Floor Cloths | American Made | Cameron Howard
Artist Cameron Howard is passionate about the history and beauty of American floor cloths.  Here she’s showing us samples, photos and floor cloths that she’s made for customers all over New England and beyond.  We love passionate people!

Dunberry Hill Designs

Vermont’s premier custom floor cloth maker, Cameron Howard of Dunberry Hill Designs visited Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture store yesterday.  Wow!  We learned a lot about the history of this unique piece of Americana and the processes by which these top quality floor cloths are made.  Plus we got to see, feel and walk on some extraordinary works of art.  Did you know that floor cloths first became popular during the Industrial Revolution when sailing ships were coming into New England’s harbors to be re-fitted?  Torn sails would be salvaged by sailors’ wives and re-purposed in the home to keep drafts from blowing through floors and walls.  Soon artists began to see the cloths as a canvas and began applying classic American and European designs to them.

Top Quality Custom Floor Cloths

Today’s floor cloths adorn all types of homes, businesses and museums throughout America.  The floor coverings are made of heavy weight cotton covered with 5 coats of a special varnish which makes them extremely durable.  Artistic designs include historical early American motifs, geometric patterns, French Country style, arts and crafts,  mission style and modern designs. Custom designs are a favorite among Cameron’s customers.  The artist works with homeowners to make sure floor cloth colors match or accentuate existing decor (such as wall colors, counter tops, fabrics and art work).

Custom Floor Cloths | American Made in VT
Cameron’s paint samples are sent back and forth to customers to ensure that just the right colors are achieved.

How To Commission Your Own Unique Floor Cloth

Cameron Howard’s Dunberry Hill Design studio is in Townshend, Vermont.  Customers are encouraged to call or email Cameron prior to stopping by.  We hope to be getting some floor cloth samples at our furniture and home decor store soon and will keep you posted here on our blog.

About the Artist, Cameron Howard

Cameron Howard is a professional chef who served up her talents to upscale restaurants in New York,  Boston,  Maine and the Windham Hill Inn in Vermont.  Ten years ago she put the culinary pot on the back burner and turned her passion towards weaving. From there, she segued into decorative painting and the world of traditionally handcrafted floorcloths.  We look forward to sharing our enthusiasm for Cameron’s work with you at Stonehurst, our home design gallery in Southeastern Vermont.

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.

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.

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.

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This coffee table with reclaimed wood top and steel legs is protected from any overheating of the glass candle jar with a slate coaster. Both the table and the coasters are available for purchase in our showroom!

We in southern Vermont are very lucky in that we live very close to several popular candle makers. Half an hour away is the Yankee Candle flagship store in S. Deerfield, MA and in less than fifteen minutes you can get to Kringle Candle in Bernardston, MA. Vermont is full of smaller artisan candle makers. Wilmington Candle Company makes soy based candles and Vermont Honey Lights specializes in beeswax candles.

You can find candles in bright colors or bright white, tiny tea lights to massive multi-wicks. They are used for aromatherapy or setting a mood, come with subtle scents of botanicals, bold tones of aftershave, your favorite foods or no scent at all. The best part of all is that they’re made right here in New England. And you can’t beat candles for an affordable, Made In America holiday gift perfect for teachers or as hostess gifts.

While candles are very popular, they can also be very dangerous. No matter what sort of candle you like, there are certain rules you should always follow when burning:

  • Always trim the wick to a height of approximately ¼” – make sure to remove any of the wick debris from the wax pool. Trimming helps keep it from flickering and smoking, which can cause soot buildup on the container
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended
  • Make sure the candle is sitting on an even surface that won’t be damaged if the container should get too hot – we’d hate to see your beautiful Vermont made hardwood furniture marred!
  • Keep away from any flammable objects
  • Keep out of reach of pets and children

For a full list of tips, visit the National Candle Association web site.

Here’s one more tip: If your candle is nearing the bottom of its container and you don’t want to throw the container away, simply place it in your freezer for about 20 minutes, take it out and shake out the leftover wax. This only works if the sides of the container are straight, not contoured. Now you can reuse it!

A candle reflects serenely in this beautiful stained glass window — one of the many features that make Vermont Woods Studios such a unique shopping experience.

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.

Shaker Beds | Handmade in Vermont | Solid Cherry Wood | High Quality
This is our American Shaker Panel Bed, a best loved design amongst our customers.  Like all Vermont Woods Studios fine furniture, it’s 100% American made, right here in Vermont.  Shown in natural solid cherry wood (also available in natural maple and natural walnut).

Shaker beds have been a specialty of Vermont furniture makers for over 200 years and they remain popular today.  I was helping a customer work through the process of finding the perfect Shaker bed yesterday and realized it’s not so easy.  We have almost 20 different shaker beds in our online furniture store.  All are top quality, 100% American made (handcrafted right here in Vermont) using responsibly harvested, real solid wood.

After looking at our Top 10 Shaker beds and all the different variations in design, we came up with a few subcategories that might make shopping easier for those looking for a particular style:

Traditional Shaker Beds

 

Four Poster Shaker Beds

 

Shaker Panel Beds

   

Shaker Sleigh Beds

   

You’ve probably noticed that these beds are all shown in solid cherry wood, which has a rich reddish brown color (once it has “ripened” after exposure to light). Cherry is by far the most popular wood for our customers when ordering Shaker furniture. However all of our Shaker beds are also available in three other woods: maple, walnut and oak.  Some customers even like to mix two woods together like the Sarah Shaker beds below (shown in maple and walnut).

Two Tone Shaker Beds

 

Hopefully this makes shopping for your new Shaker bedroom furniture a little easier.  Questions?  Come visit us at Stonehurst our new fine furniture and art gallery or contact us through our live chat, email, Facebook or phone.

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.