Our Copeland Berkeley Bedroom Set looks so bright and warm with added house plants.
Why Indoor Plants are Great for your Home and Health
It’s a fact that nothing classes up your home like an indoor plant or vase of fresh flowers. I’m not the tidiest person in the world, but I swear when I pick up a bunch of cut flowers at the farmers market on Saturdays, it makes my apartment look 10 times more neat. That may just be wishful thinking, but now that we’re in peak hay fever season and the changing of the climate is driving my allergies crazy, I’ve been looking for more reasons to add indoor plants to my apartment besides just for their beauty. Plants look great but have you ever thought of the health benefits behind adding greenery to your space? Here’s five reasons why houseplants are good for your heart, soul and decor:
Plants Make You Smarter! Studies show that plants have psychological and restorative effects that can lower tension and boost productivity and concentration. A new study by Texas researchers has linked these effects to college students and how plants can help to enhance performance in the classroom. Now if only they could link indoor plants to getting the motivation to actually DO your work, then we’d be in business!
Plants Help You Breathe Easier! Everyone knows that our bodies function by taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Plants are neat to have around because they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This win-win situation makes indoor plants the best roommates! Adding plants to your bedroom, especially orchids and succulents, can refresh the air at night and leave you sleeping easier.
Plants Increase Your Health! I found this really cool infograph that shows how plants have been found to help hospital patients get better faster and even aid in reducing stress related ailments for employees. Now I see why Peggy likes to keep plants at the office. No sick days for us!
Plants Can Help You Look Better! Well, this one is a little bit of a stretch, but plants have been found to improve skin tone. First, indoor plants make great little humidifiers. During the respiration process, they release moisture which can save you from dry skin during the winter months. Plants also relieve stress, which is a known factor in many skin ailments like breakouts, hives and blotches. Having plants around may just be the thing you need for a brighter complexion!
Plants Will Purify Your Air! If you’re one of our customers, then you already know that our furniture contains little to no VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). Unfortunately, if you are still purchasing products and furniture that contain VOC’s, then the air in your home might be making you sick. Plants help to remove 87% of VOC’s in the air every 24 hours!
What Kind and How Many? My favorite indoor plants are the ones that are the least likely to die if I forget about them for a day. Spider plants are very easy to maintain, have numerous health benefits and they look great, which makes them my first choice. Boston ferns, snake plants, english ivy and jade plants round out my top five. It is suggested that for optimal health benefits to place one large plant (6+ inch pots) or two smaller plants (4-5 inch pots) every 100 square feet. That comes to about 10-20 houseplants depending on if you’re in an apartment or house. Try to place the plants in areas where you go to work or relax.
These benefits plus the fact that plants make your home look brighter and feel more inviting mean that you have no reason not to add houseplants to your green interior decorating scheme. Go one step greener and pick up a non-toxic, eco-friendly Dana Thomas Plant Stand from our online store. Made with a low-VOC, water-based finish, our plant stand is perfect for holding your air cleansing plants and adding style to your space at the same time.
Tell us about how you decorate your space with plants in the comments below or on our Facebook page!
In addition to our Cherry Moon and Vermont Shaker Writing Desks, our Classic Shaker Writing Desk would also look great and fit perfectly into a closet office space!
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!
This week in our green interior design column, we’re talking about nesting tables. Earlier this year, House and Home magazine listed nesting tables and other small accent tables as a “must-have” in their 2012 Decorating Trends issue. Not only are nesting tables trendy and unique, but they’re also great for homes with limited space. Nesting tables allow you the versatility of having three separate tables while only taking up the space of one. These tables would be great to bring out during parties as floating tables for drinks or even as a tray for food. The possibilities are endless with these magic tables.
Here at Vermont Woods Studios, you can find nesting tables that do their job as convenient space-savers and, as an added bonus, they are environmentally friendly and made right here in Vermont.
Our New England Shaker Nesting Tables are traditional and simple, designed to match any home decor. With clean lines and dovetail joinery, these tables are meant to be displayed. With your purchase, you’ll receive 3 nesting tables in your choice of cherry. maple, oak or walnut woods. I’ll also point out that with our current sale (ending today!), you’ll be able to save up to 20%*.
If you’re looking for more of a modern twist on nesting tables, check out our Copeland Coonley Nesting End Tables. With two sleek nesting tables crafted in natural cherry wood, you’ll add twice the luxury and class to any room. Part of Copelands Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, these tables embody the styling of the modern architect.
Check out more of our coffee tables, end tables, sofa tables and accent tables. Call us with your customization ideas to create a table that is perfect for your homes’ interior design.
Which Type of Hardwood Furniture Is Best For Your Bedroom, Dining Room or Home Office?
If you’re looking for hardwood furniture, there’s a good chance you’re narrowing your wood choices down to the most popular and plentiful species grown here in America such as cherry, maple, oak and walnut. These prized hardwoods are grown sustainably here in the USA with Vermont and New England being a favorite source for many woods.
