March 26th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Spring into BIG SAVINGS on our 100% American Made Shaker Style Furniture with our Spring Shaker Sales Event. Whether just starting your Shaker Style decor or putting the finishing touches on your American Shaker Style home, now is the best time to buy and get discounts up to 20%!
The more you buy, the more you save. Receive a 10% discount off one piece, 15% discount on two pieces or 20% discount when you buy 3 or more pieces- Plus Free Shipping and Delivery!
We offer traditionally inspired, real hardwood Shaker Furniture for every room in the home. And our entire Shaker furniture line is skillfully handcrafted right here in Vermont. Made in your choice of natural cherry, maple, and walnut woods. This is real wood furniture that is solidly built to last for generations of enjoyment and use (and guaranteed for life).
Browse and shop our online gallery for your new Shaker bedroom, dining room, living room, or home office furniture. Or feel free to contact us at 888-390-5571. The Sale ends at midnight on March 31st. Please note that our Copeland Furniture is not included in this sale as it is value-priced with our low-price guarantee every day.
March 20th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Are you using Pinterest yet? I know it might seem overwhelming to sign up for yet another social media account, but this is one I think you'll really love.
Pinterest makes bookmarks and favorites obsolete. Now you can do all that visually and intuitively on Pinterest.
Check out our new Cherry Wood Furniture Pinterest board. We've selected great photos of cherry furniture from our website and many others to illustrate what natural cherry actually looks like.
One of the things I love is that you can see at a glance all the different shades of natural cherry as it's in the ripening process.
You'll notice too that each piece of cherry furniture is Made in the USA, another good clue when looking for real cherry wood furniture. Learn more about cherry wood, it's unique characteristics and color variations at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture.
March 11th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Cherry, cherry cherry. Over half the furniture we sell at Vermont Woods Studios is made of beautiful, lustrous cherry wood from the American black cherry fruit tree. Often customers come to us a little bit suspicious about whether our handmade furniture is made of real solid cherry wood.
Well, it's no wonder! Most furniture that's sold as cherry isn't cherry at all. Hard to believe isn't it? So I thought we would publish a few tips for determining if the cherry furniture you're looking at is actually made of real cherry.
Here are 3 things to look for:
What color is the wood? OK, this is a trick question. Freshly harvested cherry wood is a light pinkesh color but as cherry ages or ripens in the presence of light, it gets darker and eventually reaches a rich reddish brown. So when you're shopping be sure to ask if the furniture is brand new or if it's been in the showroom for a number of months.
The Cherry Moon bed above is about a month old so it has ripened some but in another few months (depending on the amount of ambient light) it will be as dark as the bed at left. Eventually all natural cherry furniture will end up about this same color. Often customers will request a dark stain on cherry to "hurry-up" the process. If you just can't wait we can usually convince our furniture makers to stain cherry but most of them would rather plead with customers to be patient and wait for the real thing.
What does the grain look like? Cherry has a simple, fine, closed grain, much like that of maple. You can see the grain pattern pretty well in the Cherry Moon bed above. Fake "cherry" wood often has little or no grain pattern. It's made by taking a cheaper wood, bleaching it, texturizing it with chemicals, then staining it with a "cherry" stain.
Are there occasional black flecks and black streaks in the wood? Real cherry has beautiful markings (from gum streaking, mineral deposits and pin knots). Fake cherry looks entirely uniform in grain due to the chemical processing mentioned above. It's unlikely you'll ever find black flecks or streaks in faux cherry woods.
February 22nd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Over the last month or two Dennis and Manjula have added a couple hundred new Copeland American Made Furniture– beds, chests, dressers and other furniture pieces to our website. Now we have to re-organize a bit so it's easy to find what you're looking for.
We've created quite a few new categories to browse by, including one for Furniture Best Sellers. These are the most popular pieces in our Vermont made furniture store. Most of them will look familiar to you, especially if you have that natural, solid Shaker Sensibilty that draws many wood furniture shoppers and interior design professionals to our store.
But others are a surprise! Copeland's modern, contemporary Catalina bedroom set and their Monterey Arts & Crafts style bedroom sets are coming on strong and fast becoming our new best sellers. Have a look and let me know which furniture peices or collection you like best.
