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We don’t typically re-share articles from others, but when I read  “The First American Modernists” by Lance Esplund, I knew I had to share it with our community of Shaker furniture lovers. Lance provides a thoughtful, interesting look at the Shakers and Shaker furniture, as inspired by an art exhibit at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. The exhibition, titled “The Shakers: From Mount Lebanon to the World,”  provided a historical overview of the Shakers and their simplistic, spiritual lifestyle; focusing on the craft of their now world recognized furniture.

While Shaker communities were once vibrant and thriving, there are now only 3 Shakers left. Brother Arnold Hadd and his two elderly sisters practice their faith at Sabbathday Lake’s Shaker Village in New Glouster Maine. It’s the worlds last active Shaker Community. Brother Arnold Spoke at the exhibit & covered topics such as the concept of “Shaker Style” (which he claims does not exist) and the inspiration behind their modest furniture design. According to Esplund, the exhibit was full of Shaker Furniture. He goes on to explain:

 “That “classic” Shaker style is well represented here in strong, unassuming cupboards, tables, desks and chests of drawers; delicately crafted oval wooden nesting boxes; inviting, wide-mouthed wooden bowls; tightly woven rugs and baskets; and sprightly, no-nonsense ladder-back chairs. Made of chestnut, walnut, flame birch and bird’s-eye maple, these lightweight, sturdy chairs have rhythmically dynamic woven cane and checkerboard tape seats. They could be easily hung on wall pegs to allow for the ecstatic “shaking” dancing prayers for which the “Believers” became commonly known.”

While I haven’t had the opportunity to see the exhibit first hand, I have a deep appreciation for Shaker Furniture and it’s honest, unassuming design. Rich with history, Shaker Furniture has a legacy and heritage that we are proud to represent here at Vermont Woods Studios. If you’re interested in learning more about this Shaker exhibition, Esplund’s article is full of practical insight on the history and inspiration behind their furniture.

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.

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Which dining chair is best for your space? This is usually one of the first questions a person asks when re-furnishing and redesigning their dining room. While there are literally hundreds of different chair styles to choose from, the Windsor Style Chair and Modern Shaker Style are some of our favorites. Both of them are simplistic and stylish in their own right, and they are both staples of American history!

Lets start with the history behind the classic Windsor Chair:

According to ‘Past and Present: Windsor Chair History’ by Design*Sponge, “In North America, the Windsor chair form was first used in Philadelphia where the chair became hugely popular around the time of the Revolution. The chairs were such an important part of the life in the new country that Thomas Jefferson was said to have written the Declaration of Independence in one of these chairs and Martha Washington had needlework cushions made for her bow-back Windsor chairs.”

Wow, who knew? Even better, here’s some historical photos of these classic American chairs:

 

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“Images above, from top: This ca. 1739 drawing by Jacques Rigaud shows a lord and lady being wheeled through the garden in Windsor chairs (from The Metropolitan Museum of Art). The presentation of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress by Edward Savage (from the Library of Congress).” (Photos retrieved from Design*Sponge)

What about Shaker Chairs in history?

According to ArtComplex.org, “The common New England slat-back chair, fashioned by the hands of a Shaker woodworker, has become an icon of American furniture design. Shaker craftsman were familiar with that furniture form. It was found in almost every eighteenth and nineteenth century rural New england home. Converts brought these chairs with them as they joined shaker communities. Shaker craftsmen produced these chairs, refining that vernacular form and creating a distinctive , well-built chair that ultimately earned them considerable renown. Chairs were made in nearly every Shaker village for use within their shops and dwellings. Some chairs were sold to outsiders. Mount Lebanon, New York, the only community to mass produce chairs for sale, sold tens of thousands to individuals, families and businesses”

Traditionally, Shaker Chairs would be hung on the walls to maximize utility and save space.  Photo retrieved from: Blue Ribbons Design.
Traditionally, Shaker Chairs would be hung on the walls to maximize utility and save space. Photo retrieved from: Blue Ribbons Design.

While chair B isn’t a traditional slat back as mentioned and pictured, it still represents the simplicity of design and exquisite craftsmanship represented in Shaker style!

So, have you made up your mind yet? Both chairs have an impressive history and even more impressive design. If you don’t want to have to chose one or the other, why not both? Mix & Match for a look that is not only stylish, but has a great story.

Let us know which chair you love in the comments section of this blog, or send us a tweet!

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.

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 sustainably harvested hardwoods. Add in free shipping and a lifetime guarantee and who could argue?

But if you have a small dining room or kitchen area, you might have some reservations. We can assure you that if you’ve been worried about finding a great round Shaker table to fit your small space, we have some wonderful options for you! These 3 round shaker tables are a handpicked selection sure to fit your unique dining room size. While most of our Shaker dining room tables are very customizable, the following picks are some of our favorites.

