Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

sustainable furniture

Our Green Mission: Walking the Talk

April 3rd, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Stonehurst: A Sustainable Furniture Store with a Green Mission

Our sustainable furniture showroom at Stonehurst sits on a 100 acre wooded parcel in Vernon, Vermont.  This is the view out our back windows– also a place for weekly meetings (weather permitting) and a backdrop for forest conservation projects.

Ken and I founded Vermont Woods Studios fine furniture store almost nine years ago.  As a woodworker, Ken’s interest was in earning a living by promoting the tradition of high quality Vermont made wood furniture.  For me, the project was about forest conservation and my desire to help protect forest habitat and wildlife for future generations*.   Over the years it’s been a challenge managing this yin-yang pair of objectives but I think we’ve been able to maintain a pretty good balance.

Stonehurst Opens Up New Opportunities for Forest Conservation

This year we have a chance to bring a whole new dimension to our forest conservation mission through our newly acquired property at Stonehurst.  The farmhouse we purchased and renovated into a Vermont made furniture gallery sits on 100 wooded acres in the foothills of the Green Mountain National Forest.  In the past our environmental mission was largely fulfilled by donating to like-minded non-profits**, but now we can also also partner with them by providing forest habitat for various conservation projects.

Join Us!

Below are a few conservation activities we’re supporting for 2014:

  • Woodlands for Wildlife – Vermont Coverts educates landowners in sound forest management practices and the principles of stewardship for the enhancement of wildlife.  Ken and I are attending their 3-day seminar on forest and wildlife management this spring to learn how to improve wildlife habitat and provide better conditions for native deer, turkeys, moose, bear, birds, bob cats, chipmunks, squirrels and other species that may be living at Stonehurst.
  • MonarchWatch - When Kendall and Riley were in elementary school we used to capture monarch caterpillars, watch their metamorphosis and tag the butterflies before waving them off on their epic migration to Mexico every fall.  But for the past several years I haven’t seen even a single monarch.  So this year we’ll support Chip Taylor at MonarchWatch by planting butterfly gardens (including milkweed) and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Vermont Center for Eco Studies- VCE is a group of Vermont’s foremost conservation scientists who inspire citizen volunteers across Vermont and around the world.  We’ve been supporting them for years and are excited about being able to use Stonehurst as a place to gather data for their many programs including:
    • Vernal pool mapping
    • VT reptile and amphibian atlas
    • VT breeding bird survey
  • Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center – BEEC’s annual Salamander Soiree is this Saturday April 5th from 6-8:30pm in Brattleboro at the River Garden on Main Street.  We’ll be there to help recruit crossing guards for this year’s annual amphibian migration.

If you’re in our neighborhood and share similar interests, please stop by Stonehurst, give us a call or connect with us on Facebook.  Let us know what you’re working on and how we can help.  As the southern most corner of Vermont, Vernon can play a significant role in our state’s conservation efforts.  Let’s make it happen!

* We are losing the worlds forests at a rate of > 1 acre/second.  A major factor in deforestation is widespread illegal logging for timber that’s used to make cheap furniture sold by IKEA, Home Depot and other big-box stores.  Our goal at Vermont Woods Studios is to help raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and persuade people to buy sustainable furniture made from legally harvested wood.

** The non-profits we’ve supported include the World Wildlife Fund WWF, The Nature Conservancy TNC, Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center BEEC, Vermont Center for Ecostudies VCE and others working to conserve forests and wildlife.

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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Sustainable Eco Friendly Furniture

March 15th, 2014 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable Eco Friendly Furniture from Vermont

With yet another snowstorm on it’s way to Vermont, my mind is longing for Spring. How about you? Perhaps a few images of green grass and the birds and the bees (courtesy of Polyvore) will hurry things along?

In Vermont the seasons are still tied to production of wood furniture.  Winter provides the best opportunity for careful logging because frozen ground is less susceptible to damage.  And Spring begins a new cycle for forest stewardship planning– a process that ensures availability of wood for future generations.  At Vermont Woods Studios that process is led by Lynn Levine (our professional forester) who helps manage the 100 acre woodland that Stonehurst sits upon.  A woodland we’re using to help people understand where their furniture comes from:  trees that are sustainably harvested.

What is Sustainable, Eco Friendly Furniture?

Polywood all weather Adirondack chairs | Recycled plastic milk jugs

These eco friendly Polywood all weather Adirondack chairs are made of recycled plastic milk jugs.  Other marks of sustainability include green certifications, local responsibly harvested wood and use of non-toxic materials.

