January 1st, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh
People ask me why on earth I would put a fine furniture store in the middle of nowhere, aka rural Vermont. Finding people who are looking to buy American made sustainable wooden furniture is hard enough. After all, customers typically have to wait 6-12+ weeks to have their furniture custom handcrafted and specialty shipped to their homes. Plus… compared to imported furniture, American made furniture is more expensive. With such a small number of people fitting our customer profile (willing to wait for their furniture to be handcrafted of sustainably harvested wood by Vermonters earning a living wage), wouldn’t it be smarter to have our store on main street in a big city with maximum exposure and traffic?
I’m sure that’s true for most fine furniture stores but at Vermont Woods Studios we’re on a mission to raise awareness about where your fine furniture comes from. Wood furniture comes from the forest and we believe the people involved in all aspects of furnishing your home have an opportunity to show you how choosing sustainable furniture makes a difference: in forest conservation, global warming, clean air, wildlife preservation and in the way you feel when you’re sharing a meal at your table.
See this barred owl who visited us at Stonehurst today? He’s able to be here because (under the direction of professional forester Lynn Levine) we’re managing 100 acres of forest for wildlife habitat. We believe businesses have as much obligation as governments to conserve our planet’s resources and protect endangered species. We believe our customers support that philosophy and want to see it in action. As we venture into the new year we extend our thanks to them and pledge our continued efforts in the area of forest and wildlife conservation.
Come visit our sustainable furniture showroom at Stonehurst. See first-hand how your choice of furniture can make the world a better place.
November 18th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Looking for the best fine furniture sale this Cyber Monday? We polled our customers to find out what topped their wish list in fine furniture sales this year. The Top 5 Fine Furniture Features are listed below. Naturally we’ve put them all on sale! We’re offering a full 20% off* (plus free shipping) which is our best discount and lowest price ever. So if you’re finally ready to invest in the fine furniture you’ve always dreamed of, take a serious look. All of our real wood furniture is 100% American made, built to order right here in Vermont and guaranteed for a lifetime of service to your family.
Our customers’ favorite Vermont made Craftsman Style Furniture is the Cherry Moon Collection. It’s contemporary Asian design has a light but grounded appearance. Reverse-tapered legs, posts and an intricate cove under the tops round out the design to give any room a comforting and natural feeling. Rich black walnut, half-moon drawer pulls complete the design of these natural cherry, maple, and walnut hardwood pieces.
Traditionally mission style furniture is characterized by rectilinear design, simple, straight construction, heavy proportion and exposed joinery. It’s typically made with oak wood and given a medium or dark stain. Drawer pulls are often simple round brass rings or rectangular back plates of solid brass with canted corners and an oval bail handle. But today’s Vermont made mission style furniture incorporates modern contemporary design features and is often crafted of cherry, walnut and maple wood. You can customize it online to get whichever traditional and contemporary features you like.
Vermont craftspeople have mastered the art of simple elegance in their many variations of American Shaker style furniture, ranging from a strict interpretation of the original Shaker pieces to creative versions with modern functionalities, curves and hardware. Simple aesthetics and sturdy design remain at the heart of today’s Vermont Shaker style furniture.
Natural Cherry Wood is a favorite among our customers as it develops a lustrous, rich reddish brown patina over the years. Premium quality real cherry wood furniture is hard to find and often imitated (poorly) so don’t be fooled by the imports sporting cherry trade names. Vermont is well established as the “go to” place to purchase real natural cherry wood furniture.
American Black Walnut Wood is the only really dark North American wood. Like cherry it’s a prized, premium hardwood that carries a commensurate price tag. Vermont woodworkers are specialists in black walnut furniture, handcrafting it from top quality solid walnut wood.
So there you have it, our customer’s Top 5 Fine Furniture Sale categories for Cyber Monday 2013. Is there something here for you? Let us know what you’re shopping for this Cyber Monday on our Facebook.
October 30th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
Now that summer is over and the initial excitement of moving to our new space is winding down, I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on the progress we have made, and the extreme transformations that have occurred at Stonehurst in the last year! Stonehurst has been fully transformed from an old farmhouse, to a one of a kind Vermont made furniture and decor showroom–making the perfect place to showcase the true beauty of wood both inside and outside of the showroom. The photos you will see below document our journey at Stonehurst, with photos from before any renovation, during the construction process, and what it looks like now! I don’t want to say its the “final” look, because we are always transforming the decor and look of the space to highlight the particular furniture and art we are showcasing! You’ll just have to come see it for yourself!
Like what you see? Keep checking back for part 2 and 3 of our renovation reveal and tell us what you think on Facebook!
September 8th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
One of the challenges of running an online fine furniture store is taking enough professional quality photos to be able to accurately portray your quality and craftsmanship on the web. At Vermont Woods Studios we’ve been collecting photos for many years but everyday there is a need for new ones.
Luckily, Stonehurst (our new fine furniture and art gallery) provides us with an ideal space for taking high quality pictures to post on our website. Above Dennis and consultant Nina Markiw of White Blossom Art are setting up for silhouette shots– this one is of the handmade Cherry Moon vertical mirror.
Soon they’ll be photographing fine furniture vignettes throughout Stonehurst– both indoors and out. Stay tuned for inspirations and ideas from these two creative photographers. Our goal is not just to convey our quality but also to bring the natural beauty and tranquility of Stonehurst into your home. And maybe even persuade you to make a trip to Vermont to see our handmade fine furniture in person.
Leaf peeping season’s not far away. Grab a picnic basket, a bottle of wine, maybe some Vermont artisan cheese and you’ll be in the all set club. Home decor shopping will never be the same after you’ve visited the fine furniture and art gallery at Stonehurst.
