December 16th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Heather Barrett (left) and Loryn Dion, the women behind Vermont’s Green Furniture Blog are showing off their Secret Santa gifts, received at our Made in America Christmas Party. Heather has a Tervis tumbler and a Kringle candle. Loryn has a set of handmade ceramic coasters designed and created by Heather.
Who Writes Vermont’s Green Furniture Blog?
There’s a lot of creative energy at Vermont Woods Studios these days and happily we have a number of talented writers who are willing to share our daily goings on through this green furniture blog. Pictured above are Heather Barrett (left) of Brattleboro VT and Loryn Dion (right) of Northfield MA who work long and hard on many aspects of our Vermont furniture store, including keeping you up to date on the latest office shenanigans.
Holiday Hot Topic: Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge
The photo above was taken Friday at our “Made in America” Secret Santa party where each of us gave and received American made Christmas gifts. It’s part of our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge (we figure with Americans spending about $586 Billion this holiday season, if all of those gifts were made in America it could generate 5.8 million jobs. OK we know that not every gift can or should be made in America, but still shopping “American made” can create a lot of jobs).
Not Just Red, White and Blue– Green Too!
Anyway, if you want to follow these two creative writers you’ll find their contributions right here every week. Besides keeping us up to date on American made Christmas gift ideas, Heather tends to blog about green furniture, Vermont Travel and all things adventurous and exciting in the Green Mountain state. Loryn’s been keeping her focus on Green decor and interior design but you never know what kind of provocative topics she might wander off into.
To stay in touch with Heather and Loryn, subscribe to this blog on the top right or join their conversations on Facebook. And keep a look out for insider secrets from their newly recruited accomplice, Liz Francese who’ll be taking you on occasional trips behind the veil at Vermont Woods Studios Sales and Customer Service. More about Liz coming soon!
October 18th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun when this customer sent us a nice note about how her Shaker furniture was delivered so professionally by our shippers. Clark and Reid is an award-winning executive moving company that also ships fine furniture for Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Vermont Woods Studios. We include this service in the base price of our furniture (Free Shipping).
Last week we received an enthusiastic email from a family in California thanking us for the great job our moving company (Clark and Reid) did with the delivery of their Vermont made Shaker bedroom set:
“I wanted to let you know what a wonderful experience I had with your movers. I had one of your beds shipped to my vacation home in the Sierras. Because the road is very steep and winding, Clark and Reid needed to bring the bed in a special shuttle, the cost of which they covered. Also, I wasn’t able to be present at the house at the time a driver was available to make the delivery, and was able to arrange to have a concierge service meet the driver and let him into the house to assemble the bed. Clark and Reid offered to reimburse me for the cost of the service (up to $75).
I was told by the concierge that the driver was very professional and efficient. He arrived on time and handled all the details of moving and assembly. It was a pleasure to purchase furniture from you and to work with such an excellent shipper. Thank you so much! Best Regards, Debbie D
We love hearing your Vermont made furniture stories and reviews, whether they’re about the delivery experience or the good times you share around the dining table with family and friends. Keep ‘em coming! You’re helping us make our systems better. In this case, the comments went to straight to Clark and Reid where the driver and his manager reviewed them together (maybe someone will even get a well-deserved raise). Other comments have helped us improve the quality of our Shaker furniture and the logistics needed to get it from the forest to your living room.
So help us Movers and Shakers by sending in feedback about your new Vermont handmade furniture. Use the comments section below, email us or connect using our Facebook. Thanks in advance for your feedback!
September 24th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Many thanks to the tree service professionals at Turner and Renaud in Dummerston, Vermont. They worked all day surgically removing this black locust tree that we hope to transform into an ADA accessible ramp into the new Vermont Woods Studios
It was pretty misty this morning so I'm not sure if you can see the arborist in the top of this Black Locust tree. But he's there, suspended from a 100' tall crane boom that stretched over the Stonehurst building and into the back yard where you see the locust tree being carefully dismantled.
We are sending our thanks to the tree service professionals at Turner and Renaud in Dummerston, Vermont. Three certified arborists came to Stonehurst today to remove a couple huge trees that were leaning over the building. It was amazing (and terrifying) to watch them work.
I was surprised and pleased to learn that each person working in Turner and Renaud's tree care business is a certified Arborist. Certification is an impressive recognition of their professional knowledge by the International Society of Arboriculture.
I'm going to miss the beautiful trees they took down today but I'm eager to see what our creative friend Vince Johnson of Johnson Custom Milling will be able to transform the wood into.
Since Black Locust is one of the most rot-resistant woods in the Northern Forest, we're thinking it's best use might be for the ADA accessibility ramp into the new Vermont Woods Studios showroom. Stay tuned for photos of the complete transformation.
