How a Working Forest Contributes to a Healthier Ecosystem

By managing our own forest here in Vermont since 2013, we have witnessed the beautiful harmony of a healthy ecosystem. When Vermont Woods Studios outgrew the spare bedroom in Peggy’s home, our team searched for a permanent home. Above all, our goal was to find a space that would reflect the values of the company and offer a home to showcase the works of Vermont’s finest furniture craftsmen. After a long search, we found Stonehurst. As you can imagine, we love every minute we get to spend out in our forest!

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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.

Celebrate Spring at Stonehurst

Last updated on May 2nd, 2017 at 10:10 pm

Sunshine, warm weather, birds singing, more daylight, picnic lunches… what’s not to celebrate during Spring!  So if you’re coming up to shop for furniture, bring your boots and build in a little extra time to enjoy Spring at Stonehurst. It’s beautiful! A couple things you can do here that you never thought of doing at a furniture store:

Take A Hike

Take a hike at Stonehurst and celebrate Spring.Hike through our 100 acre woodland at Stonehurst. We located our sustainable furniture store here so you can experience the kind of responsibly-managed forest where your furniture originates.
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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.

Metamorphosis of a Vermont Furniture Showroom

Inlaid monarch butterfly on maple end table
Breeze Verdant inlayed this beautiful monarch butterfly into a maple end table that Ken and Kyle built. It’s on display at Stonehurst until August 26th.

With our Save the Monarchs tour coming up next week, we decided to dress this Vermont furniture showroom up for the occasion.  Ken and Kyle built a beautiful maple end table and brought it over to Breeze Verdant who inlaid that amazing monarch image above.  There are actually over 100 tiny pieces of wood and metal in it!

Monarch Artistry in our Vermont Furniture Showroom
The Save the Monarchs banner, pamphlets & stickers were created by our ace artist, photographer & all around creative genius, Nina.  That’s a monarch nursery in the upside-down mesh clothes hamper.  Several monarchs in all different stages of metamorphosis are inside.  Hopefully some will be able to join us for the tour.

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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.

Team of Percherons Pulls into the Farm at Stonehurst

A pen and ink drawing of the O'Neil Family Farm's Percheron draft horses, Maude and Tony by Iowa artist William A Webber.
Stonehurst‘s newest piece of art:  a pen & ink drawing of 2 draft horses by Iowa artist, William A Weber.   My Dad loved this picture and Mom was kind enough to pass it down to me last weekend when I visited her in Plattsburgh.

A Boy & His Dream

This is the story of a boyhood dream.  It begins in 1937, during the “recession within the Great Depression”.  The first child of a hard-working young Irish couple from Johnson City, NY is sent to spend the summer on his grandparents’ farm in Dushore, PA.

The lad is tasked with feeding the chickens, weeding the garden and sweeping the dirt floors. But his favorite chore is helping plow the fields with a team of black Percheron draft horses name Maude and Tony.  For many summers, little Bob was delivered to the O’Neil Family Farm the day after school let out in June and returned to his parents in Johnson City on Labor Day weekend, just in time to start the new school year.  Driving and caring for the team of blackies quickly become his passion and thus the dream was born.

Dad and Aunt Joanie riding Tony at the O'Neil Family Farm in Dushore, Pennsylvania
Dad and his sister (Aunt Joanie) riding Tony at the O’Neil Family Farm in Dushore, Pennsylvania.  I have to say this gentle giant looks like he lived a much more strenuous life than the pampered pets who would follow in his footsteps some 60 years later.

“One Day I’ll Have My Horses”

The boy was my dad.  But farming wasn’t in the cards for him and like his parents he wound up raising a family and making a living in a small city.  “You mark my words”, he’d say “one day I’ll have my horses”.  We all laughed.

But, despite the years that passed and the naysayers and the remote odds, his dream never died.  In 1985, Dad flew out to Millersburg Ohio to meet with his dear friend Monroe Miller, a Percheron horse breeder.  He returned home driving a trailer with 2 young geldings, he named Prince and Tony.  The horses were Dad’s pride and joy. Although their plowing chores were few, Prince and Tony were often pressed into service giving hay rides and sleigh rides to local children.  They lived an honorable life.

