Getting Organized with Custom Bookcases
Custom bookcases might not be on the top of your Christmas list, but think about it. Whether you have a home office or you’re trying to tidy up and organize your books and media, custom bookcases could make your life easier and more efficient in 2013. Not to mention more beautiful.
At Vermont Woods Studios our biggest month for crafting bookcases and other organizers is January. Could it have to do with New Year’s resolutions? Must be, but we’re getting inquiries almost every day lately. I think customers are realizing that there is a 1-3 month lead time for ordering custom bookcases. So if you’re one of those people I thought I’d offer up some tips and advice about how to choose the right set of bookshelves for your home or office.
Glass Doors, Wooden Doors or No Doors
Are you really going to use those books or movies or vases? Or will they just sit in the bookcase and collect dust? Are they beautiful? Part of your decor? Or just obligatory (someone gave them to you and you can’t seem to throw them away) and you don’t necessarily want to see them? Do you put things back neatly? Or are you always in a hurry? These are the kinds of weighty issues you’ll need to unravel before you decide whether or not to add doors to your custom bookcases. Oh… and should the doors be glass to show off your chotskies or wooden to hide the mess?
One Big Bookshelf or a Couple Small Ones?
Once you’ve decided what kind of doors are best for your bookshelves, you’ll want to measure your space and get the cabinets to fit perfectly into it. Some people love the integrated design of one big bookcase unit like the Modern Shaker Home Office Center Cabinet above (make sure you can fit something this big up the stairs and into your room!). Other people like the versatility of combining several small bookcases in different ways. One thing we always mention to customers is: if you’re getting a series of bookcases that you may want to place flush up next to each other, be sure you specify “no overhang”. That means any molding along the top will be eliminated either on one or both sides, depending on how you want to configure the bookcases.
Measure Twice and Cut Once
We try to make it easy to customize your bookcase online, but it really is a good idea to give us a call or stop by the showroom to order custom bookcases, especially if they’re over-sized or designed to sit flush against each other. We’ll help you get all the measurements right for your space so they’ll be no surprises when your furniture arrives.
I’ve been looking for a widely accepted definition of “solid wood furniture“. I’m finding the same thing as when I looked for a definition of “American made furniture”. Anything goes. Here’s an example of what I found on a popular reference website (About.com),
”Solid walnut wood furniture means that all exposed parts of the piece are walnut. But the frame and inner parts may be of other, less-costly wood. Thin layers of fine, decorative wood can be bonded to the face of low cost wood pieces. This is called veneering.”
Now does that sound like solid wood furniture to you? I don’t think so. If you’re shopping for high quality furniture and solid wood construction is important to you, try asking your salesperson these 5 questions to help clarify things:
Is This Real Solid Wood Furniture or Veneered?
When you take a look at the edge of a solid wood tabletop you can see if the graining on the top carries through on the edge – the way marbling does in a piece of steak. If this is not the case, you are looking at the “banding” on a veneered piece. Another way to tell solid wood is to look at the underside of the piece. Does the grain look like the same as the wood on the table top? If not, then it’s probably veneered.
Is this Furniture Made Of Hardwood of Softwood?
In North America, typically the best quality solid wood furniture is made of native hardwoods, such as cherry, walnut, maple, oak, ash and birch. Although hardwood is more expensive than softwood, it has a higher density and is therefore usually harder and heavier. Hardwood grain is closed, tight and non-resinous as opposed to softwood grain that’s loose and resinous, thus it splits easy.
Is the Craftsmanship Top Quality?
You can buy plenty of solid wood furniture that’s of poor quality. For example, I just searched for “solid hardwood furniture high quality” and Google shopper’s first result was a solid wood bed for $68.98. What good does it do to have solid wood construction when poor workmanship is going to limit the life of a piece to a couple years? Check for solid craftsmanship, top quality joinery and meticulous finishes in your furniture. A salesperson should be able to show and tell you about construction details such as mortise and tenon joints, dovetails, miter joints, finger joints, splines, biscuits, dowels, butts, dados, rabbets, tongue and groove and more. Durable, robust joinery is critical to the life and usefulness of a piece.
Finish is important too. Most imported furniture is finished with cheap coatings that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene) which can cause asthma and allergies especially in young children. Ask your salesperson to explain what’s in the finish and how many coats have been applied to protect the furniture over time.
Is This American Made or Imported Furniture?
