Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

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Zen Furniture: Simple, Serene, Organic, Sustainable

April 30th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

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A customer who purchased this Copeland Astrid bed last week told me she found Vermont Woods Studios Furniture after searching online for "Zen furniture". 

 

Well, I'm no expert on Zen but I can see where the simple, organic forms of Copeland's Astrid Furniture Collection would appeal to someone looking to introduce an element of serenity into their home.

 

 

Astrid features pure, simple, minimalist style.  It's designed to "create an oasis of quiet harmony for the modern urban bedroom".   I guess that is rather zen-like.  The fact that Astrid furniture is handmade right here in Vermont from local, sustainably harvested wood was an important part of Corey's decision too.

 

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Copeland's minimalist mid-century modern Astrid furniture has a certain "Zen" quality to it.

 

And speaking of Zen, I love Copeland's new dining room furniture too.  These minimalist, mid century walnut seats are Copeland's Catalina Estelle chairs.   I think they might have some Zen qualities.

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Vermont’s Organic Furniture

March 7th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

 

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Speaking of organic, did you know that Vermont is also famous for it's organic furniture?  Last count there were some 2000 small wood furniture makers scattered across Vermont.  Although the styles and methods of craftsmanship are quite varied, these furniture makers have in common a deep respect for the forest where their wood furniture originates.

 

I haven't been able to find a definition for organic furniture yet but I do think Vermont would logically be the place to start.  Vermont woodworkers have a long history of sustainable woodworking, sourcing their wood from our local forests abundant in native hardwoods like maple, oak, ash, cherry and birch.  And we avoid the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in Vermont's sustainable forests, relying instead on Mother Nature to regenerate after careful selective harvesting.

When it comes to applying a finish to Vermont's furniture, you'll be hard-pressed to find harsh chemicals with high levels of VOCs or formaldehyde.  Instead furniture makers use natural linseed oil finishes, clear non-toxic lacquers and even a natural coating made from whey (a recycled byproduct of our dairy industry).

Yesterday I wrote about organic food in terms of where it comes from and how it's grown.  The organic food movement has been around for over a century but has picked up more steam in the last 20 years as people become more aware of where their food comes from.  I think the next step for the organic movement is into the world of organic furniture.  And Vermont will lead the way.

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Planting Trees Makes Vermont Furniture More Sustainable

February 15th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

 

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Naturally, as wood furniture makers, we at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture have to be concerned about forest conservation.  It's the foundation of our company's viability.

Although our Green Mountain Forests in Vermont are healthy and sustainable we know that, from a global perspective deforestation is the Number 1 environmental problem on our planet today.  Deforestation is a huge contributor to global warming, climate change, air pollution (carbon and other emissions from slash and burn practices), habitat loss, biodiversity loss, pollution of marine habitats (due to run-off from pesticides and fertilizers used to transform diverse forests into mono-cultured plantations) and more.

So at Vermont Woods Studios, we are working with The Nature Conservancy in support of their Plant A Billion Trees project.  We plant one tree for every order we fulfill and we support many non-profits dedicated to forest conservation.

We appreciate your concern for the environment.  When you buy wood furniture from us, you can rest assured that the forest where your furniture began it's life, will still be around for generations to come.  As will your furniture!

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Vermont Furniture Featured in The Burlington Free Press Today

January 26th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Vermont-furnitureCheck out Stephen Mills' article about Vermont furniture in the Burlington Free Press today.  It's really encouraging to get this kind of exposure from Vermont's largest newspaper. 

 

Stephen focused on a lot of the concepts we've been developing and promoting right here at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture, including the fact that Vermont truly is the Fine Furniture Capital of America and that Vermont furniture makers are the go to guys for authentically green, sustainable wood furniture.

Good job, Stephen!  Thanks for spreading the good word.

 

Download Burlington Free-press-article.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fine Wood Furniture, Sustainability and Rainforest Conservation

January 6th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable-furnitureKendall posted a new webpage the other day on the link between your furniture, rainforest conservation and a greener, more sustainable world. It's why we do what we do at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Wood Furniture.

 

Sometimes I feel like a nutcase– living in Vermont and talking about rainforest conservation all the time.  But I can't help it.  It's one of the Top 3 environmental problems of our time, yet few people seem to know about it.

 

Check out these rainforest facts and let me know if you too see this as a matter of great urgency.

