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.

We’re Not The Only Ones Getting A New Home!

Last updated on November 14th, 2018 at 04:31 pm

Blue Bird Nesting Box
We used the lumber from one of the “hazardous trees” we had to cut down to make blue bird nesting boxes.

When we first purchased Stonehurst, it was evident that about six different trees needed to be removed, as they were much too close to the house. Not wanting them to go to waste, we sawed what we could into lumber and trimmed the rest for fire wood. One of the trees was a Norway Spruce, so Ken didn’t have his eye on it for furniture. So, we decided it would be perfect lumber to make some bird nesting boxes. We called in the help of Vince Johnson, of Vernon, who set up his portable sawmill on site. He was able to get a good amount out of that Spruce tree and we had plenty for our project.

Part of Stonehurst is potentially creating a nature center and we will always look for ways to preserve the natural habitat for all the native species on the property. With Stonehurst having a fair amount of open fields, it is a perfect habitat for the Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallows, both cavity nesters. Also, the field edges would make a good spot for some Black Capped Chickadee nest boxes.

We found a bluebird nesting box plan and some members of the Green Team took over Ken’s workshop. We made a bunch of nesting boxes for the bluebirds, but ran out of time for the chickadees, so that’s something that we will get back to. The next step is to get out to the fields to mount these in just the right places. We want to get them up before the end of March, which is typically the time these species start to look for a nesting place. We will report on that in the coming weeks as well as keep you updated as these nest boxes become occupied.

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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.

All Under One Roof

Last updated on August 8th, 2013 at 10:34 am

Vermont Furniture Showroom
Much work has been done to the previously detached accessory building. The former studio apartment is now connected to the rest of the building and is under some major remodeling.

Since the new addition was built to attach the two existing buildings, the crew has been hard at work connecting the new “L” shape structure to make everything under one roof. A key part of this project was aligning the roof lines. The detached accessory building’s roof line was substantially lower than the new addition and the main house’s roof. Another key part of this project was getting all the floors at the same level. The original flooring structure was removed and lowered almost two feet. In the “After” photo above you can see the lowered floor in comparison to the old entryway door.

This room is going to get new, larger windows in a later part of construction, in addition to a cherry wood floor and a ceiling made out of reclaimed wood boards. We aren’t certain what this floor space in our showroom will house, but we think it will display our bedroom furniture pieces.

The accessory building was last used as a studio apartment, so it needed a lot of dismantling. You can see the living room area in the “Before” photo above. On Facebook we have a Stonehurst-Before construction album, where you can see a photograph of the apartment’s old kitchen, bathroom and loft sleeping area.

Much remains to be done but the hard parts and hard weather seem to be passed us. There is still construction work being done in other areas of Stonehurst, and we will bring you up to date the next time around. We are expecting the showroom remodel to be completed in mid May!

Continue to follow our blog for construction updates on the Vermont Woods Studios Showroom, Stonehurst.

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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.

Rising From The Debris

Last updated on August 8th, 2013 at 10:46 am

 

Vermont Furniture Showroom
We built an addition to bridge the two existing buildings, creating an “L” shape showroom.

The last time we updated you on the progress of our showroom remodel, we were still in a demolition phase. In our post Digging Up The Future, we shared that a large hole had been excavated to make space for the new addition’s foundation. When we purchased Stonehurst, there were two buildings: the main house and the detached accessory building. In order to create our planned “L” shape showroom, we needed to build an addition to bridge the existing buildings.

It’s been an unusual winter with the grounds going back and forth between mud and frozen. Through snow, rain, and heavy winds our construction team managed to join the old with the new. The addition has been framed and roofed. It fits perfect, and we expect it to look like it has always been a part of the building. Some other exciting progress is that some floor boards have been reclaimed to become the ceiling surface in one of the rooms of the showroom.

In the next few weeks we will see windows and doors going in, siding being put up, and roofing. Once the building is weather-tight, the construction team will begin the interior work. After six weeks, we’re all excited about the progress and seeing it take shape!

Continue to follow our blog for construction updates on the this Vermont Furniture Showroom– Stonehurst.

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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.

Pine Top: Signs of a Lost Ski Area

Last updated on November 10th, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Pine Top Ski Area
Our future fine furniture showroom has many previous lives, incuding that of a Southern Vermont ski area called Pine Top. We found these old Pine Top signs in the rafters of the workshop. When was the last time you got to ski for $1.25?

Winter has come to Vermont! The air at Stonehurst is… well let’s say “crisp”. OK, it was -3F this morning. Ken and I were huddling in the workshop next to the wood stove and we spied these old Pine Top Ski Area signs in the rafters. All day skiing for $1.25? Count me in!

We decided to clean up these great artifacts and display them once renovations are complete and our new fine furniture showroom is open. By any chance, did you ever ski at Pine Top during it’s heyday (the 1940s-1960s)? If so I hope you’ll stop by our shop or connect with us on Facebook to share your memories of back in the day.

For example, how is it that the skier in this old Pine Top Ski Area sign isn’t bundled up in a Michelin Man suit? We didn’t have high tech outdoor clothing back then so did people just suck it up and freeze out there on the slopes? I was looking at old photos of Pine Top skiers yesterday and the people do indeed look just like the guy in the sign’s silhouette. No down parkas, no Gore Tex. Just your basic wool sweaters and coats.

