Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

american made

Furniture: Who Cares if it’s Really Made in the USA?

January 24th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

USA Made Furniture | Handcrafted in Vermont

American made furniture has a great reputation for high quality and compliance with proper environmental, safety and health standards.  Customers  acquire pieces (like this Woodland Table) they can pass down through generations, while also supporting the American worker and American communities.

Made in America Campaign

Remember that ABC World News series where Diane Sawyer and David Muir found a “typical American household” and inventoried everything in it to see what was made in the USA?  Turns out nothing… except the fresh flowers on the table.  Well that series inspired us to pour our energy into a Made in America campaign at Vermont Woods Studios.  We’ve sponsored the Great American Made Gift Challenge every Christmas season for the past several years and of course we put a high priority on promoting Vermont made hardwood furniture.

One reason is that customers often come to us in total frustration after shopping everywhere to find furniture that’s actually 100% made in the USA.  The companies we think of as quintessentially American (ie., Thomasville, Broyhill, Bassett, Ethan Allen, American Drew, Lane, Pennsylvania House, Drexel) aren’t so American anymore.  Often they outsource the majority of their production to China, Vietnam, Honduras, Mexico and other third world countries.  Then they import nearly finished furniture into the USA for a quick insertion of the final screw and call it “American made”.  The trend ebbs and flows with changes in foreign wages and the cost of oil to ship overseas.  When it’s cheaper to produce in the USA they come back, but there’s no long term commitment to the American worker or the American community.

Why Do Customers Care?

Here’s a recent illustration.  Dennis and Douglas and I made a visit to Gardner Massachusetts last month to see our pal Leonard Curcio at Chair City Wayside Furniture.  Gardner used to be “the furniture capital of New England” back in the 19th and 20th centuries.  According to the “Greater Gardner Furniture History Documentary project”, there were over 50 furniture companies in the area.  After over a century of furniture manufacturing, with nearly everyone in the community depending on the industry for support, many companies decided to move their operations overseas for cheaper production.  The community collapsed.  Families with several generations of skilled artisans and woodworkers were suddenly unemployed. Our friend Lenny was one of the few people able to salvage his business in a dying community but he is still suffering today, while trying to hang on.

Our customers want to support people like Lenny and acquire high quality, American made furniture that they will proudly cherish forever.  Supporting American workers and American communities matters to them.

How to Buy 100% American Made Products

If you’re looking for high quality furniture that really is 100% made in the USA, have a look at this excellent article by Mary Efron.  For American furniture and everything else that’s made in the USA, visit AmericansWorking.com or SourceMap .  And maybe stay away from (or at least be suspicious of) the big box stores that make splashy videos about their “American made furniture” but don’t have much to deliver when it comes down to specifics.

Does Pottery Barn Really Have Furniture that's Made in the USA?

I found a beautifully filmed video about American made furniture on Pottery Barn’s website.  But when I searched their website for “furniture made in America”  the result was:  zero products.  If you’re looking for 100% American made products, check out AmericansWorking.com or Vermont Woods Studios for fine hardwood furniture.

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.

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Why Buy American Made?

December 28th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

American Made Furniture | Online Shopping for the 4th of July

Are you the kind of person who makes New Years resolutions?  What are you determined to do differently in 2014?  With all the work we do here at Vermont Woods Studios in promoting American Made Furniture, you can probably guess that one of my resolutions is to buy more American made products next year.  I’m not alone.  We surveyed our customers earlier this year to find out why buying American made is so important to them.  Have a look at the results:

