October 20th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you’ve called us at Vermont Woods Studios to ask about fine furniture, place an order or just find out more about our company, there’a a good chance you talked to Elizabeth Francese. Liz and Heather Gantt are our “front office” Sales and Customer Service crew, working with customers on the phone, via online chat, email and in person.
It’s hard to believe that Liz has been here for 4 months! And I’m just now getting around to introducing her to you. Well, it’s not entirely my fault since she (like everyone else around here) isn’t all that crazy about being in the spotlight. It’s possible, actually that she’s been dodging me about this blog post.
Anyway, if you’ve been working with her on a furniture order, you already know how personable, diligent and smart Liz is. She’s a quick study and that’s good because the learning curve is pretty steep around here and the stakes are high. For example, if your furniture has already been crafted and you’re waiting for shipping and delivery, Liz is the logistics wizard who makes all that happen. She coordinates between you, your craftsman and our shipper to ensure your furniture arrives on time and in pristine condition. It can be a high-pressure job but she’s up to the task and we’re getting a lot of feedback from happy customers who are pleased with the results.
While introducing Liz though, maybe I should share a few things you won’t already know. Well… she’s a graduate of Keene State College with a BA in English and a minor in art. While in school Liz volunteered for alternative Spring Break projects in New Orleans (post Hurricane Katrina, painting houses in poverty stricken areas) and Moab UT (removing invasive species from public lands and making trails).
Locally she’s volunteered in many environmental projects, including cleaning the Ashuelot River and participating in the Solar Festival. Oh and I don’t want to forget this little known fact– Liz used to work at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, which sounds like a fascinating place you might want to visit one of these days.
So that’s the inside scoop on Liz Francese. She’s been an extremely competent and fun-loving addition to our group and we’re feeling very lucky to have her here at Vermont Woods Studios. Next time you call, ask Liz what she’s up to and how her day is going. You’re sure to get an interesting answer!
October 12th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you’re looking for hardwood furniture, there’s a good chance you’re narrowing your wood choices down to the most popular and plentiful species grown here in America such as cherry, maple, oak and walnut. These prized hardwoods are grown sustainably here in the USA with Vermont and New England being a favorite source for many woods.
We like these species because they are well suited to fine furniture making by virtue of their color, strength, hardness, grain patterns and workability. They are also readily obtainable in our local and regional area, making them a sustainable choice. Often our furniture makers will offer two-tone combinations of these hardwoods creating a custom, artisan look and feel to your furniture.
The photo above shows Copeland Furniture’s SoHo Bedroom Set in solid maple and walnut hardwoods. This striking two-tone wood combination has become a best seller in our metropolitan markets, particularly Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Homeowners appreciate the modern, contemporary sensibilities of the SoHo solid hardwood design as well as the fine detail and craftsmanship that goes into every custom, made to order piece.
SoHo furniture is also offered in a two-tone walnut and cherry design. Which of these hardwood combinations would look best for your bedroom furniture?
October 4th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Since forest conservation is a big part of my mission at Vermont Woods Studios, it’s been a little heart-breaking for me to see some of the 100 year old trees at Stonehurst being taken down. There were a handful that were leaning over the house and garage and Ken insisted that they were a hazard and had to go.
But lucky for me, Vince Johnson of Johnson Custom Milling in Vernon, VT came to the rescue. Vince is milling the trees so we can use them for future phases of construction at Stonehurst, our fine furniture showroom. Here’s a video of his portable sawmill in operation.
Ken and Jeremy Coleman of J Coleman & Company Architects are looking into building a solar kiln to dry the wood so we can use it as soon as possible.
And Dennis has plans to siphon off some of the wood to build bluebird houses, owl boxes and such. It’s turning out to be a fun project after all. Let us know on our Facebook if you have any thoughts or advice for us as we go down this road of renovation at Stonehurst, our future fine furniture showroom. We’ll be posting photos of the transformation and announcing details of our open house as we get closer to completion.
September 28th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
The weather isn’t looking so great for leaf peeping in Vermont this weekend. So if you’re traveling around the Green Mountain State and looking for indoor activities, try heading to Woodstock, VT for the Ninth Annual Vermont Fine Furniture and Woodworking Festival.
This year’s theme is “From Forest to Furniture: Take Home a Piece of Vermont”. It dovetails with our plans at Vermont Woods Studios for a showroom at Stonehurst in that the focus is to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from.
