Boston Design Week

For all our interior design friends in around New England, here is a new event you won’t want to miss.  It’s the first annual Boston Design Week, a 10-day citywide design festival starting tomorrow and running March 20-30, 2014.  Boston design organizations, schools, businesses, sponsors and individual designers have over 80 design events, exhibitions, speakers, receptions, behind-the-scene tours, and other activities to spring you into a creative mood.   Better yet, most activities are free of charge and open to the public.

Festivities are designed to “encourage the public to explore architecture, environmental and landscape design, urban design, interior design, fashion, graphic design, photography, product and industrial design, studio design, furniture design, decorative arts, sculpture, textiles, jewelry and more.”

Here are just a few design events you might like to check out:

  • Boston Architectural College presents This Old House, “About the Process: The Production and Design Process of the TV Series, This Old House,” March 25 @ 6:00 pm at “The Beehive” in the BAC Hall, 951 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02116
  • Restoration Resources presents “Designing & Decorating with Salvage” by Joanne Palmisano March 29 @ 11:00 am & again at 1:00 pm at 1946 Washington St. Boston, MA 02118
  • Beth Bourque Design Studio presents “Insight into Furniture Design” March 26 @ 6:00 pm Masterpiece Woodworks Inc, 65 Bodwell St. Avon, MA 02322

Not able to get to Boston this Spring?  Well, how ’bout making a visit to our new fine furniture and home decor showroom at Stonehurst in Vernon, VT?  We’re collecting Vermont’s finest home decor brands (Simon Pearce glass ware, Hubbardton Forge lighting, Laura Zindel ceramics, Anichini linens…) to offer you at this beautiful 17th century farmhouse showroom.  You’ll have easy access to the best of Vermont’s furniture and interior design items all under one roof.  Shop our new to the trade program for interior designers, decorators and specifiers today.

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.

Treeson Spring Water

Treeson Eco Friendly Spring Water | Change the World
You can help Treeson get their fledgling spring water company off the ground by supporting their campaign at Kickstarter.com.

I don’t usually promote other companies or products unless they’re based in Vermont and related to our environmental mission at Vermont Woods Studios.  But although Treeson is operated in Costa Rica, the company caught my eye because their founding principles are so similar to ours.

Cleaning Up Ocean Plastic Pollution

Owner Carlton Solle took his family on a trip to Costa Rica 5 years ago.  Like me, he was alarmed at the plastic pollution littering that country’s beautiful waters and coastlines.  And like me, he  learned that less than 20 percent of the 50 billion plastic water bottles sold in the United States are actually recycled (the remaining 40 billion end up in landfills, waterways and oceans, or in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch).

Our response to plastic pollution at Vermont Woods Studios was to partner with POLYWOOD in promoting and selling outdoor patio furniture made from recycled plastic bottles.  Carlton’s response was to create Treeson spring water which is packaged in an eco-friendly, biodegradable, collapsible water bottle that comes with a pre-paid USPS postage sticker.  The empty bottle goes in the Mail box instead of the trash.

Replanting the Rainforest

For every bottle of spring water sold, Treeson plants a tree. They are working closely with our friend Kevin Peterson at the Eco Preservation Society to replant the rainforest in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (this is the area we visited a few years ago and did volunteer work building furniture at a local school).  So far over 38,000 trees have been planted.

Incidentally, Kevin is one of the people who influenced us at Vermont Woods Studios to plant a tree for every furniture sale.

Life Cycle of a Treeson Bottle:  Cradle to Grave

Treeson water bottles are made from plant-based materials and filled with filtered spring water sourced close to each retail territory.  Empty bottles are easily flattened and returned for free (by peeling off the label to reveal a return label) via the United States Postal Service.  The used bottles are then recycled to produce clean energy (with a machine that converts the plant-based material into biogas) that is used to produce new bottles.

Support Treeson’s Kickstarter Campaign

You can help Treeson get their fledgling company off the ground by supporting their campaign at Kickstarter.com.   There you’ll find information and frequently asked questions about their mission, business plans and processes.

We wish them well.  Can companies like Treeson and Vermont Woods Studios really change the world?  Let us know your thoughts on Facebook.

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.

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.

Flowers

Some things to help you think Spring: New England Grows, Boston Flower & GardenPOLYWOOD Furniture and Peggy’s decorative touch!

One of the things I enjoy most about working at Stonehurst are the flowers Peggy places all over the showroom. You can almost fool yourself into thinking winter is a distant memory – as long as you don’t peek out the windows or make a run to the mailbox.

This time of year is when gardeners start planning for nicer weather. There are two big events that take place in nearby Boston (two hours counts as nearby, doesn’t it?). They are the New England Grows Show and the Boston Flower & Garden Show.

The New England Grows Show is aimed at green industry professionals. If you want to get the latest news in tree care, landscape architecture and design, lawn care, etc. you’ll find the information you need at this trade show. Each year the show draws over 13,000 people. This year’s show is at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center this week, February 5-7. Today is your last chance to catch this great event until next year!

The Boston Flower & Garden Show is held each year at the Seaport World Trade Center. This year the show is March 12-16 and the theme is Romance in the Garden. This show draws more than 65,000 visitors and vendors include suppliers of seeds, bulbs, plants and flowers and the tools to care for them all. There is also décor, artwork and accessories. More than 20 display gardens are set up for inspiring ideas of your own backyard oasis.

So turn your back on the cold and start planning for long days of sunshine. While perusing images of years past I couldn’t help but notice what was missing were some of our durable, recycled plastic POLYWOOD pieces!

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.

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.