February 12th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Dennis and Manjula have been working on getting a beautiful selection of Copeland Bedroom Furniture Sets up on our website.
Copeland is our newest line of Vermont made furniture and their styles include traditional, Shaker and modern furniture, such as the:
Berkeley Cherry Bedroom Set (Modern Asian style)
Copeland's signature style is kind of a clean, simple elegance that's very popular in the more chic neighborhhods of Manhattan and other cities. But we love it up here in rural Vernon VT too!
A few logistical details: the sets are designed to save you on shipping. We couldn't lower the prices of the furniture in the sets because we already have Copeland furniture priced as low as possible. In fact we have a low price guarantee on Copeland furniture. But with the sets, you save on shipping– which is significant. Rather than paying $300/piece for white glove delivery, you can order as many pieces as you like and pay just $450 for shipping and white glove delivery of the whole set.
Check out the sets and let us know what you think. We've tried to make them versatile so you can customize your set online with any combination of pieces you might like, but I'm sure we haven't thought of everything. Give us a call if you can't find the exact pieces you need for your set. Rebecca and Shannon will be happy to hear from you!
One more thing. So far we just have Copeland bedroom sets up but in another month or so we'll have their collection of Frank Lloyd Wright dining sets as well. If you're looking to purchase before then, just call.
February 2nd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
We have conversations with customers every day about the color of real cherry wood furniture. It's no wonder! When I just googled "real cherry wood" these images are what came up. Quite a variation, isn't it?
First of all, half of these images are NOT of cherry wood. When the big American furniture companies started off-shoring their furniture to China over 30 years ago they found it cheaper to use rainforest woods (rather than import cherry from North America and then export it back to North America as furniture). So they stained these cheaper woods and gave them various trade names containing "cherry".
Many times customers come to us looking to buy real cherry furniture that matches existing cherry pieces in their homes. After discussions and emailing pictures back and forth they are shocked to find that their "cherry" furniture from Bassett, Broyhill, Ethan Allen, Thomasville or other big "American" companies is not cherry at all but rubberwood, poplar or some kind of engineered hardwood.
At Vermont Woods Studios, our cherry furniture is indeed made out of real, solid North American Black Cherry wood. The color starts out as a light pink and slowly ripens to a rich reddish brown over time, depending on how much light the furniture is exposed to. See various colors of cherry wood as it changes colors.
January 28th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Remember when you used to clean up your bedroom by hiding everything under the bed? Well now you can do that in style! Luxury solid wood platform beds with underbed storage drawers are best sellers at Vermont Woods Studios this year.
Metropolitan apartment dwellers trying to make the most of furniture for small spaces are finding that underbed storage drawers can elegantly replace the need for chests, dressers and armoires.
Storage beds can also provide space for shoes, seasonal clothing, blankets and linens. This one is the Harbor Island Platform Storage Bed and it's shown here in solid natural maple wood, although you can customize it online with dark wood colors too.
The matching nightstand is designed to let you pull out the storage drawers easily. There's another Harbor Island nightstand with a drawer if you prefer, but you'll have to move it aside to open the storage drawers.
All of our storage beds are 100% made in America (right here in Vermont actually) of sustainably harvested wood with family-friendly non-toxic finishes. Check them out!
January 23rd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Wood dining tables are our most popular, best selling pieces at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Most customers come to us for solid cherry wood tables, but we also build a good number of tables in maple, walnut and oak wood too. Occasionally we get a custom order for wood tables made out of other woods, like the reclaimed barnwood farm table that Yankee Magazine is featuring in their March/April issue this year.
So why wood? I mean you could eat off a glass top table or a metal table or even a plastic table. I think for many people, wood makes an important emotional connection that maybe we're not even consciously aware of. A customer recently told me she came to us because of the natural, organic apsect of our wooden furniture. She said that trees are actually a source of spiritual sustenance and renewal for her. I was thinking about that and came across this passage about trees written by woodworker and naturalist Brian Clifford:
A tree is a thing of beauty and wonderment, huge, but full of life and movement. A deciduous tree is the embodiment of the changing seasons: a stark framework in winter, bursting life in spring, a vast green canopy in summer and the bearer of seeds and fruit in the autumn. It is the embodiment of man's condition: birth, life, death, regeneration and rebirth.
