Neville Brings a Bit of Australia to Vermont

Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 03:35 pm

Neville Kerr, Website Developer at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture Store
We welcome Neville Kerr, Website Developer Extraordinaire to Vermont Woods Studios (shown here relaxing in Jaco, Costa Rica).  Can one develop a website for a fine furniture store in Vermont, while on vacation in the rainforest?

Please help us welcome our newest staff member, Neville Kerr to the Vermont Woods Studios family.  Neville answered our call for a webmaster/developer/programmer/jack of all tech trades last December.  We didn’t know he would also be bringing additional skills we hadn’t even asked for (like cooking and travel advice) but we’re glad he did.

Neville comes to us from Down Under.  His background includes ecommerce consulting, extensive service in the Royal Australian Air Force and many interesting experiences in between.  One of his passions appears to be travel.  And oddly enough rainforest countries have been high on his list of destinations.  How interesting since Vermont Woods Studios was founded on a mission of rainforest conservation.

The photo above was taken in Jaco, Costa Rica, a place Ken and I and the boys passed through two years ago on a trip to Manuel Antonio, while volunteering for the Eco Preservation Society.   I discovered yesterday that Neville and his wife Carol also visited another of my favorite rainforest countries in their travels, Belize.

I don’t remember mentioning anything about the rainforest in our ad for a web developer so maybe it’s just good karma that brought this world traveler and his talents to our doorstep in tiny Vernon, Vermont.  At any rate, we’re grateful for his help and looking forward to the many improvements he has in mind for our fine furniture website.  Follow Neville’s work on our Facebook and let us know how  you like our website improvements as they evolve over the next couple months.

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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.

Top Quality Bedroom Furniture Sets: How to Get the Best Price

Last updated on August 14th, 2018 at 03:55 pm

Top Quality Solid HardWood Bedroom Furniture Sets | Best Prices
This Contemporary Craftsman Bedroom Furniture Set is handmade of real, solid hardwood by Vermont craftspeople.  Customers can get a 20% discount on this top quality bed, dresser, chest and night stand when purchasing 3 or more pieces together.

Tips for Buying Fine Quality Wooden Furniture

If you’re shopping for top quality bedroom furniture sets, I’m sure you’ve noticed they’re priced considerably higher than the run of the mill sets you’ll find at Jordan’s or Bernie and Phyls.  But if you want timeless, real hardwood furniture you’ll have for a lifetime, (something you’ll never have to replace) then what you’re really interested in is getting the best value, not the lowest price, right?  My suggestion: first find the best quality furniture you can afford (here’s a solid wood furniture buying guide to help with that) in the style and wood species you love.

American Made or Imported?

Second, check to see where it’s made.  If it’s imported furniture, you probably want to keep shopping.  Honestly, I rarely hear complaints about the quality of virtually any American made, solid hardwood furniture (and the more local you buy, the better chance you have of getting the craftsperson or manufacturer to stand behind the product over it’s lifetime).  On the other hand, there are dozens of consumer review sites filled with complaints about the imported furniture products found at big box stores like Ikea, Ashley and Bob’s.  Quality can be quite poor and there’s little chance of getting satisfactory customer service.

How to Get the Best Furniture Value

Once you’ve found your favorite top quality, American made bedroom furniture, crafted of real solid hardwood, then start to work with the craftsman or retailer to get their best discount price. Remember however that American furniture involves using real, legal, sustainably harvested wood and American craftsmanship.  Furthermore, US furniture makers don’t typically “mark up to mark down” so you’re unlikely to find “discounts up to 80%”.  But often there is room for some negotiation.

Buy Top Quality Furniture in Sets to Get a Volume Discount

At Vermont Woods Studios for instance, we have a standing discount of 20% on bedroom sets* plus we offer a discount on full service white glove shipping and delivery when customers are buying 3 or more pieces.  Like many online retailers, we offer a coupon code (BEDROOMSET20) for customers who prefer to purchase fine furniture online (be sure to “update cart” to get the discount).  Otherwise customers can give us a call or stop by our showroom to receive the discount.

So my advice, if you’re shopping for the best price on high quality, real solid wood beds, chests, dressers, armoires, night stands, mirrors, blanket boxes and such is to focus on quality and style first.  Find the American made bedroom furniture you love that will last a lifetime and then negotiate on price afterwards.  My sense is that in doing the research you’ll find most USA made fine furniture is honestly priced and retailers are looking to give both you and the craftsman a fair deal.

Copeland bedroom sets are excluded from the 20% discount as they already carry a low price guarantee every day in our store.

 

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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.

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.

