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Our mission at Vermont Woods Studios is to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from.  Is Forest to Table furniture as important to you as Farm to Plate food?  Let us know why or why not on our Facebook.

Where Does Your Furniture Come From?

I started Vermont Woods Studios in 2005 to promote sustainable wooden furniture.  I’d been studying the impacts of illegal logging of the earth’s tropical rainforests and wondered “why isn’t anybody doing anything about this”?  With the destruction being driven by demand for cheap wood furniture, I realized there was something we could do to help… even from way up here in Vermont.  Thus our Vermont made furniture store was born, with the mission of raising awareness about where your furniture comes from and persuading people to buy eco friendly furniture made from sustainably harvested wood.

FSC Certification Problems

That purpose is still at the heart of our mission, although the definition of “eco friendly wood furniture” has changed.  Ten years ago the prevailing thought was that the hallmark of sustainably harvested wood furniture was a formal certification by the FSC, Forest Stewardship Council.

FSC is an international not for-profit group that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests.  It has been considered the “gold standard” for green certification and labeling of forest products since 1993.  Unfortunately, as pure as FSC’s intentions may be, the job of monitoring the entire planet’s forests has proved impossible.  With so much at stake and land areas too big to monitor, organized crime has taken over the global timber industry.  FSC certification is now systematically forged to the point where you cannot tell whether “certified” furniture is made from legal wood.

Illegal Wood:  Not Just About Climate Change & Loss of Biodiversity

A recent article by Alexander Zaitchik titled, Blood on Your Ottoman: Your Furniture’s Link to a Murderous Logging Epidemic chronicles the September 2014 murder of Edwin Chota and 3 other indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest.  The article highlights the fact that organized crime has upped the ante for illegal timber.  Murder is now fair game in their book and it’s happening more than you’d like to know.

“The first thing people can do is to revisit the assumption that buying “certified” wood products absolves them of responsibility for destroying the world’s remaining primary rainforests. If you’re buying Peruvian mahogany, or Brazilian rosewood, or Indonesian teak, there’s no way to determine whether or not it came from a legal, carefully managed tract, or whether a villager was killed for trying to keep that tree standing”.

Eco Friendly Wood Furniture = American Made Wood Furniture

Our message to conscious consumers shopping for eco friendly furniture, flooring, paper or other forest products is simple: buy American made.  In the United States logging is regulated and enforced.  There are more trees now than there were 100 years ago. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, “North American forest growth has exceeded harvest since the 1940s.  The greatest gains have been seen on the East Coast with average volumes of wood per acre almost doubling since the ’50s”.

Learn more about American made eco friendly wood furniture on our website and find out which companies say they’re “American made” versus those that truly are.

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.

classic-shaker-round-lifestyle-1

If you are a lover of beautiful, elegantly styled Shaker furniture–you will love our Classic Shaker collection. Defined by it’s gentle curved legs, smooth edges and solid wood construction, any living room would benefit from the timeless appeal of this collection.

A Bit of History about the Shakers

Designed and built over 200 years ago by the American Shaker religious group, this simple but elegant furniture style has a truly timeless quality that makes sense for any home. Shaker furniture designs make the perfect complementary pieces for your traditional, transitional, rustic or modern living room. Shaker tables, chairs, buffets, china cabinets, beds, dressers and chests can be added to any decor to achieve the functionality you need while creating a stylish, comfortable look. Mix and match your shaker furniture with other styles for a more eclectic aesthetic.

While Shaker communities were once vibrant and thriving, there are now only 3 Shakers left. Brother Arnold Hadd and his two elderly sisters practice their faith at Sabbathday Lake’s Shaker Village in New Glouster Maine. It’s the worlds last active Shaker Community. This video of Brother Arnold describes the faith and the inspiration behind Shaker furniture design:

“That “classic” Shaker style is well represented here in strong, unassuming cupboards, tables, desks and chests of drawers; delicately crafted oval wooden nesting boxes; inviting, wide-mouthed wooden bowls; tightly woven rugs and baskets; and sprightly, no-nonsense ladder-back chairs. Made of chestnut, walnut, flame birch and bird’s-eye maple, these lightweight, sturdy chairs have rhythmically dynamic woven cane and checkerboard tape seats. They could be easily hung on wall pegs to allow for the ecstatic “shaking” dancing prayers for which the “Believers” became commonly known.”

