Hardwood Furniture Buyers Guide, Part I

Hardwood Dining Table and Chairs | Cherry
This hardwood dining table, buffet and chair set is made of American black cherry wood.  Mortise and tenon joints are used as well as dovetails in the drawers of the buffet.

Shopping for top quality hardwood furniture? We encourage customers to take their time and learn to enjoy the details that make fine wood furniture an heirloom you family will cherish for generations. This short guide tells you what to look for in your fine wood furniture, including types of hardwoods, joinery and finishes.

America’s Top Hardwood Choices for Fine Furniture

The American Hardwood Information Center lists 23 different species of American hardwoods including alder, ash, aspen, basswood, beech, cottonwood, hickory, sassafras and elm.  The following are time tested favorites for American made hardwood furniture.

American Black Cherry

Cherry wood is a reddish brown hardwood with a smooth, fine grain.  It’s perhaps the most prized furniture hardwood in America. People are often surprised to learn that natural cherry wood furniture changes colors over time– quite a bit actually. It starts out as a light-toned wood and darkens as it is exposed to light.

Top Quality Hardwoods include American Cherry, Maple, Walnut, Oak
These top quality hardwoods are favorites in the world of American made furniture: Cherry, Maple, Walnut and Oak.

Sugar or Hard Maple

Sugar Maple Wood (aka: hard maple) is usually light reddish brown in the center or heartwood but sometimes considerably darker (dark maple is often mistaken for cherry wood). Maple sapwood is typically white with a slight reddish-brown tinge. Maple is heavy, strong, stiff, hard, and resistant to shock.  It has a fine, uniform texture with generally straight grain, but variations such as curly, wavy, rippled, birdseye, tiger, flame or fiddleback grain occur and are often selected for specialty custom artisan furniture.

Oak

Oak has been the wood of choice for many of America’s most beloved mission and craftsman-style furniture makers, like Gustav Stickley, Greene and Greene and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Oak is a solid, sturdy and very durable hardwood with generally uniform coarse texture and prominent rays in the grain.  Oak wood may darken slightly over time, taking on more amber tones however the change is very subtle, unlike the significant color change with cherry wood.

Black walnut is North America's only chocolate brown hardwood
This hardwood bed, night stand and chest set is made of black walnut wood.  Black walnut is North America’s only chocolate brown hardwood.  It’s relatively rare and typically carries a 20-40% price premium.

American Black Walnut

Black walnut wood is the only dark North American wood. It’s prized by woodworkers for it’s strength, grain and color which is a rich chocolate brown– with occasional purple tones. There are over 20 species of walnut trees but it is the Eastern Black Walnut tree (aka: American Walnut) that is native to North America and is used for our American made walnut furniture.

If real top quality American hardwoods are important to you, be aware that imposters are everywhere.  Much of the “maple”, “walnut”, “oak” and “real cherry furniture” on the market today is actually made from cheaper woods like rubberwood, poplar, alder or other fast-growing wood alternatives.  They are often illegally clear-cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests, then bleached, texturized and stained to look like American hardwoods. When considering a purchase of wood furniture from large  “American furniture companies” like Bassett, Broyhill, Lane, Lazy Boy, Kincaid, Ethan Allan, Thomasville, Pennsylvania House, Drexel, Heritage, American Drew and Pottery Barn– be sure to ask what the wood species is and where it was grown.  You may be surprised by the response.

If you’re in the market for solid hardwood furniture, what’s your favorite wood?  Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.

Next up: Quality Hardwood Furniture Buyers Guide, Part II: all about fine furniture finishes, joinery & solid wood vs veneers.

 

 

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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.

Slanted Headboards: Trending in Comfort and Style

Beds with slanted headboards are a book lovers dream! They provide maximum comfort as the naturally smooth headboard aligns with the curve of your back (or just gives you enough room to put your pillow against it and really relax)! While most of our Vermont made beds are made with traditional headboards, we have a couple of beautiful pieces that feature this headboard style. If you really love a bed but wish it could have a slanted headboard, contact one of our fine furniture experts and they will let you know your options for a custom furniture piece!

Here are 3 of our favorite beds with Slanted Headboards

1) Custom Incline Storage Bed

Custom Bed with Slanted Headboard
This beautiful cherry storage bed* is a customized version of our Modern Incline Bed and our Cherry Moon Dressers. It’s handcrafted in a small workshop in Montpelier, VT using solid cherry wood with black walnut accents, all coated with a hand-rubbed, natural linseed oil finish. This piece is sold, but you can contact one of our friendly sales members if you’d love one like it!

2. Modern Incline Bed

Modern Incline Bed
This simple, high-end, solid wood Modern Incline Bed features an inclined headboard for supreme comfort. The subtle angle (10%) of this headboard makes reading or watching TV in bed more comfy and ergonomic. Expert craftsmanship. Built to last for generations. Designed as an ultra comfortable platform bed so there is no need for a box spring.

 

| 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. |

 

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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.

Hardwood Furniture: Top 5 Style Trends in 2013

Wood Furniture | Top Style Trends | American Made in Vermont | Cherry, Maple, Walnut, Oak
Some examples of hardwood furniture style trends in 2013:  from left, a Shaker Library Desk handcrafted of solid walnut hardwood, the Contemporary Cable Bedroom Collection crafted with solid cherry hardwood and stainless steel cable accents, the Vermont Shaker Custom Oval Dining Table in black cherry wood and the Cherry Moon Large TV and Media Console in black cherry with walnut accents.

