January 19th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Around the turn of the 20 century, Gustav Stickley was perhaps the most famous maker of craftsman furniture. But in contemporary times, you’ll find some of the best Craftsman style designers building high end furniture right here in Vermont.
Today’s Craftsman furniture retains the robust solid wood architecture and attention to detail of the originals by Stickley, Greene and Greene and others. But it often incorporates lighter, modern elements adapted from Asian furniture styles. The Contemporary Craftsman furniture shown above is handcrafted in Burlington, Vermont of solid maple wood with black walnut accents.
I think the gentle curves in the legs and drawer pulls change the personality of Craftsman furniture from HEAVY and strong to light and cheerful. This photo is one a customer kindly submitted (thanks Neil!). The pretty floral print (and adorable puppy) really tops off the modern craftsman style they’ve created for their bedroom, don’t you think?
Here’s another customer photo of what I’ll call Vermont Craftsman furniture. It’s our Cherry Moon bedroom, handmade in Montpelier, VT. This bedroom set is made of all solid cherry wood with black walnut accents (drawer pulls). Here the curves are still graceful, but in different places. This cherry wood furniture is a couple years old, so it has darkened to a rich reddish brown color. If it’s hard to see the details and craftsmanship, check out our Cherry Moon collection and click on the photos for larger images. Robin’s attention to detail creates a beautiful result: timeless furniture to enjoy for the rest of your life.
We have a number of other craftsman and mission style furniture collections on our website. All can be customized with two toned wood combinations (maple and black walnut, cherry and black walnut) like those you see here. We also carry the Frank Lloyd Wright Furniture collection by Copeland Furniture and custom Craftsman Collection by Chad Woodruff of Vernon, VT.
To learn more about Craftsman Furniture, visit our showroom or check out our Vermont Furniture Encyclopedia.
December 5th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
If I'm investing a lot of money in something– say a new car, I spend a significant amount of time researching my options. Then when I've made a decision on a particular car I continue to research everything about that model and the company that makes it.
Well, I figure the same is true for people when they're investing in high end, handmade furniture. But unfortunately not much performance data is available from furniture companies. Either they don't do customer satisfaction surveys or they choose not to publish their results. Why is that?
Although we're a small company, we've been surveying our customers since we started our business 6 years ago. I thought I would share some of our results and performance metrics with you over the next couple weeks. These results are taken from a survey of 130 customers who just received their new furniture over the last few months. We received 69 customer responses for a pretty decent response rate of 53%. The questions we asked them included:
Please rate our performance in the following areas
* Quality of furniture
* Ease of ordering
* Shipping and delivery
* Response of customer sevice personnel
* Would you purchase from Vermont Woods Studios Furniture again?
Here's the link to follow the results of our customer reviews, complaints and satisfaction survey as they emerge. Check back in now and then over the next few weeks to see what our customers are saying about their furniture.
February 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
We've been busy lately at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture– finally moving into our new showroom in Vernon, Vermont. Yeah!!! It's taken over a year to recover from the fire last Christmas Eve that took our wonderful friend Annette's home and farm– and along with it– our showroom.
But Douglas and Rebecca have been working the last few weekends– moving all or our electronics and office systems to our new space. Ken and the boys helped move new desks and bookshelves in. This week we hope to wrap up much of the process by moving our first shipment of furniture.
The new office and showroom is located next to the Post Office in Vernon, Vermont at 2531 Fort Bridgman Rd Vernon, VT. Drop by and see us!
January 19th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh
How would you feel about buying expensive, high end handmade Vermont furniture over the Internet? Scared? If so, you're not alone. Quite honestly, most of our customers at Vermont Woods Studios who are first-time buyers are nervous about it.
We're always working hard to improve our website, add photos that show the details of construction, quality, joinery and such but let's face it– a website simply cannot convey the quality of handmade solid wood furniture. You really have to see it to appreciate it.
