Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

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Fine Wood Furniture, Sustainability and Rainforest Conservation

January 6th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable-furnitureKendall posted a new webpage the other day on the link between your furniture, rainforest conservation and a greener, more sustainable world. It's why we do what we do at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Wood Furniture.

 

Sometimes I feel like a nutcase– living in Vermont and talking about rainforest conservation all the time.  But I can't help it.  It's one of the Top 3 environmental problems of our time, yet few people seem to know about it.

 

Check out these rainforest facts and let me know if you too see this as a matter of great urgency.

 

Rainforest-conservation-furniture

  1. 1.5 acres of rainforest are lost every second (that equates to 50 million acres a year: an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined)

  2. 54 of the world's 193 countries have lost 90 percent or more of their forest cover. Rainforests that once covered 14% of the earth's land surface now cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
  3. Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next 25 years due to rainforest deforestation.
  4. We are losing approximately 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year.
  5. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  6. Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations
  7. There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
  8. In Brazil alone, European colonists have destroyed more than 90 indigenous tribes since the 1900's. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing.
  9. In Indonesia, the current aggressive rate of logging could eradicate native forests within only 10 years. Unlike our temperate forests in Vermont for example, rainforests do not regenerate after they are destroyed. Once gone, they are gone forever and along with them the wonderful diversity of plants and wildlife that inhabit them.

If you've managed to read this far, you rock! Leave a comment below or check in with us now and then on Facebook to see what we're doing to to help replant the rainforest with our Plant a Billion Trees project.  Join us and together we can make a difference!

 

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Luxury Frank Lloyd Wright Collection by Vermont’s Copeland Furniture

November 30th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Frank-lloyd-wright-furniture

“Whether people are fully conscious of this or not, they actually derive countenance and sustenance from the ‘atmosphere’ of the things they live in or with. They are rooted in them just as a plant is in the soil in which is planted.”

-Frank Lloyd Wright

 We are delighted to announce our newest addition to Vermont Woods Studios online Furniture Store and that's Copeland Furniture's ultra-luxury Frank Lloyd Wright® Collection

 

Showcasing the grandeur of America's best prairie-style architecture, Copeland's Frank Lloyd Wright® Furniture reflects Wright's love of nature and the timeless beauty of his artistry.

 

 

 

 

Barrel-Chair-Copeland-Frank-Lloyd-WrightEach piece of this high end collection is based on an original that was (and still is) seen in Wright’s Prairie Houses. Copeland starts with Wright’s designs, solid hardwoods, and superior upholstery; then employs traditional craftsmanship and state-of the-art technology to create these authentic, signed and numbered, heirloom- quality pieces for your home.

If you're all about natural, organic purity in your luxury home furniture, you can't help but fall in love with this classic collection.  The pieces have a certain gravitas that's compelling in even the most posh, luxurious setting.  Or as Wright put it,

“It opens, we enter, and an atmosphere of quiet strength and well-ordered repose envelops us, refreshes us, and gives us confidence in the personality of the “owners,” assures us of depth, warmth, and simplicity.”

- Frank Lloyd Wright

 

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Cyber Shopping For The Person Who Has Everything

November 27th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Heifer-holiday-giftsThat's you!  Let's be honest. If you're reading this, you can probably count yourself among the "ones who have everything" right?  And your friends and family are in that group too.  OK, I'm not trying to be a big grinch and stomp down on all our Cyber Weekend shopping fun.  I'm just suggesting that some of the frenzy whipped up over these unbelievable deals is a bit contrived– maybe you and those on your List don't really need or want an extra flat screen TV anyway. 

So what to buy that would have some meaning?

Here's a short list of my Top 4 Favorite Christmas and Holiday Gifts:

  • A $20 donation to Heifer International could offer an education (and a new world) to a child otherwise doomed to a life of poverty in a third world country.  If you can read this story about Beatrice Biira and not be inspired to swap a goat or flock of chickens for the Blu-ray player, I'll be surprised.
  •  For the animal lovers on your list, what could be more thoughtful than the World Wildlife Fund symbolic adoption of an endangered species?  Tigers are my favorite animals and they are among the most critically endangered species on earth, but WWF offers over 100 adoption choices from Red Eyed Tree Frog to the Ring Tailed Lemur.  Adoption gifts include a stuffed animal, a personalized, framed adoption certificate and a photo of the animal in the wild.  These are fun for kids and adults alike.

The best part is that there's no Black Friday or Cyber Monday RUSH on buying these items.  But… you could take a big load off your shoulders and get everything done today.  Then you could relax and enjoy the rest of the Christmas season in peace– what a concept!

 

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Natural, Eco Friendly, Organic Furniture and Global Warming

November 4th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Our customers usually come to Vermont Woods Studios with a pretty clear understanding of the benefits of natural, organic, eco-friendly furniture.  They're looking to help protect the environment.  They want to know that the wood used in their furniture has been sustainably harvested from forests that are going to be healthy and intact for many more generations.  Customers are also looking to protect their families from toxic substances in furniture finishes that could off-gas and cause respiratory problems.