Top 5 Reasons to Buy American Made Furniture

  1. Local Jobs and Local Economies – The American furniture maker has suffered over the past 5 decades as most large, quintessentially American furniture companies moved to China, Vietnam and other third world countries.  Consumers are weary of seeing their communities struggle to recover from the loss of skilled jobs.  Small manufacturers like Vermont’s Lyndon Furniture, Copeland Furniture and Pompanoosuc Mills remained in the USA during the age of outsourcing and maintained their commitment to local communities.  Their loyalty and integrity has not gone unnoticed.
  2. Quality and Craftsmanship – American made furniture is well known for it’s high quality and craftsmanship.  States like Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania and Ohio have a long tradition of making heirloom quality furniture from local wood.  In Vermont, fine furniture making has been a part of our heritage for over 200 years and that translates to superior quality, sophisticated style and great values in handmade furniture.
  3. Reliable Customer Service – Ever try getting a piece of furniture fixed after purchasing it from IKEA or Pottery Barn?  Not.  That furniture is more than likely going to head out to the curbside rather than get repaired.  American made furniture companies stand behind their quality, with many companies offering a lifetime guarantee.
  4. Sustainable Furniture from Well Managed American Forests – Where does your furniture come from anyway?  Americans have become more aware of where their food comes from over the past couple decades.  Now it’s time to learn where other things come from, including wood furniture and flooring.  As consumers become more aware of the link between imported wood furniture and rainforest devestation, they are seeing the value of acquiring sustainable furniture for their homes.
  5. Healthy, Natural Furniture with Non-Toxic Finishes – American furniture companies are subject to strict consumer protection laws and regulations governing product safety as well as safety and health for the craftspeople making furniture.  Consumers don’t want to worry about lead based paint or formaldehyde in the coatings of the furniture.  American companies are leading the way in the area of safe, non-toxic furniture finishes.

Good reasons– and not exclusive to furniture by any means.  Let’s hope 2014 brings renewed commitment to the Made in American movement.  What are your New Years resolutions?  Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.

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American Made and Affordable Gifts – Candles!

December 24th, 2013 by Michelle Rooks

This coffee table with reclaimed wood top and steel legs is protected from any overheating of the glass candle jar with a slate coaster. Both the table and the coasters are available for purchase in our showroom!

We in southern Vermont are very lucky in that we live very close to several popular candle makers. Half an hour away is the Yankee Candle flagship store in S. Deerfield, MA and in less than fifteen minutes you can get to Kringle Candle in Bernardston, MA. Vermont is full of smaller artisan candle makers. Wilmington Candle Company makes soy based candles and Vermont Honey Lights specializes in beeswax candles.

You can find candles in bright colors or bright white, tiny tea lights to massive multi-wicks. They are used for aromatherapy or setting a mood, come with subtle scents of botanicals, bold tones of aftershave, your favorite foods or no scent at all. The best part of all is that they’re made right here in New England. And you can’t beat candles for an affordable, Made In America holiday gift perfect for teachers or as hostess gifts.

While candles are very popular, they can also be very dangerous. No matter what sort of candle you like, there are certain rules you should always follow when burning:

  • Always trim the wick to a height of approximately ¼” – make sure to remove any of the wick debris from the wax pool. Trimming helps keep it from flickering and smoking, which can cause soot buildup on the container
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended
  • Make sure the candle is sitting on an even surface that won’t be damaged if the container should get too hot – we’d hate to see your beautiful Vermont made hardwood furniture marred!
  • Keep away from any flammable objects
  • Keep out of reach of pets and children

For a full list of tips, visit the National Candle Association web site.

Here’s one more tip: If your candle is nearing the bottom of its container and you don’t want to throw the container away, simply place it in your freezer for about 20 minutes, take it out and shake out the leftover wax. This only works if the sides of the container are straight, not contoured. Now you can reuse it!

A candle reflects serenely in this beautiful stained glass window — one of the many features that make Vermont Woods Studios such a unique shopping experience.

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American Made Furniture: Top 3 Styles in 2013

December 11th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

2013, our first year at Stonehurst gave us another reason to study and analyze what our customers’ favorite American made furniture styles are.  With limited space in our showroom, we wanted to display the very best selection of Vermont furniture, as defined by customer purchases.  After looking through the sales statistics, we found these Top 3 American Furniture styles, which we’ll be featuring often at Stonehurst:

Shaker Furniture was the top selling style in 2013

Shaker Style Furniture

This Vermont Shaker bed, nightstand and chest are pretty accurate reproductions of the original Shaker style furniture crafted by communities of the United Society of Believers starting in the late 1700′s.  Born here in the Northeast, this American furniture style is a simple, utilitarian design characterized by straight tapered legs and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs.  Vermont furniture makers have become today’s authority on Shaker furniture and customers seeking a simple elegant, solid wood design have grown to love their work.  It’s our top seller and customers are customizing it in their choice of cherry, walnut, maple and oak woods (preference is in that order).  Sometimes customers will choose two contrasting wood colors like cherry and walnut or maple and walnut to trick it out– if there is such a thing for “Shaker furniture”.

