The view at Stonehurst
The view behind Stonehurst

The woods that surround Stonehurst make it a hotspot for local wildlife, and a favorite part of the new location for many of us. From wild turkeys roaming openly in the field, to our new porcupine friend, to the neighborhood chipmunks, squirrels, and birds that call this place their home—we are excited to be a part of this wonderful eco-community.

Now that we are getting settled, it’s great to see that many of us are forming a bond with different parts of Stonehurst. You can find Kendall walking around out back enjoying the mountain fresh air, Neville and Martin outside enjoying the scenery, while Dennis is always the first to volunteer to checkup on the families of birds who have occupied the birdhouses we put up earlier in the year. Needless to say, we all care about it here for one reason or another, and that’s what makes this place so special.  

The stone wall behind stonehurst, headquarters for Vermont Woods Studios
Stone Wall on back side of Stonehurst

Stonehurst allows us to “tell the story of where your furniture comes from,” Peggy explains. “People can look out the windows and stroll around the grounds to see and experience what sustainable forestry is… we can use our learning wall to show people how their choice of furniture affects the habitats of endangered species.” For anyone who doesn’t know, Vermont Woods Studios was created with the inspiration to help put an end to the deforestation of the world’s rainforest’s. “Every species of big cat (lions, tigers, cheetahs, etc) and every species of primates (gorillas, chimps, orangutans, etc) is critically endangered due to habitat loss,” Peggy revealed, “and many of those habitats are forests that are being illegally decimated for timber that goes into imported furniture.”

Stonehurst, to us, is more than just our headquarters—it is a reflection of our impact on the natural landscape. We want to show people that by living consciously and shopping ethically, it is possible to live (and thrive) without harming the ecosystem, and that we can live harmoniously with our friends in nature, rather than endangering them by destroying their homes and habitats.  

           Besides the woods that surround Stonehurst, and the animals that inhabit them, the building itself has quite an interesting story. Stonehurst started out as a farmhouse circa 1800, and has “moved through various identities as a boarding house, 4 season resort, ski area, and residential home,” Peggy explains, “Stonehurst has been transformed several times, just as our business has transformed.” And despite all of the transformation, we’ve worked hard to preserve much of its history wherever possible. Plus, all local materials were used in its renovation, adding to its Vermont roots. “The resulting space feels like a natural home to us, said Peggy,  “a place where we can enjoy our work while finding success in accomplishing our mission.”

The Vermont Woods Studios team
The whole team gathered for our first group photo at Stonehurst

           When asked about their vision of the future for Vermont Woods Studios at Stonehurst, the team had differing answers with a common theme… We would all like to see Stonehurst busy as ever, with a thriving community of happy customers raving about their furniture and excited to be brand advocates for us and for our mission. We envision “people coming from near and far to get an up close look (and feel) at the best handcrafted furniture made in Vermont,” as Martin revealed, while Dennis would like to see people coming to Vermont not only to visit Stonehurst and see our furniture, but to experience all of the culture and activities that the state has to offer as well.  Peggy is hoping to see a relaxed and efficient staff, excited to learn new things and making creative strides every day… plus lots more automation and continued rapid growth. Stonehurst will bring the team closer, and allow us to work more effectively and creatively together… and will also give us more opportunities to have fun! (Liz is really looking forward to future taco parties). Most importantly, however, Peggy explains that we “want to see evidence that we are raising awareness about where your furniture comes from.”

           The move to Stonehurst has been a major transformation for us, and we are excited to see what the future has in store. With a handful of wonderful memories already created here– from happy hours in front of the wood stove in Ken’s shop, to physically helping with the planning and construction of the building, to watching a lone porcupine roam our field… we have high hopes and expectations for our future here. Our sign is finally up out front, signalling the end of the “making of” portion of our Stonehurst story–a chapter we are happy to leave behind. Now, its really time to get to work!


PS. We’ve created a Pinterest board for Stonehurst! Pin us :)


This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Luxury Furniture | Avoiding Global Rainforest Destruction | Choosing Sustainable American Made Furniture
Organized crime is currently responsible for an unprecedented rate of rainforest destruction.  Unchecked illegal logging is rampant in tropical countries too poor to effectively monitor and enforce conservation regulations.  You can help save the rainforest by avoiding the purchase of imported forest products like wood furniture and flooring.

Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and we’re always trying to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from.  If you’re committed to buying American made furniture– no worries.  Chances are it’s made from legal wood, sustainably harvested from well-managed forests right here in North America.

But if you’re buying imported wood furniture (and according to a Washington Post article 70% of furniture sold in America is imported) then: Houston, we have a problem.

A recent Washington Post article by Brad Plumer entitled Organized Crime is Getting Rich Cutting Down the Rainforest describes how the illegal logging trade has become just as lucrative (and far more destructive) than the drug-trafficking industry.  50 to 90 percent of forestry in tropical areas is now controlled by criminal groups!  “A great deal of logging simply takes place illegally — much of it in tropical areas such as the Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.” (ref: United Nations and Interpol)

The U.N. estimates that illicit logging is now worth between $30 billion to $100 billion, or up to 30 percent of the global wood trade.  That illegal wood is often shipped from pristine rainforests to China, Vietnam and other third world countries where it’s fabricated into low quality furniture which is sold to US consumers. We’ve written quite a bit about the links between rainforest destruction, global warming and the furniture and flooring you choose for your home:

If you’re considering buying furniture at IKEA, Home Depot or any big box store… ask where the lumber originates and let us know what you find on our Facebook or in the comments section below.  Then re-discover sustainable, American made wood furniture and join us in feeling good about your furniture and your green home.

