New Sign of the Times

Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 05:08 pm

Vermont Furniture Store | A New Sign of the Times
A new handcrafted sign was just installed for Stonehurst, as our Vermont Furniture Store starts to come together.  Thanks to talented carver and sign maker, John McCarthy!

John McCarthy (of McCarthy Signs in Hinsdale) came by the other day to install the sign he’s been handcrafting for Stonehurst, our new Vermont furniture store.  What did you think? It’s a 3D wooden sign that John hand-carved.  What I love best about it is the level of detail he achieved in carving out the thumbprints that are the tops of the trees in our logo (Cheri Bryant is our logo artist and creator, by the way).  Pretty amazing precision, I say.  It’s hard to show off John’s talent online but if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and have an up-close look.  Or take Market Survey of America’s word– his company was just voted Greater Brattleboro’s Best Sign Company.

McCarthy Signs created a hand-carved sign for Vermont's newest fine furniture store
Congratulations to John McCarthy of McCarthy Signs.  His company was just voted Greater Brattleboro’s Best Sign Company.

 

Vermont Furniture Store | McCarthy Signs
Check out the level of John’s detail in carving out the thumbprints that are the tops of the trees in our logo (Cheri Bryant is our logo artist and creator, by the way).  Pretty amazing precision, I say.

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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.

Ta Da! VWS Selected For Working Lands Grant Award

Last updated on June 13th, 2013 at 09:40 am

Vermont Working Lands Grant
We are grateful to Paul Costello and all the people who have worked so hard to implement Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. Last week Vermont Woods Studios was selected for a $100,000 grant from the Initiative to be used to complete the construction and landscaping of  Stonehurst, our Vermont Made Furniture Showroom

Last year I started reading about Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.  Paul Costello, the Executive Director of Vermont’s Council on Rural Development had begun leading a movement to protect the Green Mountain State’s pastoral landscape from unplanned, unsightly, unsustainable development.  I don’t know Paul personally but I see him as a modern day Paul Revere who leveraged the power of the Internet to spread the word about how we can use sustainable agriculture and forestry to build a thriving rural economy in Vermont.

In a very short time frame, Paul and his band of “working lands” believers have achieved unbelievable success, including getting Vermont’s legislature to allocate $1 Million in grant money for green businesses willing to pitch in and help.  The idea was to provide incentives to “stimulate a concerted economic development effort on behalf of Vermont’s agriculture and forest product sectors by systematically advancing entrepreneurism, business development, and job creation.”

It was just one of those lucky moments in life when I read about the Working Lands Grant last year as we were in the middle of planning our new Vermont-made furniture gallery at Stonehurst.  We were a perfect match for the grant.  Our furniture is all made in Vermont. It’s sustainable, eco-friendly and made from Vermont grown wood when practicable.  We support all the links in the economic chain from the forest through the land-owner, forester, sawyer, lumber yard and craftsperson to the customer.  The whole Stonehurst concept of raising awareness about where your furniture comes from and how it’s made fit the grant criteria like a glove.

Fast forward a year.  The Working Lands Enterprise Boards have worked tirelessly all year, developing their concept, selling it to the public and the Legislature, securing funds, soliciting competitive proposals from businesses and evaluating those proposals.  Last week it was time for them to make a decision on which businesses would win the awards.

Drum roll please.  Ta Da!!  Vermont Woods Studios was selected for a $100,000 grant award to be used to complete the construction and landscaping of our Stonehurst Vermont Made Furniture Showroom.  This is a huge achievement for us and one that will allow much of the polishing of our venue to happen now, rather than over a period of years.  We are enormously grateful to Paul Costello and all of the good people who have worked so hard to make the initiative possible.  And of course to the taxpayers of Vermont who we feel a strong need to repay in terms of economic benefit and increased consumer demand in the furniture sector of our economy.

I’ll write more in the coming weeks about the Initiative and the other companies who also won awards.  We are honored to be in such good company.

Do you love Vermont’s rural landscape as much as we do?  Join the Working Lands Partnership, help keep Vermont green and be a part of it’s future!