Craftsman style furniture, handmade in Vermont | Stonehurst Fine Furniture Gallery

Craftsman Style Furniture

This Contemporary Craftsman Bedroom Furniture collection is a modern rendition of the American craftsman and “arts and crafts” furniture that became popular in the late 19th century and remained prevalent through the 1930s.  It’s handmade of real solid cherry wood with contrasting drawer pulls in solid walnut wood and reflects the true craftsmanship of this period.  The finish on this collection is a traditional hand-rubbed oil and wax.  If you like this contemporary craftsman style furniture, learn more about the details and craftsmanship here.

Mission Style Furniture | American Made in Vermont | Real Solid Wood | Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Maple

Mission Style Furniture

This mission sofa table and mission dining chair have the rectilinear design and heavy proportion characteristic of Mission style furniture which became popular in the late 19 century. At Vermont Woods Studios we have a traditional American Mission Furniture collection and a Modern Mission Furniture collection, both constructed of real solid woods in your choice of traditional oak or cherry, walnut or maple woods.

Stop by our new fine furniture showroom at Stonehurst anytime to see what we’ve got on hand in our customers’ favorite furniture styles: Shaker, Craftsman and Mission furniture.

 

 

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Celebrate American Craft Month in Vermont

October 9th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

American Craft Week | Vermont Craft Month | Stonehurst Fine Arts Gallery

At Stonehurst Fine Furniture and Art Gallery we’re celebrating American Craft Week  and Vermont Craft Month with the help of artisans like Donna Scully (painted the watering can), Linda Marcille (painted the jazz on silk) and even our own Ken Farabaugh (carefully crafted all those colorful wooden cutting boards).

All across the USA, craftspeople and those who love their work are celebrating American Craft Week October 4-13.  In Vermont we extend our celebration to the whole month of October which the Governor has proclaimed American Craft Month.

Our friend Greg Worden at Vermont Artisans Designs on Main Street in Brattleboro was influential in making that happen.  He’s also one of the founders of Craft Retailers & Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT), the non-profit organization that sponsors Craft Week.  Members of CRAFT are dedicated to presenting artistic work with one common characteristic– it’s handmade in the USA:

“American Craft enriches our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. It contributes to our nation’s economy, our balance of trade, and the fabric of our national history. It is original, beautiful and enduring, so let’s tell the world!”

This seems like a good opportunity to publicly thank Greg for his leadership and tireless efforts in promoting the top artists and craftspeople in Vermont and throughout New England.  If you love high end crafts and fine art but you haven’t already been to Greg’s Vermont Artisans Designs– put it on your to do list!  Here’s a short video of Greg’s gallery.  It’s worth a trip, as testified on his website by art lovers from across America.

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September Dining Room Furniture Sale!

September 20th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton

September Dining Room Furniture Sale

 

 

If you’ve had beautiful American made dining room furniture on your mind, now is the perfect time to buy! Fall is the always an ideal time to make your space exactly the way you want it, starting with your furnishings. With our Dining Room Furniture Sale, the more you buy means the more you’ll save! Purchase 1 piece of qualifying furniture and save 10%, buy 2 pieces and save 15%, or buy 3 pieces and save 20%. Plus, receive free shipping and a lifetime guarantee.

Vermont Woods Studios furniture is traditionally crafted in New England, by talented woodworkers who have been creating heirloom quality furniture for decades. As always, your satisfaction is our ultimate priority. Read some customer reviews  to see why we have a 98% customer satisfaction rating!

Order securely in our online store, or contact us at (888) 390-5571. Hurry, this sale ends on September 26th!

Not sure if you’re ready to buy? Gather some inspiration and save it to your dining furniture Pinterest board!

* Sale does not include Copeland, Polywood, or Artisan.

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Craftsman Furniture That’s American Made? Try Vermont!

