Best Wood for Outdoor Furniture?
I think the best wood to use for outdoor furniture isn’t wood at all. It’s POLYWOOD, made out of recycled milk jugs and guaranteed for a lifetime of outdoor use.  Shown here is the new Bayline Dining Furniture Collection.

Tis the season for buying outdoor furniture and prepare for spring and summer!  Even in Vermont we have a couple nice days each year when everyone wants to lounge in the sun with a cold drink and a good book.

Our customers often discover us when they’re searching for American made, eco-friendly furniture.  We’ve worked in collaboration with Vermont furniture makers for many years but have stuck to selling just sustainable indoor furniture for the dining room, bedroom and home office.

So when customers began to ask for outdoor porch, pool and patio furniture we were at a loss.  What type of wood could we make it out of?  The cherry, maple, walnut and oak woods we typically use for indoor furniture won’t hold up to outdoor conditions.  Plus, we offer a lifetime guarantee on our furniture.  How would we do this for an outdoor line?

Adirondack Chairs | Polywood | Recycled Plastic
This POLYWOOD Classic Adirondack chair is made in America of recycled plastic.  We guarantee it for a lifetime of use!

American Made Outdoor Furniture

We considered many options.  Teak and mahogany are about the only types of wood that would meet our standards for weather resistance and longevity but they are both rainforest woods that are often harvested illegally and unsustainably.  Not an option.

So after researching all the alternatives we selected an American made wood-alternative material for our first outdoor furniture line. It’s called poly wood and it’s made in Indiana of recycled plastic milk jugs.  It’s not real wood, but it has the look, thickness, weight, and feel of real wood plus it’s virtually indestructible and maintenance free.  No more scraping, painting, or weatherproofing needed.  POLYWOOD recycled plastic furniture can even be left outside year round eliminating the need for seasonal storage.

So that’s what we chose for our first outdoor furniture line.  We really do feel that POLYWOOD is the best “wood” to use for outdoor furniture.  With summer being so short up here in Vermont, we want to spend it enjoying our all-weather outdoor furniture rather than maintaining it!  How about you?  Check out the POLYWOOD furniture collections we offer.  It’s eco-friendly, Made in America outdoor furniture and it comes with free shipping and a lifetime guarantee.  Pretty tough to beat, I say.

Rec ycled Plastic Chaise Lounge
This POLYWOOD chaise lounge weighs over 50# so it won’t blow away when high winds come in off the ocean.  It’s available in 12 different colors including red, yellow, blue, orange, green, black and white.

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.

Bookcases | Real Solid Walnut Wood | Shaker Style | USA Made
Bookcases | Real Solid Walnut Wood | Shaker Style | USA Made

Getting Organized with Custom Bookcases

Custom bookcases might not be on the top of your Christmas list, but think about it.  Whether you have a home office or you’re trying to tidy up and organize your books and media, custom bookcases could make your life easier and more efficient in 2013.  Not to mention more beautiful.

At Vermont Woods Studios our biggest month for crafting bookcases and other organizers is January.  Could it have to do with New Year’s resolutions?  Must be, but we’re getting inquiries almost every day lately.  I think customers are realizing that there is a 1-3 month lead time for ordering custom bookcases.  So if you’re one of those people I thought I’d offer up some tips and advice about how to choose the right set of bookshelves for your home or office.

Glass Doors, Wooden Doors or No Doors

Are you really going to use those books or movies or vases?  Or will they just sit in the bookcase and collect dust?  Are they beautiful?  Part of your decor?  Or just obligatory (someone gave them to you and you can’t seem to throw them away) and you don’t necessarily want to see them?  Do you put things back neatly?  Or are you always in a hurry?  These are the kinds of weighty issues you’ll need to unravel before you decide whether or not to add doors to your custom bookcases.  Oh… and should the doors be glass to show off your chotskies or wooden to hide the mess?

Custom Bookcases, Bookshelves, Glass Doors, Wood Doors, No Doors

Custom bookcases might not be on the top of your Christmas list. But whether you have a home office or you’re trying to tidy up and organize your books and media, custom bookcases could make your life easier and more efficient in 2013. Learn more and shop for solid wood bookcases with full length glass doors, half length glass doors, full length wooden doors, half length wooden doors or no doors on our website.

One Big Bookshelf or a Couple Small Ones?

Once you’ve decided what kind of doors are best for your bookshelves, you’ll want to measure your space and get the cabinets to fit perfectly into it.  Some people love the integrated design of one big bookcase unit like the Modern Shaker Home Office Center Cabinet above (make sure you can fit something this big up the stairs and into your room!).  Other people like the versatility of combining several small bookcases in different ways.  One thing we always mention to customers is: if you’re getting a series of bookcases that you may want to place flush up next to each other, be sure you specify “no overhang”.  That means any molding along the top will be eliminated either on one or both sides, depending on how you want to configure the bookcases.