Hardwood furniture is experiencing a renaissance this year. It’s always been a classic, but over the years modern materials (metal, plastics, glass, wicker, rattan, bamboo, concrete) have become popular furniture components.  Looking at today’s online home decor authorities such as Houzz and Apartment Therapy however, it seems real solid hardwood furniture is making a comeback!  Here’s a run-down of the Top 5 Hardwood Furniture Style Trends we’ve seen at Vermont Woods Studios this year:

Mission Furniture

Mission Style Sofa Table | Hardwood Furniture Made in America
This Mission Style Sofa Table that Douglas uses to display hardware is one of our top sellers this year.  Straight, simple lines and solid hardwood construction characterize Mission style furniture.  Similarly styled mission dining room and bedroom furniture, built by the same furniture maker has also experienced renewed popularity.  Instead of the traditional oak wood, many customers are customizing their mission furniture in cherry and even walnut wood.

Shaker Furniture

Shaker Furniture Trends in Home Decor
This Classic Shaker Huntboard is another customer favorite at Stonehurst.  Cherry is the wood of choice for  Shaker style furniture in 2013.

 

Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Furniture

Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Style Furniture
This Cherry Moon 7 Drawer Dresser shows off it’s Arts and Crafts and Craftsman Style roots in our showroom at Stonehurst.  Made in a small workshop just north of Montpelier, the Cherry Moon collection is so popular this year that the craftsman now has a lead time of 4 months!

Modern Hardwood Furniture

Modern Hardwood Furniture by Copeland
Copeland’s new Kyoto Dining Collection is a modern version of 20th century, mid-century modern MCM design.  It’s minimalist, uncluttered look with clean, straight lines is highly sought after by our interior design friends in Boston and New York.

Looking for more inspiration?  Check out additional hardwood furniture style trends on House Beautiful and Houzz.

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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.

Hardwood Bedroom Furniture: What’s Your Style?

Solid Wood Bedroom Furniture | American Made in Vermont | Handcrafted
Vermont Made hardwood bedroom furniture comes in many different styles from Shaker to Mid Century Modern and everything in between.  Which style would look best in your bedroom?

Hardwood bedroom furniture is one of Vermont’s specialties.  The Green Mountain State has been famous for high quality, handcrafted wooden furniture for over 200 years and the tradition remains alive and well today.  Our most popular hardwood is black cherry but Vermont craftspeople often work with sugar maple, black walnut, oak, ash and a number of other hardwoods as well.

The styles of Vermont made bedroom furniture are even more varied than the woods our craftspeople work with.  Above you’ll see a couple examples of Shaker, Arts and Crafts, Modern, Contemporary and Mid-Century Modern (MCM) style furniture.  From top left they are:

Vermont Made Shaker Bedroom Furniture

Vermont Made Shaker Bedroom Furniture

This is a traditional, handmade bedroom set crafted out of solid black cherry wood.  It features straight lines that are clean, simple and elegant. Perfect proportions, carefully-selected extra-wide boards, tapered posts and legs, straight aprons with top and bottom cove moldings and traditional, chamfered edges, round button Shaker knobs yield a delicate appearance that belies their sturdy construction.

 

Berkeley Hardwood Bedroom Furniture

Berkeley Arts and Crafts Bedroom Furniture

Fusing Arts & Crafts and Asian design, Copeland’s Berkeley Bedroom is both sophisticated and practical with under bed storage design that elegantly saves space in the upscale urban home. Crafted in natural cherry hardwood with American black walnut accents.

Astrid Mid Century Modern Bedroom Furniture by Copeland

Astrid Mid Century Modern Bedroom Furniture

This high end, ultra-modern, Astrid Bedroom Furniture Collection by Copeland is always on sale at our Vermont Fine Furniture Store.  Crafted in maple, cherry or walnut hardwood and made to order, you may customize it with your choice of five finishes and a variety of knob or pull options.

And on the bottom row from left:

Catalina Hardwood Bedroom Furniture by Copeland

Catalina Mid Century Modern Bedroom Furniture

Mid century, modern, 1950s American design is what the Copeland Catalina bedroom and home office furniture collection is all about.  Handcrafted in Vermont and made to order, in natural solid black walnut or maple hardwood.  Customize with your choice of finish and a variety of knob or pull options.

 

Contemporary Cable Hardwood Bedroom Furniture

Contemporary Cable Collection

Our Contemporary Cable Collection blends elegant craftsmanship and contemporary, industrial flair to create a distinctive design that will transform any bedroom. Pieces in this modern craftsman style collection feature solid hardwood construction, traditional joinery and unique cable style drawer pulls. An eco-friendly, non-toxic, handrubbed oil finish tops off the artistry of this design.

American Shaker Hardwood Bedroom Furniture  American Shaker Bedroom Furniture

Our Vermont Shaker furniture (above) is a sister collection to this one, with the main difference being a straight apron in contrast to the arched apron of the American Shaker Collection.

 

 

Which hardwood furniture style best fits your taste?  Let us know in the comments section below or on our Vermont Furniture 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.