February 24th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
We work with fine furniture makers from all across the state of Vermont, representing their work for sale in our online furniture store as well as in our small Vernon, Vermont showroom. In getting to know these craftspeople and their work we’ve seen a unique “Vermont Style Furniture” emerge which is quite different from furniture made in North Carolina, Pennsylvania or any other furniture region of America.
I’ll take Vermont dining furniture for example, since it’s on sale this week. I think most furniture aficionados would categorize our dining furniture as belonging to one of these styles: Shaker, Mission, Arts and Crafts, Craftsman, Modern, Contemporary, Traditional or Transitional. In spite of the diversity of designs and the personalization that each craftsperson adds to their furniture, there are some commonalities that add up to the unique “Vermont style” that’s become so iconic.
First and foremost is the natural, wood character of the furniture. Vermont craftspeople tend to eschew the dark stains often seen on trendy furniture, preferring instead to focus on the natural beauty of the wood. Second is the embracement of simple, elegant styles such as the Shaker, craftsman and mission styles.
Whereas once fine Vermont made furniture was embellished with intricate hand-carvings, now the trend has been reversed. I think the advent of CNC routers was the main driver of this reversal. It became so inexpensive to produce carved detail with CNC machines in China that– in many customers’ minds– those details became less representative of fine craftsmanship and more indicative of mass production.
Vermont has always been about authentic craftsmanship and what we see here in the Green Mountain State is a consistent focus on quality, integrity and natural beauty. That’s what continues to set Vermont style furniture apart from products coming from other states and countries. What do you think of Vermont style furniture? We’d love to know. Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook.