Experiencing Vermont’s Culture Through Wood Furniture

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 02:36 pm

|Today’s post is part 4 of a series on Vermont Woods Studios written by Vermont author, Peggy McKay Shinn. Peggy writes full-time and lives in Rutland, Vermont, with her husband, daughter, and one remaining cat. Visit her website and check out Peggy Shinn’s books, including Deluge: Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself. |

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Steve Holman works on a unique artisan furniture piece.

Smaller furniture makers like Dan Mosheim and Steve Holman are equally impressed with Farabaugh and her company.

They appreciate that Vermont Woods Studios has helped them with outreach. Most have their own websites but don’t have the time or resources to keep their names at the forefront of Internet searches. As Steve Holman points out, “Living in Vermont, almost all my market is elsewhere. Reaching that market has been an issue.” Holman is grateful to Farabaugh for her marketing efforts.

Chad Woodruff likes the two-way relationship he has with Vermont Woods Studios. He can ask Farabaugh to sell some of his furniture or she can ask him for a custom piece. The craftsmen are also happy that Vermont Woods Studios offers their furniture without any upfront cost.

“Peggy doesn’t charge me anything unless she sells something so, what the hey, I’ll let her have at it,” commented Dan Mosheim.

***

Holman is especially impressed with Stonehurst, which he first visited last fall when it opened. On a steep hill in Vernon, with a view of the Connecticut River, the 100-acre property has served many purposes, including as a ski area called Pinetop in the mid-20th century. Now, in the renovated barn, cherry and oak dining sets, maple side tables with walnut inlaid leaves, Shaker-style beds, walnut desks, and landscape paintings by local artists decorate three airy, bright rooms. Vermont Woods Studios staffers work in the attached restored farmhouse — on computer tables made by Ken Farabaugh. The property was restored in part with a Vermont Working Lands Initiative, which helped pay for the bluestone walkway, among other features.

Outside, customers can sit overlooking the hillside field/old ski slope with iPad (for shopping) in one hand, picnic lunch in the other. Or they can hike a forest trail that Farabaugh wants to turn into an interpretative walk about the Vermont woods. Inside, customers can touch the tables, sit in the chairs, measure the entertainment consoles, debate over style, and covet every piece of furniture on display.

“They made an effort to make it a destination, not just a place to sell furniture,” said Holman.

That statement perhaps best sums up the company’s real mission: that purchasing from Vermont Woods Studios is as much about experiencing Vermont and its culture of neighbor helping neighbor as it is about acquiring new furniture.

 

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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.

Roundup: Our 5 Favorite Copeland Buffets

Last updated on May 28th, 2019 at 10:38 pm

Copeland Buffets, the unsung hero of the dining room.

While dining tables and chairs get most of the glory–our Copeland Buffets are worthy contenders for most beautiful and functional in the room. The following 5 Copeland Buffets are a handpicked selection of my favorite pieces, ones that I believe will add a sleek, modern touch to any dining room while still being entirely functional. The naturally smooth wood and subtle details will fill your dining area with unmatched beauty and elegance, and they’re sustainable to boot!

Copeland Buffet

1) Copeland  Audrey Buffet

Our Copeland Audrey Walnut buffet features 2-doors and 3-drawers. It’s handcrafted in Vermont with real solid American Black Walnut wood.  It’s sleek styling and  dramatic geometric lines makes it the perfect piece for a modern dining room, and it’s spacious design is perfectly practical for everyday use.

Copeland Buffets

2. Sarah Shaker Copeland Buffet

Our Sarah Shaker buffet is ideal for the contemporary dining room. The cherry wood makes it practical and beautiful for almost any decor style, and it’s hefty build gives it an unsurpassed durability. This piece is traditional and stylish, perfect for storing your favorite dishes, silverware, or linen! Handcrafted in the Green Mountains, this solidly stylish piece is built to last for generations.

 

Copeland Buffets

3) Catalina 2 Door Cherry Copeland Buffet

Chic and compact, the Catalina Cherry buffet features an open interior and adjustable shelving. It’s custom handmade with American Cherry wood in a natural finish or one of 5 stains! This piece combines the clean, unadorned lines of the international modernists with organic and geometrical forms. It’s subtle, unassuming, and absolutely beautiful!

