September 13th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We received a customer photo and review about our walnut bedroom furniture from Jim and Carol E of Fullerton, California:
Thank you for the beautiful, custom made King-size, Walnut Patti Smith wide slat bed. It was delivered to our home today by the top-notch staff (J.R. & Rick) of White Glove Delivery Service. We are appreciative that J.R. & Rick were quite helpful and took great care to not only the new bed but also our home as part of their delivery service. The mattress and box springs bed frame work perfectly with our new Ortho mattress.
Walnut is a huge trend in furniture this year and since so many customers are interested in it, I thought I’d post a few more photos and links to articles we’ve written.
A few previous blogs about walnut furniture:
Copeland’s Walnut Moduluxe Bedroom Furniture Collection is designed to look like built-in furniture, but it’s modular so it can be re-arranged to give you a fresh new look now and then.
Walnut lovers — you might also like to browse through articles on our favorite interior design sites:
If you have favorite photos of your own walnut bedroom furniture or perhaps some you’re lusting after, share them on our Facebook!
September 5th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Handmade wooden tables are a treasure we all try to take good care of. When you first get yours, you slowly run your hands over the beautiful, smooth finish and vow to never in a million years let it get damaged or scratched. But alas… life happens.
Wooden dining tables are made to eat off. Knives, forks, hot plates, serving dishes, wine glasses, wine– you know what I’m talking about. One customer called in distress because her grand daughter got into her nail polish and spilled it all over the new table top. Oops.
Well, as a rule there’s no need to panic. These things happen and they can be dealt with. The first thing to do is determine what type of finish is on your table. At Vermont Woods Studios we work with many different independent craftspeople throughout Vermont but their finishes all fall into these 3 categories:
Each piece of furniture comes with information about the finish and what to do if it gets damaged. My favorite trick though, and it works with all 3 of these finishes (for minor scratching) is the Tibet Almond Stick. which you can buy for $5 at your local hardware store or Rockler. You just open the little red tin can, peel off the wax paper and rub the oil-soaked felt tip of the stick along the scratch. Voila! It works for any type of wood, provided it’s not stained a dark color that’s very different from the real wood color.
Or if you happen to have a walnut handy, you could try rubbing that along the scratches. Our friends at Apartment Therapy swear by walnut — a similar but more natural approach.
Stay tuned for tips on repairing more serious damage (like nail polish spills) to wooden furniture in future posts. Have tricks of your own? Share them with us on Facebook!
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!
August 22nd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Our friends (and shipping partners) Anthony, Tony and Henry brought in two truckloads of Vermont handmade furniture for Stonehurst today and most of it is in walnut and cherry wood. We now have several walnut dining furniture pieces, including this Bistro Table, the Classic Shaker Chair #2 and the American Mission Chair.
Have you noticed that real, solid black walnut dining furniture is becoming rare? If you’ve been shopping and find yourself unimpressed with what you see, there’s a reason for that. Disease and global warming are taking their toll on American black walnut trees, as we’ve described in previous walnut blog posts. Much of the walnut you’ll see in mainstream furniture stores is either imported wood that’s stained dark or walnut sapwood that’s steamed to look like heartwood. Our craftsman, Robin captured my feelings exactly: “natural dark heartwood walnut is so beautiful, nothing compares”.
Fortunately for those searching for real walnut furniture, our craftspeople at Vermont Woods Studios specialize in finding high quality, natural wood that’s been sustainably harvested. The flip side of course is that, because of the relative rarity of walnut, there is a price premium which can be anywhere from 15%-30% per piece.
Almost every piece of furniture on our website can be custom made in walnut, even if the feature photos show cherry, oak or maple wood. Browse through walnut wood furniture photos here.
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 19th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
How long would you be willing to wait to have solid wood, made to order furniture created just for you? Four weeks? Eight weeks? Three months? Four months?
Lead time is something we struggle with in the world of Vermont’s handmade furniture. It used to be the typical lead time for a piece like the Modern American Buffet-Sideboard (shown above) was 5-8 weeks. But, alas with the Internet– Vermont made furniture has been re-discovered! It’s popularity is growing and rightly so– it’s beautiful, affordable, American made and sustainable.
The downside of this popularity rebirth, however is that customers sometimes have to wait longer to receive their custom made treasures. They ask us: WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG?
