September 5th, 2013 by Loryn Dion
A few weeks ago, Peggy wrote a blog about her chance meeting with Brattleboro artist Susan Osgood. Susan is an archaeologist by day and a painter by night, so her pieces all have character and a story. When Peggy told us about Susans work, we were intrigued and knew we had to get her work on our walls. So Douglas and I went up to meet Susan and pick out a few pieces to add to the showroom.
She certainly didn’t make the decision very easy on us. Susan does all of her painting right out of her home and showcases paintings throughout her house. Susan picked out a variety of paintings for us to choose from including small gallery-wrapped pieces to some larger ones in wood-framed glass and even a few painted on actual Egyptian graffiti! I personally fell in love with the graffiti art. It feels like we’re bringing a piece of history into our showroom. I’m hoping that our customers will love Susan Osgood Egyptian paintings as much as I do.
We ended up picking out nine exquisite pieces to display throughout the showroom. We choose pieces that we thought would look best displayed with our furniture. With our art consignments, we’re attempting to create a look that our customers will be able to identify with and want to create in their own homes. With our Vermont-made furniture, art, housewares and linens, we’re developing our showroom into the ideal, artistic Vermont home.
What other types of art would you like to see here at Stonehurst? Let us know on Facebook!
August 28th, 2013 by Loryn DionWhat do you think of Janet Picard’s oil paintings?
You may have noticed from our past blogs that a lot is happening here at Stonehurst. New driveways, new furniture, new landscapes and new… art? One of the areas we have been exploring for our showroom is displaying beautiful, handmade pieces from artists across Southern Vermont. It’s our belief that our customers love the beauty and elegance of our handmade furniture, so showcasing our furniture with paintings and sculptures that evoke the same feelings just makes sense.
One of the artists that I had the chance to meet with this week and who will be showcasing her paintings in the months to come is Janet Picard. I discovered Janet’s work while browsing through a few artist groups located in the Brattleboro area. The pieces above really stuck out to me because it seemed to capture everything I love about Vermont’s forests.
Janet uses bright colors and expressionistic strokes to create unusual yet realistic paintings of landscapes, forests and flowers. Janet’s art is beautiful to look at and is a modern take on a traditional style of painting. Janet describes her paintings as “merging actual places with imagined visions.” After chatting with Janet for a while on Tuesday, Douglas and I agree that Janet will make a fine addition to our showroom and we think our customers will agree.
Janet has a showroom of her own at her studio in West Brattleboro right behind the Chelsea Royal Diner. Speaking of which, when she’s not spreading oil on canvas you can find her making ice cream for Chelsea Royal, which she and her partner own. If you haven’t been there yet, it’s worth stopping. Their menu features ingredients grown right on their own farm! They have free-range chickens, grass-fed beef and some very well fed pigs. What better way to absorb Vermont culture than to enjoy a plate of locally-produced cuisine and then take-in some gorgeous, Vermont inspired art.
We’re so excited to have Janet’s work gracing the walls of Stonehurst! She’s just one of a few artists that you’ll be able to see on display when you come to visit our fine furniture showroom. Stop by and check it out or be on the look-out for the arts section of our website, coming soon!I’m thinking we’ll put Janet’s pieces up right here! What do you think?
August 20th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Vermont is known for the quality, variety and style of it’s handmade solid wood dining chairs. As we fill our new Stonehurst showroom up with furniture, Douglas is trying to provide lots of different examples of chair styles and woods. We have 37 different dining chairs on our website and most of them are available in a couple different types of hardwood. The best sellers are available for you to sit in and check for comfort and style.
I snapped this photo because it shows the 4 most popular hardwoods for dining chairs and customers often ask for advice on how to choose the best one. From left, the chairs are the:
You can see that the cherry wood chair (far left) has a deep, rich reddish tone whereas the darker walnut chair (3rd from left) is chocolate brown in color. The oak chair (2nd from left) is a lighter wood but it still has lots of grain pattern in it. The maple chair (far right) is the lightest wood, with minimal grain variation.
So how to choose the right wood color for your kitchen or dining room? Well, of course you’re going to want to consider what your dining table is made of. And how the chairs will fit into the rest of your dining area. But don’t feel you have to match the chairs to the type of wood in your dining table or on your floor. Here’s an example of mixing woods that interior designer, Susan Jay put together with our Modern High Back Dining Chairs. Susan used 2 different woods (cherry and walnut) for her chairs and she customized them by sending us a bold, vibrant fabric to upholster them with.