Featured Pieces from the Classic Shaker Furniture Collection

 

Classic Shaker Oval Table1. Classic Shaker Oval Table: This oval coffee table makes the perfect base for your Classic Shaker styled living room. The curved legs and rounded top give it a soft, lightweight look while still maintaining its solid build. Made to order in Vermont, this piece can be crafted in Cherry, Maple, Oak or Walnut.

classic shaker round end table2.  Classic Shaker Round End Table: This lightweight, rounded end table makes the perfect accent to your living room. It’s finely crafted with premium hardwoods, and built to last a lifetime.

 

Classic Shaker Sofa Table3.  Classic Shaker Sofa Table: Our tall, narrow Classic Shaker Sofa Table with Flare Legs is perfect for your living room, den or hallway. Add luxury, style and convenience to your upscale home with extra space to place gloves or display photos, vases or artwork.

All three of these finely crafted pieces are made to order in Vermont and are sure to add warmth and sophistication to your space. While we only highlighted three in this blog, we also have a variety of other pieces in the collection for different rooms in the home. Which piece is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section!

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.

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.

shaker style wood furniture

What most people love about Shaker style wood furniture is that it simply  feels like home. It’s comfortable, subtle, and nostalgic– bringing you back to a time when things were made slowly and with purpose. A time where furniture was always made with precision, care, and quality. It’s unassuming, and while it’s presence is always noticeable, it doesn’t demand the absolute attention of the room. For these reasons, Shaker Style wood furniture is the perfect furniture for the holiday season.

Shaker Furniture Encourages Buying with Purpose

If Black Friday Sales this year are any indication of the shifting in American values (Black Friday sales across the country plummeted while Small Business Saturday sales grew exponentially), than my belief is correct in that American people are growing tired of the craze surrounding low quality, mass produced items. They want simpler things like quality time with the family, a warm comfortable home, and beautifully crafted items to fill it.

Shaker furniture has a long, rich history of sustainability and tradition. In their prime, Shaker communities were largely self sufficient. They attempted to separate themselves from the busy outside world and create a peaceful haven that focused on growing their own food, constructing their own buildings, and manufacturing their own tools and furnishings. Every thing they did they did slowly, meticulously, and with intention.

Honesty, Utility and Simplicity in Shaker Craftsmanship

Their guiding principles of honesty, utility, and simplicity  found expression in their unique craftsmanship, as furniture, boxes, and textiles. Their work is world renowned for it’s beautifully minimalist design and unyielding quality. Their work rejected excessive ornamentation and focused on overall form, proportion, and quality.

The Shaker Style wood furniture we carry at Vermont Woods Studios is carefully crafted by expert Vermont woodworkers who pride themselves on creating beautiful, high quality  pieces built to last a lifetime. Their craftsmanship is a great reflection of the ever cherished Shaker wood furniture.

We hope that this holiday season, you’ll take some time to reflect on your own traditions and values. What kind of items do you want to fill your home with? What are your purchases saying about your values? We can all take a little inspiration from the Shakers, slow down a bit, and connect with what’s important this holiday season!

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.

Small Business
100% of our wood furniture is locally crafted in Vermont. Our woodworkers use as much wood as possible from Northeastern forests, further supporting lumber workers and more.

Support Independent Small Businesses this Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

With all of the excitement surrounding Black Friday this year, it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of buying the cheapest items without consideration for where it is made, how it is made, and what are the consequences of that purchase. When you are shopping for great deals this year, remember to shop small on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. This ensures good paying jobs, support for the local community, and much more. Supporting small business doesn’t mean shutting yourself off from the outside world, it simply means putting your money into a locally owned business that uses local resources sustainably, employs their workers at a fair wage, and primarily doesn’t import their products out of the USA! Supporting local takes the money out of the hands of distant corporations and puts it back into the community where it belongs!

When you support a small business, you are paying for someone to go to college, for a little girls dance classes, for someone to put a good meal on the table, and so much more. So enjoy your shopping and challenge yourself to buy at least one independently crafted item this holiday season!

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.