Cherry Shaker Furniture

cherry shaker furniture sale

Since the late 1700’s Shaker has been a popular furniture style. Originally, most pieces of Shaker furniture were either painted or stained to make the piece of furniture more attractive, and as a way to protect the wood. Today, painting shaker furniture is a rarity; however, the wood species remain the same. Cherry Shaker furniture is one of the most sought after designs in the furniture industry. Like the original Shaker furniture designs, we wouldn’t dream of importing exotic wood, like mahogany, for furniture. Vermont Woods Studios’ Shaker furniture is made from sustainably harvested American woods, with cherry being the most popular. Natural cherry wood is one of the most prized hardwoods in the United States, and is excellent wood for furniture. Many would no longer dream of painting such a distinct, fine wood. Instead, a clear finish is applied to the furniture offering optimal protection for the wood.  A clear finish helps enhance the natural beauty of the cherry wood, instead of covering it up by paint.

If you’re looking to add a piece of cherry Shaker furniture to your home, now is the time. Right now we are having a Winter Shaker Style Furniture Sale. We offer over 200 pieces of Shaker influenced furniture, ranging from traditional styles to a more contemporary style. Save 10% on one piece, 15% on two pieces, or 20% on three or more pieces of Shaker style furniture. Each of our Shaker furniture pieces are backed by a lifetime guarantee and come with free shipping!

Shop for your new cherry Shaker furniture securely, easily, and conveniently from our online gallery. Our furniture specialists are also available to assist you through our Live Chat option (located in the top right corner of our online gallery), by phone (888-390-5571), or by email.

This sale ends on Thursday, January 17 at midnight.

*Sale excludes Copeland Furniture

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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.

The Walls Come Tumbling Down

Last updated on August 8th, 2013 at 10:36 am

vermont woods studios showroom construction
Here are some before/after photos of the kitchen and the detached accessory building. Demolition is in full swing!

Last week we announced that all the necessary construction permits were approved, which gave us the green light to start the renovation! We have been eagerly waiting for the day we could finally get started.

The construction team arrived the day after Christmas, and dug right in. So, we’re going to count this as our Christmas present!

There are going to be a lot of major changes, so this starts with some demolition. The construction team is only five days in, but they have already made some major demolition progress. After our first significant snow fall of the season, you would think the last thing we would want to do is remove an exterior wall. But, this is exactly what we did on the accessory building that will soon be attached to the main house. The main house saw some drastic changes too. The old kitchen and bathroom have been gutted, making way for a customer welcome area and a new ADA bathroom.

But before we get too far into the structure remodel, we do have to dig some trenches for utility connections. This part isn’t as exciting, but it is necessary.

We will continue to update you on the progress of the Vermont Woods Studios showroom here on our blog. For those of you who are just learning about Stonehurst, you can catch up by clicking here. You can also some photos of Stonehurst before construction began 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.

Stonehurst Update: All Permits Good to Go!

Last updated on December 3rd, 2018 at 02:18 pm

Stonehurst Act 250 Permit ready
The state of Vermont has cleared the way for renovations to begin at Stonehurst (our sustainable furniture showroom and nature center) by issuing an environmental (Act 250) permit, a water and wastewater permit and a building permit.  Together with supporting documentation, the 3 permits create a stack of paper about a foot high.

Act 250, Water and Building Permits Good to Go

Woohoo!  After 5 months of working through engineering and architectural plans for our sustainable Vermont furniture showplace, we have finally been approved by the state of Vermont to begin renovations at Stonehurst.  YAY!  It’s really not so easy renovating an historic property for commercial use in Vermont but we think it’s worth the trouble.

Vermont requires three permits for this kind of endeavor:  a detailed environmental assessment called the Act 250 permit, a water and wastewater permit and a building permit.  Together with supporting documentation, the three permits create a stack of paper about a foot high, requiring an army of expert consultants to complete them.  And we’re not done.  There are many caveats and contingencies that will have to be satisfied as we progress.  Ken and I never imagined this extreme when we purchased the building.  It was our architect, Jeremy Coleman who walked us through the maze of bureaucracy and red tape and patiently explained the codes and our compliance options.

Vermont’s Complex Building Regulations

At first we were in disbelief at the overwhelming extent of requirements and expense to comply with Vermont’s complex codes.  There are several government agencies to deal with and get approval from.  Sometimes they are at odds with each other.  But as we finally get to a point where our plans have been approved and renovations can begin I guess we are beginning to see some method to the madness.

Stonehurst is Worth the Trouble

After all Vermont is a very special place for nature lovers and we want it to always stay that way.  Detailed environmental and building regulations help to ensure that.  Like many Vermont businesses, Vermont Woods Studios is built on a green mission.  Ours is forest conservation and environmental preservation, so (in spite of the high cost of regulations) I can’t imagine finding a more suitable home for it than Stonehurst in Vernon, Vermont.