Are you looking for a special color or stain for your wooden dining chairs? Well as a general rule, Vermont craftsman are going to try and persuade you to love and accept the unique beauty that Mother Nature has bestowed upon her different wood species. They (and we) will tend to recommend natural, clear wood finishes that allow the beauty of the wood to express itself. We do however, understand the need for custom stains and finishes and can often accommodate special requests. Try browsing through our dining chairs — many have a pull down menu of stain options. If you don’t find what you want, give Liz or Sean for help. They’re experts at helping customers get exactly what they’re looking for.
August 18th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Did you know that we recently painted the front doors of Stonehurst? We decided on a color that was bright, unique, and fitting to the beauty of the space. In the spirit of our newest renovation, this blog post explains some common symbolism behind several eclectic front door colors.
1. Red: In Feng Shui, a red door means “welcome!” It’s full of powerful, warm energy. According to folklore, if a weary traveler stumbled upon a home with a red door, they would stop there and surely be welcomed with a good meal and a good nights sleep. A red door is great for people who have lots of guests visiting their home, and who aren’t afraid to make a statement.
2. Blue: As you can imagine, the color blue inspires a feeling of calm and peace to those who see it, and beyond that, a blue door welcomes abundance, growth, and prosperity! Feng Shui suggests that when you walk through a blue door, you can more easily concentrate, focus on personal endeavors, and practice creativity!
3. Yellow: Yellow can cheer you up, fill you with hope, and give you enhanced mental clarity. It also has a warm, nurturing tone. Use a yellow door if you want your home to always be a happy retreat from the outside world.
4. Green: Green is representative of earth, and brings in a feeling of the natural world. Green is associated with growth, balance, and total harmony. Use a green door if you always want to feel a little closer to mother earth!
5. Purple: Purple is actually one of the most popular front door colors, surprisingly! Purple or violet hued doors are commonly associated with spiritual energy, and relaxed, meditative spaces. Sometimes purple doors are used in religious spaces like temples and churches! Purple would be an ideal color for you if you use your home as a low-energy place for quiet, spiritual contemplation, and meditation.
6. White: As you can probably imagine, a white door symbolizes purity, tradition, & freshness. It’s a color that represents things that are untouched and clean! Painting your door white is a good idea if you are someone who loves traditional style, or someone who wants to keep your home looking pristine. Some people say that if you are looking for a fresh start, or if you have just started a new phase in your life whether it be a marriage, a new baby, or a new job– to paint your door white to “start over” and reflect your new life!
Want to know which one of these colors we decided on for the front doors of Stonehurst? Keep your eye out for a new blog, coming early next week!
August 11th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Looking for top quality, craftsman furniture that’s American made? Why not start your search in Vermont? We’ve gathered up an encyclopedia of facts about Vermont craftsmanship and state’s 200+ year history as a maker of high quality, solid wood furniture. Here’s an exceprt:
Vermont is the Fine Furniture Capital of America. The Green Mountain State is increasingly recognized as the country’s leader in high quality, handmade wood furniture. Vermont boasts over 1000 furniture companies plus 2000 independent woodworkers operating out of small shops, barns and garages. They produce a diverse collection of wood furnishings for every taste and budget and together they have earned a world-wide reputation for integrity, authenticity and green design.
Craftsman furniture is a favorite style amongst Vermont woodworkers and one of my personal favorites. At Vermont Woods Studios we showcase a variety of Mission, Craftsman and Arts & Crafts Furniture designed and built by our state’s fine furniture makers.
Originally, mission and craftsman furniture was characterized by rectilinear design, simple, straight construction, heavy proportion and exposed joinery, often using medium or dark stained oak. Drawer pulls were usually simple round brass rings or rectangular back plates of solid brass with canted corners and an oval bail handle. But like all things, craftsman furniture has evolved.
Today’s Vermont made mission, craftsman and arts & crafts style furniture ranges from the traditional American Mission Furniture Collection to our Cherry Moon Furniture Collection which incorporates subtle curves in an Asian design to the modern Contemporary Craftsman furniture, also somewhat curvy but still simple and elegant. Rather than fancy, ornate scrolling or carving, craftsman furniture emphasizes fine workmanship in the form of refined style, perfect proportions, exposed joinery and top quality wood selection.
