March 11th, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton
Furniture is more than just something we sit on, sleep on, and eat on; our furniture becomes a part of our life story. It’s an integral piece of what makes a house a home. But for the chemically sensitive, or for those who are just serious about not bringing harsh chemicals into their homes, finding the right furniture can seem like an impossible task.
At Vermont Woods Studios, we’re dedicated to providing furniture that is good for your health, home, and the environment.
All of our furniture (with the exception of our Outdoor line, which is made from recycled milk jugs) is handcrafted in Vermont using real, natural hardwoods. We do not work with inferior substrates like Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), particle board, or flimsy faux wood veneers.
We work mostly with cherry, maple, oak and walnut. Each board in your furniture is selected by hand, and inspected for quality, strength, straightness, grain and color. When requested, we use FSC green-certified lumber, although there is still a premium for FSC certified wood. Sometimes our artisans harvest lumber from the woods on their own property, a sustainable approach that adds another dimension to the story of your furniture!
Many of our furniture makers continue to use traditional oil and wax based finishes, but even those that use more modern finishes ensure that they are non-toxic, formaldehyde-free and eco-friendly with little or no Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs).
As concern over indoor air quality continues to grow, many of our furniture makers are moving towards water based finishes. Conventional petroleum based solvents contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are harmful to the atmosphere. While most of these VOCs are released at the time of manufacturing, a small amount remains on the product and can off-gas in the home. Many of our collections can now be requested in a non-emitting water-based finish.
Questions to ask when making decisions on your organic wood furniture:
January 8th, 2013 by Loryn Dion
With a new year comes new designs, fashions and ideas. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be cover different trends that we’ve seen coming up for this year. First up for your 2013 Interior Design Trends: furniture!
In 2013, I think we are going to see many furniture pieces featuring simple lines and functions, much like furniture of the mid 20th century. We’ll have many retro styles making a comeback, such as metal detailing, splayed leg designs and futuristic, modular furniture. Our Moduluxe, Astrid and Contemporary Cable collections are good starting points for this look.
Unique Artisan Designs
Sometimes the best trend is not following a trend at all. Creative, one-of-a-kind designs will be big this year as people start to “de-commercialize” their lives. Whether you’re going for a modern look or a simple shaker style, artisan work is the way to go. Give us a call to discuss some custom options for your home.
Whatever look you decide to go for, make it a green one. Sustainability is starting to become a consumer standard in most industries, including food and fiber, and furniture is no different. Choose pieces that are made from sustained, American forests rather than endangered rainforest lumber. Learn more abut our sustainability standard and what we do to protect our rainforests.
December 16th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
There’s a lot of creative energy at Vermont Woods Studios these days and happily we have a number of talented writers who are willing to share our daily goings on through this green furniture blog. Pictured above are Heather Barrett (left) of Brattleboro VT and Loryn Dion (right) of Northfield MA who work long and hard on many aspects of our Vermont furniture store, including keeping you up to date on the latest office shenanigans.
The photo above was taken Friday at our “Made in America” Secret Santa party where each of us gave and received American made Christmas gifts. It’s part of our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge (we figure with Americans spending about $586 Billion this holiday season, if all of those gifts were made in America it could generate 5.8 million jobs. OK we know that not every gift can or should be made in America, but still shopping “American made” can create a lot of jobs).
Anyway, if you want to follow these two creative writers you’ll find their contributions right here every week. Besides keeping us up to date on American made Christmas gift ideas, Heather tends to blog about green furniture, Vermont Travel and all things adventurous and exciting in the Green Mountain state. Loryn’s been keeping her focus on Green decor and interior design but you never know what kind of provocative topics she might wander off into.
To stay in touch with Heather and Loryn, subscribe to this blog on the top right or join their conversations on Facebook. And keep a look out for insider secrets from their newly recruited accomplice, Liz Francese who’ll be taking you on occasional trips behind the veil at Vermont Woods Studios Sales and Customer Service. More about Liz coming soon!
October 23rd, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
I remember travelling from Vermont to High Point, North Carolina exactly 5 years ago to meet with Gerry Cooklin of South Cone Furniture, Susan Inglis of "From The Mountain" (who is now the Executive Director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, SFC) and a handful of visionaries. Our mission was to promote forest conservation in the furniture industry. That was Year 1 for Vermont Woods Studios Sustainable Furniture and the trip was instrumental in charting a course for our company.
I had read alot about Gerry and Susan before I attended the meeting. To me they were larger than life– and they still are. Five years ago though, they were the first in the industry to talk about the fact that Americans were unwittingly contributing to the decimation of endangered species of the forest (including all the big cats and great apes) by purchasing cheap imported furniture made from timber that was being clear cut from the worlds rainforests. Their pitch was for the formation of a furniture industry group that would promote healthy, sustainable practices particularly with regard to the use of responsibly harvested wood.
Since that meeting 5 years ago, Susan and Gerry have been successful in recruiting some 400 companies to join the SFC. There is much work left to be done, but these two champions of the forest are inspirational leaders in the green furniture movement and we are grateful for their relentless pursuit of sustainability in our industry.
June 19th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Did you know there is a link between the wood furniture you buy and global warming? Some folks at TWC do and they've invited us to be their guest on The Weather Channel's new live show, The Lightning Rod with meteorologist Mark Elliot.
So what's the link between furniture and the weather? OK, it's a little tricky but stay with me. Up to 90% of the furniture we buy in the USA is imported (mainly from Asia) and made from wood that has been illegally clear-cut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.
