Guest blogger: Sean Henry
Editors note: Sean Henry and Liz Francese are our front line, crackerjack, Vermont-made furniture sales people. If you’ve purchased from us before you’ve probably talked to them on the phone (and you’ve definitely received emails from them) so you’ll totally “get” Sean’s tongue-in-cheek essay on how people and cherry wood change over time. If not, I guess you’ll just have to visit us at Stonehurst and see for yourself.
Let me explain something. When Liz and I were youngsters, we were adorable. No seriously, we were absolutely adorable. We were cute, blond, loveable, patriotic (me) and verbally expressive (Liz). As I am sure you can see from the pictures we were the kind of kids that parents would love to pull pictures out of their wallets to show off to all their friends. But as you can also see, things change. Well, maybe not all things change (this is where I tell you to look at both of the pictures of my favorite co-worker and see if you can find the similarities between the two pics).
Okay, so now that I have that part out of the way… The one thing I wanted to point out — and yes I am finally getting to the point — is that we both used to be blond or perhaps I should say dirty blond. We both had a nice, light head of hair and over time it has become a darker shade of brown. You may say to yourself, “what does any of this have to do with Cherry wood furniture?” Well let me tell you.
Natural Cherry wood is a lot like Liz and I. When it first arrives, it will be a light, almost dirty blond color. The light color of new Natural Cherry wood may not be what you expect to see after looking at all the beautiful images of cherry wood furniture on our website. Don’t worry, this will change. Over time, Cherry wood darkens or “ripens” as it ages and as it is exposed to light. As the Natural Cherry ripens, you will see the beauty of the wood and all its amazing characteristics come through. You will start to see a noticeable change after just a few months. After six months to a year it will have that rich, ripe auburn color. After that the color of the Cherry wood will change more gradually. You can see the difference in the pictures above.
One last thing I want to point out before I stop writing this long-winded blog (I am new at this). You have probably noticed my baby picture with the American flag and my very American red white and blue sailor suit. I thought it would be a good reminder to everyone that our Memorial Day Sale is coming up soon. So it might be the perfect time for some change and the perfect time to think about how our Vermont-Made, Handcrafted, ever-changing, beautiful, Natural Cherry wood furniture will look in your home!
Top 3 Reasons To Buy Hardwood Furniture
High quality, real solid hardwood furniture is expensive, no doubt about it. It’s not for everyone. College students are more likely to find suitable furniture at IKEA- that’s for sure. But if you landed on this blog post, you’re probably a homeowner looking to feather your nest for the long term, right? Well we talk to people like you everyday and so we’ve learned a few things about why our customers are looking to buy hardwood furniture.
First – It’s Beautiful
Check out our cherry and walnut hardwood bedroom furniture set. You just don’t get this kind of smooth, refined patina on pine, spruce or other soft wood furniture. When hardwoods are sanded properly and finished with a clear, non-toxic lacquer or hand-rubbed natural oil, you can run your hands over the wood and it almost feels like skin. No softwood, metal or plastic furniture can give the same tactile sensation that high quality, handmade hardwood furniture does.
Second – It’s Durable and Lasts a Lifetime
Hardwoods like cherry, walnut, maple and oak wood are from deciduous trees that grow slower than coniferous softwood trees like pine, spruce, larch and fir. Thus hardwoods are typically more dense, heavy, durable and, well… hard. They also are fairly non – resinous and close grained so they don’t leak sap and split like pine does. If you take care of your hardwood furniture it will hold up beautifully for many years, even many generations. We are confident enough in our hardwood furniture to back it with a lifetime guarantee.
Third – It’s a Natural, Organic Part of a Healthy Home
Many people, especially those with young children are looking for natural, organic furniture to be a part of their healthy homes. They often talk to us about where their furniture comes from too. Hardwood furniture that’s made in America is typically built with wood that’s sustainably harvested from well-managed American forests. Families enjoy breaking bread over a dinner table that’s made in harmony with nature.
Bonus Reason! It’s Economical in the Long Run
OK, I said Top 3 Reasons, but here’s a fourth that I just can’t walk away from. In the long run, high quality hardwood furniture is cheaper to buy than other types of furniture– even IKEA’s. Consider how many times you’ll have to buy a bedroom set or dining furniture over your lifetime if you’re always buying something cheap. We’ve had lots of customers who tell us they’ve been sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a few years while they save up to buy a high quality hardwood bed. I can relate to that.
What are your reasons for searching for hardwood furniture? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook!