September 22nd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Finding the Best Value in Solid Wood Bedroom Furniture
Handmade, real solid wood bedroom sets are a significant investment so if you’re shopping for one, you’re no doubt looking for the best overall value in terms of quality and price. Comparison shopping is hard work. It takes days, weeks and even (for many of our customers) months to research all the design and style choices for fine hardwood bedroom furniture sets.
And the price comparisons can really get tricky. Pricing can initially look like it’s all over the place but once you start to narrow down the level of quality you want you begin to see that, with high end, American made furniture, the pricing falls into a very narrow range. That’s because there’s just not a lot of room for mark-up. Handcrafting fine wood furniture takes extraordinary amounts of time to create and when that work is done here in America (which is probably important to if you made it to our blog) it needs to be compensated with a livable wage.
So when it comes to offering the best value for American made fine furniture, retailers like us (Vermont Woods Studios) have the greatest opportunity to save you money by being smart about the way we ship furniture (it turns out that shipping 3 or more pieces of furniture isn’t much more expensive than shipping one) and do our administrative work. With our solid wood bedroom furniture sets we’ve focused on both and are able to discount these sets a full 20%.
Just so you know, this is the best price and lowest discount we’re able to offer at anytime, all year long. While others might mark up to mark down by 70% or so routinely, we do not. Our prices accurately reflect the cost of creating your furniture and getting it to you safely via the best fine furniture shipping specialist in the country. So check out our solid wood bedroom sets today and let us know what you think on Facebook. To find out what others are saying, check out our testimonials page and the Customer Review section of our blog.
September 10th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Lyndon's craftspeople are committed to preserving the heritage of American furniture
making by combining the best of old world construction techniques and new world precision.
Lyndon Furniture has been crafting beautiful fine furniture from real, solid hardwoods for over 30 years and it's become one of our "best value" lines at Vermont Woods Studios. Customers looking for honest, hand crafted furniture that's made of all real, solid wood (without veneers) are drawn to Lyndon.
Their craftspeople are committed to preserving the heritage of American furniture making by combining the best of old world construction techniques and new world precision. What they achieve is an authentic product that's stylish, affordable and designed to last a lifetime.
Lyndon works with local and regional hardwoods, primarily cherrywood, maple, walnut and oak. In addition to making their tables, chairs and beds with all solid wood, Lyndon also constructs their case goods (china cabinets, bookcases, dressers, chests, nightstands and armoires) with solid wood, whereas most manufacturers use veneers on case sides. The only place you'll find veneer on Lyndon pieces is on the backs of case goods and bottoms of drawers– that's to provide for wood movement during changing humidity.
If all solid wood construction is important to you when shopping for handmade furniture, check out Lyndon Furniture on our website. We carry the full line of their products, including customizations and complete custom design. We welcome your questions and specialty orders.
September 1st, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Manjula's daughter Mugdha taking over at Douglas' desk while he was out to lunch.
We've been very lucky at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture to have six fabulous summer interns this year. Douglas's three teens: Trenton, Tristan and Taegen, Manjula's daughter Mugdha, my neighbor Angela and of course Kendall who's been working in our business since he was 12 (Manjula says we have to stop calling him an intern at this point and promote him. I don't know…what do you think?).
The kids give us a hand completing important projects that help us run more efficiently. They get great experience learning how a small business works and we get top notch work at a discount price!
Here are a few snapshots I was able to sneak in over the summer as these hard-workers helped us grow our sales and further our green mission. We're sending them our sincere thanks for a job well done.
And best wishes for a fun and successful year at school!
Douglas' kids: Trenton, Taegen and Tristan Fletcher have been helping us build our small business for several years now. They help us with everything from data entry to video production to research and strategy. Thanks guys!
Kendall was my first believer. He started helping me develop our initial primitive website back in 2006 and has been working with great determination to continuously improve it ever since.
Angela is a neighbor and a friend who came to help us out in a pinch this summer. She inspires me with her impressive achievements in college and her cheerful attitude.
August 26th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Customers often come to us because they're shopping for eco-friendly, sustainable furniture. At Vermont Woods Studios, our mission is founded on environmental and social responsibility so we find ourselves discussing FSC certification and other aspects of sustainable furniture almost every day. Here are some of the basics on FSC:
What is FSC?
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent,
non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that promotes responsible
management of the world's forests. It is widely regarded as one of the
most important initiatives to promote responsible forest management
worldwide. It places a special emphasis on rainforest conservation.