We like these species because they are well suited to fine furniture making by virtue of their color, strength, hardness, grain patterns and workability. They are also readily obtainable in our local and regional area, making them a sustainable choice. Often our furniture makers will offer two-tone combinations of these hardwoods creating a custom, artisan look and feel to your furniture.
The photo above shows Copeland Furniture’s SoHo Bedroom Set in solid maple and walnut hardwoods. This striking two-tone wood combination has become a best seller in our metropolitan markets, particularly Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Homeowners appreciate the modern, contemporary sensibilities of the SoHo solid hardwood design as well as the fine detail and craftsmanship that goes into every custom, made to order piece.
SoHo furniture is also offered in a two-tone walnut and cherry design. Which of these hardwood combinations would look best for your bedroom furniture?
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.
Customers often come to us because they're shopping for eco-friendly, sustainable furniture. At Vermont Woods Studios, our mission is founded on environmental and social responsibility so we find ourselves discussing FSC certification and other aspects of sustainable furniture almost every day. Here are some of the basics on FSC:
What is FSC?
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent,
non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that promotes responsible
management of the world's forests. It is widely regarded as one of the
most important initiatives to promote responsible forest management
worldwide. It places a special emphasis on rainforest conservation.
L to R photo credits: Reststart Forestry, Allard Lumber, Wayne Fawbush, Ellen Kahler, Copeland Furniture, via the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.
by environmental groups in 1993 FSC manages an international standard
for well-managed forests and a process for tracking and certifying wood
furniture, flooring and other products derived from those forests. FSC
addresses numerous aspects of sustainable forestry, including ecological
issues, old-growth forests, plantations, restoration, biodiversity,
native habitat, indigenous people's rights, and sound management for
The FSC label provides certification of the
chain of links between the forest where a product originates and the
consumer. For example with wood furniture, each of the following
businesses involved in transforming a tree into a piece of furniture
would have to be FSC certified in order for that furniture piece to be
FSC certified. It's called the "chain of custody":
- Certified forest owner- Must employ a professional forester and
develop a forest management plan which meets stringent ecological and
- Certified logger and sawyer
- Certified lumber wholesaler
- Certified lumber retailer
- Certified furniture maker
- Certified furniture retailer
Benefits of FSC Certification
In my opinion, FSC provides the most rigorous certification process
available. It's widely considered the gold standard in sustainable
forestry and has moved the world forward in many areas of rainforest
Copeland's Harbor Island Furniture collection is handmade here in VT with FSC certified maple wood from local Vermont trees.
Challenges for FSC As you might expect FSC
certification involves extensive rule-making and auditing that can be
quite expensive (and controversial) to implement. It can add up to 50% to the price of the
end product although the hope is that this cost will decrease as FSC
certification becomes more mainstream. Still many small manufacturers
are unable to assume this cost and are thus not FSC certified.
challenge for FSC is the rampant counterfeiting of FSC documentation
accompanying raw lumber that is being illegally clear cut from the
Amazon and other endangered areas of rainforest. Also FSC has been
criticized for being too lenient,
particularly with their policy allowing limited old growth logging.
Should You Buy Only FSC Certified Furniture?
Authentic FSC certified furniture is a responsible choice for the
eco-conscious homeowner. However there are many genuinely responsible,
green, eco-friendly furniture makers who are not FSC certified due to
the red tape and expense involved. Conversely there is a large market of fake, FSC
labeled furniture that comes to us through layers of corruption
In Vermont, many of us who were certified by FSC for years have been moving away from it lately. Not because we don't support the ideal, but because we have so many other systems in place that effectively ensure our furniture is authentically green and sustainable. At Vermont Woods Studios not all of our furniture is FSC certified, but it is all made from sustainably harvested wood from local and regional forests.
If FSC certification is important to you, check out Copeland's Harbor Island Furniture collection. It's handmade here in VT with FSC certified maple from local Vermont trees. And let us know on our Facebook or in the comments section below how you feel about FSC certification.
This tree house looks a lot different from the one in my back yard. Architect Scott Anderson of The Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design
created a zen-like dwelling incorporating a live-edge side table, root-ball bases on the coffee table and natural finishe into the green decor.
In browsing through my weekly Houzz Tour I came across this incredible tree house designed by architect Scott Anderson of The Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design. Fellow green furniture fans, check it out!
I send my thanks to blogger Becky Harris for featuring the South Carolina, Kiawah Island retreat on Houzz, the world's latest and greatest interior design website.
I love the tree house's clean, green, Zen-like decor. "The great room feels like some sort of natural habitat; besides the great views, a live-edge side table, root-ball bases on the coffee table, plants, natural finishes and plenty of open space connect the space to its surroundings" notes Becky.
As live edge furniture makers and natural finish afficionados we stood up and cheered when we saw this green respite in the trees of Kiawah Island. Congratulations to Anderson Studio for achieving the ultimate in tree house decor!