I'm not sure people choose wood for their dining and kitchen tables for reasons quite that deep, but I love reading Brian's thoughts and philosophy about the relationship between trees and man. He notes that our ancestors evolved in trees:
The period our ancestors spent in the trees was of great formative importance; this was the environment in which man's basic structures, brain, sense organs, limbs and reproductive system, evolved. In response to the exigencies of living in trees the animal's paws were modified into members able to grip: the claws atrophied, the digits lengthened, and an opposed thumb developed. The eyes became larger and moved towards the front of the head providing three-dimensional vision. In concert with these bodily changes, and their application in confronting the dangers in the tree tops, the creature's brain developed new features and increased in power.
Ha! It seems we owe our brain power to trees. I bet you never thought of that as the reason you were shopping for a wood dining table today.
January 8th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
I was working with one of our Vermont Woods Studios customers yesterday who was looking for a natural cherry bed to match existing cherry furniture in his bedroom. He’s had the existing furniture for about 10 years and now it’s a lovely, rich reddish brown color– something like this solid cherry bed made by Robin Chase of Maple Corner Woodworks.
The problem is that natural cherry starts out a much lighter wood, usually with a color similar to this Cherry Moon Bed and it takes time to darken as it is exposed to light. The length of time to go from this light color to the darker color above varies with the amount of light in the room and can take anywhere from a few months to a number of years. Most customers, however report that their furniture darkens within 6-12 months.
Customers often ask if there is a way to speed up the process and the consensus among our craftspeople is that the best solution is just to expose the furniture to as much light as possible. Adding a dark stain is also a possibility but woodworkers always plead with us to have patience and wait it out instead. For most customers, the result truly is worth waiting for, especially since our furniture is purchased for a lifetime of use. Check out more photos of our natural cherry furniture in the Cherry Moon Collection, Vermont-Made Shaker Collection and throughout our website.
December 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Similar to the term American Made Furniture, there's no standard definition for "fine furniture". But a customer brought this up yesterday so I thought I'd take a shot at it. At Vermont Woods Studios we specialize in fine wood furniture, rather than upholstered furniture so I'll keep the discussion confined to that.
This may seem odd, but I'm going to put style aside for another subject because I think each creative woodworker has his or her own ideas about style. Naturally there has to be a strategic blending of form and function, but making a judgement about that is personal and subjective– you could write a library of books about it and still not reach a conclusion. I'm not sure style belongs in a definition for fine furniture.
So for now I'll stick to tangible perameters like craftsmanship, uniqueness, joinery, type of wood, type of finish, sustainability and durability– plus one intangible which I'll call karma. Today let's look at the type of wood a piece of furniture is made with first– then we can consider the other characteristics in the next few posts.
Fine wood furniture starts with hardwood (like cherry, maple, walnut and oak) as opposed to soft wood (like pine and other coniferous woods). Furthermore, in today's world (by my definition anyway) those hardwoods are grown sustainably in America as opposed to imported woods that are clear cut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests (like ipe, rubberwood, mahogany, jatoba and teak–this ties into a karma discussion). You can learn more about American hardwood species here: cherry wood, maple wood, walnut wood, oak wood.
It's not just the wood species that sets fine wood furniture apart. Once a species is selected, fine woodworkers go to greath lengths to carefully select each board that goes into a piece of furniture, depending on where the board is being placed (like in a drawer front, part of a table top, an accent piece or part of the frame).
Woodworkers select boards based on things like grain, color, texture, shape, character and whether it's part of the tree's heartwood (inner circles of the tree and dark in color) or sapwood (outer circles of the tree and light in color). There are different levels of attention to detail in wood selection and they are reflected in the price of a piece of furniture. Many of our woodworkers in Vermont are aligned with the philosophy of George Nakishima who felt that wood selection is an almost sacred art that honors The Soul of a Tree. Others are more practical but both philosophies on wood selection can be the foundation of a great piece of "fine furniture" depending on what the customer is looking for.