Who doesn’t love trees? As a purveyor of natural wood furniture, we are big tree lovers. Not surprisingly, forest conservation is a big part of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios. If we’re going to be providing solid wood furniture for generations into the future, we have to focus on forest conservation today.
This morning I was searching for a tree photo to help us show people how your furniture gets from the forest to your living room. I couldn’t believe how many spectacular tree photos are out there! It’s obvious we’re not the only tree fanatics on this planet.
Pinterest seems to be the keeper of some of the world’s favorite tree photos. The Pinterest “Trees” page contains boards on every tree topic you can think of, from “tree houses” to “roots”, “forests”, “tree life” and “tree tatoos”.
Then there’s another love afair with trees on a site called (pardon me) Tree Porn (somewhat akin to the website Kendall showed me called Food Porn– great food photos and recipes). 40 Nautrally Beautiful Photos of Trees is another web page showcasing amazing tree photos.
OK, now I have to get back to writing a post about how your furniture gets from the forest to your living room. But this was a fun digression.
Pieces like Copeland’s Catalina Walnut TV & Media Wall Unit make me think two things: how cool and when would anyone ever need that. Well the point is, you don’t need a TV Media Unit. Heck, you don’t even need a TV- any one can just grab a pencil and paper and scrawl away listening to the nearest radio frequency for entertainment. But even coming from a girl who enjoys spinning a vinyl on a Sunday morning- I want that TV and I want it on that entertainment unit.
Apparently another woman had the same thought this week- which is what brought my attention here in the first place. She loved the piece but… well there were a few changes she wanted to see.
Combination pieces, like our TV Media Units, might be a bit of luxury but they’re well worth it. Along with offering organization (especially for those pesky AV wires and extra remotes), they are beautiful works of art with the added bonus of the purpose they serve (who wants to watch TV on the floor?). Better yet, they can be crafted to match your own artistic vision. If this post has inspired you to dream up your perfect media unit- give us a call! We’d be happy to help make that dream a reality.
Our sustainable furniture company was founded in 2005 on a mission of forest conservation. I had been studying rainforest conservation for years and wanted to see if I could do something to help change this startling statistic:
Every second of every minute of every day…
We lose over 1 acre of rainforest. Permanently.
Several years prior to starting Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture I had formed a non-profit corporation with the same mission (rainforest conservation) but I was never really able to get the funding I needed to lift it off the ground. So our wood furniture company was built as a for-profit corporation to help accomplish the same goals.
It’s not always easy to explain why a Vermont based fine furniture company is so committed to rainforest conservation. When I saw this info-graphic, Forests and the Green Economy (courtesy of The Nature Conservancy) I thought it might help. Here are a few rainforest facts that might surprise you:
- More than half of the planet’s species live in the rainforest even though the rainforest only occupies about 2% of the earth’s surface
- Many of our favorite iconic species are critically endangered due to deforestation, including all species of big cats and all species of big apes
- An estimated 137 species of plants and animals are driven into extinction every day due to deforestation
- Rainforest deforestation contributes as much to global warming as the sum of all the cars, trains and planes in the world
- Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover <6%
- If deforestation continues at this rate, the rainforests could be gone in < 40 years and once they’re gone, they are gone forever. Rainforests do not regenerate the way our Northern temperate forests do
The Nature Conservancy summarizes this and other compelling facts about the rainforest in their info-graphic. Along with the World Wildlife Fund they are among the world’s best hopes for saving the rainforest. Check out their info-graphic and learn about ways you can help everyday through your choices of food, paper, furniture, flooring and other forest products.
At Vermont Woods Studios we donate $1 for every sale to the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project and run occasional benefits to support non-profits that work to save the rainforest and it’s inhabitants. Learn more about our work in the Mission section of our blog and website.
Looking for luxury furniture? Maybe you’re in luck. Are you a Brad Pitt fan? I liked the Oceans movies and Seven Years in Tibet. I’ll admit Brad’s easy on the eyes but a lot of his movies are over the top in action and violence so I don’t watch them. Thus I really don’t know how good an actor he is. Mostly what I know of Brad Pitt is from reading the covers of tabloids while waiting in the checkout line at Price Chopper. He seems like a pretty busy guy, doesn’t he? Glamorous mega movie star, Chanel Ad Guy, Mr Angelina Jolie, world famous director and producer, humanitarian, political and environmental activist. Not to mention father of 6 children.
Why is Brad Pitt Designing Luxury Furniture?
And now he’s adding furniture designer to his workload. Go figure. Is he bored? Does he need money? I wonder what is it that would compel him to add another career to his seemingly colossal workload… and by the way he’s adamant that this isn’t just a case of putting his name on someone else’s work. He says it’s all him. Whatever.
Anyway, seeing (at least from the headlines) that Brad’s a passionate environmentalist, I assumed he took up luxury furniture design to lead the rich and famous into a greener, more socially responsible direction. He’s probably using recycled plastic, reclaimed barnwood and natural materials for his eco friendly, minimalist furniture designs, right?
