ADA Compliance | Stonehurst
To transform this 200 year old farmhouse and adjacent barn into a fine furniture showroom, we’re connecting the 2 buildings with a third to result in a “U shaped” complex. The floor in the barn (on the left) is being lowered by 2′ to match the floor height in the main house so people in wheelchairs can move about freely. 

ADA Compliance: Lift vs Ramp

When expanding, small retail businesses in Vermont often consider historically significant spaces such as downtown buildings or old farmhouses.  ADA compliance is a major factor in determining the feasibility of such a move.  Entrepreneurs should seek the advice of an architect or other professional during the earliest stages of planning.

Because many small businesses in Vermont are starting to consider expansion these days, I thought I’d share some of our experience with ADA Compliance at Stonehurst, our future Fine Furniture Gallery.  In working with Jeremy Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction we’ve explored several alternatives to accommodating customers with disabilities.  At first I began to call Jeremy Coleman “Dr. No”.  He nixed every idea I had on layout and flow, because they weren’t ADA compliant.  The codes aren’t intuitively obvious for a newcomer, but eventually I caught on.

The main challenge we have is that our 200 year old farmhouse sits 2 feet lower than the adjacent horse barn.  Our plan is to connect the two buildings and transform them into a furniture showroom.  But how will a person in a wheelchair be able to go from one building to the next?

We thought about a ramp, but there’s not enough room (a ramp cannot have more than 1″ rise in height per foot of length so that’s 24′ of ramp).  Then we considered a 2′ high elevator lift, but it took up too much floor space and added $30,000 to our cost.  Finally our builder, Bob Furlone suggested lowering the floor in the horse barn.  It’s going to involve some excavating but we all feel it’s the best way to go.

We’re excited that soon we’ll be better able to accommodate the customers who contact us looking for customized furniture designed for wheelchair access.  We’ve modified our dining tables many times by increasing the table height so a wheelchair can fit under the apron.  Now those customers can come see us in person and enjoy the view of Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest while shopping comfortably from their wheelchair.

Stonehurst is still in the planning stages, while we wait for our Act 250 and other permits to be approved by the state of Vermont.  After that happens, we’ll have a ground breaking ceremony and start digging.  Stay tuned for more progress reports or follow us on Facebook for updates.

 

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.

Buying Furniture Online
Buying Fine Furniture Online, Tip #1:   Choose a company that focuses on selling exclusively furniture.  If they sell thousands or hundreds of thousands  of things from pillows to pampers to produce, is it likely they’ll be experts in fine furniture?

So you’re thinking about buying furniture online.  You routinely purchase books and clothes online, but fine furniture is different.  It’s a big investment– maybe about the same dollar value as a new computer system or perhaps much more.  What if you’re not happy with it?  Can you just send it back?  How do you know which online furniture stores you can trust?

This is a big decision so it’s worth the time to do a little homework before buying furniture online.  The good news is that there are lots of reputable furniture retailers online, offering quality products at competitive prices.  A few minutes of browsing through a furniture website can usually give you a good idea of whether or not it’s honest and reputable.  While you’re researching, consider these Top 5 tips for buying furniture online:

  1. Find a Furniture Specialist

    Choose a company that focuses on selling exclusively furniture.  If they sell thousands or hundreds of thousands  of things from pillows to pampers to produce, they’re not going to be experts in fine furniture.  The point here is that customizing, shipping and delivering fine furniture are services that require specialization and a lot can go wrong without it.  There’s a big difference between FedExing a pillow and delivering and setting up a bedroom set in your home.  Fine furniture shipping and delivery is an exacting art and science.  Don’t expect it to be done well by an online department store.  Go with a furniture specialist.

  2. The Devil is in the Details when Buying Furniture Online

    Find a company that provides detailed information about their fine furniture.  Who makes it? How is it made?  Where is it made?  What is it made of?  What kind of joinery is employed?  Is it solid wood or veneered?  What are the directions for proper furniture care?  Spend some time studying this information on the company’s website and follow up with any questions over the phone.

  3. Get White Glove Treatment

    Go for the white glove shipping and delivery.  This is an important service and there are various levels offered.  The best and only one I recommend is the full service option where professional furniture delivery crews bring your furniture into your home, set it up, inspect it with you and remove the packaging.  Alternative services like UPS, FedEx and curbside delivery from common freight carriers leave you wide open if there should be any shipping damage or missing pieces.

