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.

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.

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.

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.

Stonehurst: History of a Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom

Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 03:15 pm

Stonehurst, circa 1870: Now a Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom
Renovations are underway at Stonehurst, the newest Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom.   This photos was taken circa 1870, about when the 200 year old farmhouse property was sold to Lucretia Kendall by Noyes and Theresa Streeter for a sum of $2000.

I made a visit to our local Vernon History Museum last weekend to learn more about Stonehurst, the 200 year old farmhouse property we recently purchased as the future home for our Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom.  I was lucky enough to run into Peggy Frost, Nancy and Dale Gassett and a few other volunteers who were working in the museum’s gardens.  Peggy knew just where the old photos of Stonehurst were stored so we went inside the museum and spent a few hours pouring through them.

The Original Stonehurst

The original Stonehurst farmhouse was built circa 1800 but I can only find photos going back to 1870 or so.  Near as I can figure, the shot above would have been taken around the time that Stonehurst was sold by Noyes and Theresa Streeter to Lucretia Kendall for a sum of $2000.00.  That was recorded on March 9, 1868.

Pine Top Ski Resort

Stonehurst had a very different life from the 1940s to the 1960s when it operated as a ski resort named Pine Top.  You can see from the photo below that the house looked essentially the same through the ages.  At some point it was painted red over the original white.  And the horse barn-woodshed to the left of the house was converted to a dormitory for overnight skiers.

Stonehurst was known as Pine Top Ski Area, 1940-1960
Stonehurst was known as Pine Top Ski Resort, 1940s-1960s.  Operated by Elsie and Romey Racine, it welcomed up to 26 overnight guests who enjoyed skiing in the winter and traditional Vermont outdoor activities in the summer.

After talking with Barbara Moseley, our Vernon Town Historian, I learned that Pine Top was owned by Romey and Elsie Racine, a couple that moved to Vermont from New Jersey.  “The Racines hosted vacationers and skiers in their welcoming lodge and operated a 3 run ski area with warming hut, equipment rentals and ski patrol.  It was all staffed by local families.”  Pine Top was  set up to lodge up to 26 guests, often accommodating families of students from nearby boarding schools, Northfield Mount Hermon and Deerfield Academy.

Pine Top Ski Area Resort in Vernon, Vermont Circa 1960
This is the “backyard” of Stonhurst when it was Pine Top Ski Area, circa 1960.  What a view!

Stonehurst Tomorrow: A Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom

Happily, Stonehurst looks pretty much the same today as it did 70 years ago when Pine Top was operating.  The property was sold to Bill and Elaine Ellis after Pine Top closed and the Ellis’ transferred it to Vermont Woods Studios in August of this year.  We’re now working with J Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction to transform the property into a Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom. The goal is to create a relaxing destination shopping experience for our customers who journey here from all around the Northeast and beyond.

Stonehurst, with it’s beautiful vistas and 100 acres of forested land provides a venue for us to convey our environmental mission and show people where sustainable, handmade furniture comes from.  Stay tuned for progress reports and a grand opening for Stonehurst next Summer.

Stonehurst, 2012. Soon to be Vermont's Premier Fine Furniture Store
Stonehurst, 2012. I took this photos right after we purchased Stonehurst in August.  Now we’re working with J Coleman + Company Architects and Bob Furlone of American Construction to transform Stonehurst into a Vermont Fine Furniture Showroom.  Stay tuned for progress reports and a grand opening next Spring or Summer.

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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 Fine Furniture Showroom: Repurposing Our Trees

Last updated on December 3rd, 2018 at 02:15 pm

Custom milling by Vince Johnson in Vernon VT
Vince Johnson of Johnson Custom Milling in Vernon, VT is milling trees at Stonehurst that had to be taken down for safety reasons. Now we can use them for future phases of construction at our new Vermont Woods Studios fine furniture showroom.

Since forest conservation is a big part of my mission at Vermont Woods Studios, it’s been a little heart-breaking for me to see some of the 100 year old trees at Stonehurst being taken down. There were a handful that were leaning over the house and garage and Ken insisted that they were a hazard and had to go.

But lucky for me, Vince Johnson of Johnson Custom Milling in Vernon, VT came to the rescue. Vince is milling the trees so we can use them for future phases of construction at Stonehurst, our fine furniture showroom. Here’s a video of his portable sawmill in operation.

Ken and Jeremy Coleman of J Coleman & Company Architects are looking into building a solar kiln to dry the wood so we can use it as soon as possible.

And Dennis has plans to siphon off some of the wood to build bluebird houses, owl boxes and such. It’s turning out to be a fun project after all. Let us know on our Facebook if you have any thoughts or advice for us as we go down this road of renovation at Stonehurst, our future fine furniture showroom. We’ll be posting photos of the transformation and announcing details of our open house as we get closer to completion.

 

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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.