Well, not exactly. Let’s see… he’s got a a bed built with rare tropical rainforest wood and leather from sting ray skin; a white Italian marble bathtub, built for two and shaped like someone’s derriere; a glass top table with a 24-karat gold-plated base and a $45,000 molded white plastic arm chair trimmed with fake fur.
Did you even know there was such a thing as sting ray skin leather? Who buys this kind of stuff anyway?
Now I don’t want to criticize Brad Pitt. I realize everyone’s idea of home decor doesn’t include natural, eco-friendly wooden furniture like the stuff Vermont is famous for. But for someone who professes to be so altruistic, I feel like he might be missing the mark a bit.
What do you think? Would you want to have any of Brad’s luxury furniture designs in your home? Here’s what one observer said about his prolific talents: “Is there anything Brad Pitt can’t do? Answer: Yes, design furniture.” Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook.
BEEC Benefit Sale
Here at Vermont Woods Studios, we enjoy getting out of the office from time to time to work with our neighbors on good causes that help the community. We are involved with many nonprofit organizations to lend our support for projects promoting sustainable forestry and the protection of endangered forest species. One of those organizations is the Bonnyvale Environmental Educational Center (BEEC). That’s why we are holding a BEEC Benefit Sale this Friday, October 26th.
BEEC is a member-based non-profit organization founded in 1991 with the mission to develop a more ecologically informed citizenry through education and action in order to enhance and sustain the vitality of southern Vermont’s bioregion. BEEC organizes and leads many community-based environmental research and conservation programs, including watershed stewardship, reptile and amphibian conservation initiatives, and biodiversity planning and protection.
Patti Smith, Director of Conservation Initiatives and Public Programs for BEEC, organizes volunteers to brave cold, rainy nights every Spring in a passionate effort to protect, preserve and guide Vermont amphibians as they cross busy roads on their annual migration. In honor of her efforts, we named our Smith Natural Vermont Furniture Collection after her.
For tomorrow only, 10% of our overall sales will go to benefit the programs of the Bonnyvale Environmental Educational Center. By purchasing any of our handcrafted bedroom, dining room, living room and home office furniture, you will help to secure the future of BEEC initiatives for years to come. You can also rest assured that all of the furniture pieces you buy from us are crafted from sustainably harvested hardwoods right here in Vermont. We’ll even make the deal better by offering you our lifetime guarantee and free shipping.
Don’t forget, our American-made Bedroom Furniture Sale is still going on. Save up to 20% on all beds, nightstands, dressers, chests, armoires and mirrors. Buy as an American-made bedroom set and save even more. Or you can save big on our Patti Smith Natural Collection and support one of our favorite Vermont naturalists.
DIY Closet Office
I have a small confession to make. I, Loryn Dion, am a Pinterest addict. Every time I have a spare minute, I find myself flipping through DIY projects and cooking recipes on my laptop, Kindle, cell phone and even on my TV. It’s a very big problem. One of my favorite ideas that I’ve seen pop up on Pinterest in the last few weeks, and you’ve probably seen it too if you’re an avid Pinterest user like me, is the DIY closet office.
Basically, the closet office is exactly what it sounds like. For modest homes that do not have the luxury of having a separate room for an office, you take a large closet or nook space, outfit it with a desk, chair, filing cabinet and a plethora of shelves and organizers, a little paint and voila! A secret office space that can be closed up when you’re done.
There are a few versions of the office that link to pages telling you about chairs and desks from Ikea or Pottery Barn that would fit perfectly in your spare closet. While it may be true that these pieces will fit in your closet now, in 5-10 years you’re going to be tossing out that “disposable” desk to replace it with a new “disposable” desk that will just fall apart in another 5 years. Plus, these pieces are no friends to the environment. So I’m here to tell you that you can get that dream closet office space with our lifetime guaranteed, eco-friendly, office furniture.
First, I suggest starting with our Cherry Moon Writing Desk. I think it has a nice mission-flair that works well with many styles and has a unique, two-toned drawer pull option. This desk also comes in 5 different sizes to fit whatever shape your closet space is. Also check out our Vermont-Made Shaker Writing Desk if you like these options but prefer a more traditional shaker style.
Next, pick up our Cherry Moon 2-Drawer Vertical File Cabinet for additional, under-desk storage (Or our Vermont Shaker 2 Drawer File Cabinet, if you like the shaker option). If you have the room, browse our customizable book shelves to find a bookcase that will fit in nicely with the style of your closet office.
Now, you can decorate how you’d like (If you’re choosing cherry wood, I would suggest earth tone colors. They look great with cherry wood no matter what age it is) and fill up your space with supplies and appliances (I love thegreenoffice.com. They have some great deals on office supplies that are green and energy efficient).
There you have it! A quick guide to an environmentally-friendly closet office. If you have a closet office or have some great ideas for one, tell us about it in the comments or show us your pictures on our facebook page!