Dad's Percherons pulling a sleigh at Christmastime in 1993. Plattsburgh, NY.
Dad and his Percherons, Prince & Tony, pulling a sleigh at Christmastime in 1993. It was a holiday tradition that our family cherished for many years. Plattsburgh, NY.

Driving the Team Back to a Farm: Stonehurst!

Last weekend when I went to Plattsburgh to visit my mother I saw this familiar drawing of the 2 Percherons that Dad had purchased from Iowa artist William A Weber.  I asked if I could relocate the boys to Stonehurst, which had been a working farm on and off for over 200 years.  It would be a fitting place for the horses to retire as Stonehurst in the 1930s would have been quite similar to the O’Neil Farm that Maude & Tony served at that time.  Mother agreed & now the 2 two horses hang on the wall looking out the windows of our showroom to the farmland that houses our sustainable furniture store today.

Come Visit Stonehurst and Meet Prince & Tony

Love horses?  Farms?  History?  Come visit us at Stonehurst!  You can enjoy the 109 acre plot of beautifully managed farm and forest land that’s now home to Prince and Tony.  And if you’re in the market for sustainable, American made furniture or Vermont made home decor, all the better.  See you in the showroom!

 

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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.

From New York to Nature in 3.5 Hours

Last updated on September 23rd, 2015 at 07:46 pm

Vermont Furniture Store | Green Mountain Forest
Our Vermont furniture store is located in the lush foothills of the Green Mountain National Forest, about 3 1/2 hours north of Manhattan.  Maybe we’re not the closest or easiest showroom to get to, but once you’re here we think you’ll be glad you made the trip. 

I guess word is getting around about our unique Vermont furniture store because we’re starting to get many visitors from New York, Boston and other metropolitan areas.  Customers tell us they’re looking for something beautiful, sustainable and uniquely theirs.  That’s why we’re here, of course but “here” isn’t necessarily easy to find.

Directions to Stonehurst, Our Fine Furniture Showroom

So Rebecca and I teamed up with next-door neighbor, Drew Amidon to make a video showing the route to Stonehurst, our Vermont Woods Studios furniture showroom.  Drew made the scenic journey and filmed it from Interstate 91 (exit 28A, Northfield, Route 10), past the Inn at Crumpin Fox, left onto Bald Mountain Road, right onto Huckle Hill Road and 5 miles to Stonehurst.  He used his GoPro and drone helicopter to show visitors just where we are and what to expect when they get here.

Rebecca was kind enough to narrate the video and even made a few cameo appearances.  Check it out, Stonehurst: How to Get Here.

Dining Furniture | Vermont Furniture Store
An Autumn view from Stonehurst, our showroom in the woods.

Most Furniture Stores Don’t Have to Make a Video on How to Get to Their Showroom

Who had the crazy idea of putting a fine furniture store in the middle of nowhere, anyway?  OK that was me.  Well… sustainability is important to me and it’s part of the mission of our company.  Customers come to us because they want to feel good about their furniture.  They want to know where their furniture comes from.  They want to be sure it originates in a sustainable forest that provides recreation & habitat for wildlife, a forest that’s going to be around for future generations.

Stonehurst fine furniture showroom
Stonehurst in the summer. Our showroom is located on a 109 acre woodland in southern Vermont so customers can experience the kind of sustainable environment in which their furniture originates.

So when the Stonehurst property on 109 acres of pristine woodlands became available in 2012 I knew it was the perfect location for a Vermont Woods Studios showroom.  We’re 3 1/2 hours from Manhattan and 2 hours from Boston.  It’s a beautiful drive to get here and once you arrive, you’ll feel a relaxed Vermont vibe before you even get our of your car.  Be sure to pack a picnic basket and a bottle of wine because fine furniture shopping should never be rushed.

See you in the woods!

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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.

