Eco Friendly Wood Furniture = American Made Wood Furniture

Last updated on October 3rd, 2022 at 04:14 pm

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Our mission at Vermont Woods Studios is to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from.  Is Forest to Table furniture as important to you as Farm to Plate food?  Let us know why or why not on our Facebook.

Where Does Your Furniture Come From?

I started Vermont Woods Studios in 2005 to promote sustainable wooden furniture.  I’d been studying the impacts of illegal logging of the earth’s tropical rainforests and wondered “why isn’t anybody doing anything about this”?  With the destruction being driven by demand for cheap wood furniture, I realized there was something we could do to help… even from way up here in Vermont.  Thus our Vermont made furniture store was born, with the mission of raising awareness about where your furniture comes from and persuading people to buy eco friendly furniture made from sustainably harvested wood.

FSC Certification Problems

That purpose is still at the heart of our mission, although the definition of “eco friendly wood furniture” has changed.  Ten years ago the prevailing thought was that the hallmark of sustainably harvested wood furniture was a formal certification by the FSC, Forest Stewardship Council.

FSC is an international not for-profit group that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests.  It has been considered the “gold standard” for green certification and labeling of forest products since 1993.  Unfortunately, as pure as FSC’s intentions may be, the job of monitoring the entire planet’s forests has proved impossible.  With so much at stake and land areas too big to monitor, organized crime has taken over the global timber industry.  FSC certification is now systematically forged to the point where you cannot tell whether “certified” furniture is made from legal wood.

Illegal Wood:  Not Just About Climate Change & Loss of Biodiversity

A recent article by Alexander Zaitchik titled, Blood on Your Ottoman: Your Furniture’s Link to a Murderous Logging Epidemic chronicles the September 2014 murder of Edwin Chota and 3 other indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest.  The article highlights the fact that organized crime has upped the ante for illegal timber.  Murder is now fair game in their book and it’s happening more than you’d like to know.

“The first thing people can do is to revisit the assumption that buying “certified” wood products absolves them of responsibility for destroying the world’s remaining primary rainforests. If you’re buying Peruvian mahogany, or Brazilian rosewood, or Indonesian teak, there’s no way to determine whether or not it came from a legal, carefully managed tract, or whether a villager was killed for trying to keep that tree standing”.

Eco Friendly Wood Furniture = American Made Wood Furniture

Our message to conscious consumers shopping for eco friendly furniture, flooring, paper or other forest products is simple: buy American made.  In the United States logging is regulated and enforced.  There are more trees now than there were 100 years ago. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, “North American forest growth has exceeded harvest since the 1940s.  The greatest gains have been seen on the East Coast with average volumes of wood per acre almost doubling since the ’50s”.

Learn more about American made eco friendly wood furniture on our website and find out which companies say they’re “American made” versus those that truly are.

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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.

Classic Shaker Furniture: Adding Warmth to Your Living Room

classic-shaker-round-lifestyle-1

If you are a lover of beautiful, elegantly styled Shaker furniture–you will love our Classic Shaker collection. Defined by it’s gentle curved legs, smooth edges and solid wood construction, any living room would benefit from the timeless appeal of this collection.

A Bit of History about the Shakers

Designed and built over 200 years ago by the American Shaker religious group, this simple but elegant furniture style has a truly timeless quality that makes sense for any home. Shaker furniture designs make the perfect complementary pieces for your traditional, transitional, rustic or modern living room. Shaker tables, chairs, buffets, china cabinets, beds, dressers and chests can be added to any decor to achieve the functionality you need while creating a stylish, comfortable look. Mix and match your shaker furniture with other styles for a more eclectic aesthetic.

While Shaker communities were once vibrant and thriving, there are now only 3 Shakers left. Brother Arnold Hadd and his two elderly sisters practice their faith at Sabbathday Lake’s Shaker Village in New Glouster Maine. It’s the worlds last active Shaker Community. This video of Brother Arnold describes the faith and the inspiration behind Shaker furniture design:

“That “classic” Shaker style is well represented here in strong, unassuming cupboards, tables, desks and chests of drawers; delicately crafted oval wooden nesting boxes; inviting, wide-mouthed wooden bowls; tightly woven rugs and baskets; and sprightly, no-nonsense ladder-back chairs. Made of chestnut, walnut, flame birch and bird’s-eye maple, these lightweight, sturdy chairs have rhythmically dynamic woven cane and checkerboard tape seats. They could be easily hung on wall pegs to allow for the ecstatic “shaking” dancing prayers for which the “Believers” became commonly known.”

