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.

Vermont’s Working Lands Initiative: Our Proposal

Last updated on August 14th, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Vermont Working Landscape Grant
This is the “backyard” of Stonehurst, our future Vermont made furniture gallery and nature center.  We’ve applied for a grant from the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative to close the final funding gap so we can complete Stonehurst renovations by mid-summer.

What do you love best about Vermont?  Our maple syrup?  Organic cheese?  Skiing or snowboarding?  Mountain climbing?  Our farm to plate restaurants?  Chances are whatever your favorites are in Planet Vermont, they are here for you because of Vermont’s working landscape.  That’s the term Vermonters are using to refer to the Green Mountain state’s pastoral forests and fields– and there’s a concerted effort afoot to ensure they will remain sustainable.

Last year our Legislature passed the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative which  allocated $1Million 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.”  A request for proposals to carry out the WL initiative was issued last year and yesterday was the deadline for submittals.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs from all across the state have offered ideas and projects that will eventually add up to a wave of renewed commitment and progress in sustaining our working lands.  We at Vermont Woods Studios are among the group.

Our proposal seeks to use WL grant monies to close the final funding phase of renovating our Stonehurst Furniture Gallery and Nature Center.  From a Working Lands perspective, one of the advantages of Stonehurst is that it tells the story of where Vermont made furniture comes from and how it’s made– sustainably.

Putting our Working Lands proposal together has been quite a process and regardless of whether we win an award, I think it’s been time well spent.  I know the grant is highly competitive.  It’s my understanding that the WL Board received some 268 proposals  for a total request of over $12 million.  They are working with only $1Million in funding, so the odds aren’t good.

But I feel our proposal answers an important need in providing a market for Vermont’s wood furniture and a destination that will attract customers from beyond our borders.  We’ve been able to forge many new partnerships and collaborations as a result of the grant application process and that alone makes the effort worthwhile.

Decisions on grant awards are expected in April and we’ll keep you posted.  Best of luck to everyone who has invested their time into this important project!

 

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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.

Vermont Road Trip: Dorset Custom Furniture

Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 04:28 pm

Custom Furniture Makers | Dorset Vermont
Meet the master craftsmen of Dorset Vermont.  From left:  Bill Laberge, Bob Gasperetti, Steve Holman and Dan Mosheim.  These guys are world class expert furniture designers and woodworkers.  Their beautiful creations grace the Green Mountain State as well as public and private homes, businesses and galleries the world over.  

Dorset is one of the prettiest hamlets in all of Vermont, so Dennis and I were happy to make the trek to Dorset Custom Furniture last Friday.  For us, the main attraction wasn’t the quaint New England Village architecture or the view of the Green Mountain Forest.  It was to meet with Dan Mosheim and three more of Dorset’s famous custom furniture makers.  I guess it’s no coincidence that four of the country’s finest craftsmen have set up shop in this idyllic spot.  Dorset is quintessential Vermont at it’s finest and it’s natural beauty inspires artists and craftspeople from all walks of life.

Once we found our way to the slice of paradise that’s home to Dorset Custom Furniture we caught up with Dan, his wife Kit, and their sons Will and Sam.  The whole family is involved in the arts, creating not only furniture but also jewelry, musical instruments and sculpture.

Dan had invited three other powerhouses in custom furniture to meet with us:  Steve Holman of Holman Studios, Bob Gasperetti and Bill Laberge.  We were brainstorming ways to collaborate in shining a light on Vermont’s long legacy of creating sustainable, high end, custom furniture.  Dennis and I extended an invitation to the Dorset crowd to show their furniture at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture gallery so we will be working with them to make that happen before our grand opening this summer.

If you’re wandering around the world of Vermont arts and crafts before that, be sure to drop by Dorset and visit these fine furniture craftsmen in their studios.  I think you’ll find that in commissioning a piece of their custom furniture, you are acquiring much more that a functional piece of art.  I’m not sure how to describe but it has to do with getting in touch with a level of authenticity that is often missing in our lives.  I think you’ll just have to go to Dorset and check it out for yourself.  Then tell us about your experience on Facebook.  Happy travels!

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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.

Extension Tables

Solid Wood Extension Tables
This eco-friendly Solid Wood Extension Table is handmade in Vermont using sustainably harvested wood.  Have you ever wondered who thought up extension tables in the first place?   “Let’s saw this table top in two.  Then we can stick a couple boards in between the 2 halves and extend the table when company comes.”  Just saying…  it might have sounded a little crazy at first.