 

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  1. 1.5 acres of rainforest are lost every second (that equates to 50 million acres a year: an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined)

  2. 54 of the world's 193 countries have lost 90 percent or more of their forest cover. Rainforests that once covered 14% of the earth's land surface now cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
  3. Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next 25 years due to rainforest deforestation.
  4. We are losing approximately 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year.
  5. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  6. Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations
  7. There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
  8. In Brazil alone, European colonists have destroyed more than 90 indigenous tribes since the 1900's. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing.
  9. In Indonesia, the current aggressive rate of logging could eradicate native forests within only 10 years. Unlike our temperate forests in Vermont for example, rainforests do not regenerate after they are destroyed. Once gone, they are gone forever and along with them the wonderful diversity of plants and wildlife that inhabit them.

If you've managed to read this far, you rock! Leave a comment below or check in with us now and then on Facebook to see what we're doing to to help replant the rainforest with our Plant a Billion Trees project.  Join us and together we can make a difference!

 

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Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC): Happy 5th Birthday!

October 23rd, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Gerry-cooklin-susan-inglisI remember travelling from Vermont to High Point, North Carolina exactly 5 years ago to meet with Gerry Cooklin of South Cone Furniture, Susan Inglis of "From The Mountain" (who is now the Executive Director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, SFC) and a handful of visionaries.  Our mission was to promote forest conservation in the furniture industry.  That was Year 1 for Vermont Woods Studios Sustainable Furniture and the trip was instrumental in charting a course for our company.

 

 

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I had read alot about Gerry and Susan before I attended the meeting.  To me they were larger than life– and they still are.  Five years ago though, they were the first in the industry to talk about the fact that Americans were unwittingly contributing to the decimation of endangered species of the forest (including all the big cats and great apes) by purchasing cheap imported furniture made from timber that was being clear cut from the worlds rainforests.  Their pitch was for the formation of a furniture industry group that would promote healthy, sustainable practices particularly with regard to the use of responsibly harvested wood. 

Since that meeting 5 years ago, Susan and Gerry have been successful in recruiting some 400 companies to join the SFC.  There is much work left to be done, but these two champions of the forest are inspirational leaders in the green furniture movement and we are grateful for their relentless pursuit of sustainability in our industry.

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Eco Friendly Organic Furniture: Why North American Hardwood Is The Best Raw Material

August 5th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Eco-furniture-hardwood What's the most organic, eco-friendly raw material for furniture?  I guess there are different opinions on this but you have to admit that wood is naturally green.  It's sustainable, biodegradable and renewable.

The National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) puts out a brochure periodically that reports statistics for the American hardwood industry.  Are we harvesting our hardwoods sustainably in the USA? 

According to NHLA the hardwood inventory in the USA has grown by 98% during the past 5 decades.  I'd say that's pretty sustainable.

Here's another cool fact NHLA cites: Wood represents 47 percent of all raw materials used in the United States but the energy used to produce wood products (including furniture) accounts for just 4 percent of the energy used to make all manufactured materials.  Wow!  It makes sense though when you consider all the hard-core industrial processing that's required to make a piece of metal or plastic furniture, right?

At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we specialize in organic, eco-friendly solid hardwood furniture that's made from local and regionally harvested wood.  To help keep our forests healthy and sustainable, we're excited to be supporting the Vermont Council on Rural Development and their ambitious Vermont Working Landscape Partnership Program as part of our forest conservation mission

I just have to throw in one last random but amazing reason why wood is the greenest raw material for furniture-making:  the EPA estimates that each year our American forests remove the greenhouse gases emitted by 139,000,000 cars!  You gotta love wood.

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Saving Vermont’s Working Landscape: Keeping Our Farm and Forest Economy Vital

July 31st, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Vermont-working-landscape Vermont is struggling to maintain its rural character.  You probably see this if you live in Vermont or vacation here.  Fifty years ago, 50% our state's land was in farms.  Today that number is only 20%– our farmland has dropped by almost 60% since 1960!

While agricultural lands are disappearing we are also seeing a decline in our forest products business.  Conversly, the amount of developed land in our state is growing rapidly (it increased 42% between 1982 and 2003).

At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we're committed to helping steward our state's rural, agricultural and forested character.  Like so many other sustainable Vermont businesses, our future depends on it.  We applaud the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) and their efforts to maintain Vermont's natural beauty and rural character. We've joined their Vermont Working Landscape Partnership and are asking you to sign up too.  It only takes a minute to sign on to the partnership and there's no obligation or fee.  Add your voice and help shape the campaign for Vermont's Working Landscape!

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Vermont Style Furniture: From the Forest to Your Bedroom

May 14th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

VT-Style-Furniture 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.

 

Sustainable forestry is a founding principle here and a major part of our mission.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer-in-forestOur 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.

 

 

 

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Our American Made Furniture Collection Featured on SustainableWoods.com

November 1st, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Our solid wood American Modern Furniture Collection is featured on the front page of Sustainable Woods. Thanks, Nora!

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