Pine Top | The Lost Ski Area | Now a Vermont Furniture Showroom and Fine Art Gallery
Pine Top, the Lost Ski Area is now a Vermont fine furniture showroom, art gallery and information center. 

The last few days have brought a bounty of fluffy white snow setting us up for a beautiful first Christmas at Stonehurst.  Ken went out to the old carriage shed and rescued this antique sign that marked entry to the Pine Top Ski Area from the 1940s to the 1960s.  It’s now resting safely in our mudroom (er- entryway) accompanied by all the latest maps, magazines and brochures on Vermont travel (did I mention that we’re now an official Vermont Information Center?  More about that later).

For a small ski area in a small town, it’s amazing how many people have stopped by to tell us stories of when they skied here at Pine Top 50 years ago.  We had a lovely couple from Manhattan visit us a few weeks ago.  They were here to shop for furniture but after looking out the window at the ski slopes and seeing the Pine Top sign, Marcia realized that she had skied here when she was a boarding student at Northfield School (now NMH).  What a coincidence!

First Christmas at Stonehurst is a snowy one!
Signs of a snowy first Christmas abound at Stonehurst, Vermont’s sustainable furniture showroom and art gallery.

Today the sign out front welcomes people to Stonehurst, Vermont’s sustainable furniture showroom and art gallery.  With all the freshly fallen snow, now is one of the prettiest times of year to visit Stonehurst.  If you’re longing for the old fashioned Christmas you remember as a kid, stop by and see us.  We’ve got hot chocolate, warm apple cider and of course there’s always a bottle of red in the wine rack.  Christmas shopping was never this fun, even back in the 1950s!

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.

Attention modern decor lovers! Christmas is almost here! Can you believe it? In a little more than a week, you’ll be gathered around with your closest friends and family enjoying those timeless Christmas tunes, freshly unwrapped gifts, and eachothers company of course! If you’re doing the hosting this year, is your holiday decor ready?

Holiday decor helps to make the day memorable and keeps your home feeling true to the season. For modern furniture lovers, finding the decorations to suit your style might be a tricky task as much of the Christmas decor available is very traditional. Don’t fret, friends! With this list, you’ll find plenty of decor inspiration to suit your contemporary taste!

1. Get colorful!

Holiday-Decor-Bright-Bazaar-Will-Taylor
Photos by Matt Cant for Rue Magazine (shared from design-milk.com)

If you’re tired of the traditional green and red Christmas decoration, or if you are just looking for an alternative to pine needle wreaths, try out this festive idea. Use Christmas ornaments to create a unique wreath arrangement. 

2. Chalkboard Decor.

Chalkboard Decor

Whether you buy a chalkboard, or go pickup some chalkboard paint and craft something yourself– chalkboard “art” is a cute and clever way to post holiday greetings around your home! They are subtle and can easily be changed to flow with the holiday or the season. Depending on the frame, this type of decor is suitable for practically any style home.

3.  Decorative Lighting. 

Amber Lights on Copper Wire

This particular lighting arrangement is made out of decorative string lights. Similar wire- lights can be found at your local hardware store. Find a glass vase or jar that you love, and add eclectic charm to your home. Florescent lighting can ruin the intimate holiday mood, so unique alternative lighting sources like this add warmth and romance to your holiday space.

4. Keep it clean

Modern Christmas Decorations

Clean and clutter free are words that define modern interior decor style, and this photo captures it well. The modest accents such as the red decorative pillows, Christmas themed wall art, and red cart/table highlight Christmas spirit while still keeping the home warm, livable, and modern. Notice the use of the mirror, reflecting the tree lights and adding an illusion of space to the room. Very cool!

5.  Decorative Dishware Decorative Christmas Plates

Dishware is not just for eating off of. Laura Zindel’s beautiful dishware is perfect for a holiday display, as it captures the spirit of the season and the smaller things that make winter what it is. These unique pieces are high-quality works of art that can be cherished for years for both their quality and style. You can find some of Laura Zindels work at our showroom, Stonehurst!

All in all, modern Christmas decorations come in many different forms. From bursts of color to unique displays of light, it is up to you to decide what elements would bring out the personality and style of your home. Hopefully with some of these interior design tips, you’ll have an easy time finding those last minute decor additions to make your home perfect for the holidays.

Feel free to post your Christmas decor photos on our Facebook page, or share your tips in the comments section. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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.