Featured Pieces from the Classic Shaker Furniture Collection

 

Classic Shaker Oval Table1. Classic Shaker Oval Table: This oval coffee table makes the perfect base for your Classic Shaker styled living room. The curved legs and rounded top give it a soft, lightweight look while still maintaining its solid build. Made to order in Vermont, this piece can be crafted in Cherry, Maple, Oak or Walnut.

classic shaker round end table2.  Classic Shaker Round End Table: This lightweight, rounded end table makes the perfect accent to your living room. It’s finely crafted with premium hardwoods, and built to last a lifetime.

 

Classic Shaker Sofa Table3.  Classic Shaker Sofa Table: Our tall, narrow Classic Shaker Sofa Table with Flare Legs is perfect for your living room, den or hallway. Add luxury, style and convenience to your upscale home with extra space to place gloves or display photos, vases or artwork.

All three of these finely crafted pieces are made to order in Vermont and are sure to add warmth and sophistication to your space. While we only highlighted three in this blog, we also have a variety of other pieces in the collection for different rooms in the home. Which piece is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section!

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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.

Floor Cloths, Made in Vermont by Cameron Howard

Last updated on October 23rd, 2018 at 02:37 pm

Floor Cloths | American Made | Cameron Howard
Artist Cameron Howard is passionate about the history and beauty of American floor cloths.  Here she’s showing us samples, photos and floor cloths that she’s made for customers all over New England and beyond.  We love passionate people!

Dunberry Hill Designs

Vermont’s premier custom floor cloth maker, Cameron Howard of Dunberry Hill Designs visited Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture store yesterday.  Wow!  We learned a lot about the history of this unique piece of Americana and the processes by which these top quality floor cloths are made.  Plus we got to see, feel and walk on some extraordinary works of art.  Did you know that floor cloths first became popular during the Industrial Revolution when sailing ships were coming into New England’s harbors to be re-fitted?  Torn sails would be salvaged by sailors’ wives and re-purposed in the home to keep drafts from blowing through floors and walls.  Soon artists began to see the cloths as a canvas and began applying classic American and European designs to them.

Top Quality Custom Floor Cloths

Today’s floor cloths adorn all types of homes, businesses and museums throughout America.  The floor coverings are made of heavy weight cotton covered with 5 coats of a special varnish which makes them extremely durable.  Artistic designs include historical early American motifs, geometric patterns, French Country style, arts and crafts,  mission style and modern designs. Custom designs are a favorite among Cameron’s customers.  The artist works with homeowners to make sure floor cloth colors match or accentuate existing decor (such as wall colors, counter tops, fabrics and art work).

Custom Floor Cloths | American Made in VT
Cameron’s paint samples are sent back and forth to customers to ensure that just the right colors are achieved.

How To Commission Your Own Unique Floor Cloth

Cameron Howard’s Dunberry Hill Design studio is in Townshend, Vermont.  Customers are encouraged to call or email Cameron prior to stopping by.  We hope to be getting some floor cloth samples at our furniture and home decor store soon and will keep you posted here on our blog.

About the Artist, Cameron Howard

Cameron Howard is a professional chef who served up her talents to upscale restaurants in New York,  Boston,  Maine and the Windham Hill Inn in Vermont.  Ten years ago she put the culinary pot on the back burner and turned her passion towards weaving. From there, she segued into decorative painting and the world of traditionally handcrafted floorcloths.  We look forward to sharing our enthusiasm for Cameron’s work with you at Stonehurst, our home design gallery in Southeastern Vermont.

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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.

Why Shaker Style Wood Furniture is Perfect for the Holidays

shaker style wood furniture

What most people love about Shaker style wood furniture is that it simply  feels like home. It’s comfortable, subtle, and nostalgic– bringing you back to a time when things were made slowly and with purpose. A time where furniture was always made with precision, care, and quality. It’s unassuming, and while it’s presence is always noticeable, it doesn’t demand the absolute attention of the room. For these reasons, Shaker Style wood furniture is the perfect furniture for the holiday season.