1. Custom Round Shaker Table

round shaker table

Our eco-friendly Vermont-Made Shaker Custom Round Table is handcrafted in Vermont by skilled artisans. Customize this round shaker table to make it perfect for your home, it is available in a number of options! Currently on sale for: $1,562.40

 

2. New England Shaker Round Extension Pedestal Table

round shaker table

This sturdy New England Shaker Round Extension Pedestal Table is a great extension table for the kitchen, dining room, or as a game table in your family room. Hand-crafted using real, solid woods in America. Currently on sale for  $1,833.30. 

3. Classic Shaker Round Dining Table

round shaker table

Our Classic Round Shaker Table features simple, modern tapered legs. Each table is handmade in Vermont by skilled craftsman using natural solid hardwoods and traditional joinery. Currently on sale for $939.60. 

All of our round shaker tables and chairs are made by craftsmen in Vermont from sustainably harvested hardwood. A great thing about our furniture is it is made just for you! As you browse our online gallery, you will notice that most of our furniture is shown in solid cherry wood, but be sure to look at the hardwood options! You can customize most of your furniture in your choice of natural Cherry, Maple, Oak, or Walnut woods. This allows you to create your own solid wood dining set that is perfect for you and your 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.

 

Affordable Shaker Furniture Online

The northeast is the birthplace of Shaker style furniture in the United States. For over two centuries the Shaker style has been admired for it’s simplistic aesthetics and sturdy design. It has become an inspiration to many contemporary furniture designs, and has become our most popular style.

Vermont Woods Studios offers six Shaker furniture collections to include over 200 pieces of Shaker influenced furniture, ranging from traditional designs to Shaker style furniture with a modern flair. Our traditional Shaker style furniture can be found in the New England Shaker Furniture,Classic Shaker Furniture, and Renfrew Shaker Furniture collections, while our more modern designs are included in the Modern Shaker FurnitureVermont Shaker Furniture, and American Shaker Furniturecollections. However, all of the furniture features simple, clean lines similar to the original pieces in the late 1700′s.

Our early spring Shaker Sale starts now, so its your chance to buy affordable shaker furniture online! Save 10% on one piece, 15% on two pieces, and 20% on three or more pieces (plus free shipping)! Your fine wood furniture will also be backed by a lifetime guarantee! Start shopping today conveniently from our online gallery. This sale ends April 10th at midnight!

 

| 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. |

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.

2013, our first year at Stonehurst gave us another reason to study and analyze what our customers’ favorite American made furniture styles are.  With limited space in our showroom, we wanted to display the very best selection of Vermont furniture, as defined by customer purchases.  After looking through the sales statistics, we found these Top 3 American Furniture styles, which we’ll be featuring often at Stonehurst:

Shaker Furniture was the top selling style in 2013

Shaker Style Furniture

This Vermont Shaker bed, nightstand and chest are pretty accurate reproductions of the original Shaker style furniture crafted by communities of the United Society of Believers starting in the late 1700’s.  Born here in the Northeast, this American furniture style is a simple, utilitarian design characterized by straight tapered legs and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs.  Vermont furniture makers have become today’s authority on Shaker furniture and customers seeking a simple elegant, solid wood design have grown to love their work.  It’s our top seller and customers are customizing it in their choice of cherry, walnut, maple and oak woods (preference is in that order).  Sometimes customers will choose two contrasting wood colors like cherry and walnut or maple and walnut to trick it out– if there is such a thing for “Shaker furniture”.

Craftsman style furniture, handmade in Vermont | Stonehurst Fine Furniture Gallery

Craftsman Style Furniture

This Contemporary Craftsman Bedroom Furniture collection is a modern rendition of the American craftsman and “arts and crafts” furniture that became popular in the late 19th century and remained prevalent through the 1930s.  It’s handmade of real solid cherry wood with contrasting drawer pulls in solid walnut wood and reflects the true craftsmanship of this period.  The finish on this collection is a traditional hand-rubbed oil and wax.  If you like this contemporary craftsman style furniture, learn more about the details and craftsmanship here.

Mission Style Furniture | American Made in Vermont | Real Solid Wood | Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Maple

Mission Style Furniture

This mission sofa table and mission dining chair have the rectilinear design and heavy proportion characteristic of Mission style furniture which became popular in the late 19 century. At Vermont Woods Studios we have a traditional American Mission Furniture collection and a Modern Mission Furniture collection, both constructed of real solid woods in your choice of traditional oak or cherry, walnut or maple woods.

Stop by our new fine furniture showroom at Stonehurst anytime to see what we’ve got on hand in our customers’ favorite furniture styles: Shaker, Craftsman and Mission furniture.

 

 

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.