Much like the organic food movement, the organic furniture movement is catching on. Customers are realizing both the economic and health benefits to buying locally crafted furniture, handmade from real, solid, sustainably harvested wood.
Come visit with some of the regions (and world’s) most respected fine furniture makers in Woodstock this weekend. You’ll be able to see and feel their furniture creations and also learn about the well-managed forests where their wood is harvested. Free tours are available of the nearby Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Here customers can experience the forest and learn about each of the many links in the chain from forest to trees to furniture.
Shown above: Brent Karner of ClearLake Furniture in Ludlow VT won first place for production furniture in the 2011 Vermont Fine Furniture Festival. Who is going to win this year?
September 24th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
It was pretty misty this morning so I'm not sure if you can see the arborist in the top of this Black Locust tree. But he's there, suspended from a 100' tall crane boom that stretched over the Stonehurst building and into the back yard where you see the locust tree being carefully dismantled.
We are sending our thanks to the tree service professionals at Turner and Renaud in Dummerston, Vermont. Three certified arborists came to Stonehurst today to remove a couple huge trees that were leaning over the building. It was amazing (and terrifying) to watch them work.
I was surprised and pleased to learn that each person working in Turner and Renaud's tree care business is a certified Arborist. Certification is an impressive recognition of their professional knowledge by the International Society of Arboriculture.
I'm going to miss the beautiful trees they took down today but I'm eager to see what our creative friend Vince Johnson of Johnson Custom Milling will be able to transform the wood into.
Since Black Locust is one of the most rot-resistant woods in the Northern Forest, we're thinking it's best use might be for the ADA accessibility ramp into the new Vermont Woods Studios showroom. Stay tuned for photos of the complete transformation.
September 17th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Often customers come to us looking specifically for fine wood furniture that's handmade in America from sustainably harvested wood.
At last! Vermont is becoming know as the Fine Furniture Capital of America. The Green Mountain State has been the home to fine woodworkers for over 200 years. Plus our state provides
the world's finest furniture making material – solid hardwood.
Furniture makers in Vermont create bedroom, home office and dining room furniture using American Black Cherry,
Sugar Maple, American Black Walnut, Oak and other hardwoods from the Northern Forest.
Vermont designs and crafting techniques highlight the natural beauty of wood such that our furniture is a reflection of the forest it came from. Forests
cover nearly 80% of Vermont's landscape and we harvest wood at a rate that's less than the rate at which our forest is growing– a good measure of sustainability!
At Vermont Woods Studios we're proud to live in a place where people cherish and protect their
natural resources – our forests, meadows, pastures, rivers, lakes and streams. And we're happy to be able to bring you the fruits of that green lifestyle: Vermont's handmade hardwood furniture. Like us on Facebook if you agree!
September 15th, 2012 by Loryn Dion
In case you haven’t heard, this Saturday is International Coastal
Clean-up Day, organized by the Ocean Conservancy. This year marks their 27th
anniversary of celebrating this initiative and they don’t look to be slowing
down anytime soon. In 2011, almost 600,000 volunteers worldwide collected more
than 9 million pounds of trash from our oceanic ecosystems. These trash items,
such as cigarette butts, plastic bottles and bags and food wrappers, are
responsible for polluting our waters and endangering our wildlife.
Vermont Woods Studios makes every effort we can to support initiatives
like that of The Ocean Conservancy. In many areas of our company, you can find examples of how we support the preservation of our environment. We donate to local and national
environmental organizations, we “green-up” our office space and we even sell
Our Polywood Outdoor Furniture is the perfect addition to
any green home. Made from more than 90% post-consumer recycled containers like
milk or detergent bottles, these pieces are constructed using a process that
makes them look and feel like real wood. That’s right. Durable, beautiful
furniture that doesn’t harm our environment and actually helps to keep plastic
out of our oceans. How much better can you get?
Here in the office, we decorate our “beach” area with
Polywood and enjoy it all year long. We also have BIG plans for Polywood at our
new Stonehurst home. Because that’s the thing about Vermont Woods Studios:
While we are a fine, hardwood furniture company, VWS is built on sustainability
and on protecting our environment.
This weekend, make plans to do something to support our
oceans. Find a beach clean-up site near you, start or improve a recycling
resolution in your home or office, or relax in a luxurious Polywood Adirondack
Chair. However you choose to help, you’ll be glad you did!