Shaker Furniture Encourages Buying with Purpose

If Black Friday Sales this year are any indication of the shifting in American values (Black Friday sales across the country plummeted while Small Business Saturday sales grew exponentially), than my belief is correct in that American people are growing tired of the craze surrounding low quality, mass produced items. They want simpler things like quality time with the family, a warm comfortable home, and beautifully crafted items to fill it.

Shaker furniture has a long, rich history of sustainability and tradition. In their prime, Shaker communities were largely self sufficient. They attempted to separate themselves from the busy outside world and create a peaceful haven that focused on growing their own food, constructing their own buildings, and manufacturing their own tools and furnishings. Every thing they did they did slowly, meticulously, and with intention.

Honesty, Utility and Simplicity in Shaker Craftsmanship

Their guiding principles of honesty, utility, and simplicity  found expression in their unique craftsmanship, as furniture, boxes, and textiles. Their work is world renowned for it’s beautifully minimalist design and unyielding quality. Their work rejected excessive ornamentation and focused on overall form, proportion, and quality.

The Shaker Style wood furniture we carry at Vermont Woods Studios is carefully crafted by expert Vermont woodworkers who pride themselves on creating beautiful, high quality  pieces built to last a lifetime. Their craftsmanship is a great reflection of the ever cherished Shaker wood furniture.

We hope that this holiday season, you’ll take some time to reflect on your own traditions and values. What kind of items do you want to fill your home with? What are your purchases saying about your values? We can all take a little inspiration from the Shakers, slow down a bit, and connect with what’s important this holiday season!

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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.

Woodworking Network: Mass Appeal for Master Craftsmen: Vermont Woods Studios

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

The woodworkers are part of a network cultivated by Vermont Woods Studios, a company dedicated to promoting the Vermont custom furniture industry on a large scale. Natural finishes are standard for each custom piece, along with hardwoods sourced from Vermont tree farmers and sawmill operators.

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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.

True to Vermont: The Story of Copeland Furniture

Last updated on March 19th, 2019 at 02:10 pm

Copeland Vermont Made Monterey Bed
Copeland’s Monterey Collection

Founded in East Cornith, Vermont, Copeland Furniture is guided by its values of preservation and stewardship. Environmentally conscious before “green” was anything other than a color, Copeland has been expertly crafting heirloom-quality wood tables, chairs, desks, beds, and case goods since the 1970s.

Copeland’s commitment to stewardship is revealed in the woods they choose – all Copeland wood comes from within 500 miles of their factory, which means less fossil fuels used and less CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Sourced primarily from the great American Northern Forest, Copeland uses durable and beautiful hardwoods like maple, cherry, and walnut, all of which is sustainably harvested. Their sustainable harvesting practices ensure that the Northern Forest will continue to be among the healthiest forests in the world, continuously building biomass. Plus, Copeland offers a water-based finish on most pieces – these formaldehyde-free finishes are every bit as durable as a catalyzed lacquer, but with drastically reduced VOC emissions at the factory and off-gassing the home.

Copeland Furniture Catalina Collection
Copeland’s Catalina Collection

Part of their commitment to the environment includes heirloom-quality craftsmanship. In some ways, these artisanal pieces are a response against the disposable. Copeland’s promise is to build furniture with the best materials and workmanship available, beautiful pieces that will be handed down for future generations to use daily and to enjoy for years to come.

This family-owned business started out as a one-man operation in East Cornith, but has grown to become a state-of-the art manufacturing facility on the banks of the Connecticut River in Bradford, Vermont. Copeland has skillfully adapted to changes in technology and the market – they expertly combine old-world handcraftsmanship with leading-edge advances computer-aided design. They identify their design aesthetic as “transitional,” neither strictly traditional or contemporary. Design influences are drawn from the Japanese, Shaker, and Scandinavian design styles, as well as from the landscape and culture of their home base of Vermont.

Copeland's Sarah Shaker style Cherry & maple bed
Copeland’s Sarah Shaker Style Cherry & Maple Bed

Copeland has worked hard to stay true to the New England traditions of quality craftsmanship and enduring design from which it emerged. They believe that continuous improvement is ultimately what best serves the customer and work to continue to innovate, while keeping a keen eye trained on the health and well being of the earth, its resources, and its employees and craftsman. Copeland Furniture, as a company, possesses great care and respect both for the land and those of us who live and work on it.