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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.

Notes From Vermont’s First Economic Summit

Last updated on May 4th, 2018 at 10:27 am

Vermont's First Economic Summit

Governor Shumlin kicked off Vermont’s First Economic Summit in Rutland yesterday by signing a new downtown development law.Yesterday I traveled to the Paramount Theater in Rutland for Vermont’s First Economic Summit.  Where else but Vermont could a small business owner like me elect to join the Governor, many of his Cabinet members and some of the most successful CEOs in the state to brainstorm about our economic future?  New York?  California?  I don’t think so.  Only in Vermont.

Anyway, about 125 people gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges of doing business in America’s greenest state.  On one hand our taxes are high, environmental regulations are onerous and the cost of living is barely affordable for most workers.  But, somehow we love to live, work and play here anyway.

So we looked at why that is and listed a lot of benefits that Vermont has to offer:  beautiful scenery, short pleasant commutes to work, relaxed pace, local economies, vibrant farmers markets and co-ops, fabulous farm to plate restaurants, skiing, hiking, fishing, camping, nice neighbors, working landscapes, clean lakes, rivers and streams, sustainable development and so on.  Not to mention easy access to government officials!

Then the task was reconciling the pluses and minus’ of Vermont’s economics in terms of concrete fix-it strategies.  We broke out into small groups to focus on:  workforce development, the Vermont brand, Vermont infrastructure, Global competitiveness, Innovation and a few other topics.  I was lucky to find myself working in the Vermont Brand group with Kathleen Wanner of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association VWMA, Lynette Kemp of Vermont’s Department of Taxes (we tried not to hold that against her) and Colleeen Leonard, Vermont’s Working Lands Policy Administrator from the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.

At the end of the day all of the small groups presented their ideas and recommendations to a plenary session and we discussed plans to follow through both formally and informally.  Now our challenge is to make things happen in a way that preserves Vermont’s pristine rural character and brings economic prosperity to all it’s citizens.  Think it’s doable?

You can read more about the Economic Summit on Vermont Digger.

Break Out Group Working on Defining Vermont's Brand
Robin Scheu, Executive Director at Addison County Economic Development Corporation led the break-out group working on defining Vermont’s brand.  I worked with Kathleen Wanner of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association VWMA (the only one looking at you), Lynette Kemp of Vermont’s Department of Taxes (we tried not to hold that against her) and Colleen Leonard, Vermont’s Working Lands Policy Administrator from the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.

 

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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.

Adirondack Chairs: Essential Summer Vacation Equipment

Last updated on August 20th, 2014 at 11:20 am

Classic Adirondack Chairs | American Made by Polywood
If you want to feel like you’re vacationing at one of the Adirondack’s Great Camps, check our our Classic Adirondack Furniture collection.  These are pretty authentic replicas of the original Adirondack chair designed by Thomas Lee in Westport, NY back in 1903. 

Memorial Day weekend is the time we start thinking about where to go for summer vacation.  Summers are so beautiful (and short) here in Vermont, that many of us don’t go away for vacations.  We tool around here in the Green Mountain State… maybe taking occasional trips to the coast of Maine or other scenic spots around New England.

But whether we’re doing a micro-vacation after work in the back yard or heading to Lake Champlain for the weekend, the Adirondack Chair is considered essential equipment in Vermont.  So with the school year coming to a close and warm weather settling in (well, at least it’s forecast for the coming week), I thought I’d post a quick rundown of some of our most popular Adirondack chairs.  Grab a Long Trail or a margarita while you browse through the selection:

Classic Adirondack Chairs (above)

If you want to feel like you’re vacationing at one of the Great Camps of Lake Placid or Saratoga Springs, then you’ll have to check our our Classic Adirondack Furniture collection.  These are pretty authentic replicas of the original Adirondack chair designed by Thomas Lee in Westport, NY back in 1903.  Comfy and roomy, this outdoor furniture can be customized online in 7 different traditional colors:  teak, sand, mahogany, white, black, green and gray.  The collection includes a tete-A-tete group, a love seat, gliders, rockers, dining furniture and a folding Adirondack chair in addition to the chairs shown above.

