November 17th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Perhaps the most rewarding part of our fine furniture business (or any business, I would imagine) is when a customer becomes a friend. This is a story about a friendship that developed between our staff and a family who lives in Alaska.
The truth is… the process of ordering handcrafted, made to order furniture is a (relatively) long one. Sometimes it takes 8 weeks or more for crafting a dining room set. After that shipping can take a couple additional weeks (depending on a customer’s distance from our workshops in Vermont) because “faster is not always better” when it comes to moving fine furniture.
So during this period we get to know our customers pretty well. We communicate back and forth regularly about our progress and about the schedule and logistics for delivery. Occasionally our conversations about logistics include personal details and once in a while this leads to a special friendship which develops unexpectedly. Such was the case with the family of Jeff F who recently sent us this kind note:
We recently purchased a dining room table and chairs from Vermont Woods Studios. We looked around before we made our selection, both online and in local stores. Although we had not made a purchase previously from Vermont Woods Studios, we made a leap of faith and ordered from them, as they seemed to offer the materials, design, and craftsmanship we were looking for.
It’s not often these days that people exceed your expectations, but ours were exceeded in all respects. The staff at Vermont Woods Studios was informative, knowledgeable, and responsive. Communications, estimated ship dates, and follow up all were timely and accurate. When the furniture pieces arrived, they were just as we had hoped. Each piece was extremely well-crafted. Joints were flawless. The cherry wood was gorgeous and the grain was very well-matched. The finish was nearly luminescent.
We found the people at Vermont Woods Studios wonderful to work with, and our experience could not have been more positive. They went out of their way to help and accommodate us at every turn. We have recommended them to friends without any hesitation, and I’m certain that we’ll be ordering additional pieces of furniture for our home.”–Jeff F.
Thanks, Jeff. Your letter made our day and reminded us what our jobs are all about. Cheers– to many happy moments shared together around your Vermont made dining furniture!
November 4th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Cherry furniture is enjoying the top spot on our customer’s list of favorite wood species again this year. It’s been the trend for several years and no doubt 2014 will be another banner year for cherry wood. Most Vermont woodworkers are set up to offer customers a choice of at least the Top 4 American Hardwoods used in fine furniture making, that is: cherry, maple, walnut and oak. But cherry has always been the favorite as far back as I can remember.
In responding to customer preferences as well as the availability of high quality, sustainably harvested cherry wood, Vermont furniture makers have become America’s authority on fine cherry furniture. We work right alongside them at Vermont Woods Studios and have been sharing their knowledge on our website, in our blog and in a variety of articles. As we head into the furniture buying season, I thought I’d compile some of these resources and publish them as The Ultimate Buyers Guide for Cherry Furniture.
Check it out and let us know on Facebook, if you have additional questions we can add to the Guide.
November 2nd, 2013 by Michelle Rooks
One of the most unique pieces of furniture we have in our showroom and one that gets a lot of attention at the Vermont Welcome Center is the Custom Quilted Vermont Rocking Chair. This is really a chair that needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. It is available on our web site in Natural Cherry, Birdseye Maple or Natural Walnut.
The first time I saw it I was reminded of the child’s toy Jacob’s Ladder. The Quilted Rocker is made up of dozens of smooth wood pieces strung together with nylon rope. The look is unique but the comfort is amazing. I had a knitter friend come to visit the showroom and her eyes lit up when she sat in it. “I could see myself doing a lot of knitting in this chair!”
Well, she wasn’t alone. On Halloween we had a visitor stop by just at closing time. “Gene Simmons” was equally impressed though he doesn’t really strike me as a knitter. Actually, that’s my usually mild-mannered husband, Chris, in one of his favorite costumes. And yes, he made it himself…er, the costume, not the chair.
Stop by and try the Custom Quilted Vermont Rocking Chair for yourself. We think you’ll agree it’s not only a conversation piece, it’s a place of comfort.
May 17th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Guest blogger: Sean Henry
Editors note: Sean Henry and Liz Francese are our front line, crackerjack, Vermont-made furniture sales people. If you’ve purchased from us before you’ve probably talked to them on the phone (and you’ve definitely received emails from them) so you’ll totally “get” Sean’s tongue-in-cheek essay on how people and cherry wood change over time. If not, I guess you’ll just have to visit us at Stonehurst and see for yourself.