And speaking of tree houses, I couldn't close without mentioning James Roth, cofounder of The Treehouse Guys in Warren, Vermont. Roth and his company have built 34 wheelchair accessible treehouses in private camps and public parks across the country. Have a look at some of Roths amazing works of art that let everyone, "no matter their physical ability, experience the joy of what it’s like to ‘climb’ and be at the top of a treehouse.”
Yesterday I wrote about Vermont's Lyndon Furniture, one of America's most admired green furniture companies– and one that has remained in America throughout the offshoring exodus of the last 40 years.
Lyndon's owner and founder, Dave Allard is shown here in Vermont's Green Mountain Forest with some of his hardwood creations.
We interviewed Dave yesterday to learn more about why Lyndon Furniture is considered one of America's greenest furniture companies and here's the second half of Dave's response:
Sustainably Harvested Hardwoods – Lyndon furniture is made with choice hardwoods such as natural Cherry, Maple, Oak, or Walnut which are harvested through sustainable forestry practices. The predominant method is Single Tree Selection where trained foresters select individual trees for harvesting. The cut logs are then removed with the least disruption to the surrounding environment. This method creates openings in the forest canopy allowing more precipitation, sunlight, and nutrients to reach the forest floor ensuring the health of other trees. Responsible forest management takes into consideration long term timber production, while addressing water quality, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, forest aesthetics and recreational opportunities. The same can’t always be said for Asian or Rainforest woods where responsible forest management practices often take a back seat to maximizing profits.
Green Furniture Finishes – Lyndon's furniture finishes and stains are all made in Vermont. Vermont has some of the strictest environmental laws in the country which coincide with our views and respect of nature. Consequently our finishes have far lower VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) than current American industry standards, and far exceed the standards of imported products.
Sustainable Manufacturing – Lyndon Furniture has an extensive recycling program. We recycle paper, cardboard, metal and wood waste. Most materials (with the exception of the wood waste) are picked up by our local recycling center for proper material reintegration. Wood scrap is utilized as a biomass heating source (which has allowed Lyndon to drastically reduce oil usage) while sawdust is used by local farms for animal bedding. We have also made significant investments in energy efficiency to reduce our costs, and more importantly our carbon footprint.
At a time when it seems every furniture company is "going green" it's nice to know that Lyndon Furniture and their fellow Vermont furniture makers actually have a history of using green practices from the start.
green practices start with using sustainably harvested North American lumber sourced locally and regionally.
Vermont's Lyndon Furniture is one of America's most admired eco-friendly furniture companies. We've been partnering with Lyndon for many years and often customers ask "just what is it that makes Lyndon Furniture so green?"
We put the question to our friend Dave Allard, Lyndon's owner and founder and below are a few of his comments. We'll follow up with more tomorrow.
Use of Local Woods – At Lyndon Furniture "green" practices start with our Purchasing Policy. We purchase wood through responsible local partners, thus minimizing transport distances and helping our regional economy. This policy greatly reduces fuel usage and carbon emissions.
Sustainably Harvested Woods – The hardwoods we utilize at Lyndon are grown and harvested within a 500 mile radius of our shop. Some are even harvested less than two miles away, from my own property. This is unlike furniture imported from China or other places where the lumber might be sourced from thousands of miles away in Africa or South America, thus consuming great amounts of energy in transit before timber is even received for furniture production.
Green Technology – At Lyndon Furniture we utilize advanced technology and responsible manufacturing to maximize yield and reduce the amount of wood waste, making certain that all wood processing by-products are put to some use. For example, our sawdust is used by local farmers for animal bedding.
Pretty cool, right? In Vermont nothing goes to waste. It's part of our Yankee culture of ingenuity, innovation and oh yeah…thrift. In Vermont "green furniture" is not a new promotional slogan. Furniture making has always been this way up here and I'd guess it always will be. Vermonters just aren't very responsive to passing trends. It's more about quality, integrity and sustainability in VT.
We'll post a few other green characteristics of Lyndon's eco friendly furniture tomorrow.
Since Earth Day is on Sunday this year, we decided to have our Vermont Woods Studios Earth Day party today. Here are a few photos of the crew indulging in local, organic food from The Works, a cafe, bakery and deli in Brattleboro.
We love the food and the people at the Works but we also like their green brand.
The Works Deli in Brattleboro VT was built with reclaimed barnwood and other recycled materials
This sign on the wall at the back of the deli tells where all the recycled materials that make up the store came from. Furniture and cabinetry were made by our friend Chad Woodruff of Woodruff Custom Furniture here in Vernon, VT. Chad used old tractor seats and scythe handles for chairs.
The vintage steel lighting at the Works was salvaged from from an old amusement park in Rye, New York.
The menu is written on an old slate chalkboard reclaimed from Northfield Mount Hermon School, in Northfield MA.
They just used a lot of imagination in designing and building the Works and everyone in Brattleboro loves going there for the good green vibe.
So here's another idea for our "Greening Up Your Workplace" Challenge on Facebook– have an Earth Day lunch with natural food from a local restaurant or deli.