it” with a torch to achieve rich color characteristics and hand-rub a clear, non-toxic durable finish to protect the wood.  Sam custom fabricates the steel base in a new metal shop he and his dad recently built next to their furniture studio.

We’ve had inquiries about the tables from customers living everywhere from urban loft apartments to rural country homesteads. The artful design manages to add warmth and character to any space.  Whether your style is rustic or refined you can enhance it by adding one of these unique, handcrafted reclaimed oak and metal coffee tables.  Come have a look for yourself at Stonehurst, our fine furniture showroom and art gallery.  And share your thoughts about wood and metal furniture designs on Facebook!

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I’m Dreaming of a Homemade Christmas Cookie

December 21st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Carol's Christmas Cookies

Carol’s Christmas Cookies

We are so lucky at Vermont Woods StudiosNeville’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.”

Christmas Cookie Love from Vermont

Vermont Cookie Love ships fresh cookies straight from the oven to your kitchen table.  

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.

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Signs of Christmas at Stonehurst

December 19th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Pine Top | The Lost Ski Area | Now a Vermont Furniture Showroom and Fine Art Gallery

Pine Top, the Lost Ski Area is now a Vermont fine furniture showroom, art gallery and information center. 

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!

First Christmas at Stonehurst is a snowy one!

Signs of a snowy first Christmas abound at Stonehurst, Vermont’s sustainable furniture showroom and art gallery.

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!

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Holiday Stress? Escape and Relax at our Vermont Furniture Store

December 16th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Escape Holiday Stress | Visit Stonehurst to Relax

I snapped this photo on my way home from Stonehurst today.  Last night’s storm has left the farmhouse looking so Christmassy!  Wouldn’t you like to kick back and relax at this Vermont furniture store while you shop for handmade home decor and fine art?

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.

The front porch of Stonehurst is decorated with a wreath which doubles as a snow sled

The front porch of Stonehurst is decorated with a wreath that doubles as a snow sled.  When you’re finished shopping, feel free to head out back for a ride down the slopes of Pine Top– the lost ski area.

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.

Stopnehurst's Blacksmith's Shop

The old blacksmith’s shop at Stonehurst served as a warming shed during the 1940s-1960s when the property was know as the Pine Top Ski Area.  Today Ken decorated it with an LL Bean inner tube that you’re welcome to give a spin — if you dare.

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.

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