If you’ve called us at Vermont Woods Studios to ask about fine furniture, place an order or just find out more about our company, there’a a good chance you talked to Elizabeth Francese. Liz and Heather Gantt are our “front office” Sales and Customer Service crew, working with customers on the phone, via online chat, email and in person.
It’s hard to believe that Liz has been here for 4 months! And I’m just now getting around to introducing her to you. Well, it’s not entirely my fault since she (like everyone else around here) isn’t all that crazy about being in the spotlight. It’s possible, actually that she’s been dodging me about this blog post.
Anyway, if you’ve been working with her on a furniture order, you already know how personable, diligent and smart Liz is. She’s a quick study and that’s good because the learning curve is pretty steep around here and the stakes are high. For example, if your furniture has already been crafted and you’re waiting for shipping and delivery, Liz is the logistics wizard who makes all that happen. She coordinates between you, your craftsman and our shipper to ensure your furniture arrives on time and in pristine condition. It can be a high-pressure job but she’s up to the task and we’re getting a lot of feedback from happy customers who are pleased with the results.
While introducing Liz though, maybe I should share a few things you won’t already know. Well… she’s a graduate of Keene State College with a BA in English and a minor in art. While in school Liz volunteered for alternative Spring Break projects in New Orleans (post Hurricane Katrina, painting houses in poverty stricken areas) and Moab UT (removing invasive species from public lands and making trails).
Locally she’s volunteered in many environmental projects, including cleaning the Ashuelot River and participating in the Solar Festival. Oh and I don’t want to forget this little known fact– Liz used to work at the Fantastic Umbrella Factory, which sounds like a fascinating place you might want to visit one of these days.
So that’s the inside scoop on Liz Francese. She’s been an extremely competent and fun-loving addition to our group and we’re feeling very lucky to have her here at Vermont Woods Studios. Next time you call, ask Liz what she’s up to and how her day is going. You’re sure to get an interesting answer!
Last week we received an enthusiastic email from a family in California thanking us for the great job our moving company (Clark and Reid) did with the delivery of their Vermont made Shaker bedroom set:
“I wanted to let you know what a wonderful experience I had with your movers. I had one of your beds shipped to my vacation home in the Sierras. Because the road is very steep and winding, Clark and Reid needed to bring the bed in a special shuttle, the cost of which they covered. Also, I wasn’t able to be present at the house at the time a driver was available to make the delivery, and was able to arrange to have a concierge service meet the driver and let him into the house to assemble the bed. Clark and Reid offered to reimburse me for the cost of the service (up to $75).
I was told by the concierge that the driver was very professional and efficient. He arrived on time and handled all the details of moving and assembly. It was a pleasure to purchase furniture from you and to work with such an excellent shipper. Thank you so much! Best Regards, Debbie D
We love hearing your Vermont made furniture stories and reviews, whether they’re about the delivery experience or the good times you share around the dining table with family and friends. Keep ‘em coming! You’re helping us make our systems better. In this case, the comments went to straight to Clark and Reid where the driver and his manager reviewed them together (maybe someone will even get a well-deserved raise). Other comments have helped us improve the quality of our Shaker furniture and the logistics needed to get it from the forest to your living room.
So help us Movers and Shakers by sending in feedback about your new Vermont handmade furniture. Use the comments section below, email us or connect using our Facebook. Thanks in advance for your feedback!
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.
Explore The World of Real Wood Furniture
Columbus Day is a favorite time to shop for home decor as everyone’s beginning to realize that the holidays are right around the corner. If you’ll be entertaining family and friends for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or another holiday you may be shopping for furniture today. No doubt, like Columbus, you’re looking for America’s best. So set your sails for Vermont.
In the Green Mountain State you’ll find the best real wood furniture anywhere in the USA. Vermont is home to some 2000 small custom furniture makers located throughout our state as well as several mid-size, high end furniture manufacturers like Copeland Furniture and Lyndon Furniture.
Vermont style furniture is known for organic solid wood, clear natural finishes and fine craftsmanship. The favorite hardwood among craftspeople and customers alike seems to be American Black Cherry as shown in the handmade Shaker dining table above, although you’ll also find a variety of other North American woods including walnut, oak and maple.
With so many American furniture brands now making their furniture overseas, Vermont has quietly become the Real Wood Furniture Capital of the USA. I know of only one Vermont furniture company that moved its operations overseas back when the Asian exodus was taking place and that was Ethan Allen. The other Vermont furniture businesses have continued to operate successfully in the USA, remaining true to their communities, their employees and their quality.
You can arrange a tour to visit the best of our Vermont furniture makers and see the difference that real wood and authentic American craftsmanship make. Columbus Day is a great time to make the trip! Start here with this Map of Vermont Master Furniture Makers and maybe swing by our Vermont Woods Studios Furniture Showroom in Vernon VT on your route. Then let us know if you too, see Vermont as America’s best place to shop for the real thing in USA made furniture.