It is our hope when the Googlers of the world click happen upon our site they see more than just photos of fine furniture but all of the possibilities in our product. Try and take a pair of scissors to a shirt off the rack at the mall and you’ll see the fastest ever Segway dismount by a security guard in known history. At Vermont Woods Studios, come in with your scissors and scrapbooking supplies- we take to herding the flocks of creativity that come our way and we hope it is apparent at first glance.
Jay from Massachusetts picked up the hint we were dropping when he first made contact with us. His dream piece began with an unusual material- copper. Unusual, that is, if you were dealing with any other fine wood furniture retailers. Fortunately for Jay, we knew just the guy to make his dreams come true.
One of our artisans, Mitch, has been hammering the stuff (copper) onto table tops, coffee tables, buffets, you name it, and was even open to slapping some on a side table. The specifications were simple: tapered legs, 24″ round and a sage green painted base.
From the first schematic to the end product, Mitch works flawlessly. You would’ve thought he was meant to be Jay’s fairy godmother the way he turned this little pumpkin of an idea into a side table with the grandeur of a royal chariot.
And Jay isn’t the only one bestowed with Mitch’s high end custom work. Anne in VT was captivated by his reclaimed barnwood masterpieces featured on our artisan page and thought ‘media center’. What a better way to merge the history instilled in the wood with the modernity of contemporary life.
With extreme precision, Anne placed her custom order. Crafting it- no sweat. So, give us a shot- what custom furniture can you dream up?
With a new year comes new designs, fashions and ideas. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be cover different trends that we’ve seen coming up for this year. First up for your 2013 Interior Design Trends: furniture!
In 2013, I think we are going to see many furniture pieces featuring simple lines and functions, much like furniture of the mid 20th century. We’ll have many retro styles making a comeback, such as metal detailing, splayed leg designs and futuristic, modular furniture. Our Moduluxe, Astrid and Contemporary Cable collections are good starting points for this look.
Unique Artisan Designs
Sometimes the best trend is not following a trend at all. Creative, one-of-a-kind designs will be big this year as people start to “de-commercialize” their lives. Whether you’re going for a modern look or a simple shaker style, artisan work is the way to go. Give us a call to discuss some custom options for your home.
Whatever look you decide to go for, make it a green one. Sustainability is starting to become a consumer standard in most industries, including food and fiber, and furniture is no different. Choose pieces that are made from sustained, American forests rather than endangered rainforest lumber. Learn more abut our sustainability standard and what we do to protect our rainforests.
Yesterday we were discussing the different types of furniture that people call "custom wood furniture". My last post was about Made To Order Wood Furniture and Customized Wood Furniture. Today I wanted to distinguish these from true custom wood furniture and ultra luxury custom artisan furniture. Here are my thoughts:
- True Custom Wood Furniture is unique furniture that's made more deliberately and artfully than customized furniture. Usually, you'll want to work directly with the furniture maker if you're purchasing custom wood furniture because it's born from a collaboration between you, the customer and the furniture maker. Custom furniture is more expensive than customized furniture and for many good reasons. Design of custom furniture can take enormous amounts of time and several iterations before the furniture maker even progresses from the drawing board into the studio. Wood selection is also a time-intensive process with the woodworker hand-selecting each board for the proper grain, color, match, size and shape. Building a custom piece– well, it just takes, time, time, time. It's all about detail and custom pieces haven't been done exactly like this before (they're unique) so every step along the way is a little challenging. But the result with a custom piece is perfection, or near perfection anyway. And each piece is signed by its creator. If you're someone who truly understands and appreciates the fine detail of a custom piece, this is the way to go. It's not unusual for the price of a custom piece to be twice as much or more than a similar "made to order" or customized piece but the cost is a worthy investment for those who understand its enduring value.