Stay tuned for more updates on our sustainable furniture showroom over the next couple months and plan to visit us for an open house in the early summer.  Till then keep updated by subscribing to this blog or visiting our Facebook.

See you at the Grand Opening (TBA)!

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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.

Sean Henry: Welcome To The Woods!

Last updated on May 12th, 2022 at 04:18 pm

Sean Henry - Welcome to the Woods!
Please help me welcome Sean Henry to Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture. He’s becoming a great Sales and Customer Service Representative. Liz and Heather are supposed to be training him but in the back of her mind (or front?)  Liz thinks we hired Sean to get her coffee and shine her shoes.   What’s up with that?

I can’t believe how lucky we’ve been at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture this year.  Somehow we’ve been able to find 6 new staff members, all extraordinary in their capabilities and drive, not to mention passion for our green mission.  If you’ve ever owned or worked at a small company, you know it’s not easy to find just the right professionals to bring on board.  Small businesses need people who can work under pressure but go with the flow, leap tall buildings in a single bound and take out the trash, be friendly to customers and co-workers but clam up and put their nose to the grindstone when it’s time to crank out the work.  Already Sean seems to be juggling those things with finesse.

He’s working for Douglas alongside Liz and Heather G as a Sales and Customer Service Representative.  I’ll try to give you some inside scoop on him, so you can surprise him if he answers the phone next time you call.  Let’s see.  Before Sean came to us, he owned and operated his family business–one of Brattleboro’s favorite restaurants, the SteakOut.  Owning a restaurant?  That was our first clue that he knew how to work hard.

Sean holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Vermont where he studied financial and office management. While working his way through school, he sold Cutco knives.  Now I love Cutco products (they’re made in America, by the way) but they’re not exactly an easy sell.  When was the last time you happily welcomed a door-to-door salesman into your home?  Right.  So anyone who can sell anything door to door gets my respect.

Liz and Heather have been trying to dig up some dirt on Sean (it’s so competitive around here) but at this point– still nothing.  It’s early though so stay tuned.  They’ll manage to unearth something good.

And speaking of Liz… could it be that she actually believed Douglas when he said we were interviewing for a personal assistant for her?  Hmmm.  That could explain why she keeps asking Sean to get her coffee and shine her shoes.

Stay up to date on Sean’s adventures with Liz, Heather and other enigmatic personalities at Vermont Woods Studios by visiting our Facebook now and then.

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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 Renovation and ADA Compliance

ADA Compliance | Stonehurst
To transform this 200 year old farmhouse and adjacent barn into a fine furniture showroom, we’re connecting the 2 buildings with a third to result in a “U shaped” complex. The floor in the barn (on the left) is being lowered by 2′ to match the floor height in the main house so people in wheelchairs can move about freely. 

ADA Compliance: Lift vs Ramp

When expanding, small retail businesses in Vermont often consider historically significant spaces such as downtown buildings or old farmhouses.  ADA compliance is a major factor in determining the feasibility of such a move.  Entrepreneurs should seek the advice of an architect or other professional during the earliest stages of planning.

Because many small businesses in Vermont are starting to consider expansion these days, I thought I’d share some of our experience with ADA Compliance at Stonehurst, our future Fine Furniture Gallery.  In working with Jeremy Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction we’ve explored several alternatives to accommodating customers with disabilities.  At first I began to call Jeremy Coleman “Dr. No”.  He nixed every idea I had on layout and flow, because they weren’t ADA compliant.  The codes aren’t intuitively obvious for a newcomer, but eventually I caught on.

The main challenge we have is that our 200 year old farmhouse sits 2 feet lower than the adjacent horse barn.  Our plan is to connect the two buildings and transform them into a furniture showroom.  But how will a person in a wheelchair be able to go from one building to the next?

We thought about a ramp, but there’s not enough room (a ramp cannot have more than 1″ rise in height per foot of length so that’s 24′ of ramp).  Then we considered a 2′ high elevator lift, but it took up too much floor space and added $30,000 to our cost.  Finally our builder, Bob Furlone suggested lowering the floor in the horse barn.  It’s going to involve some excavating but we all feel it’s the best way to go.

We’re excited that soon we’ll be better able to accommodate the customers who contact us looking for customized furniture designed for wheelchair access.  We’ve modified our dining tables many times by increasing the table height so a wheelchair can fit under the apron.  Now those customers can come see us in person and enjoy the view of Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest while shopping comfortably from their wheelchair.

Stonehurst is still in the planning stages, while we wait for our Act 250 and other permits to be approved by the state of Vermont.  After that happens, we’ll have a ground breaking ceremony and start digging.  Stay tuned for more progress reports or follow us on Facebook for updates.

 

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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.