While we work through the growing pains of getting a bigger showroom, we want to express our gratitude to the customers who have posted opinions and independent reviews of our furniture at various places online. It is so helpful to new customers and it's essential for us to grow our business and fulfill our mission. Thank you! (We do have a testimonials page on our website, but most times new customers are understandably looking for an independent opinion.)
GreenPeople.org is one place customers have posted their candid opinions about our furniture and our customer service. GreenPeople.org provides an independent, unaffiliated website for opinions and reviews of all kinds of businesses. We thank Steve Urow and honor his mission of promting honesty, fairness and justice in business. We recommend his site for posting reviews of any products or services you may be purchasing online or in person. Best of luck to Steve and crew!
November 29th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
On the last post we talked about natural cherry wood furniture with regard to grain variations in the wood. Today I wanted to provide some detail about naturally occuring mineral deposits that are characteristic of cherry.
In cherry wood small black flecks occur in the grain where tiny amounts of sap were stored in the cherry tree. If you click on the photos for a larger view, you may be able to see them (or you may have to enlarge the photos: hold down your CTRL key and press the [+] key at the same time).
Mineral deposits (or pitch pockets) are natural and randomly occurring. They do not diminish the strength or quality of your furniture. As we say: they add to its uniqueness.
The frequency of mineral deposits in our furniture varies with each tree utilized but it is largely reflected in the product photos here and throughout our website. Like any other fine furniture maker we cannot guarantee the absence of mineral deposits in our cherry wood furniture and we cannot consider the presence of mineral deposits a reason for furniture returns, per our lifetime guarantee policy.
Looking for Cherry Furniture with Virtually No Mineral Deposits?
Most of our furniture makers are reluctant to offer cherry furniture without mineral deposits for a couple reasons. First, it is against our sustainable forestry principles. Up to five times the number of trees need to be harvested to produce furniture with virtually no mineral deposits. Second, the presence of mineral deposits in cherry wood can be a matter of opinion. What one customer might feel was mineral-deposit free furniture may not be the same for another customer.
If mineral deposits are an issue for you, give us a call. We'll work something out… although I should mention that the price of a "virtually mineral deposit-free" piece is generally about twice that of the regular piece.
November 15th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
We were lucky to have the expertise of set-designer Erica Ell and photographer John Goodman on board. They worked for a couple months tending to planning and lighting and propping and such. When on site, they directed our crew which included the four of us from Vermont Woods Studios plus a half dozen or more furniture makers.
It was a ton of work and expense but we're happy with the photos. Can't wait to show them to you. Visit our homepage– the photos should be up within a week or so and new product pages will soon appear in our Modern American Furniture Collection, Contemporary Craftsman Furniture Collection and Modern Shaker Furniture Collection. Many thanks to Erica, John and all the furniture makers who helped!
October 21st, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Looking for authentic handmade wood furniture, made in the good 'ol USA? It's not so easy to find it anymore, is it? Most Americans think of North Carolina as the fine furniture capitol of the USA, but over the past 30 years, that has changed. The furniture companies we think of as being quintessentially American — for example Thomasville, Broyhill, Ethan Allen and Lane — no longer make much, if any furniture in the USA. Instead they outsource their furniture to factories in China, Vietnam and other third world countries.
So where does one go to find authentic, high quality, handmade wood furniture? It turns out that Vermont is now considered to be the fine furniture capitol of the country. By unofficial count, some 2000 small wood furniture makers dot the rural Vermont countryside, taking advantage of the heavily forested nature of our state for supply of natural, eco-friendly raw materials.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we represent many of these craftsmen, providing a low cost venue for the marketing and sale of their work. Our mission is to collaborate with Vermont's fine furniture makers, enabling them to spend more time in their studios doing what they do best: making beautiful, solid wood furniture. At the same time we can focus on our expertise: customer service– thus creating greater efficiency and the best possible prices for your heirloom quality handmade furniture. Give us a call to learn more about Vermont's many fine furniture makers and how to bring their work into your home or office.