 

Copeland Buffets

4) Catalina 2 Door, 5 Drawer Buffet

This Copeland Buffet is a true show stopper. It’s absolutely gorgeous, with American Black Walnut wood and daring geometric lines.  Showcase your collection of fine wines and open the solid wood doors to reveal your finest linens and china. This piece is 100% American made and is crafted from sustainable wood. So while you impress your friends with it’s incredible style and build, feel good knowing that it’s also helping the environment!

Copeland Buffets

5)  Kyoto Walnut 4-Door Buffet

The Kyoto buffet is a minimalists dream. Featuring two doors and a solid construction, this piece could fit in any dining room. It’s Walnut Wood gives it a sophisticated feel. This piece perfectly matches the Kyoto dining table and chairs, a set that is as stylish as it is versatile.

Which of these beautifully handcrafted Copeland buffets do you love the most? Let us know in the comments section or send us a tweet!

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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.

Putting a Passion for the Environment to Work

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 02:38 pm

Today’s post is part 2 of a series on Vermont Woods Studios written by Vermont author, Peggy McKay Shinn.  Peggy writes full-time and lives in Rutland, Vermont, with her husband, daughter, and one remaining cat. Visit her website and check out Peggy Shinn’s books, including Deluge: Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself.  Find Part 1 of our story here

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Before Vermont Woods Studios took flight, Peggy Farabaugh’s career path had many twists and turns.

Raised in Plattsburgh, New York, she majored in chemistry in college and from 1980 to 2005 worked in occupational and environmental health and safety at various institutions around the country. A lover of the outdoors and a frequent hiker, her environmental interest soon extended beyond local forests thanks to her two sons. From watching educational TV (e.g., Steve Irwin’s The Crocodile Hunter), the boys became curious about the rainforest, so the family took vacations to Central America to learn about them firsthand. Farabaugh remembers being astounded when they learned that one-and-one-half acres of rainforest disappear every second.

The Farabaughs moved to Vermont in 1997 when Ken, an engineer, took a job at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon. At the time, Peggy Farabaugh worked remotely for Tulane University in New Orleans developing an online masters program in occupational safety and health management until Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, and Tulane closed for four months.

Farabaugh lost her job and couldn’t find one near Vernon. That’s when the business idea hit her. She loved the woods, and Ken loved woodworking. In fact, he had just built a woodworking shop on the back of their house.

“You just spent all our money on this woodworking shop,” she told Ken. “I’m going to put it to work.”

They knew other local woodworkers, like Chad Woodruff in Vernon, Dan Mosheim of Dorset Custom Furniture in Dorset, and Steve Holman, who also has a studio in Dorset. Makers of stunning custom furniture from sustainable hardwood (cherry, maples, oak, and walnut, some of it grown in Vermont), they mostly sold pieces in local galleries and craft fairs. Many had their own websites, but Farabaugh thought she could bring them a wider audience. It was the beginning of Vermont Woods Studios. Or rather VermontWoodsStudios.com, a virtual furniture gallery of “really funky cool stuff” made from sustainable wood in Vermont. While her first customer was a gentleman from Indiana who was searching the Internet for eco-friendly furniture — in keeping with her mission — she soon found that it was simply too difficult to sell enough really unique furniture online to make it worth it.

“How can somebody understand why a custom, one-of-a-kind piece costs three times more when they look the same online?” Farabaugh realized.

Enter Douglas Fletcher, a Vermonter and small business consultant. He convinced Farabaugh to add manufactured hardwood furniture from Vermont companies Lyndon and Copeland to VermontWoodsStudios.com offerings. Both Lyndon and Copeland have manufactured fine hardwood furniture in Vermont and sold it at a competitive price point for over 30 years. Both companies sell furniture in stores across the United States.

With this expanded collection from which to choose, Vermont Woods Studios business began to take off. And it continued to improve thanks to social media (e.g., the company advertises sales on Facebook, and Farabaugh regularly updates a blog). To keep up with demand, Farabaugh hired new staff, people she says share her “passion for the mission.” But that mission was expanding too.

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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.