Let me explain something. When Liz and I were youngsters, we were adorable. No seriously, we were absolutely adorable. We were cute, blond, loveable, patriotic (me) and verbally expressive (Liz). As I am sure you can see from the pictures we were the kind of kids that parents would love to pull pictures out of their wallets to show off to all their friends. But as you can also see, things change. Well, maybe not all things change (this is where I tell you to look at both of the pictures of my favorite co-worker and see if you can find the similarities between the two pics).
Okay, so now that I have that part out of the way… The one thing I wanted to point out — and yes I am finally getting to the point — is that we both used to be blond or perhaps I should say dirty blond. We both had a nice, light head of hair and over time it has become a darker shade of brown. You may say to yourself, “what does any of this have to do with Cherry wood furniture?” Well let me tell you.
Natural Cherry wood is a lot like Liz and I. When it first arrives, it will be a light, almost dirty blond color. The light color of new Natural Cherry wood may not be what you expect to see after looking at all the beautiful images of cherry wood furniture on our website. Don’t worry, this will change. Over time, Cherry wood darkens or “ripens” as it ages and as it is exposed to light. As the Natural Cherry ripens, you will see the beauty of the wood and all its amazing characteristics come through. You will start to see a noticeable change after just a few months. After six months to a year it will have that rich, ripe auburn color. After that the color of the Cherry wood will change more gradually. You can see the difference in the pictures above.
One last thing I want to point out before I stop writing this long-winded blog (I am new at this). You have probably noticed my baby picture with the American flag and my very American red white and blue sailor suit. I thought it would be a good reminder to everyone that our Memorial Day Sale is coming up soon. So it might be the perfect time for some change and the perfect time to think about how our Vermont-Made, Handcrafted, ever-changing, beautiful, Natural Cherry wood furniture will look in your home!
April 29th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Spring is the time of year when the (normally homely) black cherry tree gets to dress up and strut it’s stuff. Hard to believe isn’t it– that these gangly trees with rough, scaley bark will be transformed into beautiful flowering flora (and perhaps one day into natural cherry furniture like the Cherry Moon Bed above).
But it’s true. In a few short weeks they will be bursting with fragrant white and yellow blossoms which will give way to delicious black cherry fruit. These are the trees that provide a sustainable source of wood for over half of the furniture customers purchase from our store, Vermont Woods Studios.
Interested in learning more about cherry trees and natural cherry wood furniture for your home? We are the experts! Check out some of the many “cherry wood” articles we’ve written over the years and give us a call to let us know if you’ve got a question we’ve yet to answer. We’ll jump right on it!
October 29th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
High quality, real solid hardwood furniture is expensive, no doubt about it. It’s not for everyone. College students are more likely to find suitable furniture at IKEA- that’s for sure. But if you landed on this blog post, you’re probably a homeowner looking to feather your nest for the long term, right? Well we talk to people like you everyday and so we’ve learned a few things about why our customers are looking to buy hardwood furniture.
Check out our cherry and walnut hardwood bedroom furniture set. You just don’t get this kind of smooth, refined patina on pine, spruce or other soft wood furniture. When hardwoods are sanded properly and finished with a clear, non-toxic lacquer or hand-rubbed natural oil, you can run your hands over the wood and it almost feels like skin. No softwood, metal or plastic furniture can give the same tactile sensation that high quality, handmade hardwood furniture does.
Hardwoods like cherry, walnut, maple and oak wood are from deciduous trees that grow slower than coniferous softwood trees like pine, spruce, larch and fir. Thus hardwoods are typically more dense, heavy, durable and, well… hard. They also are fairly non – resinous and close grained so they don’t leak sap and split like pine does. If you take care of your hardwood furniture it will hold up beautifully for many years, even many generations. We are confident enough in our hardwood furniture to back it with a lifetime guarantee.
Many people, especially those with young children are looking for natural, organic furniture to be a part of their healthy homes. They often talk to us about where their furniture comes from too. Hardwood furniture that’s made in America is typically built with wood that’s sustainably harvested from well-managed American forests. Families enjoy breaking bread over a dinner table that’s made in harmony with nature.
OK, I said Top 3 Reasons, but here’s a fourth that I just can’t walk away from. In the long run, high quality hardwood furniture is cheaper to buy than other types of furniture– even IKEA’s. Consider how many times you’ll have to buy a bedroom set or dining furniture over your lifetime if you’re always buying something cheap. We’ve had lots of customers who tell us they’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a few years while they save up to buy a high quality hardwood bed. I can relate to that.
What are your reasons for searching for hardwood furniture? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook!
