November 22nd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
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:
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).
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.
September 7th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’ve been showcasing exclusively Vermont made fine furniture for nearly 8 years. We’re very proud to be a part of the 200+ year old tradition Vermont’s craftspeople have earned. But a number of prestigious and talented craftsmen from beyond our Green Mountain borders have been asking to join the Vermont Woods Studios network of independent furniture makers. At the same time, our customer base is growing faster than our capacity within Vermont. So what do you think we should do?
Thus far we’ve declined to expand outside of Vermont. But in the last couple years we’ve been getting quite close to the craftspeople at a certain New Hampshire workshop that’s just a short distance across the state line. After much discussion we’ve made a decision to bring Peter and his group of talented craftsmen into our circle of fine woodworkers. Peter’s family has been making New England furniture for 6 generations– creating each piece of furniture one at a time and paying close attention to the details our customers look for. We are excited to bring them on board and looking forward to your feedback on their work.
Style-wise, you might call Peter’s Brandon furniture “transitional” as it blends traditional Shaker style with modern curves. The Brandon bed is shown above in natural solid cherry wood, although it’s also available in maple and walnut. Three choices of matching nightstands are available, as well as a 10 Drawer Dresser and a Gent’s Chest — all available in natural cherry, maple or walnut wood.
The Brandon bedroom set is the first New Hampshire furniture collection we’ve added and you will soon be able to see it showcased at Stonehurst. Stop by and let us know what you think or send us a comment on Facebook. Look for more fine furniture from New Hampshire coming in the next few weeks!
September 1st, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Founded in East Cornith, Vermont, Copeland Furniture is guided by its values of preservation and stewardship. Environmentally conscious before “green” was anything other than a color, Copeland has been expertly crafting heirloom-quality wood tables, chairs, desks, beds, and case goods since the 1970s.
Copeland’s commitment to stewardship is revealed in the woods they choose – all Copeland wood comes from within 500 miles of their factory, which means less fossil fuels used and less CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Sourced primarily from the great American Northern Forest, Copeland uses durable and beautiful hardwoods like maple, cherry, and walnut, all of which is sustainably harvested. Their sustainable harvesting practices ensure that the Northern Forest will continue to be among the healthiest forests in the world, continuously building biomass. Plus, Copeland offers a water-based finish on most pieces – these formaldehyde-free finishes are every bit as durable as a catalyzed lacquer, but with drastically reduced VOC emissions at the factory and off-gassing the home.
Part of their commitment to the environment includes heirloom-quality craftsmanship. In some ways, these artisanal pieces are a response against the disposable. Copeland’s promise is to build furniture with the best materials and workmanship available, beautiful pieces that will be handed down for future generations to use daily and to enjoy for years to come.
This family-owned business started out as a one-man operation in East Cornith, but has grown to become a state-of-the art manufacturing facility on the banks of the Connecticut River in Bradford, Vermont. Copeland has skillfully adapted to changes in technology and the market – they expertly combine old-world handcraftsmanship with leading-edge advances computer-aided design. They identify their design aesthetic as “transitional,” neither strictly traditional or contemporary. Design influences are drawn from the Japanese, Shaker, and Scandinavian design styles, as well as from the landscape and culture of their home base of Vermont.
Copeland has worked hard to stay true to the New England traditions of quality craftsmanship and enduring design from which it emerged. They believe that continuous improvement is ultimately what best serves the customer and work to continue to innovate, while keeping a keen eye trained on the health and well being of the earth, its resources, and its employees and craftsman. Copeland Furniture, as a company, possesses great care and respect both for the land and those of us who live and work on it.
August 29th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Sustainability matters, it really does. Our planet is going through some major changes that I’m sure many of us have noticed– from entire species of animals being wiped out, to our rainforests being clear-cut, to the majorly devastating natural disasters occurring throughout the world. Big things are happening, and I don’t mean to scare anyone, but it has come time for us as people to take responsibility for our contribution to global climate change and its consequences. We have to start acting responsibly and be very conscious in our efforts to reduce our individual impact on the world!
