This coffee table with reclaimed wood top and steel legs is protected from any overheating of the glass candle jar with a slate coaster. Both the table and the coasters are available for purchase in our showroom!

We in southern Vermont are very lucky in that we live very close to several popular candle makers. Half an hour away is the Yankee Candle flagship store in S. Deerfield, MA and in less than fifteen minutes you can get to Kringle Candle in Bernardston, MA. Vermont is full of smaller artisan candle makers. Wilmington Candle Company makes soy based candles and Vermont Honey Lights specializes in beeswax candles.

You can find candles in bright colors or bright white, tiny tea lights to massive multi-wicks. They are used for aromatherapy or setting a mood, come with subtle scents of botanicals, bold tones of aftershave, your favorite foods or no scent at all. The best part of all is that they’re made right here in New England. And you can’t beat candles for an affordable, Made In America holiday gift perfect for teachers or as hostess gifts.

While candles are very popular, they can also be very dangerous. No matter what sort of candle you like, there are certain rules you should always follow when burning:

  • Always trim the wick to a height of approximately ¼” – make sure to remove any of the wick debris from the wax pool. Trimming helps keep it from flickering and smoking, which can cause soot buildup on the container
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended
  • Make sure the candle is sitting on an even surface that won’t be damaged if the container should get too hot – we’d hate to see your beautiful Vermont made hardwood furniture marred!
  • Keep away from any flammable objects
  • Keep out of reach of pets and children

For a full list of tips, visit the National Candle Association web site.

Here’s one more tip: If your candle is nearing the bottom of its container and you don’t want to throw the container away, simply place it in your freezer for about 20 minutes, take it out and shake out the leftover wax. This only works if the sides of the container are straight, not contoured. Now you can reuse it!

A candle reflects serenely in this beautiful stained glass window — one of the many features that make Vermont Woods Studios such a unique shopping experience.

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.

Wood Furniture | Top Style Trends | American Made in Vermont | Cherry, Maple, Walnut, Oak
Some examples of hardwood furniture style trends in 2013:  from left, a Shaker Library Desk handcrafted of solid walnut hardwood, the Contemporary Cable Bedroom Collection crafted with solid cherry hardwood and stainless steel cable accents, the Vermont Shaker Custom Oval Dining Table in black cherry wood and the Cherry Moon Large TV and Media Console in black cherry with walnut accents.

Hardwood furniture is experiencing a renaissance this year. It’s always been a classic, but over the years modern materials (metal, plastics, glass, wicker, rattan, bamboo, concrete) have become popular furniture components.  Looking at today’s online home decor authorities such as Houzz and Apartment Therapy however, it seems real solid hardwood furniture is making a comeback!  Here’s a run-down of the Top 5 Hardwood Furniture Style Trends we’ve seen at Vermont Woods Studios this year:

Mission Furniture

Mission Style Sofa Table | Hardwood Furniture Made in America
This Mission Style Sofa Table that Douglas uses to display hardware is one of our top sellers this year.  Straight, simple lines and solid hardwood construction characterize Mission style furniture.  Similarly styled mission dining room and bedroom furniture, built by the same furniture maker has also experienced renewed popularity.  Instead of the traditional oak wood, many customers are customizing their mission furniture in cherry and even walnut wood.

Shaker Furniture

Shaker Furniture Trends in Home Decor
This Classic Shaker Huntboard is another customer favorite at Stonehurst.  Cherry is the wood of choice for  Shaker style furniture in 2013.


Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Furniture

Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Style Furniture
This Cherry Moon 7 Drawer Dresser shows off it’s Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Style roots in our showroom at Stonehurst.  Made in a small workshop just north of Montpelier, the Cherry Moon collection is so popular this year that the craftsman now has a lead time of 4 months!

Modern Hardwood Furniture

Modern Hardwood Furniture by Copeland
Copeland’s new Kyoto Dining Collection is a modern version of 20th century, mid-century modern MCM design.  It’s minimalist, uncluttered look with clean, straight lines is highly sought after by our interior design friends in Boston and New York.

Looking for more inspiration?  Check out additional hardwood furniture style trends on House Beautiful and Houzz.

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.

Solid Wood Furniture:  Tips on Climate Control and Humidity
We received this beautiful picture of our Cherry Blossom Single Pedestal Table from Mary M in Palm Desert, CA.  I love how she blended a relatively modern cherry dining set with what looks like a 16th century Baroque painting, a Colonial American corner cabinet and a collection of vibrant patchwork quilts.  But it was her combination of different woods that reminded me to talk about wood movement today.

Mary’s M’s cherry dining furniture (shown above) was made in Vermont (a relatively humid place, especially in the summer) and shipped to the desert of Arizona. Since we ship a lot of Vermont made wood furniture to desert locales in California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and elsewhere, I thought I’d post a few tips on humidity and climate control.

