Lynne from Michigan bought some oak Econo Dining Chairs with Wheat stain. Because wood comes from trees that were living and growing in unique environments, even the simplest crafts from solid wood are individualized. North American growing conditions show in the distinguished oak woodgrain of the chair Lynne sent us a picture of.
Lynne’s purchase was small enough to fit in her car, so she wondered how to save on shipping. That’s when we realized that one of the workshops that make the Econo Chair was close enough for Lynne to drive. So she decided to tour Amish country and pick up the chairs herself at a builder’s workshop. Here’s where Lynne tells her story:
I am very satisfied with the quality of the chairs I ordered through you. They are beautifully constructed and finished, and comfortable to sit in.
I found the shopping experience very pleasant. I always got prompt replies to my questions and the chairs were finished ahead of schedule.
It was great that I could pick them up myself in Shipshewana and save on shipping costs. I would highly recommend your company to anyone looking for quality furniture.
Because Lynne chose chairs handcrafted in America, they tell a very human story.
We’re an online shop working with builders all over the USA, and it might just be a local drive from where your furniture is made to where you want to bring it home. We can save you carbon and chemicals compared to conventionally mass-produced furniture with their huge shipping and supply chains. We even helped Lynne get a taste of where and under what work conditions the craftspeople made her chairs.
In today’s era of internet shopping, the assumption is that you don’t have to leave your house to buy what you need. But with all the choices you can access at web-based stores, the web opens up a bigger and more interesting world. You could find you have more opportunities to leave your desk and adventure in the real world than before.
Here’s a shot of the Econo Chair from an angle so you can see more of its features. The Econo is a Windsor chair with plain spindles that keep it together in Shaker or modern decor schemes. But it still has contouring in the back and a small scoop in the seat, adding twenty-first century comfort to this design classic. For a handmade chair, it may be inexpensive, but that doesn’t mean cheap.
Have you ever gone on a trip to buy something special and unique? Let us know in the comments below.
With the winter months closing in, the shorter days can be a bit depressing. A lack of sunlight affects the human body in adverse ways, and it also makes each room in your home darker and plainer.
In the winter, every room’s design benefits less from the depth and color that bright, direct window light offers. But rooms that have limited windows in the first place are hit especially hard. Here are 6 rooms that are notorious for getting too dark, with some tips on brightening them up.
The Basement Apartment
You’re lucky if it’s a walk-out basement with one wall that can have full-sized windows, but even then, at least one wall will be underground. Most basements are buried all around and can only have foot-high windows right up against the ceiling. Brightening up a basement is vital to creating a living space that supports healthy moods.
Light colors help avoid making a basement feel even darker. Reflective touches make the most of light. Remember to arrange furniture so it only creates shadows where you need them. Since it’s a whole apartment we’re talking about, nearly all bright design tricks are useful somewhere in a basement apartment.
The Apartment Kitchen
Many apartments and condos are against one or two outside walls in the building, which means two or even three walls are going to be inside. At least some of the rooms have to be windowless.
The most common windowless room in an apartment is the kitchen. The kitchen is a functional room, where occupants may be too busy for a lack of outdoor light to bother them. An apartment kitchen occupies substantial footage against an inner wall, and leaves the windowed walls free for the rooms where people go to relax, such as the family room, dining room and bedrooms.
Luckily, kitchens are a great place for tiles, white or metal appliances, and marble countertops. Glass cupboard doors are another contemporary alternative.
The Old Bathroom
Clearly, people have not always known about mold. In modern times, most municipalities require that bathrooms have ventilation either in the form of an outdoor window or a ventilation fan. But for privacy’s sake, that window is going to be small, frosted or covered, and not open very wide.
The bathroom also serves as a functional room: when you have limited outdoor walls, why not use them for the rooms where people relax or socialize? In climate-controlled homes, many people would rather use a fan for ventilation than a window.
You can update your old bathroom, but chances are, it stays in the dark spot where it was originally built. Whatever your reason for having a bathroom with no outside window, brightness improves its functionality. So try adding chromed taps and glass shower doors or a clear curtain. Use shiny tile or high gloss paint, and make that mirror as big as possible. And don’t shy away from bright bathroom lighting if you plan on shaving or doing your makeup there.