Beyond Sustainable Wood: A Vermont Woods Studios Story

Last updated on September 18th, 2014 at 10:53 am

Today’s post is part of a series on Vermont Woods Studios written by Vermont author, Peggy McKay Shinn.  Peggy writes full-time and lives in Rutland, Vermont, with her husband, daughter, and one remaining cat. Visit her website and check out Peggy Shinn’s books, including Deluge: Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself.  
Sustainable Wood

Selling Vermont-made furniture from sustainable wood is Peggy Farabaugh’s mission. But customers have found far more at Vermont Woods Studios.

“There’s a warmth to fine hardwood furniture and a unique texture too. The rippled linear grain of oak, the icy smooth polish of maple, the warm silky feel of cherry, the slippery sheen of dark walnut, it beckons to be touched — table tops rubbed, chairs sat upon, cabinet doors opened and closed, smoothly and effortlessly. Which is why Peggy Farabaugh’s idea of selling Vermont-made hardwood furniture online did not seem like the best business concept when she came up with it in 2005.

“It’s ridiculous to think that you could sell fine furniture on the Internet because people have to see it and have to feel it,” said Farabaugh, who smiles and laughs easily.

More surprising, Farabaugh knew very little about either furniture or running a business.

But she had a mission. She wanted to start a business that would help save the rainforest by selling furniture made from sustainable wood grown in the U.S. (and preferably Vermont) and to bolster Vermont’s 200+-year-old furniture-making tradition.

So she started Vermont Woods Studios. From a spare bedroom in her Vernon home, she began selling unique Vermont-made furniture, such as Chad Woodruff’s quarter-sawn white oak tables, David Holzapfel’s ultra-modern yet primitive coat racks made of maple saplings and blackened cherry burls, and her husband Ken’s own maple inlaid side tables. Surprising even to Farabaugh, and through trial and error, she found a niche.

Now in its ninth year, Vermont Woods Studios has grown 35 percent in the past two years, and business doubled in the two previous years. The company now employs over a dozen people, and this past fall, they opened Stonehurst, a renovated 18th-century farmhouse and barn that serve as company headquarters and showroom. It’s finally a place where customers can see — and touch — the cherry, maple, oak, and walnut fine home furnishings that they have found on the web.

But the reasons customers have flocked to Vermont Woods Studios may surprise Farabaugh.

***

Click here for part 2, ‘Putting a Passion for the Environment to Work.’ 

 

 We wish to express our deep gratitude to Peggy for all the time and talent she put into telling our story!  And if you love part 1 as much as we do, stay tuned, we’ll be posting part 2 of our story on the blog early next week. Part 2 will include some spectacular customer stories and more insight on why we’re “more than just sustainable wood.”  

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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.

Copeland Contour Collection: Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Furniture

Last updated on May 28th, 2019 at 09:32 pm

Heirloom Quality & Retro Design:  Our New Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Furniture Collection

Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Furniture fans often have a hard time finding Mid-Century pieces that are truly high quality, solid wood designs.

A simple search on google or Pinterest might bring up thousands of stores and pieces for you to sort through, but many of them are cheaply made and designed only to be used for a season or so.

For those who love the nostalgic Mid-Century style but also appreciate timeless design and craftsmanship, the search can be daunting.

Our Copeland Contour Bedroom furniture, however, is heirloom quality and built to last a lifetime. It is crafted with real solid wood, making it the obvious choice for both value and style.

The Contour Bed features a solid, continuous ribbon of walnut hardwood wrapping around the outside of the mattress and slatted headboard. Just like the Contour Bed, Contour case pieces have gracefully softened curved corners and edges–reminiscent of traditional Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Furniture. Each case piece is strikingly complete with an Opel laminated glass top which contrasts beautifully with the dark tones of the walnut wood. This entire set is finely crafted in Vermont using sustainably harvested wood.

Its exquisitely curved corners, rich American Black Walnut, and sleek, clean lines exemplify streamline Mid-Century modernism. This collection effortlessly melds contemporary style with minimalist design, providing the perfect modern-day bedroom oasis.

So what do you think? Would you add the Contour collection to your space? Let us know in the comments section below.

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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.

POLYWOOD® furniture finds a home at Tiny House Nation!

Last updated on August 14th, 2018 at 01:49 pm

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“Tiny House Nation” is a television program that features innovative Tiny Homes from across the United States. Renovation experts and hosts, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin travel across America to explore creative small spaces and the imaginative folks who occupy them. They also help new families design and construct their own dream tiny homes! Houses can be no larger than 500 square feet, and include anything from micro-NYC apartments to caboose cars turned mini-roadtripping home. This series celebrates the Tiny House movement and its explosive growth in the United States!