I started skiing in the late 60s and I remember being pretty well bundled myself. Maybe in the decades preceding that people only skied on nice days? Or maybe they were tougher and more determined than we are? Got any answers or theories? Share them below or on Facebook. And if you’re wanting to stop by and do a little skiing yourself, let me know. There’s presently nowhere to park because construction vehicles are everywhere but hopefully renovations will be complete before the end of the season. I’ll keep you updated here on the blog.

 

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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: Building A Strong Foundation

Stonehurst: Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom Takes Shape
Stonehurst: Vermont’s new Fine Furniture Showroom is Taking Shape.  Heather Barrett snaps a photo of Scott Strong and his crew from American Construction as they pour concrete footings for this 200 year old section of Stonehurst.

It seems like we’ve been talking and planning renovations at Stonehurst (our circa 1800 Vermont farmhouse and future fine furniture showroom) for a very long time.  But now that Bob Furlone’s American Construction and Karey Tyler’s Excavation crews have arrived on site, things are beginning to move and shake (literally).

Digging out for a Foundation at Stonehurst
Digging out for a Foundation at Stonehurst.  Karey Tyler is making Ken and the other guys very jealous, with all his fancy Tonka trucks.  We decided Karey is the answer to every little boy’s dream of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

The past few weeks have been filled with activity.  The middle section of the Stonehurst buildings (what we call the barn) has been unfinished for many years.  In order to renovate, the guys had to dig underneath it and create a stable  foundation where formerly there was just dirt and rocks.  Then Carroll Concrete came in and poured a cement foundation.

This is why they've called it Stonehurst for 200 years
I guess this is why the name Stonehurst had lasted at the property for some 200 years.  But huge as they are, these boulders were no match for Karey and his excavators.

In order to connect the middle section to the apartment building, we had to dig some more because the apartment floor was 2 feet higher that the barn floor.  Since we want to make the property wheelchair accessible, we need to make all the floors the same height.

Digging the View at Stonehurst
Digging the View at Stonehurst.  From left:  Martha Ratcliffe of American Construction, Scott Strong of American Construction, Ken, Jeremy Coleman of J Coleman Architects and Bob Furlone of American construction.

So progress is going well at Stonehurst, even though we’re up against winter’s elements.  Today we had a snowstorm but still the crews from Tyler Excavation and American Construction were onsite and working in a tent they built for the occasion.  Follow their work and the evolution of Stonehurst on our Facebook.  Once it’s complete we hope you’ll join us for an open house!

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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 Former Life: Pine Top Ski Area

Last updated on February 27th, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Pine Top Memorabilia
We came across a treasure trove of  Pine Top memorabilia in a trunk in the attic of the old dormitory at Stonehurst.  These are just a few of the flyers that were distributed throughout the Northeast.   Pine Top had a vertical drop of a whopping 400 feet, with 4 slopes and 3 rope tows.  It pioneered skiing for the entire family including “Tiny Tots”.

Life as a sustainable fine furniture showroom and nature center isn’t the first makeover for Vernon, Vermont’s iconic Stonehurst property.  In the early 1940s the circa 1800 Stonehurst farm was dubbed “Pine Top” and transformed into one of Vermont’s many small local ski areas (back in the day about 2/3 of Vermont’s towns had their own ski areas).  A couple from New Jersey, Elsie and Romey Racine, had moved to Vermont to pursue their dream and Stonehurst was the recipient of their ambition and hard work.

Stonehurst, with both rolling hills and steep mountainous terrain became a skiing mecca for Vernon townspeople and visitors alike.  Three rope tows were installed, powered originally by horse and later by car engines.  “Tobey Slope” was for expert skiers, “Pelley Hill” served intermediates and “Tiny Tot” kept the little ones occupied.  The whole family could enjoy skiing together, with kids as young as 3 becoming experts on the gentle slope closest to the farmhouse.

The Racines promoted Pine Top to visitors from New Jersey, New York, Boston and beyond.  They also attracted the families of students at nearby boarding schools like Deerfield Academy and Northfield Mount Hermon.  Visitors could board at Pine Top in winter, spring, summer or fall.  It had room to accommodate up to 26 guests and was often rented out to large groups for family reunions.

The Vernon Historians created a DVD featuring Pine Top along with other Vernon landmarks.  Copies and further information can be obtained at the Town Hall, Library or from Barbara Moseley, the town historian (and former staffer at Pine Top).  There is also a book by Jeremy K Davis, Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vermont which provides Pine Top history and a companion website, New England Lost Ski Areas Project NELSAP.

If you ever skied at Pine Top, let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook.  And stay tuned for an open house this summer, once renovations are complete.  We’re hoping to get a Pine Top reunion going.  Are you game?

 

 

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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.

Digging Up The Future

update on vermont woods studios showroom
The Tyler Excavating crew hard at work!

The construction team has been at Stonehurst for just over a week, and despite sub-zero temperatures, they have made significant progress! The foundation site work has begun. A trench and a hole needed to be excavated before anything else could happen. The frozen ground was no match for our local excavating company, Tyler Excavating Inc, based in Vernon.

The hole needed to be excavated to make space for the new addition’s foundation. This new addition is the what will connect the two current structures, creating our L-shape showroom.

At the same time, a trench was created to bury the water lines to our new outdoor wood boiler. This will be our primary heating system for the building.

Next week the construction team will build the forms for the footings and foundation walls, and pour the concrete. The team is excited for the next week’s forecast of warmer weather.

Continue to follow our blog for construction updates on the Vermont Woods Studios Showroom, Stonehurst.

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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.