Biophilic design is inspired by biophilia—a deep love of nature with an underlying, primal urge to connect to the natural world—and is commonly used to realign and reconnect urban centers with the natural environment. It accomplishes this by utilizing sustainable materials and building practices (WELL, FITWELL, LEED) that keep both the health of people and the planet in mind.
“Cedar” can be a confusing wood because most trees we’d consider to be cedar aren’t from the species cedrela. For example, Eastern red cedar, by its scientific name Juniperus virginiana L., is actually from the species juniper, as the moniker indicates. However, Eastern red cedar is the tree responsible for most of the cedar lumber encountered in furniture in the U.S.
Five of the most common types of cedar trees are covered below.
Our friend Kathleen Wanner of the Vermont Wood Manufacturer’s Association VWMA is fond of the saying, “local wood = local good”. It captures Vermont’s passion for supporting small, local businesses that emphasize sustainable use of the working landscape: our forests and fields.
Consider for a minute, your impact on local economies when you buy American made furniture versus imported furniture (most furniture in America is imported from Asia). If, for example you buy Vermont made wood furniture, you are supporting the local land owner who grew the trees, the forester who manages the land for sustainability, the logger who falls the trees, the sawyer who slices and dices the wood, perhaps a wholesaler (and/or retailer) who inventory the wood, the furniture maker who builds your furniture and (unless you buy directly from the furniture maker) the retail store that sells you the new bedroom set. That’s why we say “local wood = local good”.
Here’s a typical Forest to Furniture scenario that happens routinely all over Vermont:
A local logging company or tree service harvests the trees.
Chuck Mayotte from Mayotte’s tree service in Guilford looks to find the highest and best use for the trees he removes. Sometimes trees will be used for firewood, but when Chuck comes across high quality logs or those with special character, he sells them to area furniture makers.
Local sawyers cut the lumber into planks or beams.
Vince Johnson is a local sawyer in Vernon with a portable sawmill that he drives to the woodlot at harvest time. He sawed black locust and norway spruce logs for us at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture gallery. They are currently being used to build a deck behind our showroom.
Kerber Mills is another local sawyer with a small mill in Guilford, VT. Clint Kerber milled the cherry and maple wood for our hardwood floors at the Stonehurst showroom.
Local furniture makers transform the wood into fine furniture.
So… what do you think? Does the story (and the benefit to local economies) behind local wood furniture add enough value to sway your buying decision? Or is imported furniture just too darned affordable to pass up? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook!
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As we start picking up the pieces of our broken economy and trying to sort through them, what kinds of changes will we make to avoid another meltdown? We’ve unwittingly become such ravenous consumers, that we’ve gotten accustomed to forsaking quality in our purchases for instant gratification at the expense of frequent disposal and replacement.
We hear people say things like, “I like to freshen up my home and replace my furniture every few years to stay up with the trends.” In the furniture business, we call those disposable purchases curbside furniture.
If you’re lucky enough to have antiques and heirlooms that have been handed down to you through the generations, I’ll bet that even after 50-100 or more years, you’ll find the quality of those items to be superior to that of today’s equivalent.
Rebuilding the economy on a green foundation is going to involve a cultural shift away from cheap, imported, transitory goods in favor of high-quality, long-lasting, timeless items that are crafted from sustainable resources and sold near the source with a minimum of transportation and fuel costs. Green American furniture companies are leading the way toward this kind of a paradigm shift. We have the sustainable resources, the talent, the facilities and the will to make it happen. Visit the Sustainable Furniture Council to learn more.