Greetings from Southern Vermont on Earth Day! We hope you’re celebrating — perhaps with some local organic food or by joining a community gardening project or cleaning up the roadside or whatever. Last year at Vermont Woods Studios we launched the Green Up Your Workplace Challenge where we used Facebook, our blog and some other physical and virtual venues to promote sustainability at work.
This year we’re swamped with our Stonehurst Fine Furniture Showroom project and haven’t had a chance to launch a 2013 Earth Day campaign. But in lieu of that, I can report that we’ve been very careful to use local lumber and building materials for Stonehurst and we’ve re-used, re-purposed and recycled as much of the original design and structure whenever possible. Stonehurst will truly be a green workplace.
We do have a couple modest Earth Day activities on tap today. We’ll be installing the bluebird nesting boxes we made last month out of a Norway Spruce tree that had to be taken down from Stonehurst in the Fall (because it was leaning on the top of the building). And we’ll be indulging in some local fare for lunch today… maybe from The Blue Moose Cafe or The Works in downtown Brattleboro. If you’re in the Southern Vermont area you know we’re lucky to have many fine farm to plate local eateries to choose from on Earth Day and every day. Maybe we’ll see you at one of them. Bon appetite and Happy Earth Day!
I have a confession to make: I own a particle board bookshelf. You are probably thinking I’m a hypocrite right now, because I work for the finest furniture retailer in Vermont, and I often write about why people shouldn’t buy cheap furniture. Ah, the embarrassment! But let me explain myself. When I was furnishing my first apartment, I found a “deal” online for a “wood” bookcase that was less than $100. Turns out what the box store calls wood is really a piece of particle board laminated with a maple wood print (that started to peel off within a month). It took my roommate and I an entire afternoon trying to put this together – and I think we’re pretty handy women. The bookcase came in a thin, tall box that contained a daunting amount of pieces. As we were putting it together, we realized that there were pieces missing and some of the attachment holes were un-drilled. I still have the bookcase, but there have been a number of repairs to it over the years. I also know that if I want to rearrange the room, everything must revolve around this particular bookshelf, because there’s no way of moving this piece of furniture without it completely collapsing.
Now, I know I can’t be the only person in the world with an embarrassing piece of furniture like this. Is this story sounding familiar to you? Let’s stop wasting our time and money on these frustrating, poorly designed bookshelves. I say we stand together and vow to never buy particle board bookshelves ever again.
Solid wood bookshelves may seem expensive at first glance, but they are 100% worth it. The quality of the sustainably harvested wood, the exquisite craftsmanship, and the luxury white glove delivery make buying real wood furniture worth every cent.
Vermont Woods Studios wants you to get the best deal on your (perhaps first) solid wood bookshelves, so we’re having a sale! We’re offering up to 20% off our hardwood Living Room and Home Office furniture, plus free shipping and a lifetime guarantee! This sale is one week only! Don’t miss out. Start browsing our online gallery today. Feel free to contact our fine furniture specialists with any questions about our Vermont made fine wood furniture.
Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and we’re always trying to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from. If you’re committed to buying American made furniture– no worries. Chances are it’s made from legal wood, sustainably harvested from well-managed forests right here in North America.
But if you’re buying imported wood furniture (and according to a Washington Post article 70% of furniture sold in America is imported) then: Houston, we have a problem.
A recent Washington Post article by Brad Plumer entitled Organized Crime is Getting Rich Cutting Down the Rainforest describes how the illegal logging trade has become just as lucrative (and far more destructive) than the drug-trafficking industry. 50 to 90 percent of forestry in tropical areas is now controlled by criminal groups! “A great deal of logging simply takes place illegally — much of it in tropical areas such as the Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.” (ref: United Nations and Interpol)
The U.N. estimates that illicit logging is now worth between $30 billion to $100 billion, or up to 30 percent of the global wood trade. That illegal wood is often shipped from pristine rainforests to China, Vietnam and other third world countries where it’s fabricated into low quality furniture which is sold to US consumers. We’ve written quite a bit about the links between rainforest destruction, global warming and the furniture and flooring you choose for your home:
- Blog posts on rainforest conservation and protection of endangered species of the forest
- Tiger Conservation, Rainforest Preservation and Your Furniture
- Forest Conservation is About More than Trees
- Saving The Rainforest: Why Green Consumerism Is Key
- And lots more
If you’re considering buying furniture at IKEA, Home Depot or any big box store… ask where the lumber originates and let us know what you find on our Facebook or in the comments section below. Then re-discover sustainable, American made wood furniture and join us in feeling good about your furniture and your green home.