August 11th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

American Made Craftsman Style Furniture | Real Solid Wood | Vermont

Today’s Vermont made mission, craftsman and arts & crafts style furniture ranges from the traditional American Mission Furniture Collection to our transitional Cherry Moon Furniture Collection and Modern American Dining Furniture (shown above).

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.

What Defines Craftsman Furniture?

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.

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Home Office and Living Room Furniture Sale

May 31st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Home Office and Living Room Furniture on Sale

Sean will be staffing the showroom this weekend during our Home Office and Living Room Furniture Sale.  Give him a call or stop by — we don’t want him to get lonely.

With the weekend forecast bringing 90F+ weather, you may just find yourself inside taking refuge in the living room.  And then while you’re sipping an ice cold, Vermont brewed Woodchuck Hard Cider (that’s Kelsey’s favorite) or a Long Trail (Dennis’ favorite) in front of the TV, you may start wishing you had a beautiful new entertainment center or media console.  Or a couple handcrafted cherry end tables to set your drink on.  Well if that happens, you’re in luck!  Living room furniture and home office furniture are on sale at Vermont Woods Studios today through June 13th.

Now’s your chance to update your living room or home office with real wood furniture and timeless Vermont styling that shows off the beauty of natural wood.  Take 10% off any single piece, 15% on two pieces, or 20% on three or more pieces of furniture*(plus free shipping).  Your new solid wood furniture will be crafted especially for you in your choice of natural Cherry, Maple, Walnut, or Oak woods.  Each piece of furniture is solidly built to last for generations and backed by a lifetime guarantee.

You can customize your new living room coffee table, TV stand, bookcase, desk, or wood filing cabinet online or if you prefer, contact us at 888-390-5571 to order by phone or discuss your questions.  Sean will be staffing the showroom this weekend.  Give him a call or stop by, even if it’s just so he doesn’t get lonely.

As always, Copeland and Polywood furniture are excluded from the sale but that’s only because we have a low price guarantee on them every day. 

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Natural Wood Furniture: American Made For Healthy Homes

May 9th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Natural Wood Furniture | American Made in Vermont

This Natural Wood Furniture set is part of our 100% American made Modern Shaker collection.  The wood is sustainably harvested in local and regional forests that are managed by professional foresters.  Furniture finishes are non toxic and eco friendly.

American Made Furniture vs Imports

While we’ve watched the price of most home decor items skyrocket over the last 30 years, have you noticed that the price of furniture has actually tumbled?  It’s true. For a couple centuries we Americans prided ourselves on making high quality, natural wood furniture that was coveted around the world.  North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and other New England states were leaders in the fine furniture industry.

But in the 1960′s  and 70′s many of America’s big furniture makers (like Ethan Allen, Broyhill, Thomasville and Lane) started to move their operations overseas and superior quality became a thing of the past (along with hundreds of thousands of American jobs).  Prices fell dramatically.  Instead of preserving our grandparents heirloom quality wooden furniture for our homes, we began buying cheap, trendy furniture imports and replacing them frequently as breakage occured.

Natural Furniture for the Healthy Home

Fast forward to 2013 when home owners are getting tired of cheap imported furniture that ends up on the curbside in 5 years.  And they’re worried about the health effects of toxic flame retardants and formaldehyde that come standard with imports. Especially in households with children, it is simply not worth the risk.

Families are coming back to American made natural wood furniture with non-toxic finishes.  Yes the furniture is more expensive up front, primarily because the American worker is paid a livable wage (as compared to wages that often amount to just a few dollars/day in Asia).  But the high quality and environmental integrity of American made furniture is winning customers over.  In fact, many brands  are offered with a lifetime guarantee, indicative of the superior value of American made furniture over time.

What kind of furniture is in your home?  Where was it made?  Is it time to rediscover the real thing?  Learn more about American made, natural wood furniture on the sustainability section of our website.

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Our American Made Furniture Featured in USA Today

April 15th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

American Made Furniture and Decor Featured in USA Today

Journalist, Nina Patel came across this page of our website about American Made Furniture and decided to feature our work in USA Today.  Fellow American furniture makers from El Greco, Ernest Thompson Furniture and Sittin’ Easy were also featured.

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!

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