But did you know that choosing natural, eco-furniture also reduces your carbon footprint and helps reduce global warming?  It's true. Scientists attribute about 20% of global warming to deforestation, particularly that of tropical rainforests, such as the Amazon.

If you're buying imported wood furniture, chances are it was made from illegally harvested wood that was clear cut from the rainforest.  Because there is such widespread counterfeiting of logging documents, consumers are often unwittingly contributing to global warming and the eventual loss of iconic tree species such as mahogany and teak when purchasing imported furniture. 

 

Natural-eco-furnitureVermont Woods Studios uses only sustainably harvested American wood in the crafting of our furniture.  Much of it comes from our own Green Mountain Forest.  We support the Forest Stewardship Council, the Nature Conservancy and other non-profits working to preserve the rainforest and stop global warming.  When you purchase organic wood furniture from our store you can rest assured that both your furniture and the forest from where it originates will be around for generations to come.

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Kringle Candle: A Benchmark for Vermont Made Furniture

October 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Kringle-candle-restaurantWe were coming home from Greenfield MA on Sunday after Riley's basketball game and decided to travel home along Route 5, through Bernardston.  I was surprised to see how much progress they've made on the new Kringle Candle Company– where the old Harley Davidson shop used to be. 

 

 

It is beautiful!  We had been through the candle shop last year but now there are several additional shops across the street– it's like a little village. 

 

 

Kringle-outdoor-seating-1The old farmhouse that sits south of the Harley shop has been transformed into an elegant Farm Table Restaurant that extends to outdoor eating areas filled with Polywood Euro Furniture and decorated with colorful Fall mums and pumpkins.

 

In their brochures they note that Mike and Mick Kittredge founded the company on green principles: 

  • The restaurant serves all local organic foods
  • The candle containers are designed for re-use
  • Product packaging is environmentally friendly and recycled when possible

 

 

Kringle-landscaping-2That's where there is some commonality between the Kringle Candle Company and Vermont Woods Studios– in our shared green philosophy.  Our vision for our new location (be it Skyline or elsewhere) is one that honors our natural world and serves to raise awareness about the green causes we have always been passionate about:  forest conservation and wildlife protection.  I think Kringle Candle is an appropriate benchmark for us.  We could learn a lot from these folks.

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Understanding What Goes into Green Furniture

August 30th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable-furniture By Guest Blogger:  Erik Braunitzer
 
Furniture makers like Vermont Woods Studios Furniture are doing their part to improve their carbon footprint. Extensive documentation on their website or even a quick phone conversation with Rebecca or Shannon puts families at ease knowing the company is serious about their environmental, health and safety mission

But simply seeing furniture in a store with a green stamp of certification label isn't always helpful when you're not familiar with the background of the stamp. So it’s important that we realize just how green furniture is made, along with the environmentally friendly materials that are used.
 
Furniture companies using wood and recycled materials generally have the smallest carbon footprint.  Other materials would include concrete, plastic, aluminum, brick, glass, fiberglass and more. Now it’s been said that there isn’t one individual item or sustainable material, but a handful that share sustainable characteristics, including recyclables.
 
Furniture can also include the following:
 
·      Paint

·      Paint Strippers

·      Stain

·      Particle Board

 
Many of these substances are classified as volatile chemicals. Furniture made with these volatile chemicals can result in offgassing, which is evaporation at normal atmospheric pressure. Offgassing can be reduced or eliminated altogether by using stains, finishes or paints that are non toxic such as those made by Vermont Natural Coatings and AFM Safecoat.
 
Transportation is another part of the carbon footprint for furniture, as wood and other materials have to be extracted from the environment, shipped to distributors, transported to furniture makers, then sent off to the retail store and customers. The sustainability of a particular piece of furniture is dependent upon a couple of factors including:
 
·      Durability–   The longer the piece of furniture, the more sustainable it becomes.

·      How it’s useful–   Multifunctional furniture saves money and yields greater sustainability.

Learning where to buy this type of furniture can be quite a daunting task, as it’s not always portrayed clearly exactly what materials are used, and the percentage of each. In order to fully lead a responsible lifestyle, we should understand just how to look for green furniture. Here are a few tips:
 
Look for Sustainably Harvested Wood – Translates to the sustainability of ecosystems and natural forests.

Avoid Tropical Woods Like Mahogany and Teak -  these woods are often illegally clearcut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.

Ensure FSC Certification – for tropical woods, if no substitution can be made

Reclaimed Wood Furniture (RWF) – More or less, RWF is a recycled piece of furniture.
 
Non-Toxic Finishes – Keep your air clean and help protect your children from health issues.
 
