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 ;)

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.

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.

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.

Middlebury-solar-decathalon-results The 2011 Solar Decathalon final judging results are in and Vermont's own Middlebury College Team came in Fourth overall in a world-class line up of contestants. 

Congratulations from all of us at Vermont Woods Studios!

The team cam in FIRST place in the areas of Communications, Home Entertainment, and Market Appeal.  Learn more about the brilliant, hardworking students who made it happen.

The sustainable, energy-efficient home Middlebury students designed and built was filled with Vermont made furniture and accessories, including the Cherry Moon Dovetail Bed we donated.  Great job guys!

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.

Sustainable-furniture By Guest Blogger:  Erik Braunitzer
 
Furniture makers like Vermont Woods Studios Furniture are doing their part to improve their carbon footprint. Extensive documentation on their website or even a quick phone conversation with Rebecca or Shannon puts families at ease knowing the company is serious about their environmental, health and safety mission

But simply seeing furniture in a store with a green stamp of certification label isn't always helpful when you're not familiar with the background of the stamp. So it’s important that we realize just how green furniture is made, along with the environmentally friendly materials that are used.
 
Furniture companies using wood and recycled materials generally have the smallest carbon footprint.  Other materials would include concrete, plastic, aluminum, brick, glass, fiberglass and more. Now it’s been said that there isn’t one individual item or sustainable material, but a handful that share sustainable characteristics, including recyclables.
 
Furniture can also include the following:
 
·      Paint

·      Paint Strippers

·      Stain

·      Particle Board

 
Many of these substances are classified as volatile chemicals. Furniture made with these volatile chemicals can result in offgassing, which is evaporation at normal atmospheric pressure. Offgassing can be reduced or eliminated altogether by using stains, finishes or paints that are non toxic such as those made by Vermont Natural Coatings and AFM Safecoat.
 
Transportation is another part of the carbon footprint for furniture, as wood and other materials have to be extracted from the environment, shipped to distributors, transported to furniture makers, then sent off to the retail store and customers. The sustainability of a particular piece of furniture is dependent upon a couple of factors including:
 
·      Durability–   The longer the piece of furniture, the more sustainable it becomes.

·      How it’s useful–   Multifunctional furniture saves money and yields greater sustainability.

Learning where to buy this type of furniture can be quite a daunting task, as it’s not always portrayed clearly exactly what materials are used, and the percentage of each. In order to fully lead a responsible lifestyle, we should understand just how to look for green furniture. Here are a few tips:
 
Look for Sustainably Harvested Wood – Translates to the sustainability of ecosystems and natural forests.

Avoid Tropical Woods Like Mahogany and Teak -  these woods are often illegally clearcut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.

Ensure FSC Certification – for tropical woods, if no substitution can be made

Reclaimed Wood Furniture (RWF) – More or less, RWF is a recycled piece of furniture.
 
Non-Toxic Finishes – Keep your air clean and help protect your children from health issues.
 
Buy locally – Locally purchased items are always more sustainable as transportation costs are cut.
 
Clearly, Furniture making using sustainable materials is very important to the health of the overall environment. Similarly, it reduces waste and influences the vintage market. By following a few simple rules and clearly understanding how green furniture is made, you can make a difference in improving your carbon footprint. Next time you’re in the market for a table or chair, be sure to inquire about sustainable practices before purchasing.
 
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, New York Luxury Rentals.

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.

Tiger-conservation I'm trying not to feel too wounded.  We got a call from World Wildlife Fund WWF today.  I've been a contributing member and ardent promoter of their work since I graduated from college and got my first full time job in 1980.  After 31 years of enthusiastic support, they called me today to tell me that I'm not allowed to mention their name on my Vermont Woods Studios Furniture website anymore.

See… we recently launched a Save the Tiger campaign to raise awareness of the fact that all species of tigers are endangered and some are on the brink of extinction.  Their habitat is being destroyed and to some extent it's because corrupt timber conglomerates are clear-cutting the forests they live in and using the wood for cheap imported furniture and flooring that's sold in the US and Europe.  We oppose that and so does WWF.  We support their Save the Tiger fund and we encourage furniture shoppers to buy American furniture made from sustainably harvested American wood.

Well I guess they don't like their name being connected to a commercial venture.  I understand their concern about the fact that there are dirt ball websites out there that might use their name dishonestly, but really.  I asked WWF to spend 5 minutes on our website and tell me we're one of those guys.  They agreed that our committment to conservation seems genuine but then noted that in order to be considered WWF partners and refer to them on your website, a minimum "6 figure donation" is required annually along with a long list of other things.  Actually, I think we would be OK with the other requirements but $100,000 is equal to 1/6 of our total revenue (not profits) last year.  So now I have to face the fact that I've been summarily rejected by my all time favorite charity– an organization that had a profound influence on the whole concept defining Vermont Woods Studios Furniture.  How sad is that?

I'm going to finish crying in my beer tonight.  Tomorrow I'll be over it and moved on to other issues.  But tonight I can't help feeling a bit jaded about WWF and their corporate partnership program.  What do you think?

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.