Nestled in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, Lyndon Furniture is the result of David Allard's vision to combine traditional American craftsmanship with his abiding love and respect for nature.
When he first started building custom cabinets and furniture, David Allard had just graduated from high school. He was working out of an unfinished fieldstone house, which he was building for his parents. As his business grew, Allard built a workshop of his own, felling trees and dragging logs out from the family farm down to the local sawmill. Thirty years later, that workshop is now Lyndon Furniture, a 140,000-square-foot woodworking shop that employs 80 craftspeople. Although his business has grown, Allard remains committed to and inspired by the small town of Lyndon and the natural beauty surrounding it. "When you live this close to heaven," he says, "why would you want to live anywhere else?"
One of Lyndon's core philosophies is preserving the art and tradition of American furniture making. That's why 100 percent of Lyndon's products are made in the U.S., and Allard is committed to employing and developing the skills of local craftspeople. "It feels good to have a part in building a place where people have an opportunity to go as far as they want in their vocation," he says. The pride he takes in his company's craftsmanship is inextricably linked to his deep respect for wood as a material. Lyndon only uses lumber that's responsibly harvested from within 500 miles of the workshop, and some of it even comes from trees on Allard's own property. To him, wood is more than a product that's bought and sold—it's a beautiful material that was once a living thing. "I think about every tree that is cut down," he says, "and the power and privilege we have to extend its life and to display its beauty in the furniture we make."
Design that Makes a Difference
Allard views sustainability as a vital part of his business. "It's just common sense," he says. This philosophy guides every step of Lyndon's production process—from sourcing the wood and building the furniture, to finishing each piece and reducing waste. Trees used for lumber are harvested in a process called Single Tree Selection. Trained foresters carefully choose individual trees to harvest and leave the rest of the forest intact, which creates openings in the forest canopy so more precipitation, sunlight and nutrients can reach the forest floor. Once the furniture is built, Lyndon uses finishes and stains that are made locally in Vermont—a state that has some of the strictest environmental laws in the country. Consequently, Lyndon's furniture is finished with extremely low levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants). At end of the production cycle, every leftover scrap of wood is used somehow, from fuel to sawdust for animal bedding at local farms.