August 7th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Here’s a fun set of before and after pictures of Stonehurst, taken at the “Warming Hut”. I guess this before snapshot must have been taken around 1950-1960 when Stonehurst was “Pine Top” a local ski area. At that time, before mega ski resorts came along, about 2/3 of the towns in Vermont had their own local ski area. Vernon’s Pine Top had 3 rope tows and prior to that a couple “horse tows” (isn’t that awesome– I’m trying to find a picture of that!).
Pine Top’s “tool shed” aka “warming hut” was located behind the Stonehurst house we currently occupy as Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. Inside the shed there was room for a few tables and a grill where our friend, Chris Howe cooked hamburgers for hungry skiers.
Chris visited us a couple weeks ago and reminisced a bit. She and I walked out to the stone foundation where the warming hut used to be. It’s now covered with beautiful green moss. That’s Chris sitting at the picnic table, looking over the hills that she and her family used to ski through to get home after work.
What fun! Customers coming to Stonehurst to shop for fine furniture in the winter should pack their cross country skis and maybe a bottle of Bailey’s or a hot toddy. Then we’ll give Chris a call and see if we can’t tap a few more of those memories of Pine Top’s heyday.
August 6th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Well, now that the exterior painting of Stonehurst (Vermont’s newest fine furniture and art gallery) is almost done (pictures to follow later this week), it’s time to look into landscaping. We were fortunate to be able to persuade Brattleboro’s best painters (Moe Momaney and crew) to help us out and they in turn recommended the area’s most admired landscaper. That would be Gordon Hayward of Hayward Gardens.
Annette, Douglas and I met with Gordon the other day and roughed out a few preliminary sketches. Boy are they different from our previous plans! Gordon got here just in the nick of time.
At the moment, designing the ADA accessible walkway into the front of Stonehurst is the main dilemma we’re facing. We all envision a lovely, traditional Vermont stone pathway, constructed by a skilled stone mason using Goshen stone. Jeremy Coleman, the Stonehurst architect has already laid the pathway foundation with the proper gentle slope to make wheelchair access easy. The problem is that in the winter, it’s hard to snow-blow a stone-inlaid path and Ken’s afraid that over time the walkway will become bumpy and difficult for wheelchair access.
Before talking to Gordon we had decided to pave the walkway and stamp it so it looks like Goshen stone. Well, both Jeremy and Gordon feel like all the work we’ve done in making sure Stonehurst is authentic will be compromised by paving the entrance. They are certain that Goshen stone can be properly laid such that it will stay level and intact for smooth wheelchair access.
What do you think? Gordon is coming over tomorrow to continue our landscaping project. You can put your 2 cents in on our Fine Furniture Facebook page. And I’ll keep you updated here on the blog.
And here’s a couple interesting links for you:
July 28th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’re trucking right along in our quest to transform Stonehurst from a private residence to a fine furniture and art gallery that showcases Vermont made sustainable home decor products. There are a whole host of finishing touches still in progress but I thought I’d share some before and after pictures of spaces where the renovation is pretty well complete. First up: the kitchen, my personal favorite part of the transformation. The “before” kitchen was functional but the layout didn’t provide much opportunity for windows to overlook the spectacular view out back.
Since the kitchen is the entry into the building, we wanted to treat our customers to a cheerful space where they could relax and unwind after a long trip up from the city (customers usually travel from Boston, New York, Washington DC and beyond). The wall of windows we installed puts Vermont’s green mountains and meadows front and center when customers step inside. It’s pretty clear: you’re in Vermont now. Time to slow down and enjoy nature at it’s finest.
With sustainable forestry being at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios, one of the main things we’re trying to do with Stonehurst is raise awareness about where your furniture comes from. So the view of Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest often opens up a conversation about legally, sustainably harvested wood. Loryn is working on an educational display which will be installed on the sunroom wall to tell the story of how our furniture gets from sustainably-managed forests to your home.
I can’t start showing before and after photos without recognizing and thanking our architect, Jeremy Coleman of Brattleboro, VT and builder, Bob Furlone of American Construction. They have done a tremendous job, especially in facing all the realities involved in transforming and modernizing a 200+ year old farmhouse. They’ve also been really knowledgeable in helping us select all Vermont made materials whenever possible. The wall of windows shown above was custom made by Green Mountain Window in Rutland VT and the slate floor was mined locally by Vermont Slate Company.
Let me know what you think of the transformation in the comments section below or on Facebook. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll post before and after photos of the:
I hope you’ll be as excited about this new Vermont fine furniture and art gallery as we are. Come and visit us to see it all up close and personal! Be sure to bring a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch so you can sit out back and enjoy the view.
July 19th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
This farmhouse style Vermont Tavern Bench is part of a new line of furniture we’re making. It’s a unique signature collection, available only at Vermont Woods Studios. Traditionally crafted, this 2-tone bench features a 1 inch thick solid cherry wood seat, with a durable maple wood base painted with black lacquer.
Vermont farmhouse furniture is adapted from William and Mary style furniture that was popular in England around 1700 after the reign of King William and Queen Mary. These pieces are reproductions of the classic English tavern table and bench you’ll see in inns throughout the UK and New England (a few of Southern Vermont’s favorites are the Grafton Inn, Ye Olde Tavern, The Hermitage Inn).