Rainforests play a role in regulating global weather by producing oxygen, giving off carbon dioxide, and regulating temperature and moisture. The oceans (algae) are the other major contributor to oxygen production but as they become increasingly polluted, our dependence upon the rainforests for weather modulation increases.
As rainforests are destroyed for timber that feeds the global market for cheap furniture, they are less able to regulate the weather. Purchasing furniture made from rainforest woods like teak, brazilian cherry and mahogany supports this illegal rainforest timber trade. The Washington Post talks about this in more detail in an article, "Corruption Stains the Timber Trade".
Choosing American made furniture and flooring built with sustainably harvested American wood decreases the demand for rainforest woods and helps decrease the rate of rainforest destruction, thereby enabling the rainforest to do its job of regulating global weather. So that's the link. We're excited to talk about it more with Mark and the crew of The Lightning Rod. Watch us live at 10pm EST on Monday July 19th to see how it goes!
Many thanks to Trish Ragsdale, The Lightning Rod producer for all her help in planning and arranging for our appearance on the show.
May 20th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Mike Rainville, president of the Vermont Wood Manufacturer's Association (VWMA) and owner of Maple Landmark Woodcraft shared this website and I thought you might be interested in it. ObeyMotherNature.com was created to help educate and serve as a resource to consumers interested in using environmentally friendly products.
Did you know that North American hardwoods are one of the most environmentally sound
materials available today? The site explains how American hardwoods like cherry, maple, oak and walnut are harvested sustainably, usually by selecting each tree individually such that the character of the forest is preserved. I was surprised to learn that over the past 50 years the volume of hardwood in American forests has
nearly doubled. Wow, how's that for sustainable forestry? It's just the opposite of what's happening in the rainforests of South America and Southeast Asia which are being clearcut at a rate of one football field per second, with no reforestation occurring.
Another cool fact is that wood products have a low carbon impact and what is called a low level of
embodied energy compared to other building materials. The
amount of energy necessary for producing wood products is low compared
to other building products made from other materials like steel,
aluminum, glass and brick.
All interesting stuff to know but at Vermont Woods Studios we realize our furniture has to be more than just a sustainable or intellectual or emotional choice. We're obsessed with making it the most beautiful and affordable choice as well.
December 15th, 2009 by Peggy Farabaugh
It's been about three years since we at Vermont Woods Studios joined a handful of other green furniture companies to initiate the development of a non-profit, standard-setting group called the Sustainable Furniture Council, SFC.
Since that day, what a success story the SFC has been in educating members and consumers about the characteristics and benefits of green, eco-friendly, environmentally safe furniture.
SFC's latest brainchild is the DesigninGreen Leadership team which consists of pre-eminent designers like Kathy Ireland, Alexander Julian, Vladimir Kagan and Tom Felicia (from Dress My Nest). Find more about this sustainable furniture project at the SFC website.
October 14th, 2009 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you're shopping for a cabinet or a dresser or really any type of furniture that has doors or drawers, how important is the style of the door or drawer pulls to you?
Have you ever found a chest or armoire you like, but didn't consider it because the knobs were awful?
At Vermont Woods Studios, all of our door and drawer pulls are customizable. You can choose from the custom hardware shown here, or send us your own pulls if you're looking for a more colorful or exotic knob.
I've been looking for a company we can link to that provides American-made, handcrafted door-drawer pulls, knobs and handles you might like, but I haven't found anything yet. Do you know of anyone?
I did find a company called Sunburst Knobs that has all kinds of cool knobs. Theirs are made by artisans in India and each is unique. Check them out and let me know what you think!
September 30th, 2009 by Peggy Farabaugh
If you haven't been able to watch Ken Burn's new film on America's National Parks, it's not too late. This is a six episode series and every nature lover will want to enjoy the spectacular scenery, interesting history and urgent call to action that Burns presents. At Vermont Woods Studios being a wood furniture maker, we're particularly interested in the issues of sustainable forestry in the national parks.
One of our favorite national parks mentioned in this film series is Sequoia National Forest. Sequoias are the largest trees ever to inhabit the earth, growing to heights of 300 feet and diameters of 30 feet! Their ages commonly range from 2,000 to 3,000 years. Some were 1000 years old during the time of Christ!
Although once widespread, giant sequoias now occur only in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California. If you have literally 2 minutes to spare, you can take action to protect the Giant Sequoias and other ancient forest in America. Visit Save America's Forests, click on Instant Letter and in 2 minutes or less you can send a letter to your representatives in Congress asking them to stop destructive forms of logging, such as clearcutting, and to protect ecologically important forest areas such as Ancient forests and roadless forests.
Then pat yourself on the back for doing an awesome job in protecting the environment and fighting global warming!
April 10th, 2009 by Peggy Farabaugh
Vermont Woods Studios has been selected to partner with Franklin Pierce University on their Annual Earth Day Forum in Rindge, New Hampshire. The event takes place on Tuesday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Pierce Hall. It will include information on government and private sector incentives to live a greener lifestyle. All events are free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended as seating is
limited. Please call 603.899.4322 to reserve.
Franklin Pierce University is at the forefront of the green movement
with recent sustainability initiatives including a conversion to wood
pellet heating of campus buildings, elimination of disposable
dinnerware in the cafeteria and initiatives of student groups such as
the ECO Club, the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and the Small
Business Advisory Group (SBA). We hope to see you at the Forum!