It won’t be easy, but as a leading nation, it is up to Americans to set a positive example to the rest of the world! Can you envision a green future for the USA? A place where we manage our forests responsibly, care for our animals, & support sustainable business rather than greedy CEOs who allow child labor and unsafe factory conditions? A place where we take a second to think about what we are supporting when we make a purchase? A place where sustainable shopping is the norm? I can!
The tragedy that occurred in Bangladesh was extremely eye opening for me– especially when it comes to the companies who refused to agree to safer factory standards. It makes sense… these giant corporations are profiting majorly off of practices that are extremely harmful to the environment and the people who work for them. It’s unacceptable. I like to think that every dollar you spend is a vote, and my question is, who (and what) are you voting for?
I vote for companies with strict environmental standards, companies who believe that our future (and the future of our children, grandchildren, and beyond) is in our hands. I vote for companies who take responsibility and make positive efforts to decrease their environmental impact. I vote for companies who pay their workers fairly and don’t expose them to dangerous conditions. I vote for a green future, a happier, healthier future!
I challenge you to take a look around your home and think about where your products are coming from. Were they made in a factory overseas or by an American craftsman? Were they made from sustainably managed forests or were they made from wood harvested from the rainforest? Does the company you “voted” for have safe, ethical standards of pay and work conditions for their employees?
Just think about it. Literally envision your favorite items in your home being made, and the hands that created them. That’s the first step– just become aware that as consumers, we have the power to change the world. Every dollar is a vote!
August 26th, 2013 by Michelle Rooks
What do pizza delivery people, airport shuttle drivers, hotel room maids and Vermont Woods Studios furniture shippers have in common? All involve people in the service industry making your dining, travel or purchase experience less stressful and as comfortable as possible.
We at Vermont Woods Studios do not have our own drivers, but we have taken great care in selecting shipping companies that we trust. We like to think that our drivers treat the American-made, fine hardwood furniture our customers order as if it were their own!
Prior to working here I had never thought about the fact that, while our shippers are paid by Vermont Woods Studios, they frequently go above and beyond when it comes to making sure our customer’s fine wood furniture orders are delivered in perfect condition. “White Glove Shipping” was a new term for me. Did you know that before they leave our craftsmen’s shops, our shippers personally inspect each piece, then blanket-wrap it and upon delivery place it in the room of the customer’s choice? They also do whatever assembly is necessary and remove any residual packaging… leaving no work left for the customer!
Here’s a question. Do you give a gratuity to the pizza delivery person? What about your airport shuttle driver? Hotel maids? Why not consider your furniture delivery person? By no means should you feel obligated, it really just comes down to your comfort level. One person I know uses the price of a nice dinner for each delivery person as her guide for what she feels is appropriate. Gratuity is greatly appreciated—it’s a way of saying thanks for a job well done!
July 4th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
In celebration of Independence day, enjoy enormous savings on our Vermont made hardwood furniture, from the comfort of your own home! Leave the traveling for the parades, barbeques, and fireworks while you save 20% storewide* and receive free shipping plus a lifetime guarantee! All of our furniture is traditionally handcrafted in Vermont by highly skilled craftspeople, and is available in Cherry, Walnut, Maple and Oak. Our 4th of July furniture sale is one of our best and biggest sales of the year, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to save on those pieces you’ve been daydreaming about.
Happy 4th of July from the Green Team!
*Excludes Copeland, Polywood, and Artisan pieces.
July 1st, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
American Pride is on high this week– especially with the 4th of July being just a few days away and all! This is pretty exciting for us because A) all of our products are made in the USA and B) we were recently featured in Nationalist Magazine, a fashion lifestyle magazine that features exclusively American made products, artists, and designers. Nationalist highlighted the fact that all of our products are environmentally friendly, sourced in the US, and true to Vermont Style! We were eager to collaborate with a team that is just as passionate about their ideals as we are. We’d like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the Nationalist team for featuring us in their publication!