Garages, Vaults, and Storage Basements
Most households keep these rooms neither bright nor well-organized, but they certainly don’t have a lot of windows, if any. Maybe you don’t spend a lot of time in your unfinished basement, and you’re not enthused about making it brighter or more pleasant. But there is one thing you can do to make these concrete holes more functional:
Seal your floors! Sealing your floors and walls will help protect your concrete, your belongings, and even the rest of the house from cold and moisture. The finish will be more shiny than concrete, even if you choose a basic grey. Depending on the function of the room you can also choose storage units and hooks with metallic touches.
The Attic Bedroom
Only so much of a roof can be a skylight, and that’s if your climate makes them practical at all. Many attics have a small window whose size is limited by the triangle of the roof above. It’s a cozy little nook reminiscent of the hole in a tree that cartoon owls live in, except that humans don’t see in the dark as well.
If your attic bedroom is shaped like the roof and its ceiling tilts down on one or two sides, then you have to think carefully about where to put tall and short items. Use vertical space at the tallest part of the ceiling to mount lighting, and save floor space for furniture. Avoid creating shadows with a canopy bed, if one even fits. The ceiling may be too low on the sides of the room fit a dresser mirror, so you may need a dresser and a separate full-length wall mirror or floor mirror. Plush touches like a handmade mat can help make your bedroom more cozy while being easy to throw in the wash and keep light-colored.
The Tiny House
Everything has to go somewhere in a tiny space, so where do the windows go? Tiny homes need to use all their vertical space, and tiny home designers put a lot of their focus into making a space as bright as possible despite very little wall space.
Light colors do more than brighten a tiny space. They can also make it feel bigger. Stain or paint wood in a light color. As for what furniture to use, try to keep moving parts to a minimum so you won’t have to get out of the way every time you want to open something. Use details like hardware and trim to add shine.
There is no light quite like outdoor light. But the limits of space mean most homes will have a room without access to an outside window. While it’s important to add enough lighting to elevate the mood of every room, you can also brighten up a room using the right furniture, design and decor. Here are 34 bright ideas.
Light color scheme
This one’s easy. Light colors reflect light, and dark colors absorb it. Try choosing a light color for your walls. A white ceiling is nearly prescribed for creating a sense of brightness. But an all-white room can look a bit scary, so be sure to balance your lightest colors with slightly less light ones as you move down to your furniture and flooring.
Choose open furniture design
This is especially true of accent tables. An open occasional table has no door covering the bottom shelf, and many open tables don’t have panels around, either. This means open tables let the light shine through. A closed table has side and back panels and a door, creating a block of shadow.
It’s a daring move to use gloss on your walls, as every imperfection in your drywall will shine. However, gloss is great in areas that you need to clean often, such as bathrooms. If you have kids, you might want to use gloss in a wider range of rooms than you normally would. The dirt slides off of high-gloss paint more easily. In softer rooms, flatter paints can make a room feel more relaxing.
Arrange furniture strategically to minimize shadows and reflect light
Pay attention to where your light sources are, and work with them. If you can, arrange furniture lengthwise to your light source to create as few shadows as possible. Avoid tall furniture, like canopy beds, or keep tall pieces against the wall. Reconsider using large pieces to split a room up, or do it lengthwise to a window or light source.
If you have a reflective item such as a mirror or hutch, place it at a right angle to your window, if you have one. If you place it on the same wall as your window, the light will go right past it. If you place it opposite the window, you may accidentally reflect light back outside. A shining table top is especially effective in the middle of a room.
You can also use this strategy to create shadows where you do need them, such as just above the chair at a computer desk.
Your hands touch doors more than walls, so they’re an opportunity to use higher gloss paint, even in a room where the walls are better suited to flatter paint.
If you don’t think your room can handle higher-gloss walls, you could still apply glossy paint on windowsills, doorframes, and molding.
Your upholstery and drapery add welcome color but if you get the right weave, they can also add sheen. A Jaquard weave is a popular style of fabric mixing softness, shine and colors.
Leather and faux leather upholstery
Leather can make a sofa look bright and luxurious.
A light-colored stain makes your wood furniture look contemporary and natural. A lacquer can help it reflect more light.
A light-colored wood floor adds an airy effect, yet balances walls with its contrast.
An easy-to-clean rug
Worried about keeping a light rug light? Try using a patterned rug that obscures the worst stains. Or stick to very small rugs that are easy to put in the laundry.
Glass lets the light through
Not only is a glass surface reflective, it also doesn’t stop light from passing further into the room. Glass furniture and glass cabinet doors can make a room feel lighter and bigger. Glass cupboard doors provide an advantage over doorless cupboards by helping keep more dust off your dishes.