October 12th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you’re looking for hardwood furniture, there’s a good chance you’re narrowing your wood choices down to the most popular and plentiful species grown here in America such as cherry, maple, oak and walnut. These prized hardwoods are grown sustainably here in the USA with Vermont and New England being a favorite source for many woods.
We like these species because they are well suited to fine furniture making by virtue of their color, strength, hardness, grain patterns and workability. They are also readily obtainable in our local and regional area, making them a sustainable choice. Often our furniture makers will offer two-tone combinations of these hardwoods creating a custom, artisan look and feel to your furniture.
The photo above shows Copeland Furniture’s SoHo Bedroom Set in solid maple and walnut hardwoods. This striking two-tone wood combination has become a best seller in our metropolitan markets, particularly Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Homeowners appreciate the modern, contemporary sensibilities of the SoHo solid hardwood design as well as the fine detail and craftsmanship that goes into every custom, made to order piece.
SoHo furniture is also offered in a two-tone walnut and cherry design. Which of these hardwood combinations would look best for your bedroom furniture?
September 17th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Often customers come to us looking specifically for fine wood furniture that's handmade in America from sustainably harvested wood.
At last! Vermont is becoming know as the Fine Furniture Capital of America. The Green Mountain State has been the home to fine woodworkers for over 200 years. Plus our state provides
the world's finest furniture making material – solid hardwood.
Furniture makers in Vermont create bedroom, home office and dining room furniture using American Black Cherry,
Sugar Maple, American Black Walnut, Oak and other hardwoods from the Northern Forest.
Vermont designs and crafting techniques highlight the natural beauty of wood such that our furniture is a reflection of the forest it came from. Forests
cover nearly 80% of Vermont's landscape and we harvest wood at a rate that's less than the rate at which our forest is growing– a good measure of sustainability!
At Vermont Woods Studios we're proud to live in a place where people cherish and protect their
natural resources – our forests, meadows, pastures, rivers, lakes and streams. And we're happy to be able to bring you the fruits of that green lifestyle: Vermont's handmade hardwood furniture. Like us on Facebook if you agree!
August 29th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Dennis took this picture of a black cherry tree on his property in New Hampshire. Our cherry wood furniture typically comes from PA though, which has soils and climate more ideally suited to growing black cherry trees.
Heather Barrett mentioned the other day that many customers are coming
to us by way of Google when they're searching for answers to questions
like "where does cherry wood come from"?
At Vermont Woods
Studios we feel it's important to provide detailed information about
where your furniture comes from. We want customers to know that our
wood is all sustainably harvested and that forest conservation is a fundamental part of our mission.
We source as much wood as we can locally, preferably right here in Vermont. Cherry wood
however isn't a big component of the Green Mountain Forest. There are a few
cherry trees here and there across Vermont, but Pennsylvania is really
the Cherry Capitol of the world and that's where we get most of our
cherry wood. It is arguably the finest cherry wood on earth and is
prized for its lovely red color, grain and luster.
Fortunately in 1995 the state of Pennsylvania had the foresight to protect and
preserve a great deal of their cherry wood resources. They committed to
maintaining the state forest system sustainably and began green
certifying it, by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC.
FSC is considered
the gold standard in third party certifications of forests so we can be
confident that the forests providing our cherry wood will be around to
enjoy for many generations… just like our cherry wood furniture.
August 18th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Yesterday I wrote about our solid cherry furniture so today I wanted to follow up with a post about the furniture we carry that incorporates cherry veneers.
Sometimes customers come to us, initially averse to veneer but once they take a closer look they often change their minds. I realize veneers have been given a negative connotation by companies that stick them on particle board to make cheap furniture.
But did you know that premium quality, high end veneers are used by some of the world's most skilled furniture makers to add artistic flair and style to their work?
This is the case with the following six high end furniture collections:
These furniture collections are made with all solid cherry wood except for the sides and backs of case goods. Real wood veneer is used for case goods (chests, dressers, cabinets, night stands) sides and backs for esthetic and structural design reasons. The pieces are made with frame and panel type construction and the use of solid wood in this design might cause the panels to warp in conditions of changing humidity.
As solid wood furniture specialists at Vermont Woods Studios, we spend a lot of time discussing the specifics of solid wood versus veneered construction methods with our customers. Details for each of our collections are found in our Construction Details pages. We welcome your comments and questions either below, on our Facebook, by phone or in person at our Vernon VT showroom.