I just googled “sustainable eco friendly furniture” and came up with everything from IKEA (who was recently suspended from the Forest Stewardship Council FSC for illegally clear cutting 600 year old trees in Russia) to Pottery Barn (well known for  greenwashing campaigns like their eco chic collection). At Vermont Woods Studios  we’ve written a lot about sustainable furniture and how it’s defined.   Because we sell mainly wooden furniture we focus on responsible sourcing, green certification of wood, advantages of local and American made furniture, and the importance of recycled  and handmade furniture.  For examples of a wider variety of eco friendly furniture, check out the latest green furniture articles on Inhabitat.

Why Buy Sustainable Furniture?

“Every dollar you spend or don’t spend is a vote you cast for the world you want.” – L.N. Smith

A couple other reasons that come to mind include:

  • better health for your family (no exposure to the flammables, lead and toxic coatings that are often present in furniture)
  • less investment in furniture over the long run (sustainable furniture is built to last a lifetime so no replacements are necessary) and
  • support for local communities that produce sustainable furniture

Have some reasons of your own?  Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.

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Sustainable Furniture: Pay Attention To The Men Behind The Curtain

March 1st, 2014 by Kelsey Eaton

Pay attention to the men behind the curtain.

Vermont Forest

Photo via Huff Post

 

Sustainability is more than just a green product– to be truly sustainable, a company must ensure that their workers receive fair compensation for their considerable talent and are paid a living wage, in a safe and healthy work environment. This is something we’re passionate about at Vermont Woods Studios

Scattered across rural Vermont are workshops large and small where the tradition of crafting fine, solid wood furniture continues to be handed down from one generation to the next. These craftsmen are passionate about what they do, and continue to create heirloom quality designs knowing that they will be lasting treasures in someones home. They are passionate for creating a safe and healthy product for both the customer and the environment.

Many furniture companies have grown exponentially over the years, but we continue to strive to provide only the best hardwood furniture these gifted independent furniture makers from across Vermont have to offer. We want to continue to share their craft with the world, and bring our customers the best sustainable furniture options possible. Without solid relationships with our Vermont furniture makers, our mission wouldn’t be possible.

Our furniture makers workshops range in size from a single artisan to a couple dozen craftsmen to the larger companies (Copeland Furniture and Lyndon Furniture) that employ about 75-100 craftspeople each. Some sustainable furniture makers craft ultra luxury artisan custom furniture and each of their pieces is unique, made in a small studio, usually by a single artisan, with the occasional help of an apprentice or a family member. Other craftspeople produce more classic handcrafted wood furniture designs which they make routinely at affordable prices.

We are proud, and very fortunate to be able to work with such a talented and passionate group of people.

| 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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Love Wood Furniture? Learn 3 Ways to Save America’s Hardwoods

August 8th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Hardwood Furniture | Saving Our Maple Trees | Sustainable Forestry in Vermont

The little red dot in the middle of these hardwood trees, is Ken–  pruning the maples today.  Our mission at Stonehurst Fine Wood Furniture is founded on forest conservation.  We need your help in saving hardwood trees from an epidemic of infestations.

Hard wood furniture lovers, beware!  At this very moment, armies of invasive bugs and diseases are on the prowl, hunting down your favorite maple, oak, cherry, walnut and other backyard trees to turn them into food and bedding for their young.  Check out this article by Faith Campbell in the Nature Conservancy blog, “How to Save Countless Trees in 10 Minutes or Less“.

Asian Longhorn Beetle

Asian Longhorn Beetle | How to Identify it on Your Hardwood TreesFaith talks about the dreaded Asian Longhorn Beetle ALB, one of many non-native insects and diseases that have been brought to America accidentally by way of imported plants or in crates and pallets.  Vermont’s iconic maples, along with elms, ash, and oaks are a favorite home to these large, shiny, black and white beetles from Asia.

The entire Northern hardwood forest is at risk and if we can’t get people like you to help fight back,  48 million acres in the United States plus the majority of Canada’s hardwood forests could be destroyed.  Also at risk are shade trees along city streets and in backyards all across the country. The ALB could kill up to two thirds of urban trees if it becomes established!

 

 

3 Things You Can Do to Save Our Hardwoods

There are many ways you can help keep invasive killer bugs and diseases from destroying our hardwoods.  Here are some suggestions from VermontInvasives.org

  • Buy Local Firewood– Tree killing insects and diseases can lurk in firewood. Don’t move invasives to new areas on firewood
  • Educate yourself, your friends, your coworkers, and your family about how to look for invasive pests.  Here’s a look at the top invasives in Vermont and in other locales
  • Take photos and report anything you find to your state agricultural, natural resources, or forestry agency

By working together can we fight the killer bugs that threaten our forests, our food supplies, our waters and the thousands of jobs dependent on them.  You can help stop the spread and protect the natural resources you love.