Are you wondering why imported furniture is so much cheaper than American made furniture? It’s not just that Chinese wages are about 1/10 of American wages. It’s about where the raw materials come from. In the USA, wood furniture is made from sustainably harvested wood that comes from well managed American forests. With imported furniture, the wood is typically clear cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests. Although imported furniture often carries labels that it’s made of American cherry, walnut, oak or maple woods, that is rarely the case. These labels are trade names used to describe woods of suspicious origin that are stained to look like familiar American woods such as cherry and walnut.
Am I Getting The Best Value and Price?
Top quality solid wood furniture is inherently expensive, so you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the best value and price. Find a local craftsman or retailer you can trust. Try to purchase your furniture as a set, rather than piece by piece if possible. Purchasing furniture sets not only creates efficiency in the craftsman’s workshop, it also saves money in shipping and delivery.
For more tips on purchasing top quality solid wood furniture with the best value and price, visit our Facebook and join the conversation.
I spent most of today working with a “high functioning team”of professionals at Vermont Woods Studios. We were focused on getting Copeland’s new Moduluxe Bedroom Furniture ready for launch but it turns out we also had a lot of fun. Dennis, Heather B, Loryn, Trenton, Tristan and I crammed ourselves into a small office and hunkered down to crank out the work. I am amazed at how much we got done. We still have a few odds and ends to tie up, but we should be able to publish the new Moduluxe pieces by Friday at the latest.
Contemporary Modular, Sectional Bedroom Furniture
Copeland unveiled Moduluxe at the annual Fall Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina last month and it immediately hit the best seller list. I daresay it has already spawned several knock-offs, one of which is coming out under a Brad Pitt label, believe it or not. The Moduluxe idea is to provide sectional, modular wood furniture for a built in look. There are 33 mix and match pieces to choose from. Integrated nightstands are adjoined to the bed headboards and various size chests and dressers latch onto the other side of the nightstands. Pieces can be configured in many customizable designs to best fit your space. Corner pieces even allow your design to wrap around the room! Modern style is the ticket with clean, contemporary lines and tons of storage space. There’s even an optional platform storage bed. A place for everything. About the only thing there’s no room for is an excuse not to have a tidy bedroom.
Check back later this week for more details on this Vermont made, solid wood bedroom set.
And thanks to everyone on our team for doing such a great job getting Moduluxe off the ground today!
Which Type of Hardwood Furniture Is Best For Your Bedroom, Dining Room or Home Office?
If you’re looking for hardwood furniture, there’s a good chance you’re narrowing your wood choices down to the most popular and plentiful species grown here in America such as cherry, maple, oak and walnut. These prized hardwoods are grown sustainably here in the USA with Vermont and New England being a favorite source for many woods.
We like these species because they are well suited to fine furniture making by virtue of their color, strength, hardness, grain patterns and workability. They are also readily obtainable in our local and regional area, making them a sustainable choice. Often our furniture makers will offer two-tone combinations of these hardwoods creating a custom, artisan look and feel to your furniture.
The photo above shows Copeland Furniture’s SoHo Bedroom Set in solid maple and walnut hardwoods. This striking two-tone wood combination has become a best seller in our metropolitan markets, particularly Manhattan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Homeowners appreciate the modern, contemporary sensibilities of the SoHo solid hardwood design as well as the fine detail and craftsmanship that goes into every custom, made to order piece.
SoHo furniture is also offered in a two-tone walnut and cherry design. Which of these hardwood combinations would look best for your bedroom furniture?
The upcoming Columbus Day Weekend is commonly associated with big sales, leaf peeping, and getting a pumpkin for Halloween. Here in Vermont there are hundreds of events going on, making it the busiest weekend of the fall. If shopping is in your plans, we want to let you know about another sale. Starting today, we are kicking off our annual Columbus Day Storewide Furniture Sale. For 5 days you can save 15% off our American Made fine wood furniture, and receive free shipping!
This sale includes over 1,000 pieces of bedroom, dining room, living room, and home office furniture, all made with natural hardwood. Conveniently shop from your home this weekend on our online gallery. Feel free to use our Live Chat option from our online gallery, or give us a call at 888-390-5571 if you have any questions about our Vermont Made fine wood furniture.
Have a nice weekend!
Modern Wood Bedroom Set was the Hot Ticket Last Week
This high end Modern American Bedroom Set, inspired by George Nakishima’s designs was our Best Seller last week.
The collection is handcrafted in Burlington, Vermont with real solid cherry and walnut wood. It’s polished with a hand-rubbed natural oil finish. Customers tell us they’re drawn to it’s distinctive mid-century modern look and feel. The clean smooth lines are reminiscent of that retro 1950s Scandinavian style. It’s sophisticated but totally approachable.