Ready For Take-off: Monarch Butterfly Migration

Last updated on November 3rd, 2018 at 12:29 pm

monarch butterfly chrysalises
Two chrysalises housing monarch pupa

Vermont Woods Studios Prepares Monarchs for Take-off

On a beautiful day straddling the line between August and September, we huddled on the deck of Vermont Woods Studios at our Stonehurst property. Five adults and two children all gazing in mirrored excitement at the progress of our monarch caterpillars as they forge their ways into butterfly-hood.

“I’m going to name him Jeff!” One of the young boys informed the group as Peggy Farabaugh, the CEO of Vermont Woods Studios and head caterpillar-rearer, gently scooped up two prized caterpillars and secured them safely in a jar for the boys to bring to their grandmother’s.

It has been two weeks since the arrival of the caterpillar babies (or larva) and already they are well on their way to adulthood. However, their transformation is far more magical than that of any other aging process. They came to us as tiny creatures no bigger than a grain of rice and have rapidly transformed into vibrant, two inched beauties that scuttle about their mesh hamper confinement eating milkweed and maturing with natural grace.

It is marvelous to watch the caterpillars inch their way to the top of the hamper and methodically suspend themselves upside down in a J shape. This is a signal to the world that the caterpillars are ready to enter the pupa or chrysalis stage of life. The caterpillars work tirelessly in this J-shape to molt their skin and transform their outer appearance into the grass green, gold speckled chrysalis.

“I wonder what they’re doing in there all the time.” Peggy mused, affectionately grooming the caterpillar habitat. The allure of mystery gripped us all as we watched the beautiful chrysalises hang, cautiously enveloping the transforming caterpillar.

In about two weeks the chrysalises will have turned black and the monarch butterfly will be ready to emerge with damp, fledgling wings. In the short span of two hours, the monarch’s wings will dry and it will be lusting for flight. Thus our babies will leave us and safety of the Stonehurst deck.

However, it won’t be a sad day, for on this day we will have reached our goal. With the help of Orley R.  “Chip” Taylor, founder of the Monarch Watch program at the University of Kansas, we will have completed cycle one of the Monarch Restoration project. The Vermont Woods Studios company developed an objective: to help restore the monarch population. Success is heavily contingent on three pillars: milkweed restoration, healthy, migration-ready monarchs and continued research.

Last October and November, Peggy and the Vermont Woods Studios staff went out in search of milkweed. Pods gathered along route 142 were brought back to the studio where seeds were harvested and packaged for distribution.

Seeds were distributed to local gardeners and nature enthusiasts, clients and planted on the Stonehurst property. 1 in 100 milkweed seeds strewn across the earth will produce a plant. Because of these small odds, we chose to carefully plant 80 seeds on the Stonehurst property yielding 80 viable milkweed plants.

Along with learning the importance of carefully planting the milkweed seeds, the Vermont Woods Studios staff have also developed important information for rearing monarch caterpillars:

  • Whenever it is possible, raise the caterpillars in a terrarium
  • Do not allow direct sunlight to hit the terrarium
  • Monarch caterpillars grow quickly and this process can be messy, so cleaning the terrarium frequently is a must
monarch caterpillar on milkweed
One of our monarch caterpillars getting ready to transition into a chrysalis

Once our monarchs are ready for flight, we have one last piece of the puzzle to put in place before we can call the project a success. Chip founded Monarch Watch in 1992 and has been studying monarch migration since 2005. The eastern monarchs born at the end of the summer months have the innate task of migrating to Mexico. This migration will take four generations of monarchs.

Our Stonehurst monarchs will fly just a portion of the way and then stop to lay eggs and die as the new babies begin the growing process and mature to fly their portion of the trip. This process will repeat until the final generation sails over sunny Mexico and makes themselves comfortable for eight to nine months when the United States is again habitable for the return of the monarchs.

How did people come to have such intimate detail about the migration pattern of these tireless creatures? The answer to this is evolving through research, which brings us to the final stage of the project: tagging the monarchs.

Before our monarchs take flight, we will place a small, adhesive tag, provided by Chip and his team on the wings of our monarchs. These tags will signal researchers to know where the monarchs came from and provide other valuable research that will continue to help rehabilitate the monarch population.