- Custom Artisan Wood Furniture– well this is yet another notch up from true custom wood furniture. It's an ultra luxury. It's a piece of functional art. It's museum quality furniture that is a privilege to own. Lucky for us, Vermont is home to some of the world's most talented custom furniture artisans like Steve Holman, Dan Mosheim, Kit Clark and others, many of whom belong to the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers. Check out their websites and their blogs to understand how truly special and unique their furniture is. We work with these master craftspeople on a referral basis. When customers come to us looking to invest substantially and commission custom artisan furniture we help them find the artisan who is best suited to their needs. Usually it's based mainly on their style preference and the specific types of expertise and equipment needed to achieve their vision. But often other factors enter the decision including time constraints, budget, wood species, FSC or LEED criteria and such. We also take into account the personalities involved to make sure the experience is enjoyable, stress-free and enriching for both the customer and the artisan. Lastly, we negotiate a fair price so both parties achieve a win. Vermont Woods Studios was actually started as a company that would focus almost exclusively on marketing this important part of Vermont's heritage and culture.
So I hope this helps to better define "custom wood furniture" and draw a distinction between: made to order wood furniture, customized wood furniture, true custom wood furniture and ultra luxury custom artisan furniture. Customers often ask why the price of one of our pieces may be drastically different from another, when the two pieces look similar at first glance. The answer lies in the amount of time and expertise involved as well as the quality of the wood and hardware. At Vermont Woods Studios we're always happy to discuss these details and refer customers directly to our furniture makers when we've reached the limit of our own expertise. Learn more about commissioning custom wood furniture here.
What does "Custom Wood Furniture" mean to you? In talking to our customers, I can say that it means many different things to different people. At Vermont Woods Studios we have fine furniture that falls into varying degrees of what might be called "custom wood furniture", including:
- Made To Order Wood Furniture– this is our most popular type of furniture and our most affordably priced. Each piece is built here in Vermont especially for the customer however, it's not "custom furniture". The designs are existing tried and true designs that are pictured on our website. Some people will call "made to order" furniture "custom furniture" but as you read on, you'll see the difference.
- Customized Wood Furniture is the next step toward "custom furniture". Let's say you see a table on our website that you love but you need it a little longer or wider to fit in your space. Or you like a buffet but you'd like us to install your own drawer pulls. Or you want to select a different wood species than what's offered. Customized furniture takes existing designs and modifies them slightly. Since our furniture is made to order, it is easily customized and small changes don't usually add much to the price. Customized furniture is kind of a cool way to get unique furniture, tailored to your specific style and size at an affordable price.
Next Post: True Custom Wood Furniture and Custom Artisan Wood Furniture
Recently the most popular designs for walnut furniture have been with natural, organic solid walnut slabs that are huge, heavy and thick. They make incredible dining and conference tables that are showstoppers when you walk into a room.
Our friend, artisan Greg Goodman made this custom live edge walnut slab table out of a one of the slabs to the left. I've not seen anything like it. I love the curved base– it gives it a modern contemporary look, don't you think?
We filmed Greg working on a similar slab table. If you're interested in these live edge works of art, you have to watch Greg's part in this video about Vermont Woods Studios craftsmen.
If you're pricing walnut furniture, you can count on spending about 25% more than for other woods. Sadly, walnut is becoming rare due to lack of forest management and disease. In fact a recent blight of something called "thousand cankers disease" is causing great concern about walnut trees all across the country. It seems walnut wood may not be available much longer. Same for the beloved walnut– a nut that reportedly boosts your brain power and provides powerful anti-oxidants.
The walnut trees we're using for live edge slab tables are harvested sustainably, with preservation of the species in mind. The trees are usually victims of urban development– once they were grand old sentinels along tree lined boulevards but age, concrete and road salt have taken their toll.
It's nice to see their beauty being preserved forever under the skilled and artful hands of craftsmen like Greg Goodman.
Many thanks to filmmaker Luke Stafford of Mondo Media for creating a beautiful, professional video about Vermont Woods Studios Handcrafted Furniture. The video features two of our favorite woodworkers: Chad Woodruff of Vernon, Vermont and Greg Goodman of Brattleboro, Vermont. Luke visited both of their studios and filmed them in action.
Chad was making pieces for his line of mission-craftsman style furniture and Greg was working on a live edge wood slab table made out of a local catalpa tree. We thank them both for taking time out of their busy schedules to introduce our customers to their work. I can tell you that they are some of the finest artisans in our state and we are proud to be working with them.
You can view the video by going to our Vermont Woods Studios homepage and clicking on the third box down on the right where it says "watch". Let me know how you like the show!