The bed, dressers, chests and nightstands in this furniture collection are all made to order here in Vermont and can be customized to meet your needs. The craftsman has also provided dozens of ways to customize easily online. You can easily select your favorite style, hardwood and drawer configuration online. But if you’re looking for further customization give us a call or visit our showroom in Vernon, VT. We’ll look forward to working with you to create a unique modern bedroom set you will cherish for a lifetime.
Going green? This natural, solid wood, American made bedroom set is handcrafted in Vermont from eco-friendly sustainably harvested woods. You can customize any piece online in your choice of solid natural cherry, maple or walnut wood or any two-tone combination of them.
Often customers come to us looking specifically for fine wood furniture that's handmade in America from sustainably harvested wood.
At last! Vermont is becoming know as the Fine Furniture Capital of America. The Green Mountain State has been the home to fine woodworkers for over 200 years. Plus our state provides
the world's finest furniture making material – solid hardwood.
Furniture makers in Vermont create bedroom, home office and dining room furniture using American Black Cherry,
Sugar Maple, American Black Walnut, Oak and other hardwoods from the Northern Forest.
Vermont designs and crafting techniques highlight the natural beauty of wood such that our furniture is a reflection of the forest it came from. Forests
cover nearly 80% of Vermont's landscape and we harvest wood at a rate that's less than the rate at which our forest is growing– a good measure of sustainability!
At Vermont Woods Studios we're proud to live in a place where people cherish and protect their
natural resources – our forests, meadows, pastures, rivers, lakes and streams. And we're happy to be able to bring you the fruits of that green lifestyle: Vermont's handmade hardwood furniture. Like us on Facebook if you agree!
If you're looking for authentic, solid walnut, fine dining furniture, have a look at Catalina. This Copeland set is 100% handmade in America– right here in Vermont.
It's designed with mid-century modern style, including clean unadorned lines and retro-modern shapes and sensibilities. Manjula has arranged our Catalina dining set to make it easy to price and purchase dozens of combinations of tables, chairs and buffets. You can use drop-down menus to price out different choices for arm chairs, side chairs, extension table versus solid top table and buffet sizes.
Customers receive free DIY shipping and discounted white glove shipping when purchasing this furniture as a set so the savings can be substantial. We also offer a lifetime guarantee and a low price guarantee. If you're considering Catalina or any other Copeland furniture I recommend you check out our Top 10 Reasons to Buy Copeland Furniture at Vermont Woods Studios. It really does make a difference where you buy.
Drop us a note below or on our Facebook to let us know how you like Catalina and the many other beautiful furniture collections Copeland crafts right here in Vermont.
Because this is back-to-school time, most of the furniture sold in August and September is sort of disposable… you know what I meant, right? Even Kendall (I'm embarassed to say) had to make an emergency trip to Ikea to pick up a portable bookshelf for his dorm room.
Most people just assume that the furniture they buy is going to be on the curbside in 5-10 years. It's part of the "planned obsolescence" strategy which ensures furniture stores that future sales will be strong.
But quite honestly, here's the reason why: Heather's taken three orders today from repeat customers who love their Vermont made furniture. It's the real thing and there's nothing quite like it.
In an age when few things last for decades (let alone generations) we're proud to be selling Vermont made furniture and it seems only fair to back up our promise of quality with a lifetime guarantee.
If a lifetime guarantee on fine furniture is important to you, how 'bout letting us know on our Facebook?
Dennis took this picture of a black cherry tree on his property in New Hampshire. Our cherry wood furniture typically comes from PA though, which has soils and climate more ideally suited to growing black cherry trees.
Heather Barrett mentioned the other day that many customers are coming
to us by way of Google when they're searching for answers to questions
like "where does cherry wood come from"?
At Vermont Woods
Studios we feel it's important to provide detailed information about
where your furniture comes from. We want customers to know that our
wood is all sustainably harvested and that forest conservation is a fundamental part of our mission.
We source as much wood as we can locally, preferably right here in Vermont. Cherry wood
however isn't a big component of the Green Mountain Forest. There are a few
cherry trees here and there across Vermont, but Pennsylvania is really
the Cherry Capitol of the world and that's where we get most of our
cherry wood. It is arguably the finest cherry wood on earth and is
prized for its lovely red color, grain and luster.
Fortunately in 1995 the state of Pennsylvania had the foresight to protect and
preserve a great deal of their cherry wood resources. They committed to
maintaining the state forest system sustainably and began green
certifying it, by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC.
FSC is considered
the gold standard in third party certifications of forests so we can be
confident that the forests providing our cherry wood will be around to
enjoy for many generations… just like our cherry wood furniture.