Buy locally – Locally purchased items are always more sustainable as transportation costs are cut.
 
Clearly, Furniture making using sustainable materials is very important to the health of the overall environment. Similarly, it reduces waste and influences the vintage market. By following a few simple rules and clearly understanding how green furniture is made, you can make a difference in improving your carbon footprint. Next time you’re in the market for a table or chair, be sure to inquire about sustainable practices before purchasing.
 
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, New York Luxury Rentals.

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Vermont Eco Furniture Featured Nationally on The Weather Channel

November 22nd, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Eco-sustainable-furniture I always cringe when seeing myself in a video but Manjula has insisted we post this one on the Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture homepage.  It's a segment we did for The Weather Channel during the summer and it's about the link between your furniture and the environment– and the weather of course.  Specifically it talks about the rainforest, how it's disappearing at a rate of 1 football field/second and the fact that it's being clear-cut to supply timber for cheap furniture imports.

If you're someone who drives an eco-friendly fuel efficient car, you may be interested to know that your choice of furniture has a bigger impact on the environment than your car choice.  That's because deforestation is repsonsible for a greater contribution to air pollution and global warming than the entire transportation sector.

Take a minute to watch our nationally broadcast video segment about American made furniture crafted from sustainably harvested wood and let us know what you think.  We'll look forward to hearing from you!

 

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American Made Furniture and Sustainable Communities

October 26th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Modern-american-bedroom-furniture We've been writing about the fact that up to 90% of the wood furniture you see in America today is imported and furthermore, it is likely that the wood was harvested illegally from one of the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.  Well, I guess others are beginning to write about that too and happily, we're seeing more and more customers asking about where our wood furniture comes from.

It's not just the environment and the fact that American made furniture is superior in terms of quality that customers are concerned with.  Another part of this equation is that Americans want to support sustainable communities and help provide American jobs.  Over the last 30 years, tens of thousands of jobs for highly skilled furniture makers have been moved overseas, as so called "American furniture companies" have moved their manufacturing operations to China, Vietnam and other third world countries.  In the process, many skilled workers (and their families) in North Carolina, Maine and Vermont have suffered job loss and their once-vibrant communities have turned into ghost towns.

At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture and other American furniture companies like Moosehead Furniture in Maine we're working to restore those high quality jobs and help maintain the tradition of fine handcrafted furniture in America.  You can help us by becoming a fan on facebook or following us on Twitter.  Thanks!

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We’ve Gone Paperless

October 23rd, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Eco-friendly-paperless We've been working on this for 5 years and now it's official:  Vermont Woods Studios Furniture has gone paperless. OK, we've never been a particularly big paper consumer in the first place and the project was really more about efficiency than anything.  But it feels good because it's another step in the direction of fulfilling our green mission of forest conservation.

So now all of our customer files are housed (and backed-up) electronically and we no longer provide paper catalogs.  Instead our products are all on our website now, except for a continuous stream of new products that are waiting for one of us to put them up.

We do still have a stash of beautiful hard copy brochures though, so give us a call if you like to have something in hand.

If you're interested in forest conservation, visit the ForestEthics.org website.  Today they published Green Grades 2010: A Report Card on the Paper Practices of the Office Supply Sector, an interesting report on how your favorite office supply stores are doing conservation-wise.  Check it out!

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Sustainable Furniture

October 1st, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable-furniture
At Vermont Woods Studios we're privileged to work with some of the world's finest craftsmen.  Some of these furniture makers have had a tradition of fine craftsmanship handed down to them through many generations of Vermonters while others have emigrated to our state, attracted by the natural beauty and the close community of artisans living here.

 

   

Sustainable-furniture-vt
One of the passions we all share is a love of the outdoors and a connection to the forest:  the source of our wood.  Vermont furniture makers care immensely about where their wood comes from as this affects not only the look and quality of a piece but also the sense of "karma" that every handmade piece has.  The sustainability of our forests is an important issue to us.

I read this note about forest conservation from friend and sustainable furniture maker Dave Allard recently and wanted to share it:

Solid-wood-furniture

In 2008, the US Forest Service reported that the volume of American
hardwoods is 90 percent larger than it was just 50 years ago and nearly
twice as much hardwood grows as is harvested every year. When managed
responsibly hardwood forests are at the least carbon neutral.

American hardwoods are abundant and self-regenerating. For centuries
they have been providing beauty, warmth and functional value for floors,
furniture, moldings, millwork and cabinetry.

Conservation weighs heavily on our minds.  We
have always purchased the finest hardwoods from local, and reputable
sustainable resources. This allows us to virtually hand pick our lumber,
save on the use of large trucks that emit pollutants, thus limiting our
carbon footprint and waste factor overall. We were ‘Green’ before it
was cool.

I agree.  Vermont is not only the fine furniture capitol of America it is also the sustainable furniture capitol of our country.

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