We’re excited to announce that we have provided some POLYWOOD® outdoor dining furniture to the tiny home! Sustainable Living is a major part of our company, so when we saw that there was going to be an episode shot in Vermont we knew we had to get involved. Douglas and Dennis made the trip up to Montpelier to hand deliver the furniture and meet the crew. We had been waiting in anticipation to see the show on air, and we were thrilled to see the Vermont tiny home in action last night on the FYI Television network!

What do you think, could you survive life in a home less than 500 square feet?

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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.

Behind the Scenes: George’s Mill Becomes Photo Studio

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 02:39 pm

George's Mill
Antique Car Garage Turns Photo Studio?

If you’re starting to notice an influx of fine furniture photography, you’re paying attention to the work of Nina, our Photographer & Merchandising Assistant! Nina & Dennis have been travelling around Southern Vermont finding great places to set up our furniture & take new photos for the site. Most recently, they’ve been working on a project at George’s Mill in Vernon where they are building a photo studio from scratch!

The original George’s Mill was reconstructed in 1974 by Nicholas George, and the 2nd building (the post office) was built in 1985 by Eli N. George. This location is actually where our previous office and headquarters were, before making the move to Stonehurst.

Take a Behind the Scenes Look at George’s Mill Progress:

George's Mill
Riley, Tristan & Dennis set up the wall structure at George’s Mill.

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The team has made great progress at  George’s Mill and they aren’t done yet! Nina, however, has already used the space for the backdrop of a new bedroom collection photo!  The fusion of Photoshop and a little elbow grease comes to life with our new Holland Collection.

Take a look at the new photo and bedroom collection.

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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.

World Orangutan Day

Last updated on February 18th, 2019 at 12:54 pm

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The 19th of August is International Orangutan Day, a day put aside to recognize the extreme dangers facing the palm oil industry’s most recognized victim. Once widespread throughout the forests of Asia, Orangutans are now found on just two islands, Sumatra and Borneo (Indonesia). On the brink of extinction,  there are now only about 6,600 of them left in the wild. Orangutan’s are beautiful, intelligent creatures that share 97% of human DNA. They are complex, curious, and they need our help. We cannot let Orangutan’s become the first great ape species to go extinct in the wild, as experts suggest may happen if action is not taken now.

Why Orangutans are Endangered:

Habitat Loss-   The loss of Orangutan habitat has been devastating, as Sumatra has lost more than HALF of it’s forests in the last 25 years.  “The orangutans’ forest home is being felled and turned into oil palm plantations on a massive scale, logging continues even within national parks, and road networks divide the remaining forests into isolated fragments. Human-orangutan conflict is now frequent in farmlands, as orangutans raid crops in search of enough food for survival. The expansion of farmlands and the building of new roads opens up the forest, making it easier for hunters and poachers to capture orangutans and other protected wildlife.”  (1)  This factor is one of the driving forces behind our mission, as we work to provide a source for beautiful wood furniture that does not contribute to mass deforestation. 

Illegal Trade- While Orangutan’s have been protected by law since 1931, the illegal trade of Orangutans has continued to decimate populations. They are often captured for use as an exotic pet or for entertainment purposes, as commonly seen in the circus.

What We Can Do To Help:

  •  Avoid Palm Oil- Palm oil is causing mass deforestation of Orangutan habitats, leaving them with no place to live and raise their babies. As they search far distances for a new home, they have to look further and further apart often times ending up in palm oil fields. When this occurs they are unknowingly tresspassing, and palm oil farmers are legally able to kill them right on spot to protect their crops. Orangutans are left with little to no food or resources, and when deforestation from fires occur there are many slow moving Orangutans that are burned alive in the process. By Boycotting palm oil, you are doing a small part to keep these majestic creatures safe.
  • Boycott circuses that use Orangutans as entertainment, and write to your local government to keep these circuses from your community.
  • Write to your local legislators and The President.  Ask them not to explore palm oil as a biofuel option.
  • Write your favorite companies that use palm oil and ask them to use sustainable sources  for their ingredients
  • Support companies who do not use palm oil in their products or support the palm oil industry
  • Adopt a Orangutan (Virtually!)
  • Sign Petitions that promote Orangutan safety

As passionate environmental advocates, we are happy to help spread awareness about Orangutan’s today. If you’d like to learn more about World Orangutan Day, check out the #OrangutanDay hashtag on Twitter or Facebook!

