October 28th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Much of the bedroom furniture purchased here at Vermont Woods Studios is customized to meet specific style or dimensional criteria specified by our customers. Contrary to popular belief, custom bedroom furniture can be surprisingly affordable! Over the coming weeks I’ll share our Top 5 Tips for customizing hardwood furniture.
Here’s my #1 Tip and it applies to bedroom chests, dressers, armoires and night stands as well as any other case goods that have doors or drawers:
It sounds like a small change but it’s the quickest and easiest way to get a custom look for your furniture. Of course with some dressers and chests, the pulls are an integral part of the overall design. Our Cherry Moon and Modern American collections would be an example of this and you wouldn’t want to change pulls.
But many interior designers are taking a fresh look at Shaker and Mission style furniture and saying, “hey I can jazz this up and create a whole new style by changing the pulls.” You can find a variety of different pulls on our website and in our showroom at Stonehurst. Each of our independent workshops carries their own collection of pulls so if you’re ordering online you’ll want to give us a call to make sure we can match a given pull with the chest or dresser you’re interested in. You can also send us your own pulls and we’ll install them!
Stay tuned for more tips on how to customize your bedroom furniture easily and affordably. Next up: combining two contrasting wood tones (like maple and cherry) into a single piece.
August 19th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
How long would you be willing to wait to have solid wood, made to order furniture created just for you? Four weeks? Eight weeks? Three months? Four months?
Lead time is something we struggle with in the world of Vermont’s handmade furniture. It used to be the typical lead time for a piece like the Modern American Buffet-Sideboard (shown above) was 5-8 weeks. But, alas with the Internet– Vermont made furniture has been re-discovered! It’s popularity is growing and rightly so– it’s beautiful, affordable, American made and sustainable.
The downside of this popularity rebirth, however is that customers sometimes have to wait longer to receive their custom made treasures. They ask us: WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG?
Well I guess it all goes back to the laws of supply and demand. A growing awareness of Vermont made to order furniture is keeping our independent woodworkers busy around the clock. Many of them are growing their businesses in response to demand but it’s going to take a little time. As they say… quality can’t be rushed.
In response to our steady growth, we recently allied with a furniture maker from across the river in New Hampshire, to design a couple new lines of furniture for us. Quite a shocking move for a company that’s all about Vermont made furniture, but fortunately, the skills and aesthetics of local woodworkers doesn’t stop at the Connecticut River. More on that move next week.
For now, I just want to assure you that we are doing our very best to keep lead times to a minimum. Neville has placed a “Lead Time” tab on every product page to let you know the current estimated ETA for that piece, including shipping and delivery (the average lead time is about 9 weeks but, depending on the piece and the craftsman it could be anywhere between 5 and 18 weeks).
Although, occasionally a craftsman will get sick or a delivery truck will be detained by weather, we do our very best to ensure deliveries are made within those time frames. If you have questions about an existing order, or are thinking of placing a new order– give our crackerjack sales and customer service staff (Liz, Sean, Michelle and Loryn) a call to discuss further specifics. And let us know on Facebook: how much time would you consider “reasonable” to wait for your made to order furniture?
March 7th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Copeland’s Dominion bedroom furniture set was our best seller last week. I love this picture, but the cool thing about Dominion is that you can customize it online to look exactly like this (above) or give it a totally different style. The photo above shows this high end bedroom set in natural cherry wood, although you can change the color online and add one of 3 stains: cognac cherry, saddle cherry or smoke cherry. For example, here’s a photo of the same Dominion bedroom in saddle cherry, which is darker than natural cherry and looks similar to walnut wood.
You can also customize the Dominion bedroom set by changing the shape of the top of each chest or dresser. In the photo above the chest on the left has a top that’s flush with the sides of the case, whereas the chest on the right has an over-hanging top. It creates a whole different look!
Furthermore, if you choose small, round mushroom shaped drawer pulls along with the flush top (shown left), you’ve got a variation of traditional Shaker style furniture. But by selecting brushed nickle bars for drawer pulls and pairing them with the over-hanging top, you’ve created a much different, modern contemporary look for the same chest.