As we stand on the deck, without a chill in the air and watch the chrysalises form, we know the journey our caterpillars have before them. We discuss tagging the butterflies with nervous laughter, none of us having ever done it before; but were willing to try because we know that it is one key step in encouraging the comeback of these magical creatures.

(This is part two of a four part blog series on our Monarch Butterfly Restoration 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.

Hubbardton Forge Lighting – Coming Soon!

Last updated on June 2nd, 2017 at 04:10 pm

Hubbardton Forge | Lighting Fixtures | Modern American Blacksmiths
I love this picture of George Chandler and Reed Hampton, the founders of Hubbardton Forge, Vermont’s 40 year old handcrafted lighting manufacturer.  The two men met serendipitously in Paul Aschenbach’s art class at the University of Vermont.  How funny that George’s last name means candle maker!

Next stop on my tour of Vermont’s luxury home decor providers is lighting manufacturer, Hubbardton Forge. If you’ve had to buy or install lighting fixtures over the last few decades you’re no doubt aware that most lighting is manufactured in Asia these days and the quality isn’t what it used to be.

Enter Hubbardton Forge of Castleton.  The company was established in 1974 by two guys in a barn who set out to revive the forgotten craft of hand-forging raw metal into contemporary designs. Today the business started by George Chandler and Reed Hampton is one of the largest contemporary commercial forges in America. Forty years of practicing time honored principles have built an international reputation for innovative designs, simplicity and integrity.

During my visit to the forge I met with Art Director, Wendy Fannin to show her what we’re doing at Stonehurst and discuss possible strategies to cross-promote our products.  Both companies share a passion for simple elegance, traditional craftsmanship and a commitment to environmental stewardship so it seems some synergy could be achieved.

At Vermont Woods Studios we’re looking forward to receiving our first order of Hubbardton forge chandeliers, floor lamps, sconces and table lamps very soon and I’m eager to see how they transform our space.  They’ll be accompanied by fine furniture from studios all around the state, glassware from Simon Pearce, ceramics from Laura Zindel and hopefully linens from Anichini and furniture/pottery from Shackleton-Thomas.

Keep posted on our latest inventory and/or plan a trip to see everything in person at 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.

Preparing for Spring at Stonehurst

SpringWhile it might be hard to believe, winter is finally winding down here at Stonehurst. The snow is slowly melting, and some of our forest friends are starting to show their furry faces. Just yesterday, we saw this beautiful red fox frolic through the field in our backyard.

SpringA pair of eastern bluebirds perched outside outside of my office window, enjoying the first real day of sunshine of the season.

SpringAnd a chubby squirrel (a frequent visitor to the marketing office window) gorged himself on tasty bird seed.

We’ve seen plenty more forest critters getting ready for spring, and we’re getting ready too!

Spring

As you can see here, a wild Sales team member (Sean) anxiously awaits the warm weather! What about you? How are you preparing for spring? If you are planning on adding some natural Vermont charm to your home, a visit to Stonehurst might be a great first step. You’ll have plenty of inspiration from the birds and cute critters, and a friendly sales team to make your visit easy and enjoyable. Our beautiful, Vermont crafted wood furniture is made from premium solid hardwoods, sourced from sustainably harvested forests, much like the one right in our backyard!

Shopping at Stonehurst brings you closer to where your furniture really comes from. Visit us, and experience the beauty of Vermont wood, inside and out.

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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.

Visit us at Stonehurst this Winter!

visit-us at Stonehurst, a vermont made furniture store

We are in the midst of winter here in Vermont– the ground is covered in a thick layer of snow and the air is crisp and clean. Despite the chilly weather, we have still enjoyed having guests stop by Stonehurst, warm up with us, and  shop for new Vermont made wood furniture.

We believe that there is no better place to shop for Vermont wood furniture than in our showroom, nestled in the woods of Vernon, Vermont. All of our furniture comes from sustainably harvested forests, much like the one right in our backyard. Shopping at Stonehurst brings you closer to where your furniture really comes from. Visit us, and experience the beauty of Vermont wood, inside and out.