Interior design is not a new concept. For decades, people have been making a living by creating works of art with furniture and accessories as their palette and empty rooms as their canvas. It is probably not a surprise that fashioning the perfect design for the inside of your home is crucial to how you feel and react in your environment. Interior design is all about aesthetics. It’s about taking items that are visually appealing and combining them with your personality to create something unique and personal to you.
With consumers becoming more conscious about their impacts on our environment, it is no shock that people are starting to ask for green, eco-friendly furniture and building materials for their homes. Interior designers are capitalizing on this trend by offering environmentally friendly alternatives when creating a design for a client’s home. Now this begs the question, what exactly does sustainable interior design mean?
Basically, the difference between interior design and sustainable interior design is the difference between beauty and beliefs and how much they mean to you. Sustainable (or green) interior design can probably be broken down into 4 major components:
- *Air Quality
- *Energy Efficiency
- *Building Materials and the Three R’s (Recycling, Re-purposing, Reusing)
- *Economic Impact
Air quality is very important to interior design. The biggest decision a designer has to make is choosing pieces that are free of chemicals that can make people sick or pollute our environment. This usually means watching out for volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can be found in paints, primers, glues, ink and cleaning products. Luckily, you can now buy furniture that uses glues and finishes that contain little or no VOC’s.
The area of energy saving interior design techniques is very broad. It can mean anything from choosing light bulbs that use less energy (like LED) to choosing products that are produced in America to reduce the energy it takes to ship them.
We’ve all heard some form of “The Three R’s”. Now-a-days it feels like there are many “r” words related to conservation. When it comes to green interior design, it is important to remember to recycle, re-purpose and reuse. Choose materials that have been recycled, like furniture made from recycled plastic. Remember that there are many products that are made by re-purposing old materials, like Reclaimed Barnwood Furniture. And always keep in mind things that can be used again before you toss them out.
When you purchase items without checking where they are sourced from, you risk supporting imported goods, rather than supporting the local American worker. Always research where your furniture and building materials come from and support American jobs and our local economy by buying American-made.
Creating a sustainable interior design concept doesn’t mean that you have to be 100% green, but you can make smart choices that will benefit the environment in the long run. You also don’t have to overhaul your entire home to start a green interior design. Make small changes around your home, like opting for new cleaning products or donating that department store furniture piece and trade it in for one made in America that has little to no VOC’s. These little changes will someday make a big difference.
If you are an interior designer, check out the discounts we can offer on our Vermont-made fine furniture.
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.
Often customers come to us looking specifically for fine wood furniture that's handmade in America from sustainably harvested wood.
At last! Vermont is becoming know as the Fine Furniture Capital of America. The Green Mountain State has been the home to fine woodworkers for over 200 years. Plus our state provides
the world's finest furniture making material – solid hardwood.
Furniture makers in Vermont create bedroom, home office and dining room furniture using American Black Cherry,
Sugar Maple, American Black Walnut, Oak and other hardwoods from the Northern Forest.
Vermont designs and crafting techniques highlight the natural beauty of wood such that our furniture is a reflection of the forest it came from. Forests
cover nearly 80% of Vermont's landscape and we harvest wood at a rate that's less than the rate at which our forest is growing– a good measure of sustainability!
At Vermont Woods Studios we're proud to live in a place where people cherish and protect their
natural resources – our forests, meadows, pastures, rivers, lakes and streams. And we're happy to be able to bring you the fruits of that green lifestyle: Vermont's handmade hardwood furniture. Like us on Facebook if you agree!
Manjula just finished posting eight new fine wood bedroom furniture sets in our online store at Vermont Woods Studios. Customers have been asking for customizable, solid wood bedroom sets and we've done our best to make them available online at affordable prices.
If you're shopping for this type of furniture, here are 3 questions to ask your retailer before you make a purchase:
* Is this bedroom furniture made from real solid wood? Authentic fine furniture is handcrafted from genuine solid wood, not mdf or particle board covered with wooden veneers. Most of what you see in America's "fine furniture" (aka Big Box) stores like Ashley or Bob's is made with inferior substrates rather than real wood, although it's often hard to tell if you're not familiar with traditional craftsmanship. Be sure to ask your furniture salesman what type of wood your furniture is made with and whether that wood is a veneer or solid wood.
* Where is this bedroom furniture made? American furniture craftsmanship is considered the gold standard worldwide. Thirty years ago states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania were the fine furniture capitals of the world but then the global market place began to change that. American furniture icons like Ethan Allen, Lane and Thomasville moved their operations overseas and quality plummeted. Luckily there are a number of small American furniture companies who steadfastly remained in the USA with quality and community remaining at the core of their identities. Today these businesses are the world leaders in fine furniture, with Vermont's companies leading the way. They are the only companies you will find that offer a lifetime guarantee on their furniture.