Wood Furniture Moves in Response to Changes in Humidity

When wood is part of a living tree, water moves up the trunk, from the ground and through the pores and fibers of the wood, as it travels out to the leaves.  After a tree is cut and sawn into lumber, water continues to move back and forth through the wood fibers until the wood’s moisture level reaches equilibrium with its environment.

The job of woodworkers is to design and build furniture with a thorough understanding of the characteristics of wood movement.  But in spite of their advanced knowledge and skills, no woodworker is able to create wood furniture that is completely unresponsive to temperature and humidity in your home.  So here are a few climate control tips from our Furniture Care section to ensure that your wood furniture will remain beautiful and structurally sound for generations of enjoyment.

Climate Control Tips

  • Keep your home around 70°F-72°F with a relative humidity of about 50-55%
  • This often requires a humidifier in winter and an air conditioner in summer
  • Place your furniture away from heat sources such as radiators, heat runs or fireplaces
  • Store table leaves as close as possible to the table so they adjust to the same humidity conditions
  • Use a dehumidifier during wet, rainy times and in damp rooms to remove excess moisture from the air
  • For wood furniture with an oil finish, re-oil it frequently to create and maintain a patina.  A rule of thumb is to oil your furniture:
    • Immediately upon receipt
    • Once/week during the first month
    • Once/month during the first year
    • Once or twice/year after that

Normally if you’re comfortable with the temperature and humidity in your home, your wood furniture will be comfortable as well.  It’s designed to be durable and to accommodate normal changes in climate so most homeowners need not worry.   Relax and enjoy it.  Given reasonably good care your wood furniture will last for generations.

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.

Natural Wood Furniture | American Made in Vermont
This Natural Wood Furniture set is part of our 100% American made Modern Shaker collection.  The wood is sustainably harvested in local and regional forests that are managed by professional foresters.  Furniture finishes are non toxic and eco friendly.

American Made Furniture vs Imports

While we’ve watched the price of most home decor items skyrocket over the last 30 years, have you noticed that the price of furniture has actually tumbled?  It’s true. For a couple centuries we Americans prided ourselves on making high quality, natural wood furniture that was coveted around the world.  North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont and other New England states were leaders in the fine furniture industry.

But in the 1960’s  and 70’s many of America’s big furniture makers (like Ethan Allen, Broyhill, Thomasville and Lane) started to move operations overseas and quality took a hit (along with American jobs).  Prices fell dramatically.  Instead of preserving our grandparents heirloom quality wooden furniture for our homes, we began buying cheap, trendy furniture imports and replacing them frequently as breakage occured.

Natural Furniture for the Healthy Home

Fast forward to 2013 when home owners are getting tired of cheap imported furniture that ends up on the curbside in 5 years.  And they’re worried about the health effects of toxic flame retardants and formaldehyde that come standard with imports. Especially in households with children, it is simply not worth the risk.

Families are coming back to American made natural wood furniture with non-toxic finishes.  Yes the furniture is more expensive up front, primarily because the American worker is paid a livable wage (as compared to wages that often amount to just a few dollars/day in Asia).  But the high quality and environmental integrity of American made furniture is winning customers over.  In fact, many brands  are offered with a lifetime guarantee, indicative of the superior value of American made furniture over time.

What kind of furniture is in your home?  Where was it made?  Is it time to rediscover the real thing?  Learn more about American made, natural wood furniture on the sustainability section of our website.

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.

Luxury Furniture | Avoiding Global Rainforest Destruction | Choosing Sustainable American Made Furniture
Organized crime is currently responsible for an unprecedented rate of rainforest destruction.  Unchecked illegal logging is rampant in tropical countries too poor to effectively monitor and enforce conservation regulations.  You can help save the rainforest by avoiding the purchase of imported forest products like wood furniture and flooring.

Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and we’re always trying to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from.  If you’re committed to buying American made furniture— no worries.  Chances are it’s made from legal wood, sustainably harvested from well-managed forests right here in North America.

But if you’re buying imported wood furniture (and according to a Washington Post article 70% of furniture sold in America is imported) then: Houston, we have a problem.

A recent Washington Post article by Brad Plumer entitled Organized Crime is Getting Rich Cutting Down the Rainforest describes how the illegal logging trade has become just as lucrative (and far more destructive) than the drug-trafficking industry.  50 to 90 percent of forestry in tropical areas is now controlled by criminal groups!  “A great deal of logging simply takes place illegally — much of it in tropical areas such as the Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.” (ref: United Nations and Interpol)

The U.N. estimates that illicit logging is now worth between $30 billion to $100 billion, or up to 30 percent of the global wood trade.  That illegal wood is often shipped from pristine rainforests to China, Vietnam and other third world countries where it’s fabricated into low quality furniture which is sold to US consumers. We’ve written quite a bit about the links between rainforest destruction, global warming and the furniture and flooring you choose for your home:

If you’re considering buying furniture at IKEA, Home Depot or any big box store… ask where the lumber originates and let us know what you find on our Facebook or in the comments section below.  Then re-discover sustainable, American made wood furniture and join us in feeling good about your furniture and your green home.


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.