Vermont Tree Society | Conserving Champion Trees in the Green Mountain State
 In doing some research, trying to figure out where this anonymous gift came from, I discovered a couple articles about Loona Brogan.  Loona’s a naturalist in Plainfield, responsible for starting the Vermont Big Tree Society.

Who put this Vermont Big Tree Society 2004 calendar on my desk over the weekend? What a pleasant surprise to see while un-bundling (that’s winter outerwear not cable TV or software programs) on this icy cold Monday morning.  Whoever the Big Tree Elf is, he or she left the calendar open to the August 2004 month where a beautiful photo of our Stonehurst champion Sassafras tree was featured in all it’s glory.

Well we happen to think it’s glorious, anyway.  To others it might look a little nerdy and decrepit but it’s still a beloved old tree and the largest of it’s species in all of Vermont.  I learned from the calendar that the Sassafras is an intolerant (of shade) tree which is common as a pioneer (a hardy species that’s the first to colonize previously disrupted or damaged ecosystems, beginning a chain of ecological succession that ultimately leads to a more biodiverse steady-state ecosystem, ref: wikipedia).    It’s one of only a few tree species who’s leaves come in 3 different shapes.  Plus it’s fragrant and the roots can be used to make sassafras tea!

Sassafras Tree | Vernon Vermont | Big Tree Champion
Last summer, our Windham County Forester Bill Guenther led the 20th Annual Big Tree Tour and stopped by to show his group of treehuggers our sassafras at Stonehurst.

Are you surprised to see how much Vermonters love their trees?  As furniture makers, working with sustainably harvested wood we are especially interested in Vermont’s big trees and the issue of sustainable forestry throughout the Green Mountain State (and beyond).  Vermont Woods Studios was founded on the principles of forest conservation.  Last year we received a $100,000 grant from the states Working Lands Initiative to further our efforts in promoting sustainable forests and the eco-friendly Vermont made furniture produced from them.

Fellow treehuggers– stop by Stonehurst to see Vermont’s biggest sassafras tree.  Then come in and enjoy a cup of tea or hot cider as you browse through the gallery of fine furniture that Vermonter’s are making out of sustainably harvested New England wood.

And whoever the Big Tree elf is, I am sending a million thanks out to you.  Please reveal your identity on our Facebook!

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, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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.

 

The invitations are in the mail, the bridal expo is just around the corner and this Valentines day will undoubtedly turn out plenty of men on one knee.   What does all this mean?  It’s almost wedding season and as, I have finally reached that gag-inspiring time in life when all of my peers are getting married, it’s time to do my part.  As much as I balk at the developments taking place between my peers (“she’s marrying WHO?!”), I have to relent and rejoice for those I care about outside of the Facebook.  Though each marriage is original, the wedding registry can be a pretty apathetic affair.  So, if you’re looking to order off the registry for once or if you have some special newlyweds in your life with birthdays or housewarmings coming up, here are five, off-the-registry, gift ideas.

Décor

Out of respect for the gift-givers, most wedding registries are limited to the essentials-yes, a stand mixer is essential-with the mildest bit of unique taste.  Beyond the color of that essential stand mixer and the pattern on their bed linens, there is little room for the soon to be completely broke newlyweds to foster their personalities.  Gifting a piece of art can not only lighten up a home but draw the newlywed’s attention away from that vacuum cleaner that cost more than its inevitable use.

If you feel uncomfortable picking out décor for someone else’s home, a simple chalkboard can allow the receiver to decorate any way they please.  Or, if you have a particularly gifted recipient, a gift card to their local craft store may be the most welcome (and needed) gift for a bare-walled home.

Tools

Perhaps this item is just forgotten when signing up for a registry, but it seems highly unlikely newlyweds will have an affordable handy-man on speed dial for every household malfunction.  Even if the Mr. is a fairly handy man himself, he may still benefit from some new tools or replacement parts.  If you’re not sure where to start, AmericansWorking.com features a page completely dedicated to tools made in the USA.

Outdoors

I was impressed when my sister requested a tent on her registry – not only because I knew her fiancé had changed her from a spider-fearing princess to a rugged camp mom, but because it was out of the ordinary.  Thankfully the family of her now husband had respect for the request because my mother certainly wasn’t eager to contribute to another generally expensive, photography/scuba diving/architecture/floral art -esque hobby she might drop one day.  Either way, it is nice to think of the utility behind a present and it’s longevity of use.

Other inventive outdoor gifts could be an outdoor bench (or other outdoor furniture), a bird house or a fire pit.

Outdoor Bench
An outdoor bench is a great addition to a newlyweds first home!

Miscellaneous Kitchen Supplies

The bride may have thought those flower printed, coral plates were going to match everything from her curtains to her shoes but now they’re the only thing she has in that suddenly wretched color.  In kitchens new and old, things may never quite match but having a few out of the ordinary pieces to love can make it all come together.

Vermont Woods Studios features an array of unique kitchen items made in Vermont.  The Cricket Table Riser or a lazy susan (in slate or hickory) will come in handy for their first housewarming. A unique wine or pot rack is also desirable but will likely be put on the “after we pay our mortgage” list or purchases.

 

cricket-table-riser_01
The Cricket Table riser is as functional as it is fashionable

Entertainment

Give the gift of a night on the town!  Tickets to the theater, a movie or a concert could be just what the doctor ordered for the cash-strapped, home-confined couple.  Better yet, offer them a new experience by gifting a day pass to a rock climbing gym or a local motor coach tour.

Whatever you decide to give, these unique ideas can be both personable and purposeful!

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.