OK, Sally Blakley and other dear readers: I can explain. I know I asked for your opinion on the exterior paint makeover for Stonehurst. And I know you voted overwhelmingly to keep the old barn-red color. And I loved that classic look too. But…
We have a couple things going on that swayed my decision off in the opposite direction. First of all, there’s the landscaping. You may have read about the plans we’re making with Gordon Hayward (landscape architect) and Torben Larsen (landscaper and stone mason) to add colorful lilacs, hydrangeas, peonies, lavender and all sorts of other wonderful plants to the front yard.
Second, we’ve been trying to renovate Stonehurst as authentically as possible. We’ve recycled, re-invigorated and reused existing parts and filled in with local Vermont made components whenever we needed something new.
And, well… the original color of Stonehurst back circa 1790 was farmhouse white. Lastly, there’s the matter of our green and white logo, as you can see on the sign. Don’t you think there’s some harmony going on between the sign and the white house with nature’s greenery all around?
Let me know what you think on our Facebook and we’ll duke it out there. In the meantime, if you’re interested in painting your own house, check out these 13 Dramatic Exterior Paint Makeovers on Houzz. Then post your own before and after photos for all of us to see!
Here’s a fun set of before and after pictures of Stonehurst, taken at the “Warming Hut”. I guess this before snapshot must have been taken around 1950-1960 when Stonehurst was “Pine Top” a local ski area. At that time, before mega ski resorts came along, about 2/3 of the towns in Vermont had their own local ski area. Vernon’s Pine Top had 3 rope tows and prior to that a couple “horse tows” (isn’t that awesome– I’m trying to find a picture of that!).
Pine Top’s “tool shed” aka “warming hut” was located behind the Stonehurst house we currently occupy as Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Inside the shed there was room for a few tables and a grill where our friend, Chris Howe cooked hamburgers for hungry skiers.
Chris visited us a couple weeks ago and reminisced a bit. She and I walked out to the stone foundation where the warming hut used to be. It’s now covered with beautiful green moss. That’s Chris sitting at the picnic table, looking over the hills that she and her family used to ski through to get home after work.
What fun! Customers coming to Stonehurst to shop for fine furniture in the winter should pack their cross country skis and maybe a bottle of Bailey’s or a hot toddy. Then we’ll give Chris a call and see if we can’t tap a few more of those memories of Pine Top’s heyday.
Well, now that the exterior painting of Stonehurst (Vermont’s newest fine furniture and art gallery) is almost done (pictures to follow later this week), it’s time to look into landscaping. We were fortunate to be able to persuade Brattleboro’s best painters (Moe Momaney and crew) to help us out and they in turn recommended the area’s most admired landscaper. That would be Gordon Hayward of Hayward Gardens.
Annette, Douglas and I met with Gordon the other day and roughed out a few preliminary sketches. Boy are they different from our previous plans! Gordon got here just in the nick of time.
At the moment, designing the ADA accessible walkway into the front of Stonehurst is the main dilemma we’re facing. We all envision a lovely, traditional Vermont stone pathway, constructed by a skilled stone mason using Goshen stone. Jeremy Coleman, the Stonehurst architect has already laid the pathway foundation with the proper gentle slope to make wheelchair access easy. The problem is that in the winter, it’s hard to snow-blow a stone-inlaid path and Ken’s afraid that over time the walkway will become bumpy and difficult for wheelchair access.
Before talking to Gordon we had decided to pave the walkway and stamp it so it looks like Goshen stone. Well, both Jeremy and Gordon feel like all the work we’ve done in making sure Stonehurst is authentic will be compromised by paving the entrance. They are certain that Goshen stone can be properly laid such that it will stay level and intact for smooth wheelchair access.
What do you think? Gordon is coming over tomorrow to continue our landscaping project. You can put your 2 cents in on our Fine Furniture Facebook page. And I’ll keep you updated here on the blog.
Here’s an update on the exterior painting at Stonehurst. A couple weeks ago I polled you on what your preference was for the exterior paint color. The response was an overwhelming preference for RED. What’s up with that? I was hoping to restore Stonehurst to it’s former self. It was a white farmhouse for 150 years or so before it’s life as Pine Top, Vernon’s local ski area in the 1940s – 1960s.
When Moe Momaney and his crew are finished I’ll post pictures of the New Do. It’s not too late to register your vote though, if you haven’t already. Keep in mind there will be lots of flowers and landscaping in front of the house. In fact, today we’ll be meeting with Gordon Hayward, a landscape designer from Hayward Gardens in Putney, VT. I’ll report on that front later this week.
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.
Where Does Wood furniture Come From?
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.
Kudos to Our Design and Construction Team
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:
barn–now a dining room showroom
boarding house– now a bedroom showroom
kids bedroom– now a kitchenette for our staff
several bedrooms– now administrative offices”
exterior paint color– from red to white, and
the parlor– which is still a parlor
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.