Well I guess it all goes back to the laws of supply and demand. A growing awareness of Vermont made to order furniture is keeping our independent woodworkers busy around the clock. Many of them are growing their businesses in response to demand but it’s going to take a little time. As they say… quality can’t be rushed.
In response to our steady growth, we recently allied with a furniture maker from across the river in New Hampshire, to design a couple new lines of furniture for us. Quite a shocking move for a company that’s all about Vermont made furniture, but fortunately, the skills and aesthetics of local woodworkers doesn’t stop at the Connecticut River. More on that move next week.
For now, I just want to assure you that we are doing our very best to keep lead times to a minimum. Neville has placed a “Lead Time” tab on every product page to let you know the current estimated ETA for that piece, including shipping and delivery (the average lead time is about 9 weeks but, depending on the piece and the craftsman it could be anywhere between 5 and 18 weeks).
Although, occasionally a craftsman will get sick or a delivery truck will be detained by weather, we do our very best to ensure deliveries are made within those time frames. If you have questions about an existing order, or are thinking of placing a new order– give our crackerjack sales and customer service staff (Liz, Sean, Michelle and Loryn) a call to discuss further specifics. And let us know on Facebook: how much time would you consider “reasonable” to wait for your made to order furniture?
August 14th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Because most of our fine furniture is bought online, we’ve written a lot on our website about the natural characteristics of real wood furniture. We don’t want to have any surprises when we deliver your furniture. Wood is organic. Just as each tree in the forest is unique, so is each board in your furniture. As our friend, woodworker Greg Goodman says, “wood is like people. What makes it interesting is it’s flaws”.
Different styles of furniture require different types and grades of wood. For example if you were buying Shaker furniture or Craftsman furniture, you would rightly be expecting the highest quality wood with minimal character or “flaws”.
But if you were shopping for a live edge, claro walnut table, for example– like this gorgeous one made by Dan Mosheim of Dorset Custom Furniture you would be expecting plenty of organic characteristics. Have a look at Dan’s blog and you’ll see how an artful eye, combined with detailed knowledge of wood grain, shrink, swell and overall movement can transform a rustic “old” slab of wood into an elegant dining table fit for a king.
Turth is– the value of handcrafted real wood furniture is not just in the wood, but also in the craftsmanship. A less experienced craftsman could have taken this same slab of wood and created a table that looked “flawed” and also performed poorly. At Vermont Woods Studios we design all of our furniture to last a lifetime. It’s a thing woodworkers have. If the tree took a lifetime to grow (this walnut tree was probably at least 100 years old at harvest), then the furniture should last equally as long.
I think what sets Vermont’s furniture artisans apart from others around the world is their reputation for excellence in both style and craftsmanship. At Dan Mosheim’s workshop and other custom furniture makers throughout Vermont you’ll find experts who understand the characteristics and “flaws” of wood and design their furniture to leverage the best the wood has to offer– whether it’s a refined Shaker piece or an organic live edge table.
Want to see Vermont woodworking and meet furniture artisans in person? Put September 28-29 on your calendar– the 10th Annual Vermont Fine Furniture Festival is just around the corner! Details coming soon.
Interested in the mechanics of wood movement? Brian Boggs, a woodworker in North Carolina has a great blog post about grain orientation in furniture making. And for those seeking a less detailed approach, check out our website for the quick and dirty details on characteristics or our favorite North American furniture making-woods:
August 13th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
If you love furniture with clean lines, gentle curves, and soft arches– then The Brandon Bedroom Furniture Collection is the one for you. The Brandon collection takes a sleek, modern approach to traditional designs, making it a timelessly stylish piece. Tried and true joinery in the form of mortise & tenon and dovetails, all skillfully crafted in hand selected American hardwoods. The high quality craftsmanship in addition to the eternal chicness of this collection ensures that it will be a worthy future heirloom piece.
Not sure where to start? Begin with the centerpiece, the bed! The bed is important because A) its big and demands the attention of your space and B) you spend more time in your bed than you do using any of the accompanying pieces. The Brandon bed comes in five sizes, so after choosing the right one for you, feel free to browse through a variety of perfectly matching storage pieces to accent your new bed.
All of the pieces in the Brandon Collection are available in premium Cherry, Maple, or Walnut woods and are finished with an eco-friendly satin varnish, giving it an extremely durable finish. As is the case with all of our furniture, the Brandon collection comes with a lifetime guarantee.
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.