Besides being a durable, heirloom piece– the Vermont Tavern Bench is sleek and stylish. The contrast between the traditional Cherry wood and the deep black lacquer base creates a truly unique piece that would make a great furniture addition for anyone looking to add a little flair to their dining area. Stop by our fine furniture showroom at Stonehurst and check it out!
June 25th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
The grass is finally beginning to fill in at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture showroom. The past few months have seen a flurry of activity while Bob Furlone and American Construction finished their last few projects. This week they will complete the installation of indoor and outdoor lighting and be nearly done with renovations.
But the rest of us will still have plenty of projects left, and one of them is exterior painting. So I have an opinion question for you. In the first photos of Stonehurst which were taken in 1869, the house looked much as it does in today’s photo above, except the entire building was painted white:
Sometime-probably in the 1940s the exterior was painted barn red, when Stonehurst was transformed by Elsie and Romey Racine into the Pine Top Ski Area.
My preference is to restore Stonehurst to its original white color, but I’m getting some push back from those who have grown really fond of the familiar red color.
So what do you think? Red? Or white? And remember I’m not talking about wine. Let me know in the comment section below or on our Facebook.
June 13th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
John McCarthy (of McCarthy Signs in Hinsdale) came by the other day to install the sign he’s been handcrafting for Stonehurst, our new Vermont furniture store. What did you think? It’s a 3D wooden sign that John hand-carved. What I love best about it is the level of detail he achieved in carving out the thumbprints that are the tops of the trees in our logo (Cheri Bryant is our logo artist and creator, by the way). Pretty amazing precision, I say. It’s hard to show off John’s talent online but if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and have an up-close look. Or take Market Survey of America’s word– his company was just voted Greater Brattleboro’s Best Sign Company.
June 10th, 2013 by Kelsey Eaton
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.
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.”
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
May 22nd, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Today was a big milestone for us at Stonehurst, our (soon to be) fine furniture and art gallery in Vernon, Vermont. We received our Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from Brian Johnson, a Vermont Regional Fire Prevention Officer. The CO is a pre-requisite for moving into the new location as it formally documents compliance with all zoning and construction permits, like those related to the environment, life safety, health, fire prevention, ADA accessibility and water/waste water.
Ken and Dennis have been working non-stop for many months with Jeremy Coleman (of J Coleman Architects), Bob Furlone and Scott Strong (of American Construction) and many Vermont state representatives to ensure that everything at Stonehurst was done properly and according to code. This was the culmination of a lot of blood, sweat and tears today and we are sending out a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved.
And how cool are Douglas, Sean, Liz, Loryn and Michelle for marking this occasion with a festive bottle of wine, a couple crystal goblets and a card with their picture and good wishes on it? Thanks, Guys!
May 4th, 2013 by Dennis Shanoff
It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the one year mark in bringing Stonehurst to it’s new life. The journey began last June when during our search for a unique and special place for our new HQ we found Stonehurst. (I am pretty certain it was love at first sight for Peggy) That was a summer of contracts and inspections plus a boat load of paperwork. But by fall we had keys in hand and so we began our search for the “just right” construction team. One that could transform our dream and visions into reality. Winter soon arrived and so did all the heavy equipment, tools, material and construction talent and work began. With Vermont winters being what they are the construction team was certainly counting the days till spring but they made great headway during a classic Vermont winter. We have now seen Stonehurst through 4 seasons, taken her apart and put her back together (well almost!) We know her so well now and our team is very anxious to make this our new home.
According to the construction timeline plan we should be ready to occupy Stonehurst on May 17th. The site is certainly active right now as the various and carefully coordinated tradesman do their thing to ensure we get in by that day. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, landscapers and a few other trades all working together and putting the finishing touches on it. Very busy indeed up there.
Then we have our work cut out for us in seamlessly moving our whole operation, fortunately and thankfully just a few miles down the road. Very fitting that Vermont Woods Studios remains in Vernon, it’s birth town. You will no doubt hear when we make the move and we will let everyone know when the new showroom is open for business. It shouldn’t be long. We hope you get the chance to visit and we hope you find Stonehurst to be a special and unique place too. We hope to see you there!
April 27th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Stonehurst construction is nearing completion. In a month or so we should be able to move out of our cramped quarters next to the Vernon Post Office into the 200 year old farmhouse we’ve been renovating for use as a showroom, art gallery and office space. Woohoo!
Unfortunately, before the move we have lots of work ahead in wrapping up renovation activities, cleaning up the construction zone, doing landscaping and making the place worthy of your visit. In light of that, Dennis and Douglas have joined forces in a concerted effort to persuade (coerce?) Ken and me to let go of the “construction debris” (or valuable building blocks for undefined future projects, according to Ken) and get Stonehurst ready for visitors asap.
So with that in mind, I offer these pieces of Stonehurst to you for recycling, upcycling, re-using or re-purposing. Come and get ‘em! If you or someone you know is interested, just give us a call (802-275-5174) and plan to meet us at Stonehurst (538 Huckle Hill Rd, Vernon, VT) after work at 5:30 almost any night for the next week or so.
What’s available? Slate roofing tiles, old timbers, new windows and doors, old bricks, cement blocks, some rebar, insulation, a couple pieces of furniture and cabinetry and a few other odds and ends. Stop by and check it out. Help us salvage what we can from Stonehurst’s former days and while you’re here, have a look into it’s future.