Dominion beds are also highly customizable. Copeland offers 4 main bed styles: the regular Dominion Bed (with choice of 4 different headboards), a storage bed version of it, the Dominion Bed with Leather Headboard (choose ebony, coffee or white colored leather) and a storage bed version of it.
Check it out! This is your chance to design your own bedroom furniture and have it handcrafted especially for you, by Vermont craftsmen. Copeland furniture is affordable too and offers a great value for your money, plus we guarantee it for a lifetime. So what are you waiting for?
January 30th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Vermont custom furniture takes center stage this month at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe. Members of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers are showcasing examples of their work, which (in my humble opinion) is among the finest custom furniture you’ll find anywhere.
The Stowe expo, Source focuses on the origin of all elements that collaborate to make the final exquisite and creative piece. “The exhibit maps the source of materials, the relationships between forester, mill and craftsperson, as well as the path that the artists took (who influenced them, and where they learned their craft) to become furniture makers”.
Many of our favorite Vermont custom furniture makers are represented in Stowe, including: George Ainley, Erin Hanley, James Becker, Steve Holman, Hugo Belton, David Hurwitz, Richard Bissell, Bill Laberge, Dave Boynton, Mario Messina, Tim Clark, Dan Morsheim, Doug Clarner, Pete Novick, Johns Congdon, Walt Stanley and Bob Gasparetti.
At Vermont Woods Studios our focus has always been on “where does your furniture come from” particularly from an environmental perspective (where is the wood from and was it sustainably harvested).
What I love about this expo is that it takes a broader look into the origin of these works of art, focusing on the artists, their inspirations and the chain of partners involved in getting their wood from the forest to their studios.
If you’re heading up to Stowe to ski and you love woodworking, be sure to make time to stop at the Helen Day Center for a relaxing and inspiring visit. Hours are Wednesday – Sunday 12pm-5pm and by appointment. Admission is by donation. It’s well worth the trip!
November 18th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Custom, built in beds have been a popular trend in high end furniture over the last couple years. It used to be you had to have an architect or interior designer put together a sophisticated built in like the Modulux Bed above. But with so many HGTV shows and interior design websites, people often prefer to craft together their own designs now. We like Houzz, an interior design website that shows thousands of ideas when you search for “custom built in beds with integrated nightstands“. Our friends at Birdseye Builders in Richmond, Vermont have some of the most popular luxury bedroom built ins on this site.
If you’re looking for high end custom built ins for your home, check out our new Vermont made Moduluxe Built in Bedroom Furniture Collection by Copeland. This is a brand new, top quality, solid wood collection of modern, contemporary bedroom furniture. It’s designed to provide the clean, organized look of built in furniture at an affordable price. Moduluxe is, well… modular and sectional. You can choose from over 30 matching solid wood pieces: platform beds, chests, dressers, desks, mirrors and integral night stands. The furniture pieces are designed to attach to (or sit flush against) adjacent pieces.
Moduluxe is highly customizable online or in our showroom. There are many different chest, dresser and night stand sizes to fit your space. Storage beds are also available with four 8″ inch deep, sub-mounted drawers, providing plenty of inconspicuous storage. Customize Moduluxe in your favorite color too! There are 3 different natural woods (American black cherry, sugar maple, and American black walnut) and 12 different stains including black and white.
If a sophisticated, clean, organized bedroom is in your future check out what Moduluxe has to offer!
November 7th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
I made a visit to our local Vernon History Museum last weekend to learn more about Stonehurst, the 200 year old farmhouse property we recently purchased as the future home for our Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom. I was lucky enough to run into Peggy Frost, Nancy and Dale Gassett and a few other volunteers who were working in the museum’s gardens. Peggy knew just where the old photos of Stonehurst were stored so we went inside the museum and spent a few hours pouring through them.
The original Stonehurst farmhouse was built circa 1800 but I can only find photos going back to 1870 or so. Near as I can figure, the shot above would have been taken around the time that Stonehurst was sold by Noyes and Theresa Streeter to Lucretia Kendall for a sum of $2000.00. That was recorded on March 9, 1868.