Long Island Adirondack Chairs | Made in America by Polywood | Recycled Plastic
Long Island Adirondack Chairs are a modern take-off on classic Adirondack furniture.  Bright and cheerful, this outdoor collection can be customized online in 14 vibrant colors.

Long Island Adirondack Chairs (above)

The Long Island Adirondack Furniture collection is a modern take-off on classic Adirondack furniture.  Bright and cheerful, this outdoor collection can be customized online in 14 different colors: light or dark blue, tangerine orange, lemon yellow, lime green, sunset red, teak, mahogany, sand, white, black, forest green or slate grey.

Polywood Seashell Adirondack Rockers | American Made
POLYWOOD Seashell Adirondack Rockers are oversized and up to 50% heavier than the Long Island and South Beach rockers.  Made in America of recycled plastic and guaranteed for a lifetime of use.

Seashell Adirondack Chairs (above)

The Seashell Adirondack Furniture collection is a more high end set, with the main distinction being the size of the pieces.  Seashell pieces are over-sized and up to 50% heavier that the Classic Adirondack and Long Island pieces.  Great for coastal areas where you’ll never have to worry about losing them to the tide or a strong wind!  Available in traditional colors only:  teak, mahogany, sand, white, black, forest green or slate grey.

Polywood South Beach Furniture | Adirondack Chaise Lounge | American Made
P South Beach Furniture collection includes this Adirondack Chaise Lounge.  Customize it online in one of 14 different colors.  Add a Sunbrella cushion for added comfort.

South Beach Adirondack Chairs (above)

The South Beach Adirondack Furniture collection looks much like the Seashell style but it’s smaller, lighter and less expensive. Customize South Beach chairs online in all 14 colors, including the vibrant blues, greens, red and yellow.  The chaise lounge in this collection is shared with the Seashell collection– as I don’t think you would want one any bigger (it weighs in at a hefty 53 pounds).

Kids Furniture | Outdoor Dining Furniture for Children | Polywood Adirondack Style

What is more exciting for kids than having pint-sized furniture of their own?  POLYWOOD has 3 different Adirondack pieces designed specially for the younger generation:  A Kids Picnic Table, a Child-Size Round Dining Table and the South Beach Kids Adirondack Chair.

 

 

 

 

Adirondack Furniture for Kids (above)

What is more exciting for kids than having pint-sized furniture of their own? POLYWOOD has 3 different Adirondack pieces designed specially for the younger generation:

When the summer’s over, you can leave POLYWOOD furniture outside without worry.  It’s impervious to rain, snow, ice, and salt water and carries buyer protection warranties you won’t find with other outdoor furniture.

So that’s the skinny on hefty, POLYWOOD Adirondack furniture for your summer vacation pleasure.  Now it’s time to start scheduling your time off.  Grab your calendar and another Long Trail.

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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.

Stonehurst Milestone: Got Our Certificate of Occupancy!

Last updated on January 3rd, 2018 at 10:47 am

Celebrating Our Certificate of Occupancy for Stonehurst
Douglas, Sean, Liz, Loryn and Michelle marked today’s occasion with a festive bottle of wine, a couple crystal goblets and a card with their photo on it.  Thanks guys!

Today was a big milestone for us at Stonehurst, our (soon to be) fine furniture and art gallery in Vernon, Vermont.  We received our Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from Brian Johnson, a Vermont Regional Fire Prevention Officer.  The CO is a pre-requisite for moving into the new location as it formally documents compliance with all zoning and construction permits, like those related to the environment, life safety, health, fire prevention, ADA accessibility and water/waste water.

Stonehurst Fine Furniture and Art Gallery | Vernon Vermont
Kelsey Eaton took this picture of what Stonehurst looks like today.  Not exactly ready for prime time but all our  fire prevention, ADA accessibility and other environmental safety and health codes are met.  We can start moving in this weekend.