* Can this bedroom furniture set be customized to meet my needs? Most furniture sets consist of 5 items– take it or leave it. Well, I say if you're investing in fine wood furniture that you're going to have for many years you ought to be able to select the exact pieces you need for the space and decor of your bedroom. Make sure your furniture salesperson is flexible so you can purchase all of the pieces you need and no extras (that you'll have to find space for in another room).
And here's a bonus tip: ask for a volume discount. At Vermont Woods Studios we've put together 16 different handmade, solid wood fine furniture sets for your bedroom– all 100% Made in America, fully customizable and on sale for 20% lower discount prices. Have a look and if you don't see exactly what you need, give us a call. We want you to have the high end, fine solid wood furniture you've always dreamed of. You deserve it!
When we closed on our purchase of the Stonehurst property (future home for Vermont Woods Studios) last week we were lucky enough to be able to spend some time with former owners Bill and Elaine Ellis who lived there with their family for over 30 years.
Elaine was showing me old photos of Stonehurst when it was the ski area, Pine Top. She even gave me a VHS tape that the Vernon Historians made to document the Pine Top era.
I'm slowly going through the details and looking forward to meeting with Town Historian Barbara Mosely to learn more. In the meantime, does anyone know who these handsome ski instructors are? The photo has no date but Pine Top was in existence from the mid-40s to the mid 60s.
If you have the answer, how about posting it on our Facebook or in the comment section below.
Thanks and stay tuned for Stonehurst – Pine Top updates
as we renovate the property. We are looking to make it the Northeast's
premiere destination shopping experience for beautiful, high end,
Vermont made furniture. But before we open the doors, we want you to stop by for an open house, ESPECIALLY if you ever skied at Pine Top!
I am happy to report that Ken and I finally closed on our purchase of Stonehurst today… woohoo! We've got much work ahead in renovating and transforming it into a fine furniture gallery, nature center and destination shopping experience but this is an exciting first step.
Today I just wanted to make a quick entry to thank all the professionals who helped us with the property purchase. Our gratitude goes out to our wonderful real estate agent, Suzanne King of Masiello Realty in Brattleboro, Peter Carvell our (ever so thorough) banker from, Brattleboro Savings and Loan and Rich Carroll, our attorney from Potter Stewart Law who has managed to keep us in good humor throughout the process.
We are also grateful to Elaine and Bill Ellis the people who stewarded this historic property over the last 30 years and transferred care of it to us today. We are looking forward to the day we can welcome them back to see the renovations– hopefully in 6 months or so.
Stay tuned for periodic updates, including reports about our new friend Stoney who (we just discovered) currently resides at Stonehurst.
But we're now in the final countdown– just 3 more days until we close on the purchase of Stonehurst, an historic circa 1800 farmhouse and former ski area located just up the road in Vernon, Vermont.
Stonehurst will be our new showroom, office space and nature center. It's a traditional Vermont style farmhouse that sits on 109 acres of forest and meadow, overlooking the Connecticut River. Not your typical furniture store!
We're excited that we'll finally be able to show customers a wide selection of all the custom and made to order furniture our Vermont craftspeople have to offer. Even more exciting for me personally is the idea of conserving the property and providing eco-conscious customers a chance to see and experience the land where their furniture comes from.
Check in after we settle on Stonehurst this Thursday for more details on our plans to make it a destination shopping experience.
Dennis took this picture of a black cherry tree on his property in New Hampshire. Our cherry wood furniture typically comes from PA though, which has soils and climate more ideally suited to growing black cherry trees.
Heather Barrett mentioned the other day that many customers are coming
to us by way of Google when they're searching for answers to questions
like "where does cherry wood come from"?
At Vermont Woods
Studios we feel it's important to provide detailed information about
where your furniture comes from. We want customers to know that our
wood is all sustainably harvested and that forest conservation is a fundamental part of our mission.
We source as much wood as we can locally, preferably right here in Vermont. Cherry wood
however isn't a big component of the Green Mountain Forest. There are a few
cherry trees here and there across Vermont, but Pennsylvania is really
the Cherry Capitol of the world and that's where we get most of our
cherry wood. It is arguably the finest cherry wood on earth and is
prized for its lovely red color, grain and luster.
Fortunately in 1995 the state of Pennsylvania had the foresight to protect and
preserve a great deal of their cherry wood resources. They committed to
maintaining the state forest system sustainably and began green
certifying it, by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC.
FSC is considered
the gold standard in third party certifications of forests so we can be
confident that the forests providing our cherry wood will be around to
enjoy for many generations… just like our cherry wood furniture.