Friday was a festive day at Vermont Woods Studios.  We had our 8th annual company Christmas party and gift exchange.  I picked up our tree at Rotary’s, annual Christmas Tree Sale during my Thursday night shift (the Rotary Club I belong to sells Christmas trees to raise money for it’s Gateway Scholarship Foundation).  Ken brought the tree back to Stonehurst in his Beverly Hillbillies-style trailer and Douglas and our star sales staff put it up and decorated it.  Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

Of course the tree is local (from Craftsbury, VT) and it’s decorated with memorabilia from Pine Top, the lost ski area that our fine furniture and art gallery now sits upon.  That’s a “rope tow” you see stretching from the bottom to the top of the tree and there are a couple stylish 1950s era skiers ascending it, courtesy of my thoughtful sister, Ann.  There are also some beautiful handcrafted decorations (painted by our friend Donna Scully) which can be purchased in the showroom.

In the afternoon we had a potluck lunch with lots of delicious treats, including the most decadent brownies I think I’ve ever tasted.  Following that (with a little work squeezed in between) was a Yankee swap of American made gifts (somehow Neville managed to take home the most coveted gift– a bottle of Jack Daniels).

After work we all reconvened at Terrazza Restaurant at the Greenfield Country Club in Greenfield, MA to finish off the days festivities.  Does it sound like we do a lot of partying at Vermont Woods Studios?  Well, we try to.  Work hard, play occasionally.  That’s not a bad recipe for success is it?  Let us know on Facebook, what you do to celebrate Christmas with your colleagues.

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.

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One can only assume when I popped out, kid number 5, over 22 years ago, my mother rationalized, “That’s probably enough- one of them will keep me out of a nursing home.”  Well, the results aren’t in for that prospect yet (the sanity clock miraculously ticks on), though she does occasionally reap the benefits of breeding an army.  One of them- awesome Christmas presents.  When we get our pockets together, the Francese kids can really rev up the opportunity to give back; this Christmas, Mom was blessed with a new coffee table.

Mom’s New Coffee Table

A second-hand store enthusiast, Mom has an eclectic array of furnishings sprinkled through out her home.  When it came to designing this beauty, she had a few goals in mind.  First it had to match a very unique, sofa-table-esque piece she must have found at the corner of Lost and Forgotten.  Of course, the sofa-table thing undeniably brings the room together but it is a one of a kind in terms of build and style. Second, it had to be large enough for five grandchildren to simultaneously play, color and read.  Third, it had to withstand the sticky, smearing, careless hands of those same five grandchildren (with the inevitability of more to come).

Mom’s Small Army

We threw all that into the Vermont Woods Studios custom furniture crock pot and, in due time, served the beauty now resting front and center in the family room.  The top is a natural Cherry with a rustic finish to match the antiquated look Mom loves so much.  The base is Maple, painted black.  I chose Maple for its durability and light color.  Overtime, the Cherry will darken and serve a smooth transition from bottom to top.  And finally the finish-a non-toxic, kid friendly and kid resistant, lacquer.

Mom is thrilled with her new coffee table and the results her small army is yielding. And next year?  Her outdoor coffee table won’t last for long- why not some POLYWOOD furniture that will last a lifetime!

 

Christmas 2013?

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.

Here's a great story and just in time for Christmas.  Resarchers at The University of Chicago did a series of experiments to demonstrate that other animals (besides humans) can be kind, compassionate and unselfish.

They used pairs of rats.  One rat was locked in a tube and the other was free outside the tube.  Free rats were able to figure out how to liberate their imprisoned pals.

So they did.  Pretty cool, right?

But the amazing thing is that even when a favorite treat (chocolate chips!) was placed on the scene, the free rats unlocked their friends FIRST even though they subsequently had to share!   “Basically they told us (freeing another rat) is as important as eating chocolate,” said study author Peggy Mason of the University of Chicago. “That’s a very striking thing.  In some cases, the rats first took the chocolate chips out of a container, but didn’t eat them, then freed the other rat and shared “almost as if they were serving them chocolate.”

So Ken says the lesson is to eat chocolate chips with your friends this Chirstmas, but there might just be something more that we could learn from rats.

Oh, I wasn't going to mention this but it IS a critical part of the study.  Female rats freed their pals every time.  17 of the 24 males did and… sadly… there were days when the male rats took the day off from helping their trapped partner althogether.  But the females never did.

Enough said ;)

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.