I don’t know how to describe for you how beautiful Karen Kamenetzky’s fiber art is. It really has to be seen to be appreciated, but I thought I’d make an attempt by posting this screen shot I derived from a Google image search for “Karen Kamenetzky”. Wow. The image above is just my random sampling of Karen’s body of work but look how coherent it is! How can dozens of works, over years (maybe decades?) of time be placed together so randomly and look so integrated? I love Karen’s choice of colors and shapes and the illusion of movement. It’s remarkable, don’t you think?
You don’t see that much fiber art anymore. I’m so happy it’s making a comeback in the vibrant, contemporary works of Karen Kamenetzky. A little bit about the artist:
Karen works out of a typical Southern Vermont studio tucked into the woods of West Brattleboro. “I dye, paint and stitch cottons and silks to create boldly colored wallhangings inspired by microscopic/cellular imagery – a kind of visual invented biology with textiles. I find this imagery metaphorically rich since all change fundamentally happens on this infinitesimal level.” Karen shares information and inside scoops about her work, techniques, philosophy, inspiration and gallery exhibits on her fiber arts blog and on her Facebook.
If you love it as much as I do, you might want to consider attending the Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center Apple Blossom Gala on May 10th at 7pm at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, NH where Karen’s “Cellscape II” is up for auction. You could be the lucky bidder and end up taking this piece of fine art home. But even if you’re not you’ll still find “lots of wonderful, innovative art for auction, a good cause, great people, delicious food and a raucous wine tasting!” Hope to see you there.
Back in January we got a phone call from a journalist, Nina Patel who was writing an article about American made furniture for USA Today’s Home magazine. Nina had come across our website while researching USA made furniture and home decor. She become interested in our green mission as well as our promotion of American made products through the Christmas Shopping Challenge we’ve been sponsoring the last couple years. We chatted back and forth for a week or so and Nina gathered lots of information about Vermont Woods Studios. I wasn’t sure which aspects would fit into her article, so we’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s publication to see what she found most newsworthy.
We were excited to see a preview of Nina’s “American Made” story in yesterday’s USA Today Weekend edition of their national newspaper. The full length article is in the Spring 2013 edition of USA Today Home Magazine which you can find at your news stand or online.
It turns out that Nina did highlight information about our sustainable forestry mission as well as our efforts to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from. We are grateful to her for discussing the value of American made, high quality, sustainable furniture in such a high visibility venue. The movement is catching on!
American Made Bedroom Furniture
Our American made bedroom furniture sale wraps up at midnight this Thursday, April 18th with up to 20% savings on real, handcrafted wooden furniture made right here in Vermont. I know you’re used to seeing bedroom furniture sales that advertise 40 or 60 or 80% off when you’re shopping at the big box stores but those companies have to mark up everyday prices in order to mark down for sales. We don’t like that kind of gimmick.
Value is About More Than Price
At Vermont Woods Studios we work very hard to price our furniture accurately and make sure that everyone involved in the purchase has a win: the customer, the craftsman, the forester and logger who sustainably harvest the wood and of course, the environment. We realize that in the age of the Internet, price comparison often rules above all else. So we have a competitive pricing policy to ensure you get the best price available for the quality, shipping and service we offer. And we guarantee our 100% American made furniture for a lifetime of service to you and your family.
When you place a piece of our Vermont made furniture in your home we want you to feel good knowing that you have paid a fair price and obtained a great value. You can see customer comments about price and value as well as customer photos of our furniture on Facebook or in our testimonials page. Want to join the conversation? Comment below, on our Facebook or call Sean (who is– according to Liz–our Customer Feedback Czar) and weigh in with your two cents!
In Vermont, the word “local” is in our DNA. We eat local foods, support local stores, many of us opt for “staycations” to keep money in our local economies. Sometimes, however, “local” isn’t gentle on your wallet. But, there’s a new company in the Green Mountain State that is fusing the “buy local” attitude with a budget.
Localvore Today is similar to Groupon and Living Social in the sense that they are a daily deal company. What separates them from those larger companies is the local edge. They are a Vermont based company with an office at the Burlington water front, and the money from this company never leaves the state. They make a deal with local vendors to sell discounted gift certificates, services, ect. where Localvore Today earns some money off the sales. Vermont residents, in turn, buy these discounted ticket items, getting them to do something, go somewhere, or eat something local. You will never see a discount on this website for a conglomerate chain store or restaurant. Localvore Today is saving Vermonters money, but allowing them to still support the local economy. Plus, they donate 10 cents to Hunger Free Vermont for every subscriber they get. Pretty cool, huh?
We’re currently working with Dan White and Amanda Knowlton at Localvore Today to find ways to collaborate and support each other. It’s always refreshing to work with like-minded companies that are mission driven!