  4. Check for Hidden Fees

    Make sure to take into account shipping costs, taxes, and other fees when searching for the best prices!  Some online furniture stores include free shipping in their base prices, but many do not.  You may be surprised to learn that shipping can add up to $1000 to an order, depending on what you’re ordering and where you live.

  5. Get a Lifetime Guarantee

    Expensive fine furniture should be backed by a lifetime guarantee.  It’s an investment you should be able to hand down to your children and grandchildren.  Reputable American furniture companies will back their furniture with a guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship, especially when you’re buying furniture online.

Lastly, get to know your furniture maker or online retailer before buying furniture online.  If someone knowledgeable is there to work with you through the selection and ordering process, it’s more likely they’ll be there for you at delivery time, if something goes wrong.  Now that you’re ready to make your move, you can do it with confidence.  Let me know how your fine furniture purchase goes by commenting below or on our Facebook.

 

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.

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.

What is Sustainable Interior Design

 

Interior design is not a new concept. For decades, people have been making a living by creating works of art with furniture and accessories as their palette and empty rooms as their canvas. It is probably not a surprise that fashioning the perfect design for the inside of your home is crucial to how you feel and react in your environment. Interior design is all about aesthetics. It’s about taking items that are visually appealing and combining them with your personality to create something unique and personal to you.

With consumers becoming more conscious about their impacts on our environment, it is no shock that people are starting to ask for green, eco-friendly furniture and building materials for their homes. Interior designers are capitalizing on this trend by offering environmentally friendly alternatives when creating a design for a client’s home. Now this begs the question, what exactly does sustainable interior design mean?

Basically, the difference between interior design and sustainable interior design is the difference between beauty and beliefs and how much they mean to you. Sustainable (or green) interior design can probably be broken down into 4 major components:

  • *Air Quality
  • *Energy Efficiency
  • *Building Materials and the Three R’s (Recycling, Re-purposing, Reusing)
  • *Economic Impact

Air quality is very important to interior design. The biggest decision a designer has to make is choosing pieces that are free of chemicals that can make people sick or pollute our environment. This usually means watching out for volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can be found in paints, primers, glues, ink and cleaning products. Luckily, you can now buy furniture that uses glues and finishes that contain little or no VOC’s.

The area of energy saving interior design techniques is very broad. It can mean anything from choosing light bulbs that use less energy (like LED) to choosing products that are produced in America to reduce the energy it takes to ship them.

We’ve all heard some form of “The Three R’s”. Now-a-days it feels like there are many “r” words related to conservation. When it comes to green interior design, it is important to remember to recycle, re-purpose and reuse. Choose materials that have been recycled, like furniture made from recycled plastic. Remember that there are many products that are made by re-purposing old materials, like Reclaimed Barnwood Furniture. And always keep in mind things that can be used again before you toss them out.

When you purchase items without checking where they are sourced from, you risk supporting imported goods, rather than supporting the local American worker. Always research where your furniture and building materials come from and support American jobs and our local economy by buying American-made.

Creating a sustainable interior design concept doesn’t mean that you have to be 100% green, but you can make smart choices that will benefit the environment in the long run. You also don’t have to overhaul your entire home to start a green interior design. Make small changes around your home, like opting for new cleaning products or donating that department store furniture piece and trade it in for one made in America that has little to no VOC’s. These little changes will someday make a big difference.

If you are an interior designer, check out the discounts we can offer on our Vermont-made 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.

columbus day furniture sale
Our Columbus Day Storewide Furniture Sale starts today. Save 15% off our American Made fine wood furniture, and receive free shipping!

The upcoming Columbus Day Weekend is commonly associated with big sales, leaf peeping, and getting a pumpkin for Halloween. Here in Vermont there are hundreds of events going on, making it the busiest weekend of the fall. If shopping is in your plans, we want to let you know about another sale. Starting today, we are kicking off our annual Columbus Day Storewide Furniture Sale. For 5 days you can save 15% off our American Made fine wood furniture, and receive free shipping!

This sale includes over 1,000 pieces of bedroom, dining room, living room, and home office furniture, all made with natural hardwood. Conveniently shop from your home this weekend on our online gallery. Feel free to use our Live Chat option from our online gallery, or give us a call at 888-390-5571 if you have any questions about our Vermont Made fine wood furniture.

Have a nice weekend!

 

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.