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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.

Easily Buy POLYWOOD Cushions Online

Last updated on August 14th, 2018 at 03:35 pm

Polywood Cushions Online

 Shop for POLYWOOD Cushions Online Easily at Vermont Woods Studios

So you bought your wonderful new eco-friendly Polywood outdoor furniture, but forgot to buy the POLYWOOD cushions? No problem. We have a great selection of luxurious Sunbrella fabric cushions, specially made for your POLYWOOD pieces. Beautiful colors like Forest green, Pacific blue, Sunflower yellow and Bravada salsa are just a few of the chic and summery colors we have to choose from.

Add a little extra plushness to POLYWOOD’s already comfortable, high-quality outdoor furniture with this extensive line of durable marine grade fabric cushions. It’s weather resistant, stain and fade resistant, quick drying, and available in 12 different colors and patterns of your choice. Buy a few different cushions to mix and match as you change your decor. 

An outdoor POLYWOOD® set simply is not complete without these wonderful POLYWOOD Cushions to give your backyard patio a spa-like feel. Just kick up your feet and relax!

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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.

Style Spotlight: Mission Furniture

Last updated on July 18th, 2020 at 06:19 pm

Mission Furniture

Mission Furniture History

Mission style furniture was established during the early 1900’s during the boarder “Arts & Crafts” or “American Craftsmen” era. When the style first emerged, it was a revolutionary furniture & design movement that was created as a response to the industrial revolution and the way it devalued the individual furniture maker. This style of architecture, interior design, and decorative arts “became affordable to middle class homes built in the United States during the Arts and Crafts period between 1900 and 1930.”

The Significance of Mission Furniture

Many of the major players of the Mission Style movement including William Morris, John Ruskin, Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright, believed that the Craftsman was being lost to the mass produced, “soulless” furniture of the Victorian Era. Mission furniture was a complete departure from the over embellished and “glamorous” furniture that the Victorian Period was known for. In the Victorian Era, “A bare room was considered to be in poor taste, so every surface was filled with objects that reflected the owner’s interests and aspirations.” Reflecting a time in society when domesticity meant absolute privacy, and when the Bourgeois existence manifested into the interior space.  The home was used as a curtained off retreat, wary of intrusion, and “opened only by invitation for viewing only on occasions such as parties or teas.”  Basically, the Victorian Home was a manifestation of upper-class values (while still using overly adorned, low quality decor and furniture). 

Mission Furniture
“The Victorian Bedroom at Dalgarven” by Roger Griffith – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This is what The Mission Furniture Movement rebelled against, the highly “glamorous” ideals of the Victorian Era that weren’t inclusive of the real middle class. It represented an entire shift in cultural attitudes and values. Mission furniture aimed to represent the true American worker.

Mission Furniture Features

Mission furniture

Mission furniture is bold yet simplistic, reminiscent of a traditional Rustic Farmhouse. It’s heavy in appearance and build, with emphasis on using clean lines and natural materials. Mission style typically incorporated locally handcrafted wood, glass, and metal work–bringing the artisan back into the picture and straying away from a mass produced look. Mission furniture is very sturdy, and found some inspiration from Shaker furniture with it’s aim to be usable as well as stylish. Mission style is a design that “emphasizes simple (horizontal and vertical) lines and flat panels that accentuate the grain of the wood.”  This style intends to reveal the craft of woodworking and the skill & labor of the individual craftsman. It’s unpainted and unadorned, making it fitting furniture for practically any style of home!

Our Reflection

Mission Furniture is important to us because it represents exactly why we are here, to promote the craft of fine artisan woodworking. Our culture has seen a revival of cheap, mass-produced furniture available online and in big box stores– and our furniture crafters are creating expert furniture designs with the same passion and integrity that sparked the Mission Style movement over a hundred years ago. If you’d like to see more of our collections of Mission furniture, please browse hundreds of our locally crafted and sourced pieces!

What do you think of Mission Furniture? Let us know in the comments or send us a Tweet.

Sources: (1) & (2)

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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.