September 24th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Whether you're buying fine handmade furniture at a local store or an online furniture store, you'll want to be able to feel relaxed and confident that your furniture is going to arrive safely at your home, in the same pristine condition that it left the showroom or shop in. Believe it or not, we spend almost half of our time working with the best professional shippers in the business to make sure that everything goes smoothly with the white glove delivery of your furniture.
The cold cruel fact about high quality handmade furniture is that it's going to take awhile. We're always looking for ways to improve our efficiency and decrease our lead times though. So far, we've been able to get it down to an average of about 9 weeks from the date of purchase to the date of delivery. That may sound like a long time and we're continuously trying to improve, but the reality is that quality does take time. Here's why:
When you order a piece of furniture from Vermont Woods Studios, it is built to order just for you. Typically your craftsman will have other orders in his or her queue so it may be a few weeks before he begins crafting your furniture. Once begun, it may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete the crafting process, depending on the degree of complexity and the type of finish you have selected.
As soon as we receive a planned completion date from your craftsman, we begin arranging for our award-winning white glove shipper to pick up your order. If you live in the Northeast, shipping can take as little as a few days, whereas those in California may have to plan for up to 5 weeks (worst case) for shipping.
We do have shippers who can deliver faster, but with speed comes increased risk of damage. It's not an absolutely intolerable risk, but it's one we like to discuss with you upon order placement so you can make an informed choice.
And finally, if you're in a hurry you are not out of luck. You can still order handmade furniture and have it delivered to your home in about a month if you choose from our Quick Craft Furniture Collection. These are our most popular items that craftsmen make all the time so they can be ready FAST.
Give us a call and we'll find a way for you to get the beautiful handmade furniture you've been longing for within a reasonable time frame. And remember the furniture you order from Vermont Woods Studios will be in your family for generations. When you receive it I'm willing to bet you'll say, "it was worth waiting for".
September 16th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
We've been working hard to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and how it is made. Part of our founding mission at Vermont Woods Studios is forest conservation and we've focused much of our attention on preservation of the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.
Did you know that up to 90% of the furniture you see in American furniture stores today is made with wood that has been illegally clear cut from the rainforest? In fact the rainforest is being logged at a rate of about 1 football field per second to satisfy the world's insatiable demand for cheap furniture and flooring.
Hard to believe isn't it? But sadly it's true and along with loss of the forest we are losing many species of plants and animals. Scientists estimate we lose over 100 species every day just due to rainforest destruction.
Well, I guess our efforts (and those of many others) to protect the rainforest are beginning to have an effect because China and other overseas manufacturering hubs are beginning to find additional sources of lumber. Guess where they are getting enormous supplies of wood?
Would you believe Vermont? Yes and other places across the USA and Canada. So here's how it goes: logs are shipped from the USA to China. They are fashioned into low quality furniture by workers making about 20 cents/hour. Then the furniture is shipped back to America for sale where it will hold up for about 3-5 years before it's placed out on the curbside. Does that sound crazy to you? I guess that's what they call globalization.
But there are still many small furniture makers in the USA who are fighting to maintain our 200+ year traditions of craftsmanship, style and quality. Check them out before you head to Ashley Furniture or Bob's Discount. You'll pay more up front but in the long run you'll save big time, buying high quality American made furniture that will be in your family for generations.
September 8th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Manjula just posted our best ever Bedroom Furniture Sale. Check it out, especially if you're looking for a solid wood bedroom set. Beds are on sale for 10% off, but matching pieces are 20% off. This is a big sale for us, as our prices are not inflated to begin with. Twenty percent is the maximum discount we can offer.
Shop online or contact us at 888-390-5571 to find your new handmade bed, nightstands, chests, dressers, and mirrors. This is furniture you'll never have to replace. It's all solid wood and handcrafted right here in Vermont.
Don't wait too long, this sale ends at midnight on September 21.