Stonehurst had a very different life from the 1940s to the 1960s when it operated as a ski resort named Pine Top. You can see from the photo below that the house looked essentially the same through the ages. At some point it was painted red over the original white. And the horse barn-woodshed to the left of the house was converted to a dormitory for overnight skiers.
After talking with Barbara Moseley, our Vernon Town Historian, I learned that Pine Top was owned by Romey and Elsie Racine, a couple that moved to Vermont from New Jersey. “The Racines hosted vacationers and skiers in their welcoming lodge and operated a 3 run ski area with warming hut, equipment rentals and ski patrol. It was all staffed by local families.” Pine Top was set up to lodge up to 26 guests, often accommodating families of students from nearby boarding schools, Northfield Mount Hermon and Deerfield Academy.
Happily, Stonehurst looks pretty much the same today as it did 70 years ago when Pine Top was operating. The property was sold to Bill and Elaine Ellis after Pine Top closed and the Ellis’ transferred it to Vermont Woods Studios in August of this year. We’re now working with J Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction to transform the property into a Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom. The goal is to create a relaxing destination shopping experience for our customers who journey here from all around the Northeast and beyond.
Stonehurst, with it’s beautiful vistas and 100 acres of forested land provides a venue for us to convey our environmental mission and show people where sustainable, handmade furniture comes from. Stay tuned for progress reports and a grand opening for Stonehurst next Summer.
March 12th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Do you find yourself eating dinner in front of the fireplace or TV more these days? One of the Top 10 Trends in Furniture for 2012 is the move towards large custom coffee tables. Why is that?
I know at my house, if the boys are home, we eat at the kitchen table. But if it's just Ken and me we sit down on the couch and use the coffee table instead. It's casual and comfy and relaxing.
The large square coffee tables can fit up to 6 or 8 people around them. They're great for playing cards or setting drinks and snacks on or even just putting your feet up on after a long day.
Check out some of the new coffee tables we've recently added to our store. Most are available in solid cherry, maple, walnut, oak or reclaimed barnwood and can be customized to fit your space– large or small. Give Rebecca and Shannon a call to learn more.
March 10th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Custom furniture "fast" is really an oxymoron. I mean, one of the nicest things about owning custom furniture is the knowlegedge that is was built carefully, just for you. Not that it was slapped together fast.
So in the world of handmade custom furniture, "fast" is a relative term.
Our new Copeland Furniture collection is perhaps the "fastest" furniture we can deliver with a lead time of about 5-8 weeks. Typically it takes Copeland up to 6 weeks to complete the crafting of your furniture then, depending on where you live, it takes another 1-3 weeks to get your furniture safely to your doorstep and installed in your home.
So is it worth waiting for? Check out our customer Testimonials to see. And consider too, that with handmade, custom furniture you're buying something you're going to have for the rest of your life. We hope you'll think it's worth the wait.
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.
November 18th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
Thank you so much for attending our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge! Today (I think it's because of your support) we got a phone call from ABC World News telling us they are sending a camera crew up to Vernon, Vermont on Tuesday to film some footage for their November 30 nightly news show.
They want to learn more about our pledge to buy American made holiday gifts at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture and also tour around the town of Vernon. They'll visit all the BIG attractions in town: the elementary school, the town hall, the general store, the fire station, a farm or two and Chad Woodruff's custom furniture workshop. What could be more cool for the evening news than that? They'll be interviewing people along the way and asking them about any plans they might have to "buy American" this holiday season.
So we're pretty excited about this and we're grateful to you for all your support, as always. By the way, what are you buying for Christmas this year? If you haven't taken the challenge yet, it's not too late. We figured that if everybody in the country bought everything "American made" over the holidays, it could generate almost 5 million jobs! Who needs politicians, right?
For local Vernon and Brattleboro area residents– if you'd like to be on TV or just see the camera crew in action, you can keep up with their schedule as it evolves by joining this Facebook group or checking our website. Here's a clip of a similar segment in the ABC series. People in the crowd scene at the Vernon Town Hall will all have a chance to be interviewed and present visuals to feature on the national show.