Loryn Dion is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods Studios, an online furniture gallery which showcases Vermont's finest wood furniture. Follow our blog to learn about Vermont fine furniture, Vermont happenings, our mission, and our team.
September 4th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
At Vermont Woods Studios we all have a special place in our hearts for animals. From our own cats, dogs, snakes and other pets, to the familiar faces of chipmunks, squirrels and birds that share our backyards to the exotic and elusive endangered species we read about or catch a glimpse of in Vermont's forests.
So today on National Wildlife Day we'll be thinking about our furry, slimy, feathered and scaley friends and remembering that part of our mission is to conserve forest habitat for them. In fact, one of the statistics that urged me to form Vermont Woods Studios is that half of the world's animal species live in the rainforest which is disappearing at an alarming rate– we're losing over 100 rainforest species every day. It's something we're trying to help change by raising awareness about where your furniture comes from.
Here at home in Vermont
we support Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS), a non-profit located in
Quechee. VINS aims to "motivate individuals and communities to care for
the environment though education, research and aviation wildlife
rehabilitation." VINS invites guests of all ages to visit and learn about
the most recent environmental science information. More than 40,000 people
through out New England go to VINS for environmental
While visiting VINS, guests will see some of New
England's most interesting avian wildlife. Humans head to the doctors when we are sick, wild animals seek
professional care at VINS. The Nature
Center at VINS has licensed
wildlife rehabilitators who heal wildlife and raise the orphaned. The ultimate goal is to return the wildlife
back to their natural homes; however, if they do not feel that an animal can
safely be returned, the animal will stay with VINS.
Because VINS is a non-profit they rely on the help of the
general public to keep their facilities running. They have created an "adopt a
raptor" program as a fun way for people to help fund their rehabilitation
program. Vermont Woods Studios has participated in this program by adopting a Gray
Phase Eastern Screech Owl, whom we have named Woody. Woody's age is unknown; however, it arrived
at VINS in May of 2004 because of a right shoulder injury caused by a collision
with a vehicle. In the VINS education
programs, they teach visitors that they do not name the owls to stress the fact
that they are not pets, they are wild animals. We have decided that because we
have only symbolically adopted Woody, that it is okay to have named it (we
don't know Woody's sex). By adoption Woody, we helped provide food and
The Adopt a Raptor Program is a fun way to support VINS and
the raptors they care for. It is also a
great, feel good gift for an animal lover like us!
September 1st, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
We've been very lucky at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture to have six fabulous summer interns this year. Douglas's three teens: Trenton, Tristan and Taegen, Manjula's daughter Mugdha, my neighbor Angela and of course Kendall who's been working in our business since he was 12 (Manjula says we have to stop calling him an intern at this point and promote him. I don't know…what do you think?).
The kids give us a hand completing important projects that help us run more efficiently. They get great experience learning how a small business works and we get top notch work at a discount price!
Here are a few snapshots I was able to sneak in over the summer as these hard-workers helped us grow our sales and further our green mission. We're sending them our sincere thanks for a job well done.
And best wishes for a fun and successful year at school!
August 29th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Dennis took this picture of a black cherry tree on his property in New Hampshire. Our cherry wood furniture typically comes from PA though, which has soils and climate more ideally suited to growing black cherry trees.
Heather Barrett mentioned the other day that many customers are coming
to us by way of Google when they're searching for answers to questions
like "where does cherry wood come from"?
At Vermont Woods
Studios we feel it's important to provide detailed information about
where your furniture comes from. We want customers to know that our
wood is all sustainably harvested and that forest conservation is a fundamental part of our mission.
We source as much wood as we can locally, preferably right here in Vermont. Cherry wood
however isn't a big component of the Green Mountain Forest. There are a few
cherry trees here and there across Vermont, but Pennsylvania is really
the Cherry Capitol of the world and that's where we get most of our
cherry wood. It is arguably the finest cherry wood on earth and is
prized for its lovely red color, grain and luster.
Fortunately in 1995 the state of Pennsylvania had the foresight to protect and
preserve a great deal of their cherry wood resources. They committed to
maintaining the state forest system sustainably and began green
certifying it, by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC.
FSC is considered
the gold standard in third party certifications of forests so we can be
confident that the forests providing our cherry wood will be around to
enjoy for many generations… just like our cherry wood furniture.