Stonehurst, circa 1870: Now a Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom
Renovations are underway at Stonehurst, the newest Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom.   This photos was taken circa 1870, about when the 200 year old farmhouse property was sold to Lucretia Kendall by Noyes and Theresa Streeter for a sum of $2000.

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

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.

Pine Top Ski Resort

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.

Stonehurst was known as Pine Top Ski Area, 1940-1960
Stonehurst was known as Pine Top Ski Resort, 1940s-1960s.  Operated by Elsie and Romey Racine, it welcomed up to 26 overnight guests who enjoyed skiing in the winter and traditional Vermont outdoor activities in the summer.

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.

Pine Top Ski Area Resort in Vernon, Vermont Circa 1960
This is the “backyard” of Stonhurst when it was Pine Top Ski Area, circa 1960.  What a view!

Stonehurst Tomorrow: A Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom

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.

Stonehurst, 2012.  Soon to be Vermont's Premier Fine Furniture Store
Stonehurst, 2012. I took this photos right after we purchased Stonehurst in August.  Now we’re working with J Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction to transform Stonehurst into a Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom.  Stay tuned for progress reports and a grand opening next Spring or Summer.

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.

 

Coffee-conversation-tables

Copeland's Frank Lloyd Wright® Coonley Coffee Tables

 

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.

 

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.

 

Custom-furniture-fast

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.

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.

Fine-wood-furnitureSimilar 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-custom-furnitureFine 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.

Later we'll talk about how craftsmanship, origin and sustainability add to the definition of fine furniture.

 

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.

Abc-world-newsDear Readers,

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.

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.