I guess most people don't really think about where their furniture comes from. We do at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture, and we're pretty persnickety about it.
Our furniture is handcrafted of sustainably harvested solid wood, ie., the wood is harvested in America from local and regional forests that are professionally managed such that they will still be around for generations.
Why do we care?
We actually got into this business as an offshoot of a non-profit I started 10 years ago, Kids Saving the Planet KSP. It's a project designed to make environmental education fun and engaging. I soon learned though, how difficult it is to secure funding for non-profits so I started to think about creating a business that would one day be able to significantly contribute to KSP. Vermont Woods Studios is what evolved. The common thread is sustainable forestry– what I feel is one of the top 3 most important environmental issues of our time.
Isn't this a beautiful home office?
It sort of makes me think I would get a much higher level of work done in it… what do you think?
Everything is handmade in Vermont by Vermont craftspeople, using natural solid wood and clear non-toxic finishes. We've had great feedback from customers who recently received some of our first orders from this collection. You can check out customer comments at the independent third party website, GreenPeople.org or on our Facebook page.
First click to get to our Vermont Woods Studios Facebook page
Then click the LIKE button.
Now you're entered to win one of Ken's handmade cutting boards. They're getting pretty popular actually and we're hoping to give away or sell enough to keep Ken out of trouble… haha! The boards are made of natural native and exotic hardwood scraps from Ken's shop.
Depending on what he has on hand, you can expect to see a colorful assortment of natural Maple, Cherry, Oak, Walnut, Purple Heart, Padauk, Fir and Mahogany.
A customer remarked the other day that she could not possibly use one for a cutting board because she didn't want to mark it up. She decided to use it as a cheese board instead. Ken was so happy.
Recently the most popular designs for walnut furniture have been with natural, organic solid walnut slabs that are huge, heavy and thick. They make incredible dining and conference tables that are showstoppers when you walk into a room.
Our friend, artisan Greg Goodman made this custom live edge walnut slab table out of a one of the slabs to the left. I've not seen anything like it. I love the curved base– it gives it a modern contemporary look, don't you think?
We filmed Greg working on a similar slab table. If you're interested in these live edge works of art, you have to watch Greg's part in this video about Vermont Woods Studios craftsmen.
If you're pricing walnut furniture, you can count on spending about 25% more than for other woods. Sadly, walnut is becoming rare due to lack of forest management and disease. In fact a recent blight of something called "thousand cankers disease" is causing great concern about walnut trees all across the country. It seems walnut wood may not be available much longer. Same for the beloved walnut– a nut that reportedly boosts your brain power and provides powerful anti-oxidants.
The walnut trees we're using for live edge slab tables are harvested sustainably, with preservation of the species in mind. The trees are usually victims of urban development– once they were grand old sentinels along tree lined boulevards but age, concrete and road salt have taken their toll.
It's nice to see their beauty being preserved forever under the skilled and artful hands of craftsmen like Greg Goodman.
How would you feel about buying expensive, high end handmade Vermont furniture over the Internet? Scared? If so, you're not alone. Quite honestly, most of our customers at Vermont Woods Studios who are first-time buyers are nervous about it.
We're always working hard to improve our website, add photos that show the details of construction, quality, joinery and such but let's face it– a website simply cannot convey the quality of handmade solid wood furniture. You really have to see it to appreciate it.
While we work through the growing pains of getting a bigger showroom, we want to express our gratitude to the customers who have posted opinions and independent reviews of our furniture at various places online. It is so helpful to new customers and it's essential for us to grow our business and fulfill our mission. Thank you! (We do have a testimonials page on our website, but most times new customers are understandably looking for an independent opinion.)
GreenPeople.org is one place customers have posted their candid opinions about our furniture and our customer service. GreenPeople.org provides an independent, unaffiliated website for opinions and reviews of all kinds of businesses. We thank Steve Urow and honor his mission of promting honesty, fairness and justice in business. We recommend his site for posting reviews of any products or services you may be purchasing online or in person. Best of luck to Steve and crew!