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Forests, Furniture and The Future
Check out The Nature Conservancy’s info-graphic to see where your furniture, flooring, coffee, paper and other forest products come from and learn what you can do to help save the rainforest.

Our sustainable furniture company was founded in 2005 on a mission of forest conservation.  I had been studying rainforest conservation for years and wanted to see if I could do something to help change this startling statistic:

Every second of every minute of every day…

We lose over 1 acre of rainforest.  Permanently.

Several years prior to starting Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture I had formed a non-profit corporation with the same mission (rainforest conservation) but I was never really able to get the funding I needed to lift it off the ground.  So our wood furniture company was built as a for-profit corporation to help accomplish the same goals.

It’s not always easy to explain why a Vermont based fine furniture company is so committed to rainforest conservation.  When I saw this info-graphic, Forests and the Green Economy (courtesy of The Nature Conservancy) I thought it might help.  Here are a few rainforest facts that might surprise you:

  • More than half of the planet’s species live in the rainforest even though the rainforest only occupies about 2% of the earth’s surface
  • Many of our favorite iconic species are critically endangered due to deforestation, including all species of big cats and all species of big apes
  • An estimated 137 species of plants and animals are driven into extinction every day due to deforestation
  • Rainforest deforestation contributes as much to global warming as the sum of all the cars, trains and planes in the world
  • Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover <6%
  • If deforestation continues at this rate, the rainforests could be gone in < 40 years and once they’re gone, they are gone forever.  Rainforests do not regenerate the way our Northern temperate forests do

The Nature Conservancy summarizes this and other compelling facts about the rainforest in their info-graphic.  Along with the World Wildlife Fund they are among the world’s best hopes for saving the rainforest.  Check out their info-graphic and learn about ways you can help everyday through your choices of food, paper, furniture, flooring and other forest products.

At Vermont Woods Studios we donate $1 for every sale to the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project and run occasional benefits to support non-profits that work to save the rainforest and it’s inhabitants.  Learn more about our work in the Mission section of our blog and website.

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Saving the Rainforest | Sustainable Wooden Furniture and Flooring | What's the Connection?
Global rainforest destruction continues to proceed at a rate of > 1 acre per second.  60 seconds every minute.  60 minutes every hour, 24/7/365.  It’s the greatest extinction in the history of the earth.  Once the rainforest is gone, it’s gone forever.  It doesn’t regenerate like our northern temperate forests.  Interested in conserving the rainforest and preserving the iconic species who’ve lived there for millions of years?  Learn how your choices for furniture, flooring and other forest products can help.

Where Does Your Wooden Furniture Come From?

Ever wonder where your wooden furniture comes from?  Seven years ago I founded Vermont Woods Studios because I didn’t like the answer to that question.  And the answer is:  if you didn’t  purchase American made furniture, yours may well have originated in a beautiful tropical rainforest that was being plundered by illegal logging activities.

One Acre of Rainforest Disappears Every Second

I spent the first few years at Vermont Woods Studios trying to raise awareness about rainforest devastation and how it’s driven by the wood furniture and flooring industries.  Did you know that the rainforest is disappearing at the rate of >1 acre per second?  It sounds unbelievable and sensationalist, doesn’t it?  I mean that’s over 4000 football fields every hour of every 24 hour day, 365 days/year.  But it’s true and that fact is why we continue to work so hard to offer sustainable, locally made furniture at this Vermont furniture store.

You and I Have the Power to Save the Rainforest

Consumers of wood furniture, flooring and other forest products are the key to saving the rainforest.  If you’re taking the trouble to learn about sustainable wooden furniture and how you as a consumer can be part of the global solution, we want to help.  I’ll be writing a series of blogs over the next few months to provide some background information regarding the past, present and future of the rainforest and how we consumers can do our part to save it.  Have any rainforest references or stories you’d like to share?  Use the comment section below or join the conversation on our Facebook.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Tiger Conservation | Boycott Livi and Paseo Toilet Paper | Stop Deforestation in Sumatra
Vermont Woods supports the World Wildlife Fund in their efforts to save tiger habitat in the Sumatran rainforest.  Each sale of Vermont made furniture plants one tree to help reforest the planet through The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project.

Vermont Woods Studios was born out of our passion for rainforest conservation.  I remember when we were getting started back in 2005 we came up with a manifesto that explained the connection between wood furniture, rainforest conservation and global warming (in retrospect it looks a little too emotional, but at least I can say that it was spoken from the heart).  Anyway, seven years later our passion for conservation has turned into a growing sustainable furniture business where each sale is used to help reforest the planet through The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project.

I realize most people see topics like rainforest conservation as  boring but the truth is that our favorite iconic species like tigers, lions, pandas and gorillas all make their homes in the forest and all are critically endangered.  With rainforest destruction proceeding at the rate of 1 acre/second (every minute of every hour of every day) there’s not much time left for these species unless we take action.

We use this blog occasionally to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and how that affects your favorite creatures of the forest.  Buy imported furniture and there’s a good chance it’s made from rare woods that have been clear-cut from the rainforest.  Buy American made furniture and it’s probably made from American wood that’s been harvested sustainably.  There are other things you can do to help save tigers and the rainforest.  When buying coffee, nuts, rubber, paper or any type of forest product, check to see if it’s been produced sustainably.

Here’s an example of how you can make a difference.  It’s a project by the World Wildlife Fund where consumers are boycotting Paseo and Livy toilet paper which are made by clear-cutting ancient, old growth trees in primary rainforests of Sumatra.  The boycott is working and as a result WWF is able to help conserve Sumatra’s rare tigers and orangutans.  Check out WWF’s website and see what you can do to lend a hand with this important project.

And if you love tigers as much as we do, learn more about how homeowners can help Save the Tiger on our website.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.