If you’re familiar with our company, the name Renfrew may ring a bell, because of our Renfrew Shaker Furniture Collection. But, do you know the history behind the collection name? We like to name some of our collections after Vermont conservation heroes, and Dr. Rosalind Renfrew, or as she likes to be called, Roz, is one of them. Roz is a dedicated wildlife biologist in Vermont, and her name has been popping up in the local news recently. She is the editor for the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont, a comprehensive publication that came out this month.
This second edition publication has taken many years of research to complete. For ten years the Vermont Center for Eco Studies and a number of volunteers from all over the state surveyed the same land that was surveyed in 1985 when the first edition came out. The goal of this publication was to focus on population patterns, rather than the reasons for change. In addition, this atlas includes, “a guide to the biogeography of Vermont; and essays on change in habitats, climate, land use and their impact on Vermont’s bird communities over the past quarter century.” This comprehensive wildlife atlas is 576 pages! Inside you will find photographs, maps, charts and graphs.
The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont will be a great reference for hobby birders as well as conservationists. This large, extensive book is available for purchase through the publisher’s website for $75. There will be 150 of the books donated to libraries across Vermont, so that everyone can have access to the information.
To see an interview with Roz Renfrew, naturalist Bryan Pfeiffer, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, visit WCAX.
Best Outdoor Furniture
When it comes to the best outdoor furniture, what would your criteria be? After many conversations with our customers we have found five things that is on everyone’s wishlist.
1. Zero Maintenance
2. Sturdiness and Durability
5. American Made
Polywood Outdoor Furniture
We have only been able to find one manufacturer that fits our customer’s 5 point criteria, and that is Polywood.
1. Zero Maintenance
Polywood is constructed with recycled plastic lumber, which is designed to resist fading; won’t splinter, crack, or rot; and never requires refinishing.
2. Sturdiness and Durability
Polywood is as thick and heavy as conventional wood lumber, assuring that it will hold up for heavy use or won’t blow all over your yard.
With 20 collections and 13 colors to choose from, there’s a piece of Polywood outdoor furniture for all tastes.
90% of Polywood’s lumber is made from post-consumer recycled plastic. Typically, containers such as water bottles, milk jugs, ect. The average Polywood adirondack chair requires 500 milk jugs to manufacture.
5. American Made
Polywood is 100% made in America for over 20 years and is the premiere plastic outdoor furniture maker in the industry. In recent years, there have been a lot of companies trying to produce a similar product, but Polywood innovated this process, and no one can beat the original.
We offer the full Polywood product line, and you can check it out on our website. As an authorized Polywood dealer, we try to keep it competitively priced, tax-free, and offer free shipping. If you have any questions about our Polywood outdoor furniture, feel free to contact us.
Recently I’ve been bombarded by furniture television and radio commercials all with the same message, “look for the Made in America tag all over our stores!” My immediate thought was, that’s great, more big box stores are jumping on the American made bandwagon. Then, I was a little frustrated. Why should consumers have to zig-zag through large stores trying to find a small tag signifying that the product was made in America? Shouldn’t retailers make it easy for customers to find the products made right here in our own country? Vermont Woods Studios sure thinks so!
Shopping from our online gallery you don’t have to look for the made in America tag, because we sell 100% American made furniture. No gimmicks and no tricks. Our furniture has been, and always will be, made in America. Not only does buying American made products help our economy, but American made products signifies quality. So when you’re looking for high quality, American made furniture, don’t look for the tag, just come to us!
American Made Bedroom Furniture
If you’ve landed on this page because you’re already in the process of looking for American made furniture, then I have a surprise for you. Right now is our American Made Bedroom Furniture Sale. Our solid wood bedroom furniture is individually crafted right here in Vermont by skilled fine furniture makers. Because each piece is crafted to order, you can customize the piece as little or as much as you want based on what you see in our online gallery. Choose from natural cherry, maple, oak, or walnut wood, as a starter. Additional customizable options are shown in the drop down menus of each individual product.
We have hundreds of quality bedroom furniture pieces in our online gallery. Choose from over 80 solid wood beds, over 70 dressers, over 100 chest of drawers, over 60 nightstands, and dozens of armories and mirrors. Our American made bedroom furniture is also available in a variety of styles, from traditional shaker, to a modern style, so there is something to perfectly match everyone’s home.
Start browsing our online gallery today! Our fine furniture specialists are also available to take your order by phone or to discuss your questions about our American made furniture. Use our live chat option in the top right corner of our website, email them, or give them a call at 888-390-5571.
*This sale excludes Copeland Furniture, which holds a low-price guarantee 365 days a year.