Are your countertops shiny or mat? Are they light or dark? If you’re worried about stains, try using a tiled surface that’s easier to clean, or a speckled surface that colors blend into.
Tile is an obvious choice for adding sheen to your wall or floor, and it’s even easier to clean than high-gloss paint.
Your kitchen and bathroom provide special opportunities. Are your taps brushed or chromed? Are your appliances light-colored and shiny? What about your door knobs and window latches?
Your cabinet and furniture hardware is another opportunity to add metallic touches.
Mirrors reflect light, so they can really help a room shine. You can mount mirrors on your walls or even get them as part of your furniture. But there are more choices for shiny objects than that.
Clocks are usually light-colored and covered in glass. Bonus if you can get a shiny or metal frame.
Framed pictures that are covered in glass add that shine. Like paintings? Try hanging a plasticky acrylic painting to add shine and texture. These days, you might even find a sparkling or metallic original.
Your decor items
Vases, figurines, China, crystal… there is no limit to the sorts of treasures you might be collecting.
In addition to your regular utility lighting, ambient lighting can add a warm mood to a corner of a room. Some pieces of furniture have pot lights built in, or you can get creative like this person:
A glass table doesn’t stop light from reaching through, and even reflects some upward. These tables can look modern or contemporary, but also artistic.
A mirror reflects light and can nearly double its effect if you place it in the right spot. A floor mirror’s size makes it a great way to make more space reflective without mounting several mirrors all over the room.
On their own, clock faces tend to be light colored with glass over them. Grandfather clocks add even more shine when they have a glass case displaying a metal pendulum.
A curio cabinet is a display cabinet for trinkets like china. Usually, three sides are glass to display items. It is often as tall as a bookcase and displays items on shelving from the base to the 6” top. Inside a curio cabinet is often lighting and glass shelves, as well as a mirror back so you can see all around your little beauties.
A gun cabinet keeps guns locked away safely while displaying them behind glass doors. Both hunters and historians will find gun cabinets helpful for enjoying their guns between use and keeping away from small children.
Also known as a china cabinet, a hutch houses dishes and porcelain collectibles. It differs from a curio cabinet by having more function than just display. Most hutches are wide with two or three glass doors that both display dishes and make them easy to access.
While a few hutches are floor-to-ceiling glass, most rest on waist-high bases called buffets which store silverware and heavier tableware.
While both the display doors and contents make hutches reflective, many hutches also have interior lighting, glass shelving, and mirror backs, so they’re great for adding ambient lighting to your dining room.
Bookcase with glass doors
Did you know that you can get doors on your bookcase? Now you know. Doors help protect your things from dust and pets, and add a luxurious sheen to your bookcase.
The original bookcase with a glass covering, barrister bookcases were created to protect old records that a lawyer might only need to access every few years. Unlike regular bookcase doors, which are tall and open like hutch doors, a barrister bookcase has a door for each shelf that opens up and over the contents. The glass doors are often stained or leaded glass for a shiny but traditional look.
Metal coat hooks can add shining details to a mudroom or anywhere you hang things. Every little bit of shine counts in an underlit room.
Dresser or chest of drawers with mirror
A dresser is an easy way to add a mirror to a room, creating a practical way to use vertical space.
Want to feel like a star while making your room feel brighter? Now you know the name for those desks that people use to do their hair and makeup. A vanity dresser has a spot for a chair, a few drawers on the right, and a mirror to help you get your face done. A bonus function is it helps free up the bathroom.
If you’re remodeling or building your bathroom, a wash stand is a great opportunity to add a light colored or reflective countertop. A wash stand is a piece of furniture that comes free-standing until you contain your sink and plumbing in it. It has the same kind of storage as the cupboard under your traditional bathroom counter.
Wall unit bed
A master bedroom lives up to its name when the head of the bed has this massive wall unit, with armoires on the sides and a full-width mirror in the middle. This is a luxury unit for committed owners to brighten their reading time before bed. Most of these units have lights inside the top, and the mirror helps augment that light.
Captain’s bed or bookcase bed
Instead of a whole wall unit, sometimes you just need a couple of small lights, a little storage, and a mirror. You might find that turning off a recessed light above you is more relaxing than reaching for a lamp before falling asleep.
A bright room is a mood booster, but not every room can have all the windows we would like. In addition to good lighting, the right design and furniture can help brighten a room up. Have you ever used a piece of furniture to augment the light you have in a room? Let us know in the comments below.
Ivelina from New Jersey got two new solid oak bookcases to create the perfect reading space for her kids.