Ken and Dennis have been working non-stop for many months with Jeremy Coleman (of J Coleman Architects), Bob Furlone and Scott Strong (of American Construction) and many Vermont state representatives to ensure that everything at Stonehurst was done properly and according to code.  This was the culmination of a lot of blood, sweat and tears today and we are sending out a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved.

And how cool are Douglas, Sean, Liz, Loryn and Michelle for marking this occasion with a festive bottle of wine, a couple crystal goblets and a card with their picture and good wishes on it?  Thanks, Guys!

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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.

Michelle Rooks Brings a Little Drama Into the Woods

Last updated on February 28th, 2019 at 04:07 pm

Michelle Rooks:  Welcome to the Vermont Woods Studios
We are proud to be able to  introduce you to Michelle Rooks, our new Customer Service Representative at Vermont Woods Studios.  Besides working with our furniture makers to accurately relay and monitor your orders, Michelle is in charge of performing arts education for the office. Unfortunately we missed seeing her act in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Sound of Music (above) but soon we’ll get to see her in Les Mis and Shrek.

One of the reasons we feel so lucky to be moving in to Stonehurst later this week is that it’s located a block away from the house of a local celebrity (yes, famous people do live here in Vernon– well, famous to us, anyway).   Thespian, Michelle Rooks is our new Vermont Woods Studios Customer Service Representative by day.  But on weekends, nights and holidays you can often find Michelle “acting out” at Ja’Duke Performing Arts Theater in neighboring Turners Falls, MA.

After her first full week at Vermont Woods Studios, when she was heading home after work on Friday afternoon, Michelle casually mentioned that she was going to perform that night as a French maid in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller called The Rope.  She invited us to see the play, but I think she was a bit surprised when Douglas, Liz, Sean, Loryn, Kendall and I all showed up in the front row to cheer her on.  We had a great time and can’t wait to attend Michelle’s next couple plays:  Les Miserables and Shrek, the Musical.

Michelle has a BS in Journalism and Advertising with a minor in Animal Science.  Her professional background includes expertise in the publishing world encompassing such areas as editing, photo manipulation, desktop publishing and proofreading.  Customers will appreciate her eye for detail… as do our furniture makers!

Michelle lives down the street with her husband Chris, two beautiful children and Faith, their lovable rescue dog.  She is an active volunteer at her church and at the kids’ school.  We are fortunate that she’s worked us into her very busy schedule!  We love her Midwestern sensibilities and wry sense of humor that keep us grounded, even on our craziest days.  Welcome aboard, Michelle!

 

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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.

Frank Lloyd Wright Furniture to be Discontinued by Copeland

Last updated on May 8th, 2018 at 10:10 am

Frank Lloyd Wright Furniture - Discontinued by Copeland
Need to round out your Frank Lloyd Wright Furniture collection?  Better give Liz or Sean a call today as Copeland Furniture will be discontinuing this line as of June 30, 2013.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but we were informed by Copeland Furniture yesterday that the Frank Lloyd Wright furniture collection line is being discontinued as of June 30, 2013. We are sorry to see these pieces go as they were a big hit with our customers.

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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.

Recycling and Repurposing Stonehurst: Free Stuff!

Last updated on August 14th, 2018 at 12:21 pm

What kind of free stuff is available at Stonehurst? Slate roofing tiles, old timbers, new windows and doors, old bricks, cement blocks, some rebar, insulation, a couple pieces of furniture and cabinetry and a few other odds and ends. Give us a call (802-275-5174), then stop by and check it out. Be sure to give us a call first so we can show you what’s free and what’s still being used for Stonehurst renovations (don’t get me into trouble with Ken). 

Stonehurst construction is nearing completion.  In a month or so we should be able to move out of our cramped quarters next to the Vernon Post Office into the 200 year old farmhouse we’ve been renovating for use as a showroom, art gallery and office space.  Woohoo!