Need some ideas for how to put together your own unique craftsman style home decor? Check out this Pinterest craftsman board, or browse through Arts and Crafts. And if you’re looking for craftsman style lighting to complement your furniture, Vermont’s own Hubbardton Forge is the authority on that subject. Here’s a Pinterest board with some great lighting ideas.
August 9th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Handmade custom tables are a common request for the craftspeople at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Recently Barbara K came to us looking for custom banquette tables for her kitchen. Banquette seating is custom built, usually into a corner, along a wall or in front of a window. Depending on the design of the seating, the banquette table must be custom made too. Over the years, we’ve had many requests to customize existing tables and make them a little taller, shorter, longer, wider and so on. This type of customization is something we can do quite easily as every piece of our furniture is made to order.
Here’s an excerpt from Barbara’s feedback about her new dining table:
We just absolutely love our table. You were so nice to work with and the delivery men were just delightful. They made sure our table was level before they left. We ordered the table because we needed a certain height for the banquette. Vermont Wood Studios was the only place we found that could give us this. We would definitely recommend you!! Barbara K
If you’re searching for banquette tables and seating, have a look at these photos on Houzz, Better Homes and Gardens and Pinterest. And if you need a custom banquette table, browse through our selection of made to order dining tables and give Liz a call to discuss dimensions and pricing. Often we can customize tables like this for little or no extra charge.
July 28th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’re trucking right along in our quest to transform Stonehurst from a private residence to a fine furniture and art gallery that showcases Vermont made sustainable home decor products. There are a whole host of finishing touches still in progress but I thought I’d share some before and after pictures of spaces where the renovation is pretty well complete. First up: the kitchen, my personal favorite part of the transformation. The “before” kitchen was functional but the layout didn’t provide much opportunity for windows to overlook the spectacular view out back.
Since the kitchen is the entry into the building, we wanted to treat our customers to a cheerful space where they could relax and unwind after a long trip up from the city (customers usually travel from Boston, New York, Washington DC and beyond). The wall of windows we installed puts Vermont’s green mountains and meadows front and center when customers step inside. It’s pretty clear: you’re in Vermont now. Time to slow down and enjoy nature at it’s finest.
With sustainable forestry being at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios, one of the main things we’re trying to do with Stonehurst is raise awareness about where your furniture comes from. So the view of Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest often opens up a conversation about legally, sustainably harvested wood. Loryn is working on an educational display which will be installed on the sunroom wall to tell the story of how our furniture gets from sustainably-managed forests to your home.
I can’t start showing before and after photos without recognizing and thanking our architect, Jeremy Coleman of Brattleboro, VT and builder, Bob Furlone of American Construction. They have done a tremendous job, especially in facing all the realities involved in transforming and modernizing a 200+ year old farmhouse. They’ve also been really knowledgeable in helping us select all Vermont made materials whenever possible. The wall of windows shown above was custom made by Green Mountain Window in Rutland VT and the slate floor was mined locally by Vermont Slate Company.
Let me know what you think of the transformation in the comments section below or on Facebook. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll post before and after photos of the:
I hope you’ll be as excited about this new Vermont fine furniture and art gallery as we are. Come and visit us to see it all up close and personal! Be sure to bring a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch so you can sit out back and enjoy the view.
July 24th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Keeping your home neat and organized can be pretty hard, especially in rooms that might not have a ton of space, but don’t fret, there is hope! With a little research and visual inspiration, I’ve compiled a list of 5 great ways to maximize space in your home. Even if your space is on the smaller, cozier side–there’s something for you!
1. Baskets. Baskets are a great way to save space in your home. Whether you are hanging them, putting them on the stairs, inside of a bookcase or hutch, or just keeping them on the floor– using baskets for storage is always a stylish and crafty solution to keep organized and utilize your space. What I love most about woven baskets is that they have a traditional country, rustic look that never goes out of “style” and is suitable for most home designs! Use baskets for kitchen organization (dishtowels, napkins, etc), for organization in the bedroom, or for any room in the home really!
2. Storage Beds. Storage beds are gaining a lot of popularity right now, and I get it. They are the perfect blend of form and function– sleek, efficient, and super helpful when it comes to storing those bedroom items that you might not have a clue where else to store! Store your socks in them, store your towels, bathing suits, old books, etc. Storage beds come in all sorts of different styles, and there is sure to be one to fit the aesthetic of any bedroom.