Rosemont Bookcases in oak with copper stain
While she found the right bookcases here, she made a lot of careful decisions to make the books appealing to her kids. Read on for tips on designing an appealing home library for kids and the family to share.
Give books an important place in the home
First, Ivelina’s mindset made reading a priority. She writes, “We were looking for good quality bookcases for our living room so that our kids will have easy access to their many books.”
She gives books status by designing an entire room around them. The two large shelves surround a sofa and pictures. The heirloom quality of the bookshelves make them more than “just something for the kids,” it makes the kids’ books, and the kids’ work to build their futures, part of the family.
Provide good lighting for reading
The couch in Ivelina’s living room is facing at least one window, which you can see reflected off the wall art. The room is bright during the day and makes a great reading spot.
Offer comfy social seating
Ivelina’s reading room has at least one large sofa for one person to stretch out or for a few people to read together. The other sofa or loveseat is on the next wall on the right angle, so readers can look at each other.
These shelves store books at the right heights for the right kids.
Keep age-appropriate books within easy reach
This reading room stabilizes the bottom shelves with big picture books, while storing junior novels and reference books up higher. There is also a small shelf in the corner (not ours) to keep early readers at eye level for small kids.
Leave room for your kids to grow their book collections
These shelves are not completely full, because this family is not finished adding more books to its collection. Leaving growing room on your bookcases is functional, but it’s also stylish because you can…
Add visual interest with varied shapes
These bookshelves are not just blocks full of books, they’re more exciting for kids to look at. Some books are standing up straight, and some are stacked on their sides to form bookends. Some are leaning on angles. Some items are not books. And there is plenty of negative space showing the visual appeal of the wood. Which reminds us to…
Have fun with colorful style
Red sofas with grey accents are a bold choice that’s perfect for a kids’ space. The books, games, and small shelf are colorful, and the copper-stained oak woodgrain looks like an awesome design.
Unleash your inner child with seasonal decor
Ivelina’s tinsel cats stand in such expressive poses you can almost hear them meow. They add more color and more interesting curves to the room. And those jack-o’-lanterns’ smiles sure are welcoming around Hallowe’en.
Bookshelves are for more than just books
The living room is a place to socialize, so have fun with board games, marbles or anything else that you and your friends can stretch out and play on the carpet. Adding variety to your bookcases can draw more attention to them, and consequently, to the books.
Following these 9 ideas, Ivelina wins at creating this literate living room that’s more than just a book nook. She continues writing:
“We were very happy to find online the Amish Furniture Factory, from where we ordered 2 bookcases. The craftsmanship is excellent! The customer service and the delivery service met our expectations! What I like about the website is the variety of choices to match my personal taste. Great thanks to everyone who made these beautiful bookcases part of our home, we enjoy them every day.
The Boulder Creek Enclosed End Table has one door and one top drawer. As with all of our handcrafted furniture, the drawer has English dovetail joints. The Boulder Creek comes standard with an ebony inlay in the front skirt, and black hardware. We’re showing this piece in quarter-sawn oak with Michael’s Cherry finish. Watch to the end to see a close-up of the woodgrain’s lovely tiger striping.
We’re showing the Yorktown in a combination of two luxury woods and a clear coat to create a natural two-tone look. The outer frame is in walnut. The seat and back are wormy maple, a special type of brown maple. What makes wormy maple distinct is that it is harvested from closer to the outside of the tree, so it has rustic and stylish worm holes. Call us if you’re ever looking for a custom finish or combination of woods in your furniture.
The Yorktown is available as an arm or side chair, or as one of several types of bar stool.
The Sheridan Trestle Table is available at a smaller size than most hardwood tables. Sometimes you’re looking for a little kitchen-sized table. And this one is perfect at 36” by 48”. It also comes in larger sizes up to 42” by 60”, as well as taking 12” leaves.
We’re showing the smallest model with no leaves. It seats four. With two leaves, this table seats six, but they’re stored inside the table for now.
This table’s two-tone custom finish starts with an unusual maple top and clear coat. This special kind of brown maple, called wormy maple, is harvested from close to the outside of the tree where the forest ecosystem has blessed it with a rustic look. The base is walnut with Malaguania stain.
Since we work directly with craftsmen, you can call and ask us about arranging for an unusual wood or custom finish.
The Conner Dining Chair is a Mission-style chair that comes upholstered. The chair in the video is quarter-sawn white oak with Michael’s Cherry stain and London Tan leather. We’ve pictured the side chair, but an arm chair is available, as well as bar stools at 24” or 30” seat heights.