 

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Global Tiger Day

July 29th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Global Tiger Day | Sustainable Forest Products Help Save Tigers

Tigers are running out of space and time with only 7% of their habitat remaining.  Your decisions about buying furniture flooring and even paper, coffee and other forest products can help save them.

July 29th is Global Tiger Day. Did you know there is a direct connection between tiger conservation and the furniture and flooring you buy for your home?  Companies like IKEA, Home Depot and WalMart sell wooden furniture and flooring that are often obtained through illegal logging in protected tiger habitats.  Much of the global timber trade is now managed by organized crime.  Sources, including George Mason University and The Washington Post are reporting that the global timber trade is the new heroin industry for organized crime.  Tiger habitats are being rapidly and systematically destroyed in Russia, China, Malaysia and elsewhere to provide the cheap, imported wooden furniture and flooring that’s sold in America’s big box stores.

As a result, some scientists predict that the last remaining 3200 wild tigers (down from 100,000 just a century ago) will be entirely extinct in 5 years.

Is There Any Way to Save the Tiger?

As an apex predator, the tiger is one of the most important animals in all of human history.  If you love tigers, have a look at the World Wildlife Fund’s initiative to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.  You can support the effort by purchasing sustainable products.  At Vermont Woods Studios, we promote American made furniture as it is almost always made with North American wood, harvested from well managed forests.  We’re using our new Stonehurst fine furniture and art gallery to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and persuade people to purchase furniture and flooring made from sustainably harvested wood.

For more information on tiger conservation, check out this preview of Siberian Tiger Quest, currently airing on PBS Nature and hop over to Facebook to like WWF’s Tiger page.

Tigers are running out of space and time with only 7% of their habitat remaining but your decisions about buying furniture flooring and even paper, coffee and other forest products can help save them.  It’s not too late!  Please like our Tiger conservation initiative on Facebook and share this post with your friends.  Thanks!

 

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Wooden Furniture and Rainforest Conservation

January 4th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Saving the Rainforest | Sustainable Wooden Furniture and Flooring | What's the Connection?

Global rainforest destruction continues to proceed at a rate of > 1 acre per second.  60 seconds every minute.  60 minutes every hour, 24/7/365.  It’s the greatest extinction in the history of the earth.  Once the rainforest is gone, it’s gone forever.  It doesn’t regenerate like our northern temperate forests.  Interested in conserving the rainforest and preserving the iconic species who’ve lived there for millions of years?  Learn how your choices for furniture, flooring and other forest products can help.

Where Does Your Wooden Furniture Come From?

Ever wonder where your wooden furniture comes from?  Seven years ago I founded Vermont Woods Studios because I didn’t like the answer to that question.  And the answer is:  if you didn’t  purchase American made furniture, yours may well have originated in a beautiful tropical rainforest that was being plundered by illegal logging activities.

One Acre of Rainforest Disappears Every Second

I spent the first few years at Vermont Woods Studios trying to raise awareness about rainforest devastation and how it’s driven by the wood furniture and flooring industries.  Did you know that the rainforest is disappearing at the rate of >1 acre per second?  It sounds unbelievable and sensationalist, doesn’t it?  I mean that’s over 4000 football fields every hour of every 24 hour day, 365 days/year.  But it’s true and that fact is why we continue to work so hard to offer sustainable, locally made furniture at this Vermont furniture store.

You and I Have the Power to Save the Rainforest

Consumers of wood furniture, flooring and other forest products are the key to saving the rainforest.  If you’re taking the trouble to learn about sustainable wooden furniture and how you as a consumer can be part of the global solution, we want to help.  I’ll be writing a series of blogs over the next few months to provide some background information regarding the past, present and future of the rainforest and how we consumers can do our part to save it.  Have any rainforest references or stories you’d like to share?  Use the comment section below or join the conversation on our Facebook.

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Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh

Happy New Year from Vermont Woods Studios

Happy New Year from Vermont Woods Studios!  This photo is of the back yard at Stonehurst, our new property on Hucklehill Road in Vernon, VT.  From the 1940s-1960s the property was host to Pine Top a popular ski area run by Elsie and Romey Racine.  In 2013 Stonehurst will re-open as a nature center and showroom for sustainable Vermont made furniture.