3. Use the wall. Rather than stuffing your cabinets full of pots and pans–hang them on the walls! Shakers would traditionally use the walls for most of their storage to create more space in the house, and it worked. Sometimes we overlook our walls as a place that can be used functionally as well as for decor. Whether you are hanging things with hooks (pans, big silverware, office supplies like scissors, etc) or using shelving, analyze your space from top to bottom when you are seeking extra space.
4. Trunks & Chests. Trunks and Chests are super versatile, as they can be used in practically any room of the home! From a bedside table, to a coffee table, to storage at the bottom of your bed… they are are an ideal storage solution for any space. Trunks are the vintage inspired older cousin of the traditional blanket chest, adding a shabby chic vibe to the home. The traditional solid wood chest is perfect for those with a more simple aesthetic taste, but still has the wonderful versatility of the trunk!
5. Shaker Boxes. Already a fan of the Shaker Style? If so, then the shaker boxes are an ideal storage solution for you. Not only are they great for looks alone, but they can be stacked on top of eachother and used to keep smaller household items such as stamps, post it notes, paper clips, etc!
If you feel like any of these ideas have inspired you (or if you have any more suggestions to add), feel free to let us know on Facebook! We’d also like to remind you to be conscious of where your home furnishings and decor pieces come from when you shop. Make sure that the pieces you buy aren’t negatively impacting the environment! Until next time, thanks for reading and have a great day!
March 25th, 2013 by Liz Francese
Recently my fellow office inhabitant, Sean Henry, began spear-heading our mission to obtain more customer photos or ‘real life’ images of our furniture. His unbroken concentration certainly lends much, sometimes unnecessary, dedication to his projects- so, as the more vocally inclined, I’ve taken it upon myself to help spread the word via VWS blog. This word is not just a want for more customer photos but the undying effort of our sales team to obtain these images.
Why customer photos? Well, the long and short of it is best told visually. This is a bedroom set:
And this is a bedroom set:
Which do you want more? And it isn’t even just the marketing power behind these inviting images but more the representational power of them. These handcrafted works of art are meant to please your eye and provide restful sleep or feed your family or hold your cable box- they’re meant for your home!
Fresh eyed and bushy tailed, Sean joined our crew only a few months ago, eager to make his mark and share his ideas (or “i-dears”, as he calls them). Though he’s tossed quite a few light bulbs around, it is really his re-kindling of the long forgotten ‘obtain customer photos’ mission that’s become his baby. Our white glove delivery crew might have barely made it out the door before the proud new furniture owner receives an email from Sean, adorned with this thoughtfully designed marquee:
So, if you’re a perspective buyer or just a handmade furniture fan- take a look at our customer photos album on Facebook or the Testimonials page on our website. If you already own a piece of Vermont Woods Studios furniture, well heck- we’d love to see it! Do it for Sean, at least.
March 9th, 2013 by Liz Francese
One can only assume when I popped out, kid number 5, over 22 years ago, my mother rationalized, “That’s probably enough- one of them will keep me out of a nursing home.” Well, the results aren’t in for that prospect yet (the sanity clock miraculously ticks on), though she does occasionally reap the benefits of breeding an army. One of them- awesome Christmas presents. When we get our pockets together, the Francese kids can really rev up the opportunity to give back; this Christmas, Mom was blessed with a new coffee table.
A second-hand store enthusiast, Mom has an eclectic array of furnishings sprinkled through out her home. When it came to designing this beauty, she had a few goals in mind. First it had to match a very unique, sofa-table-esque piece she must have found at the corner of Lost and Forgotten. Of course, the sofa-table thing undeniably brings the room together but it is a one of a kind in terms of build and style. Second, it had to be large enough for five grandchildren to simultaneously play, color and read. Third, it had to withstand the sticky, smearing, careless hands of those same five grandchildren (with the inevitability of more to come).
We threw all that into the Vermont Woods Studios custom furniture crock pot and, in due time, served the beauty now resting front and center in the family room. The top is a natural Cherry with a rustic finish to match the antiquated look Mom loves so much. The base is Maple, painted black. I chose Maple for its durability and light color. Overtime, the Cherry will darken and serve a smooth transition from bottom to top. And finally the finish-a non-toxic, kid friendly and kid resistant, lacquer.
Mom is thrilled with her new coffee table and the results her small army is yielding. And next year? Her outdoor coffee table won’t last for long- why not some Polywood furniture that will last a lifetime!