So long are the days of dens and home offices, at least in the traditional sense. With homes being built and renovated with an open layout, families are coming together in different ways. While everyone is constantly on the go, on their phones or laptops, open layouts help bring everyone together.
Sometimes to make an improvement to a room, you don’t have to completely renovate the space. This past year, I’d been feeling very unsatisfied about my living room and dining space. Instead of completely redoing those spaces, my family replaced our cheap TV console with a wood TV cabinet. And, we replaced our maple dining table and chairs with a darker stained wood dining set that better matches the wood paneling in our dining space.
Honest, Utilitarian and Simple all come to mind when thinking of Classic Shaker Furniture.
Guided by religious principles, Shaker style furniture was originally made with the belief that all manufactured goods should be constructed with honesty. Shaker furniture, much like the Shaker lifestyle, is simple in design and free of frivolities. While the religious population that founded Shaker style furniture started to steadily decline after the Civil War (with only three practicing members today) their influence on furniture is unwavering.
Known for its minimalist design, Shaker furniture is free of veneers, inlays and carvings with a focus on the furnitures’ overall form and proportions. One of the most popular facets of Shaker furniture is chairmaking. Shaker chairs are known for their turned posts, slats or ladder backs and often times woven seats.
There have been many modernizations on Shaker style furniture, but one thing has always remained the same: simplicity.
At Vermont Woods Studios you’ll find a variety of Shaker style furniture from traditional designs to a more contemporary take on the style. And while some pieces may stray from the traditional designs, they are still rooted in the belief of honesty and simplicity.
During our Shaker Furniture Sale starting Friday, January 8th and running through Thursday, January 28th you can save 10% off one piece of furniture, 15% off two pieces and 20% off three pieces. You’ll be able to choose from hundreds of pieces for your bedroom, dining room, living room, office and more!
And as the Shakers used the wood from their lands and demanded integrity with each piece of furniture they made, here at Vermont Woods Studios we believe that, too. All of our furniture comes from wood that is sustainably harvested from the Northeast and is handmade in Cherry, Maple, Oak and Walnut woods by local craftsmen.
If you have any questions or would like to order over the phone, our friendly sales team is always here to help at 888-390-5571. Shop conveniently and securely online or stop into our Vernon, Vermont showroom, open seven days a week.
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.
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 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
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.