L to R photo credits: Reststart Forestry, Allard Lumber, Wayne Fawbush, Ellen Kahler, Copeland Furniture, via the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.
by environmental groups in 1993 FSC manages an international standard
for well-managed forests and a process for tracking and certifying wood
furniture, flooring and other products derived from those forests. FSC
addresses numerous aspects of sustainable forestry, including ecological
issues, old-growth forests, plantations, restoration, biodiversity,
native habitat, indigenous people's rights, and sound management for
The FSC label provides certification of the
chain of links between the forest where a product originates and the
consumer. For example with wood furniture, each of the following
businesses involved in transforming a tree into a piece of furniture
would have to be FSC certified in order for that furniture piece to be
FSC certified. It's called the "chain of custody":
- Certified forest owner- Must employ a professional forester and
develop a forest management plan which meets stringent ecological and
- Certified logger and sawyer
- Certified lumber wholesaler
- Certified lumber retailer
- Certified furniture maker
- Certified furniture retailer
Benefits of FSC Certification
In my opinion, FSC provides the most rigorous certification process
available. It's widely considered the gold standard in sustainable
forestry and has moved the world forward in many areas of rainforest
Copeland's Harbor Island Furniture collection is handmade here in VT with FSC certified maple wood from local Vermont trees.
Challenges for FSC As you might expect FSC
certification involves extensive rule-making and auditing that can be
quite expensive (and controversial) to implement. It can add up to 50% to the price of the
end product although the hope is that this cost will decrease as FSC
certification becomes more mainstream. Still many small manufacturers
are unable to assume this cost and are thus not FSC certified.
challenge for FSC is the rampant counterfeiting of FSC documentation
accompanying raw lumber that is being illegally clear cut from the
Amazon and other endangered areas of rainforest. Also FSC has been
criticized for being too lenient,
particularly with their policy allowing limited old growth logging.
Should You Buy Only FSC Certified Furniture?
Authentic FSC certified furniture is a responsible choice for the
eco-conscious homeowner. However there are many genuinely responsible,
green, eco-friendly furniture makers who are not FSC certified due to
the red tape and expense involved. Conversely there is a large market of fake, FSC
labeled furniture that comes to us through layers of corruption
In Vermont, many of us who were certified by FSC for years have been moving away from it lately. Not because we don't support the ideal, but because we have so many other systems in place that effectively ensure our furniture is authentically green and sustainable. At Vermont Woods Studios not all of our furniture is FSC certified, but it is all made from sustainably harvested wood from local and regional forests.
If FSC certification is important to you, check out Copeland's Harbor Island Furniture collection. It's handmade here in VT with FSC certified maple from local Vermont trees. And let us know on our Facebook or in the comments section below how you feel about FSC certification.
August 25th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Cased in wood, the I Am Eco PC is the world's most eco-friendly computer.
As forest-lovers and wood furniture makers we couldn't help notice "I Am Eco", the new environmentally friendly PC by the Irish company, MicroPro Computers.
Leave it to the Irish (I AM O'NEIL, by the way) to create a PC made of wood! At first I figured the idea was dreamed up and photoshopped late at night in a pub but then I realized it's all true.
IAMECO is the world's most environmentally friendly PC that's wholly sustainable, with a carbon footprint 70% less than conventional computers. IAMECO is built with 100% recyclable materials and uses LED lighting that's 40% more energy efficient than it's predecessors.
No fans are used for cooling, rather heat sinks are employed with the bonus of eliminating noise. IAMECO is a touchscreen PC, and certainly seems to be unprecedented in terms of eco-friendliness.
Maybe I can convince Douglas to buy one for our new showroom? We'll see… cost, memory, speed and other specs haven't been released yet but I plan to keep an eye on that. I AM ECO will be available in September.
August 21st, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Learn how to create these Chocolate Indulgence Cakes at The King Arthur Baking School in Norwich, VT.
I've been researching Vermont's flagship stores as we get closer to the possibility of opening up one of our own at Vermont Woods Studios.
A few weeks ago Kendall and I drove up to see the brand new King Arthur Flour campus in Norwich, Vermont, just north of (White River Junction). It's a gorgeous facility with hundreds of baking ingredients, gadgets & classes, a cafe & deli and a baking education center where you can attend classes to become the best baker in your network.
But the best part of the new store is the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread that greets you when you enter.
Bake like a professional pastry chef! The new Baking Education Center "welcomes all bakers, no matter your skill level or baking interest. Classes range from introductory demonstrations to intensive week-long courses for the professional, along with hands-on classes for both adults and children."
If you love baking and you're traveling through central Vermont, I should think King Arthur would be a must-see. Try to visit on a nice day and you'll be able to enjoy lunch with freshly baked croissants (and cakes, breads, chiffons, mousse…) in a splendid courtyard in the middle of the campus.