The July issue of Nationalist mag is their first anniversary issue, and its full of great content for those of you who love style, design, and products that are made in America! Be sure to check out their most recent issue, our piece is on page 179-180!
Feel free to check them out on Facebook!
June 29th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Fourth of July week has become a popular time to shop for furniture. With the Made in America movement if full swing, many customers are confining their search to furniture made in the USA. Patriotism isn’t the only reason for this trend but it’s a big one. Here’s a list of what our customers tell us are their Top 5 reasons for buying American Made Furniture rather than imports.
I hope this gives you food for thought when shopping for furniture this Fourth of July. Stop back on Monday and enjoy a 6th reason: our Fourth of July Furniture sale offers storewide savings of 20%!
A cautionary note: most furniture sold in the USA is still imported. Many manufacturers will bring imported furniture to a factory in the USA to have a final step (for example application of the finish) completed so they can label the furniture Made in America. Don’t be fooled– ask your furniture sales person exactly how much of the furniture was actually made in the USA.
May 9th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
While we’ve watched the price of most home decor items skyrocket over the last 30 years, have you noticed that the price of furniture has actually tumbled? It’s true. For a couple centuries we Americans prided ourselves on making high quality, natural wood furniture that was coveted around the world. North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and other New England states were leaders in the fine furniture industry.
But in the 1960′s and 70′s many of America’s big furniture makers (like Ethan Allen, Broyhill, Thomasville and Lane) started to move their operations overseas and superior quality became a thing of the past (along with hundreds of thousands of American jobs). Prices fell dramatically. Instead of preserving our grandparents heirloom quality wooden furniture for our homes, we began buying cheap, trendy furniture imports and replacing them frequently as breakage occured.
Fast forward to 2013 when home owners are getting tired of cheap imported furniture that ends up on the curbside in 5 years. And they’re worried about the health effects of toxic flame retardants and formaldehyde that come standard with imports. Especially in households with children, it is simply not worth the risk.
Families are coming back to American made natural wood furniture with non-toxic finishes. Yes the furniture is more expensive up front, primarily because the American worker is paid a livable wage (as compared to wages that often amount to just a few dollars/day in Asia). But the high quality and environmental integrity of American made furniture is winning customers over. In fact, many brands are offered with a lifetime guarantee, indicative of the superior value of American made furniture over time.
What kind of furniture is in your home? Where was it made? Is it time to rediscover the real thing? Learn more about American made, natural wood furniture on the sustainability section of our website.
April 17th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and we’re always trying to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from. If you’re committed to buying American made furniture– no worries. Chances are it’s made from legal wood, sustainably harvested from well-managed forests right here in North America.
But if you’re buying imported wood furniture (and according to a Washington Post article 70% of furniture sold in America is imported) then: Houston, we have a problem.
A recent Washington Post article by Brad Plumer entitled Organized Crime is Getting Rich Cutting Down the Rainforest describes how the illegal logging trade has become just as lucrative (and far more destructive) than the drug-trafficking industry. 50 to 90 percent of forestry in tropical areas is now controlled by criminal groups! “A great deal of logging simply takes place illegally — much of it in tropical areas such as the Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.” (ref: United Nations and Interpol)
The U.N. estimates that illicit logging is now worth between $30 billion to $100 billion, or up to 30 percent of the global wood trade. That illegal wood is often shipped from pristine rainforests to China, Vietnam and other third world countries where it’s fabricated into low quality furniture which is sold to US consumers. We’ve written quite a bit about the links between rainforest destruction, global warming and the furniture and flooring you choose for your home:
If you’re considering buying furniture at IKEA, Home Depot or any big box store… ask where the lumber originates and let us know what you find on our Facebook or in the comments section below. Then re-discover sustainable, American made wood furniture and join us in feeling good about your furniture and your green home.