Unfortunately, before the move we have lots of work ahead in wrapping up renovation activities, cleaning up the construction zone, doing landscaping and making the place worthy of your visit.  In light of that, Dennis and Douglas have joined forces in a concerted effort to persuade (coerce?) Ken and me to let go of the “construction debris” (or valuable building blocks for undefined future projects, according to Ken) and get Stonehurst ready for visitors asap.

If you can put these timbers and slate roofing tiles to good use, they’re yours.  Help us salvage what we can and while you’re here, have a look into the future of this 200 year old farmhouse.

So with that in mind, I offer these pieces of Stonehurst to you for recycling, upcycling, re-using or re-purposing.  Come and get ’em!  If you or someone you know is interested, just give us a call (802-275-5174) and plan to meet us at Stonehurst (538 Huckle Hill Rd, Vernon, VT) after work at 5:30 almost any night for the next week or so.

What’s available?  Slate roofing tiles, old timbers, new windows and doors, old bricks, cement blocks, some rebar, insulation, a couple pieces of furniture and cabinetry and a few other odds and ends.  Stop by and check it out.  Help us salvage what we can from Stonehurst’s former days and while you’re here, have a look into it’s future.

 

 
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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.

Is Your Wood Furniture Brought to You by Organized Crime?

Last updated on September 29th, 2022 at 02:43 pm

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 (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.

 

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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.

A Stained Glass Window for Stonehurst

Last updated on May 7th, 2018 at 02:46 pm

Stained Glass Window in Our Stonehurst Bathroom
This Stained Glass Window, handcrafted in the 1800s for St Patrick’s Church in Jaffrey NH, was donated to our Stonehurst Gallery by Annette Roydon.  The picture and painting on the mantle above the stained glass show Stonehurst as it was in the mid 20th century when the property was a ski area and year round resort.  Our thanks to former owners Bill and Elaine Ellis for passing these and other artifacts along to us when we purchased the property.

Remember that old Beatles song, She Came in Through the Bathroom Window?  It’s been going through my head these last couple weeks as I’ve had to fight tooth and nail to get my way on a plan to install this stained glass window into the restroom at Stonehurst, our new furniture and fine art gallery.

The window has a great history.  Annette gave it to me.  It was one of just a few things she was able to salvage when her 1814 Vernon farmhouse down the road, burned to the ground on Christmas eve 5 years ago.  At the time, our Vermont Woods Studios showroom was housed in the sun room of Annette’s house.  She had been letting us use her space in return for an occasional farm chore (actually it was kind of a lop-sided affair on my end but Ken helped out quite a bit and Susan Holmquist– salesperson extraordinaire at the time– helped Annette deliver a baby horse so it wasn’t entirely a one-way street).

Anyway, this stained glass window and three others were removed from St Patrick’s church in Jaffrey, NH back in the days when the Catholic Church was modernizing their decor.  Annette’s father happened by and saw the windows in a dumpster and got permission to salvage them.  Eventually they made their way to Annette who had them restored by Rick Neumann of Neumann Studios in Brattleboro, Vermont.  She installed the window shown above in the bathroom of her  farmhouse.

Since the fire, the small window has been out in the back corner of the barn, with only Annette’s annual crop of Thanksgiving turkeys around to enjoy it’s beauty.  So I was really excited to be able to bring  it back to life when Annette donated it to the Stonehurst project.  No one else thought we’d have an “appropriate place” for it, but Douglas finally broke down and pointed out the perfect sized spot for it– in the public restroom.  What a coincidence!  You’ll have to stop by and see it once Stonhurst is complete.

Now I’m wondering about who created this piece of art and when?   Any ideas?  St Patrick’s Church was founded in 1885 so I figure the window must have been crafted well over 100 years ago.  I guess I’ll have to take a trip over to Jaffrey and see what I can learn from the folks at St Patrick’s.

Honoring the history of a piece of art (and the artist who made it) is something that makes you feel great!  I’d like to think that the furniture we’ll be featuring at Stonehurst will be around 100 years from now and people will be appreciating it (and the Vermont craftspeople who made it) just like we appreciate this stained glass.

 

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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.