Measure Twice and Cut Once

We try to make it easy to customize your bookcase online, but it really is a good idea to give us a call or stop by the showroom to order custom bookcases, especially if they’re over-sized or designed to sit flush against each other.  We’ll help you get all the measurements right for your space so they’ll be no surprises when your furniture arrives.

Learn more and shop for solid wood bookcases with full length glass doors, half length glass doors, full length wooden doors, half length wooden doors or no doors on our website.

 

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.

Small Apartment Decorating
Small Apartment Decorating 101: The Dominion Storage Bed is my first pick!

Within the past few years, studies have shown that the average home size is decreasing. Towards the end of the 20th century, new homes were all about being bigger and better. Now, new homes are all about efficiency and economics. Homeowners want homes that are efficient in space and energy so they can save a bundle on their bills. While people are still buying bigger homes, trends show that as people move closer to cities for work, average home size will continue to go down as people purchase small apartments and condos. Here are a few furniture tips if you are looking for modest furniture for your modest space.

Decorating a Small Bedroom

Lacking space or storage in your bedroom? Not a problem! I suggest investing in a luxurious storage bed. While you may be thinking that a storage bed is big and heavy, which are two things you don’t want in a small apartment, think of it as one less chest or dresser that you’ll have to make room for! Store clothes, linens or other items that you want out of the way and save yourself the space in your closet. I’d also pick up some of our large wall mirrors to hang in your bedroom space. Mirrors give the illusion that your space is bigger!

 

Decorating a Small Dining Room

Check out my blog from a few weeks ago on dining table shape to see what kind of tables would fit best in your room. For most dining rooms, I’d go with an extension table. It saves space when you’re not using it, and expands when you have guests over. If you have an eat-in kitchen, which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the average apartment, go for a bar height table and some bar stools.

Small Apartment Decorating

Decorating a Small Living Room

Even though our homes are getting smaller, the number of electronic devices we have is, unfortunately, still getting bigger! I’d choose a low TV console to store all of your gadgets. This way, it will hold everything it should, but still leave room for a TV to sit on top or for you to mount a flat screen TV above it. You also might want to grab a storage box ottoman from our living room seating collection. Secret storage is always the answer for small space solutions.

Small Apartment Decorating

Decorating a Small Office

Skip the home office and make a DIY closet office! Also, use strategically placed custom bookcases throughout your home to hold all of your books, papers, knick-knacks or childrens toys. Our bookcases can be customized to fit any space perfectly.

 

Small Apartment Decorating

Small apartment decorating can be tricky, but if you stick to the basics, you can have a luxurious space with all the storage you need. Let us know how you decorate your smaller spaces here on the blog or 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, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Made in America Furniture Companies
What makes a furniture company great? Well, being able to see the men (and women) behind the curtain is certainly a big one!

Made in America furniture companies are run by people you can trust.

When you shop online for furniture, or even shop around at stores, a fundamental for any trustworthy company is that it is run by honest, hardworking people. Buying furniture is a big investment, and rightfully so, as we spend so much of our lives enjoying it. Shopping American made usually ensures that your investment is a good one–giving you a great product, made by great people.

Many companies overseas are not transparent about who’s behind the company, what their goals are, how their workers are paid, and where they are sourcing their materials from. Made in America furniture companies, however, are held to a much higher standard.

You can be sure that when buying American made furniture, you are directly helping support the livelihoods of hardworking American people- from customer service to the talented craftsmen who pour hours of their time and energy into creating beautiful pieces of furniture for us to enjoy.

You can also be sure that made in America furniture companies are held to strict standards for workplace safety, so you can feel good knowing that you aren’t contributing to terrible factory environments that can result in real disasters (remember the tragedy at the textile factory in Bangladesh?)

It’s still important to ask questions.

While some Made in America furniture companies are still sourcing their wood from questionable sources, there are also many great companies that source their materials with care and ethical consideration. At Vermont Woods Studios, we work with a handful of wonderful craftsmen who are responsible in their choices of materials and are sure not to use anything that degrades the environment or destroys the habitats of humans and animals across the globe. It’s important to question the people you are buying from about where their woods and materials are sourced, because even despite being made in the USA, there are companies who will do anything to save a buck.

So, when you start shopping for furniture this holiday season, keep in mind that made in America furniture companies are almost always a better choice than the alternative. When in doubt, ask the hard questions–where is this made, who is behind it, where are the materials sourced, can I see the quality in person before I buy, could I speak to a previous customer, etc.

A truly trustworthy and responsible company will go above and beyond to ensure that you feel comfortable with your buying experience, and with such an important investment, we don’t believe you should have to settle for anything but the best.

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.

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.

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.