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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.

Wooden Furniture and Rainforest Conservation

Last updated on June 22nd, 2022 at 09:54 am

Saving the Rainforest | Sustainable Wooden Furniture and Flooring | What's the Connection?
Global rainforest destruction continues to proceed at a rate of > 1 acre per second.  It’s the greatest extinction in the history of the earth.  Once the rainforest is gone, it’s gone forever.  It doesn’t regenerate like our northern temperate forests.  Interested in conserving the rainforest and preserving the iconic species who’ve lived there for millions of years?  Learn how your choices for furniture, flooring and other forest products can help.

Where Does Your Wooden Furniture Come From?

Ever wonder where your wooden furniture comes from?  Seven years ago I founded Vermont Woods Studios because I didn’t like the answer to that question.  And the answer is:  if you didn’t  purchase American made furniture, yours may well have originated in a beautiful tropical rainforest that was being plundered by illegal logging activities.

One Acre of Rainforest Disappears Every Second

I spent the first few years at Vermont Woods Studios trying to raise awareness about rainforest devastation and how it’s driven by the wood furniture and flooring industries.  Did you know that the rainforest is disappearing at the rate of >1 acre every second?  It sounds unbelievable and sensationalist, doesn’t it?  I mean that’s over 4000 football fields every hour of every.  But it’s true and that fact is why we continue to work so hard to offer sustainable, locally made furniture at this Vermont furniture store.

You and I Have the Power to Save the Rainforest

Consumers of wood furniture, flooring and other forest products are the key to saving the rainforest.  If you’re taking the trouble to learn about sustainable wooden furniture and how you, as a consumer, can be part of the global solution, we want to help.  I’ll be writing a series of blogs over the next few months to provide some background information regarding the past, present and future of the rainforest and how we consumers can do our part to save it.  Have any rainforest references or stories you’d like to share?  Join the conversation on our 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.

Mission, Arts & Crafts and Stickley Style Furniture

Last updated on September 27th, 2022 at 09:53 am

stickley style furniture

Vermont Craftsmen Bring the Art of Mission and Stickley Style Furniture to the Green Mountain State.

Today we say thanks to Chad, one of our favorite Vermont fine furniture makers. He was kind enough to join us on Tuesday when ABC World News came to town. Chad and his quintessential Vermont workshop (located in an historic, old red barn) were featured in a film segment for the Made in America Shopping Challenge. I can’t wait to see that part of the video because Chad speaks about his craft so beautifully and powerfully– straight from the heart.

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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.

Natural Cherry Wood Furniture Characteristics: Mineral Deposits

Last updated on January 25th, 2020 at 08:50 am

natural cherry wood
Our American Shaker Large Sideboard in natural cherry wood.

Let’s talk about natural cherry wood furniture.

Today I wanted to provide some detail about naturally occurring mineral deposits that are a characteristic of cherry.

In cherry wood small black flecks occur in the grain where tiny amounts of sap were stored in the cherry tree.

natural cherry wood
You can see on these panels the little pockets where sap once lived.

Mineral deposits (or pitch pockets) are natural and randomly occurring.  They do not diminish the strength or quality of your furniture.  As we say: they add to its uniqueness.

The frequency of mineral deposits in our furniture varies with each tree utilized but it is largely reflected in the product photos here and throughout our website.  Like any other fine furniture maker we cannot guarantee the absence of mineral deposits in our cherry wood furniture and we cannot consider the presence of mineral deposits a reason for furniture returns, per our lifetime guarantee policy.

natural cherry wood
Our Loft Bedroom Collection in natural cherry wood. Note the mineral deposits on the two bottom left drawers of the dresser.

Looking for Cherry Furniture with Virtually No Mineral Deposits?

Most of our furniture makers are reluctant to offer cherry furniture without mineral deposits for a couple reasons. First, it is against our sustainable forestry principles.  Up to five times the number of trees need to be harvested to produce furniture with virtually no mineral deposits.  Second, the presence of mineral deposits in cherry wood can be a matter of opinion.  What one customer might feel was mineral-deposit free furniture may not be the same for another customer.

If mineral deposits are an issue for you, give us a call.  We’ll work something out… although I should mention that the price of a “virtually mineral deposit-free” piece is generally about twice that of the regular piece.

natural cherry 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.