Being a beginner can always be a little tricky. Taking the first steps towards learning a new skill can be demanding, but the payoff is usually worth the effort. Learning woodworking is a true-life skill. Unlike many other things you can learn woodworking comes with practical real-world benefits. Knowing how to use tools to create something interesting and useful out of wood is a skill that can pay dividends throughout life.
Much like learning a foreign language, a skill like woodworking will benefit you in many different ways. Learning woodworking gives you an opportunity to show off your creative side and is also a fun way to reduce stress and unwind, while at the same time creating something beautiful and interesting. When you say that you do woodworking, you’ll find it really is a serious conversation starter. People will be very curious to hear about the types of creations you’re working on.
The projects you create through woodworking will become a part of your life and, with practice, you can achieve a level of proficiency that could make your woodworking creations of heirloom quality so that future generations can use and enjoy them.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the key gear that you’ll need in order to begin woodworking. Some of the items that you need for woodworking are obvious but others are less so. Safe and effective woodworking is about much more than simple tool selection. Just as painting is about much more than paint, the same holds true for the world of woodworking.
A Dedicated and Safe Space
Woodworking differs from many other hobbies, such as painting, in that you can’t simply set up your tools in a corner and “go to work” at least not safely. Woodworking, due to the nature of the work, involves setting aside a dedicated space. Ideally, the best space is one that is quiet and offers some level of privacy. If you have a basement or garage that you can dedicate just for your workshop, that is ideal. You don’t want to necessarily share the space with your kid’s playroom or family exercise area.
As someone new to woodworking, the last thing that you want is to be interrupted while cutting or sawing. If you have children and/or pets you’ll want to be sure that your tools and workspace are locked away and secure. While you are woodworking you’ll want to keep your children and pets out of the area. Again, woodworking while both an artistic and practical endeavor, isn’t like painting, which also has some hazards involved such as chemical exposure. Woodworking can be very dangerous and the process must be respected.
The Importance of Proper Lighting
You can select the best tools but improper lighting can be very dangerous where woodworking is concerned. This may seem like an obvious point, but far too many woodworking beginners fail to take the importance of proper lighting into consideration.
Saw, cutting, power tools and poor lighting simply don’t mix. Don’t assume that the level of light you use for reading, for example, is appropriate for woodworking. In woodworking, it is imperative that you are able to clearly see what you are doing at all times.
Finding Proper Instruction
Perhaps the single most important step a beginning woodworking needs to take is to seek out instruction. The greatest tool in woodworking is knowledge, not a specific saw or bench. Finding proper instruction is always a savvy place to begin when learning any complicated skill, like woodworking.
YouTube is rich with woodworking videos and it would be easy to stop there; however, there is no replacement for taking a class. If you have access to a woodworking class for beginners then this is a smart place to begin your journey.
The simple fact is that information is the most important tool you have in the process of learning woodworking. A seasoned and experienced instructor can be invaluable and help greatly accelerate the learning process. The time and money you invest in a class, and to a lesser extent woodworking books and videos, is time and money very well spent. Whenever you want to learn the “tricks of trade” it is best to seek out those who already know the tricks!
Remember That You Are a Beginner
Armed with a dedicated and safe space to work in, proper lighting and instruction you are ready to begin woodworking. Safety gear such as googles are a must, but the most critical safety feature is to be well aware of your surroundings and carefully think about what you are doing at all times when woodworking.
Beginners should be respectful of the fact that they are, in fact, beginners. This means that the tools you select and the projects you
attempt to tackle should be simple. By starting with same projects that involve a minimum amount of cutting you will be able to apply what you are learning and “get your feet wet.” Optimally, you should spend some time learning the basics of your new skill before trying to wrestle with more advanced projects.
A handsaw may take longer, but it is certainly safer than a power saw, especially when used correctly. Other key tools in addition to a handsaw are reliable clamps. Proper cutting technique is dependent upon using quality clamps to hold wood in place.
A quality work table, preferably one with built in clamps and a high weight capacity is another prudent idea. All too often woodworking beginners opt for an inexpensive work table. Inexpensive work tables usually have lower weight capacities. Select at least a mid-range quality work table and look for one that has excellent reviews.
Combine these factors together and you will have a safe and production woodworking experience. Remember that woodworking experts all began as beginners like you. Don’t rush the process and start with small projects of minimal complexity and your efforts will most definitely be rewarded!