January is a popular month to shop for dining tables.  I guess every year, around the holidays people decide “this is going to be my last year entertaining around this old table!  It’s too small, it’s too old, it’s not the right shape…”  So we build a lot of dining tables in January and this year, they are almost all extension tables.

Who ever thought up the idea of extension tables in the first place?  I mean… “let’s saw this table top in two.  Then we can stick a couple boards in between the 2 halves and extend the table when company comes.”  Pretty innovative, but it must have sounded a little crazy at first– don’t you think?

Extension tables have come a long way since some creative person designed the first one.  Now you can get extension tables with 1, 2, 3 or more leaves (our furniture makers have been known to build custom tables with as many as 5 leaves).  The leaves can be self-storing, with butterfly mechanisms or little cubbies under the table for convenient storage.  With 3 or more leaves there is usually an extra leg tucked under the table top for extra support.

At Vermont Woods Studios, our extension tables are handcrafted of real solid wood and 100% American made by Vermont craftspeople.  They can be customized in Cherry, Maple, Black Walnut, or Oak wood.  And you can choose from different designs to suit the shape and style of your dining room: drop leaf, trestle, split pedestal, single pedestal and double pedestal.

Looking for a particular style or shape?  Browse through Shaker, modern, mission, French country, traditional, craftsman and mid-century modern styles in round to oval and square to rectangular shapes.

 

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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.

Finding a Beautiful Vermont View After Nemo

Finding a Beautiful Vermont View After Nemo
We found a beautiful Vermont view after Nemo blew through Vernon yesterday.  The storm made for great skiing and sledding on Vernon’s lost ski area, Pine Top and throughout the state.

Like most Vermonters we were lucky to find Nemo pretty tolerable– for a winter storm, that is.  Vernon got about a foot of fluffy white snow and our dedicated road crew was out pushing it around in no time.  Finally it’s winter in Vermont!

When I was a kid, storms like this were routine throughout the winter.  We grabbed our skis and happily headed towards the slopes.  So today I thought it fitting to give the snowy slopes of Pine Top, aka Stonehurst a try.  I found the old toboggan my parents gave my siblings and me for Christmas many years ago and pulled it up to the top of the hill (fortunately Ken had re-conditioned it when Kendall and Riley were little and it’s still in great shape).

I found a spectacular Vermont view on the knob where the old Pine Top warming shed used to be!  Today was a beautiful day for sledding and the snow was dry and fast.  I made a few trips up and down the slope before I started pining away for the ancient rope tow that used to be installed at Vernon’s former ski area.  Or even the old horse tow that preceded that.

Ken Enjoying the View at Pine Top | A Lost Ski Area in Vernon, VT
Ken’s version of sledding.

Then I saw that Ken had finished plowing and had found an alternative way to enjoy the view, so I wrapped up my sledding and joined him for a drink.  After all the winter weather watches and warnings, it turns out Nemo wasn’t so bad after all.

If you’re in the area, stop by Pine Top, take a sleigh ride and enjoy the view before the snow melts!  We’ll supply the drinks.

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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.

Vermont Made Pottery Gifts by Mountaine Meadows

Last updated on November 18th, 2018 at 09:33 pm

I got a mysterious brown paper package in the mail yesterday.  The return address label said Mountaine Meadows Vermont Made Pottery, South Ryegate, Vermont.  I thought it was going to be a sample from one of our craftspeople in the Northeast Kingdom but instead it was an unexpected gift from my old pal, Doctor Blakley. I used to work for Sally at Tulane University in the distance learning section of the Center for Applied Environmental Public Health.  She was my champion during a pretty difficult time in my life.

But anyway… inside the package was a personal note from Sally and a beautiful handmade wall plaque with the traditional Irish Blessing my mother’s had hanging on the wall of her home for over 50 years:

May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

May the rains fall soft upon your fields

And until we meet again, my friend

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

What a perfect gift!

If you’re ever looking for something special for a friend or relative, check out Mountaine Meadows Vermont Made Pottery.   They have tons of plaques, dishes and magnets with messages of all types:  funny, inspirational, religious, irreverent, sentimental… you name it.  All made in America, handcrafted in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

And thanks, Sally for your kind and thoughtful support throughout the years.  Did you notice that Mountaine Meadow let’s customers submit sayings for new pottery pieces?  I think I’ll submit one:  “old friends are the best friends”.

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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.