Happy 2013!  We hope this year brings you all the best of good health, happiness and success.  And we hope you’ll come share some of that with us in our new home at Stonehurst in Vernon, Vermont.  2013 will be a year of renovations at this 200 year old Vermont farmhouse as we work with J Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction to transform the property into a fine furniture showroom and nature center.

Our goal this year is to provide the destination shopping experience our customers (from Boston, New York and beyond) have been longing for.  Stonehurst will become a place where eco-conscious homeowners can experience all aspects of Vermont handcrafted furniture, including the natural forests where it originates.

Check our blog and Facebook now and then as 2013 unfolds a new life for this iconic Vermont property.  We’re planning to complete construction by June, just in time for a mid-summer Grand Opening.  In the meantime, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by with your toboggan this winter.  We’ve got about a foot of snow now with more in the forecast.  Either way, don’t let 2013 go by without a trip to Vermont!

Happy New Year

From all your friends at Vermont Woods Studios

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Vermont’s Green Building Conference 2012: Worth The Trip to Burlington

February 4th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Vermont-green-homeThere's still time to register for the best Green Build conference in Vermont, Better Buildings by Design, to be held at the Sheraton Conference Center in Burlington VT on Feb 8-9, 2012. 

At Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture much of our work is with green architects, builders and home owners as they approach the final stages of their construction projects.  We're always excited to see our natural, eco-friendly furniture installed in green homes that reflect the same environmental passions we've built our business on.

 

If you're thinking of building or renovating, you're sure to enjoy (and learn a lot at) this convivial gathering of green designers, builders, vendors, realtors and consultants.  Here's 3 reasons why:

  1. This is the Northeast's premier sustainable design and construction conference, featuring interactive learning about building, durability, efficiency, and value.  It hosts over 1000 attendees, 35 workshops and 50 exhibitors.
  2. If you're planning on building or retrofitting a green home or business in Vermont this is the best place to find out who's who in the zoo of local regional green home builders, service providers and consultants in the areas of thermal imaging, heat pumps, thermal biomass, performance monitoring, hydrothermal modeling, whole house monitoring, high performance hot water systems, solid state lighting or LEDs, deep energy retrofits, energy codes and more.
  3. Here you can find the best scoop on Self-Reliance, the 100% solar-powered home that took fourth place in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The Middlebury College green team of college students and faculty will explain how they looked to the past to reinvent the residential building of Vermont’s future, discussing everything from sustainable materials and modern technology to the economic realities of building a solar home.
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Meet The Green Team: Vermont’s Sustainable Furniture Experts

November 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Vermont-furniture-staffWe finally managed to get everybody on our staff together for a photo in our office-showroom at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture.  Well, most of us anyway.  The student interns (aka our children) were all attending high school and college at the time.  But tthey are an important part of our success so hopefully we'll be able to take another snapshot during Christmas vacation and update you then.  For now, your Sustainable Furniture Team consists of:

First row from left:  Rebecca, Peggy, Manjula, Shannon

Second row from left:  Douglas, Ken, Dennis

We'd like to thank Carey Earle, Chief Idea Farmer at Green Apple Marketing for her help and creativity in penning our new About Us page.  For the most part, everything she wrote is really true ;)

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Natural, Eco Friendly, Organic Furniture and Global Warming

November 4th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Our customers usually come to Vermont Woods Studios with a pretty clear understanding of the benefits of natural, organic, eco-friendly furniture.  They're looking to help protect the environment.  They want to know that the wood used in their furniture has been sustainably harvested from forests that are going to be healthy and intact for many more generations.  Customers are also looking to protect their families from toxic substances in furniture finishes that could off-gas and cause respiratory problems.

But did you know that choosing natural, eco-furniture also reduces your carbon footprint and helps reduce global warming?  It's true. Scientists attribute about 20% of global warming to deforestation, particularly that of tropical rainforests, such as the Amazon.

If you're buying imported wood furniture, chances are it was made from illegally harvested wood that was clear cut from the rainforest.  Because there is such widespread counterfeiting of logging documents, consumers are often unwittingly contributing to global warming and the eventual loss of iconic tree species such as mahogany and teak when purchasing imported furniture. 

 

Natural-eco-furnitureVermont Woods Studios uses only sustainably harvested American wood in the crafting of our furniture.  Much of it comes from our own Green Mountain Forest.  We support the Forest Stewardship Council, the Nature Conservancy and other non-profits working to preserve the rainforest and stop global warming.  When you purchase organic wood furniture from our store you can rest assured that both your furniture and the forest from where it originates will be around for generations to come.

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