We want to wish all our Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture customers, fans and friends a very Happy and safe New Year. Thanks to everyone for making 2010 a successful year for our craftspeople, our staff and our mission.
We look forward to serving you and your families in 2011.
Thanks for the picture to Jacquie Lawson greeting cards, the most beautiful greeting cards on the Internet.
2010 is the Year of the Tiger. Did you know there are only about 3200 tigers left in the wild? This tiger subspecies, the Siberian Tiger– the world's largest cat is literally on the brink of extinction with only about 400 individuals remaining in their natural habitat. I can't stand the idea of letting these magnificient creatures disappear forever on our watch. Can you?
If not, here's something you need to know and it has to do with where you and your friends, family and neighbors buy your furniture.
Siberian tigers live mainly in Russian forests which are now under assault by global timber conglomerates. Tiger habitat is being systematically decimated to provide illegal timber that's used to make cheap furniture which is marketed mainly in the USA. In fact, up to 90% of the furniture you see for sale in our country is made of illegally harvested wood that is clear cut from ecologically sensitive habitats like this.
You can help save the tiger by avoiding the purchase of imported wood furniture. Buy American made furniture instead. There are still many companies in the USA that specialize in furniture made from sustainably harvested wood that grows and is replanted right here in the USA. America has some of the world's best quality hardwoods and our forest conservation laws are working to keep it that way. One of our Vermont foresters told me the other day that in VT, our forests are growing at a rate that is faster than the harvest rate– certainly an important part of the definition of sustainability.
If you’ve always wanted a super luxurious king size, handcrafted sleigh bed this may be a great opportunity for you. Our furniture is generally made to order and our prices are not inflated so you will rarely see items on sale for 40% off. This bed happened to be too big to fit in our customer’s bedroom so it was returned to us. We have no space for it so we’ve put it on clearance sale for our cost. Have a look! It’s ready to go and would make an awesome Christmas present, don’t you think? $1670 today.
We've been writing about the fact that up to 90% of the wood furniture you see in America today is imported and furthermore, it is likely that the wood was harvested illegally from one of the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests. Well, I guess others are beginning to write about that too and happily, we're seeing more and more customers asking about where our wood furniture comes from.
It's not just the environment and the fact that American made furniture is superior in terms of quality that customers are concerned with. Another part of this equation is that Americans want to support sustainable communities and help provide American jobs. Over the last 30 years, tens of thousands of jobs for highly skilled furniture makers have been moved overseas, as so called "American furniture companies" have moved their manufacturing operations to China, Vietnam and other third world countries. In the process, many skilled workers (and their families) in North Carolina, Maine and Vermont have suffered job loss and their once-vibrant communities have turned into ghost towns.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture and other American furniture companies like Moosehead Furniture in Maine we're working to restore those high quality jobs and help maintain the tradition of fine handcrafted furniture in America. You can help us by becoming a fan on facebook or following us on Twitter. Thanks!
Looking for authentic handmade wood furniture, made in the good 'ol USA? It's not so easy to find it anymore, is it? Most Americans think of North Carolina as the fine furniture capitol of the USA, but over the past 30 years, that has changed. The furniture companies we think of as being quintessentially American — for example Thomasville, Broyhill, Ethan Allen and Lane — no longer make much, if any furniture in the USA. Instead they outsource their furniture to factories in China, Vietnam and other third world countries.
So where does one go to find authentic, high quality, handmade wood furniture? It turns out that Vermont is now considered to be the fine furniture capitol of the country. By unofficial count, some 2000 small wood furniture makers dot the rural Vermont countryside, taking advantage of the heavily forested nature of our state for supply of natural, eco-friendly raw materials.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we represent many of these craftsmen, providing a low cost venue for the marketing and sale of their work. Our mission is to collaborate with Vermont's fine furniture makers, enabling them to spend more time in their studios doing what they do best: making beautiful, solid wood furniture. At the same time we can focus on our expertise: customer service– thus creating greater efficiency and the best possible prices for your heirloom quality handmade furniture. Give us a call to learn more about Vermont's many fine furniture makers and how to bring their work into your home or office.