Everyone loves the idea of having a solid wood custom Shaker dining table handcrafted just for them. What's not to love? Pick your favorite wood, order the table to fit perfectly into your dining room…a handcrafted dining table, made especially for you by skilled craftsmen in Vermont who use eco-friendly, sustainably harvested natural hardwoods. Add in free shipping and a lifetime guarantee and who could argue?
Well, the biggest reservation our customers have is the fact that it takes time to make quality fine furniture– often as much as 8-12 weeks plus shipping time. So we've partnered with our craftsmen to select a number of our most popular dining tables and we've improved our crafting logistics so we can have them built for you in just 2-3 weeks. Check out our Quick Craft furniture selection and let us know what you think.
Many thanks to Chris Garafolo of the Brattleboro Reformer for his fabulous article about Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. We met with Chris last week in the Farm Office and showed him another aspect of this historic location that I think he was quite surprised to see. He writes:
"Operating out of a spare room of a Vernon farmhouse, one Vermont business has quickly gained a national reputation for supplying quality furniture from sustainable sources around the Green Mountain State…
Chris also visited with local Brattleboro furniture artisan Greg Goodman who recently made a reproduction of a Chippendale cabinet for Annette, who's original cabinet was destroyed in the farmhouse fire. We thank both Chris and Greg for their support of our ongoing efforts at Vermont Woods
Many thanks to Harris Faulkner and Chris Snyder at Fox News for making us feel so welcome and comfortable on the set of The Strategy Room. A segment of the interview is posted on the Fox News website.
Have I been in the country too long?
Annette found a recipe for Violet jam the other day and recruited me to help with it. I don't know why. I think she thinks I need to get away from the computer screen.
Anyway I always welcome the chance to unwind on the farm, whether it's picking violets, feeding carrots to the horses or cracking up watching Annette call the cows down for dinner.
Here's a shot of Annette and Hera picking away under the 150+ year old maple tree.
You wouldn't believe how long it takes to pick 4 cups of violets
The next step is to pour boiling water over the violets. I had to have a glass of wine to do that.
Then the violets steep over night.
Next add tons of sugar and lemons.
I had some for breakfast on a bagel this morning. It was absolutely delicious.
We're going to send some out to customers.
Annette's thinking about rose jelly next. What do you think?
Vermont Woods Studios online furniture (and jelly) store.
We just received this photo from one of our craftsman. Wouldn't this computer workstation help you organize your home office and work more efficiently?
The unit is made of sustainably harvested, solid cherry wood and it has a non-toxic lacquer finish that provides great protection from the rigors of all that hard work you're doing at home. If you accidentally spill a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) on it, it's none the worse for wear.
As Annette's house nears completion and the construction crews begin to dwindle, we are starting to make plans for the re-opening of our Vermont Woods Studios showroom which is housed on Annette's farm estate.
After the fire last year, and in the midst of this economic downturn, we began to re-think our showroom strategy. Because our furniture is all made to order, and 95% of our customers are ordering their furniture online, we have decided not to maintain a large inventory anymore– at least not for the immediate future.
We'll still be operating out of Annette's farm estate in Vernon VT, but instead of a large showroom, we'll have a small furniture boutique in our sales office that will be available by appointment only.
Downsizing our showroom allows us to pass a significant savings on to our customers, the vast majority of who do not use the showroom. Once the economy bounces back, we do plan to begin opening a few new showrooms: one in Vermont and a few others in locations yet to be announced.
In the meantime, we do have a couple of options for those who would like to see our furniture in person. Give us a call or email us and we'll discuss the best option for you:
* If you're looking to see a specific piece that you've found on our website, contact us and we'll link you up with the craftsperson who makes that piece. Oftentimes, our craftspeople have a small showroom adjacent to their studios where they welcome visitors.
* If on the other hand, you're looking to get a general idea of our quality and craftsmanship, contact us to arrange an appointment to visit our Vernon furniture boutique. Here we have a small number of pieces made by various craftspeople that can convey an overview of our styles and craftsmanship.
Give us a call if you are interested in learning more about how to see and purchase our handmade furniture.
Are you spending more time at home these days and less time going out? If you're burrowing in for the winter, maybe now is the time to curl up on the couch, take a look at the furniture in your nest and think about where it actually came from. See how well it meets this totally biased, arbitrary and unscientific test.
If your furniture is: Give Yourself
- Made in America: 10 points
- Made of local woods and materials: 30 points
- Handmade by local craftspeople: 40 points
- Has non-toxic finish: 5 points
- Made of sustainably harvested woods and/or other organic materials: 10 points
- Imported from China, Vietnam, India or other third world countries: -100 points
- Made from illegally harvested rainforest woods like mahogany, teak: -100 points
What was your score? It's hard to even know because chances are there is nothing on the furniture to provide this information. It's a good bet, however that if you didn't go out of your way to buy American and you don't know where it came from, your furniture is probably imported, made from illegally harvested rainforest wood and crafted by slave laborers making pennies per hour.
We're trying to encourage consumers to buy American furniture, that's handcrafted here in the USA from local sustainably harvested woods, by people making a livable wage. Oddly enough, the price is roughly the same either way.
Check out our American made furniture at Vermont Woods Studios and compare.
I chatted today with a couple from California who came to Vermont this Fall to attend the Vermont Fine Furniture Festival in Woodstock, VT. June and Bob had found our website online this summer and when we told them about the festival, they decided to plan their vacation around it.
They were able to narrow down their selection of handmade wood furniture to three of our collections before their trip:
- The American Shaker Furniture Collection
- The Vermont-Made Shaker Furniture Collection
- The Cherry Moon Furniture Collection
Then after spending a week in VT, taking in several days of sight-seeing, leaf peeping and touring of furniture studios they made a final decision and placed their order. Now we are working with them to arrange shipping and delivery of their furniture. I can't wait to see how it will look in their house. Send photos, June!
Thanks to the ever-talented and creative Rebecca, we are now up on Flickr. Check out photos of the stunning collection of Vermont Made Furniture that was on display in Woodstock last month at the Vermont Fine Furniture Festival. And see additional Vermont Made Furniture at Vermont Woods Studios in our online store.
The chest at right is a two-toned version with natural walnut for the frame, sides, drawer pulls and top and natural maple for the drawer fronts. The chest can be done in many different combinations of maple, cherry and/or walnut.
Looking for Vermont Cherry Furniture? Here the same chest is shown in natural cherry. We call it the Cherry Moon Chest of Drawers. Customize it with your favorite wood or combination of two contrasting woods!
- Select the furniture maker who has crafted pieces most similar to
what you're looking for. This is critical. It's much easier and more
affordable for them to customize something they've already designed and
built than to start from scratch.
- Ask the furniture maker about customizing existing pieces with your
choice of wood, finish, hardware, dimensions, molding, leg style and so
on. Note: there is a big difference between commissioning an original, unique custom work of art and customizing an existing piece of furniture.
- Discuss wood choices and characteristics with your furniture
maker. Are you trying to match this new piece with existing pieces in
the same room? If so, you may want to bring in that furniture or
photos of those pieces to the workshop.
- Discuss furniture finish with your furniture maker. Do you want a
natural oil finish or one that provides more protection against
moisture and perhaps small hand-prints and such. Or something in between. There are many choices to consider.
- Spend the time upfront to discuss the details of your furniture
order up-front with your furniture maker. Remember the old saying,
"measure twice, cut once". You don't want to have any surprises when it's time to install your furniture.
- Have fun and enjoy the process. Get to know your furniture maker.
His or her personality will be a significant part of the meaning of
your new heirloom!