July 31st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Calling all VT Woodworkers: it’s time to enter the 2013 Vermont Fine Furniture and Wood Products Design Competition. On it’s 10th year anniversary, this woodworking festival can boast of being a prestigious, well-respected venue for representing woodworkers and designers throughout the Green Mountain state.
Got a creative woodworking project you’d like to show off? Put it out there with the best Vermont has to offer and see how it stacks up. Entry forms are available online and fees start at just $15 (but the first one’s free for VWMA members). What have you got to lose? And who knows, you could be the next woodworking sensation!
Fine furniture and wooden accessories must be made in Vermont by Vermont woodworkers to be eligible. Judging will be held on September 28 from 10-4pm with an Awards Reception at 6pm at the Union Arena in Woodstock, VT. Previous press for winners has included articles in Fine Woodworking Magazine, Furniture World Magazine, Vermont Home Style Magazine and Design New England Magazine. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Check out the details on the Vermont Fine Furniture and Wood Products Design Competition website. See you at the awards reception!
July 19th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
This farmhouse style Vermont Tavern Bench is part of a new line of furniture we’re making. It’s a unique signature collection, available only at Vermont Woods Studios. Traditionally crafted, this 2-tone bench features a 1 inch thick solid cherry wood seat, with a durable maple wood base painted with black lacquer.
Vermont farmhouse furniture is adapted from William and Mary style furniture that was popular in England around 1700 after the reign of King William and Queen Mary. These pieces are reproductions of the classic English tavern table and bench you’ll see in inns throughout the UK and New England (a few of Southern Vermont’s favorites are the Grafton Inn, Ye Olde Tavern, The Hermitage Inn).
Besides being a durable, heirloom piece– the Vermont Tavern Bench is sleek and stylish. The contrast between the traditional Cherry wood and the deep black lacquer base creates a truly unique piece that would make a great furniture addition for anyone looking to add a little flair to their dining area. Stop by our fine furniture showroom at Stonehurst and check it out!
June 25th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
The grass is finally beginning to fill in at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture showroom. The past few months have seen a flurry of activity while Bob Furlone and American Construction finished their last few projects. This week they will complete the installation of indoor and outdoor lighting and be nearly done with renovations.
But the rest of us will still have plenty of projects left, and one of them is exterior painting. So I have an opinion question for you. In the first photos of Stonehurst which were taken in 1869, the house looked much as it does in today’s photo above, except the entire building was painted white:
Sometime-probably in the 1940s the exterior was painted barn red, when Stonehurst was transformed by Elsie and Romey Racine into the Pine Top Ski Area.
My preference is to restore Stonehurst to its original white color, but I’m getting some push back from those who have grown really fond of the familiar red color.
So what do you think? Red? Or white? And remember I’m not talking about wine. Let me know in the comment section below or on our Facebook.
June 24th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Neville, Martin and Kendall have been leading an extreme makeover effort for our fine furniture website over the last 6 months (actually it’s been in the works for a couple years, but we weren’t able to really get it off the ground until Neville got here last December). Although everyone on our staff has had an important hand in the project, it’s been the 3 geniuses in the IT/Website room that have powered the transformation.
Today we start migrating over to the new, improved website so there will be a few unavoidable outages. In exchange for your patience we can offer you many new features that I think you will love– like return customer rewards, more intuitive navigation, easy check-out, elegant design and straightforward pricing of furniture pieces with customized options. Plus we have new, improved fine furniture bedroom sets and dining sets that will always be on sale for 20% off.
But if you happen to drop by while we’re offline today, please feel free to browse through our blog or give us a call (888-390-5571). Liz, Sean or Douglas will fix you right up! We appreciate your patience and promise to have the site back up and running better than ever, as soon as possible.
January 9th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you’re shopping for top quality bedroom furniture sets, I’m sure you’ve noticed they’re priced considerably higher than the run of the mill sets you’ll find at Jordan’s or Bernie and Phyls. But if you want timeless, real hardwood furniture you’ll have for a lifetime, (something you’ll never have to replace) then what you’re really interested in is getting the best value, not the lowest price, right? My suggestion: first find the best quality furniture you can afford (here’s a solid wood furniture buying guide to help with that) in the style and wood species you love.
Second, check to see where it’s made. If it’s imported furniture, you probably want to keep shopping. Honestly, I rarely hear complaints about the quality of virtually any American made, solid hardwood furniture (and the more local you buy, the better chance you have of getting the craftsperson or manufacturer to stand behind the product over it’s lifetime). On the other hand, there are dozens of consumer review sites filled with complaints about the imported furniture products found at big box stores like Ikea, Ashley and Bob’s. Quality can be quite poor and there’s little chance of getting satisfactory customer service.
Once you’ve found your favorite top quality, American made bedroom furniture, crafted of real solid hardwood, then start to work with the craftsman or retailer to get their best discount price. Remember however that American furniture involves using real, legal, sustainably harvested wood and American craftsmanship. Furthermore, US furniture makers don’t typically “mark up to mark down” so you’re unlikely to find “discounts up to 80%”. But often there is room for some negotiation.
At Vermont Woods Studios for instance, we have a standing discount of 20% on bedroom sets* plus we offer a discount on full service white glove shipping and delivery when customers are buying 3 or more pieces. Like many online retailers, we offer a coupon code (BEDROOMSET20) for customers who prefer to purchase fine furniture online (be sure to “update cart” to get the discount). Otherwise customers can give us a call or stop by our showroom to receive the discount.
So my advice, if you’re shopping for the best price on high quality, real solid wood beds, chests, dressers, armoires, night stands, mirrors, blanket boxes and such is to focus on quality and style first. Find the American made bedroom furniture you love that will last a lifetime and then negotiate on price afterwards. My sense is that in doing the research you’ll find most USA made fine furniture is honestly priced and retailers are looking to give both you and the craftsman a fair deal.