Unlike your traditional furniture shopping experience, at Stonehurst there is no need to rush. Feel free to bring a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch, and enjoy a relaxed country atmosphere while you get to know our furniture. Each member of our sales staff is an expert in Vermont wood, so even if you aren’t ready to purchase, we’d love for you to stop by and have a conversation with one of our friendly staff members and get to know more about Vermont Woods Studios.

At Stonehurst, we don’t have aisle after aisle of furniture. The pieces we carry at Stonehurst are just a representative sampling of the hundreds of pieces we offer on our online store. The pieces that we have in the showroom are a true reflection of the quality and craftsmanship that you can expect with all of our furniture.

So stop by, warm up, and browse our beautiful selection of wood furniture and Vermont made art and decor. We can’t wait to meet you!

Find directions to Stonehurst here.

Learn more about visiting Stonehurst here.

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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.

10 Things We Learned in 2014

Last updated on August 15th, 2018 at 02:32 pm

2014 was a great year for us at Vermont Woods Studios.  Through lots of trial and error and experimentation, we ended up in a great place and look forward to another year of growth! We’ve learned so much that we couldn’t possibly list it all, but here are 10 wonderful things we learned this year:

stonehurst-summer-2014-3

1. How to transform a lost ski area into a beautiful showcase for Vermont made furniture, artwork and home decor.  It was our first full year at Stonehurst, the marvelous property we call home. We couldn’t be happier with how well it was received by our guests, and we eagerly await even more visitors in 2015!

 

georges mill

2. How to build a set to take professional photos of our furniture. Nina & Dennis spent a great amount of time and energy getting crafty and making sets for photoshoots. With Nina’s photoshop wizardry, dusty old storage areas and garages transform into quaint living spaces perfect for furniture photos!

 

woodchuck

3. How to keep woodchucks out of our flower garden using aluminum pie plates. As you can see in the photo above, our showroom sees frequent visitors from the forest! Unfortunately, they are big fans of our gardens so we’ve learned creative ways of humanely keeping them at a safe distance!

 

Vermont Woods Studios Furniture Interns: busy stacking 40 cords of firewood
Vermont Woods Studios Furniture Interns: busy stacking 40 cords of firewood

4. How to harvest wood to sustainably heat our showroom. Our student interns (Douglas & Peggy’s kids) had a busy summer stacking 40 cords of firewood sourced from fallen trees around Stonehurst!

 

monarch-45. Never lose hope. We were a little disheartened about not seeing any Monarchs in our butterfly garden this year, but just as we started planning our 2015 Monarch conservation efforts, a symbol of hope arrived! We worked together to plant and share milkweed throughout our community and are excited to continue with this project through the new year.

 

fall-lifestyle-2014-2

6. Handcrafted wood furniture deserves beautiful decor accessories to go with it. Our natural wood furniture is simple and beautiful on it’s own, but handcrafted Vermont made decor adds another layer of richness that we can’t help but love.

 

tiny-house-landscaping

7.  Our furniture looks great in big houses and “tiny houses” alike! Earlier in the year we provided a POLYWOOD La Casa Dining Set to Tiny House Nation, a show that celebrates the innovation and creativity of Tiny Houses and the people who inhabit them!

 

10480604_10153470544492814_4057381617845782994_o

8.  Nothing feels better than giving back to the community. We made it a priority to give back to our community this year– from donating food for a community Thanksgiving dinner, to participating in Vermont’s ‘Green up Day’ and more! Our whole team took part in our charitable activities and look forward to another great year of giving.

 

IMG_0269

9. Nature makes a great backdrop for photos. Our previous ‘our team‘ page featured each of us on white backgrounds, making us look like our heads were floating in space! We learned that we look much better in a natural setting, surrounded by things we cherish (trees!)

 

falltime-2014-5

10Appreciate the seasons while they last. We are lucky to live in New England, a place where each season is bold, beautiful, and transformative! The freshness of Spring, the relaxed nature of Summer, the crisp air of the Fall, and the reflective state of Winter are things we’ve grown to love. At Stonehurst, we get to see the uniqueness of each season as the year passes and we have learned to love and appreciate all of them while they are here.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the things we learned in 2014, and we look forward to another great year ahead! Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

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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.