The really not nice thing about a kitchen remodel is all the waste that ends up in landfills. We had two 30 yard dumpsters worth of debris dumped. How's that for increasing your carbon footprint!
The really nice thing about a kitchen remodel is that it is very easy to outfit your new kitchen with products made in the USA. How's that for a patriot act!
Most people with a head for business understand that the “Made in America” label can be defined a few different ways. Parts can be bought from overseas and then assembled or altered stateside and still by considered an American made product. Or, things can be completely manufactured from start to finish in the U.S. For the purpose of this post, I will focus on companies that do at least 75% of their manufacturing right here in the U.S.
Ikea cabinet boxes are American made, while their doors are manufactured elsewhere. Semi-custom lines like Kraftmaid, Schuler and Medallion and obviously custom cabinetry are all made here in the USA. Considering cabinetry will most likely be your biggest expense in your kitchen, consuming 20-50% of your budget, the cost is significant. While you may scratch your head over the always shocking price of your cabinets, you can feel good about supporting the domestic economy. And you can feel peaceful that your cabinets don't have more stamps in their passport than you do. Just saying.
The American craftsman is not an ancient relic relgated to colonial theme villages. At the Horton Brasses factory, 10 such craftsman are employed to use their craftsman skills, forging and casting and polishing metals. And no, they don’t wear ruffle collars and knickers and Ben Franklin specs. These are modern renaissance men! Unlike a lot of businesses that try to greenwash their dealings with overseas sources, Orion Henderson puts it right there in writing on the first page of the catalog, explaining that 75% of their product is made in the USA while 25% comes from England, China, Italy and Spain. Horton Brasses strict quality control and environmental standards are followed every step of the way. How’s that for honesty? I think Orion just out-truthed George Washington.
So many to choose from.
If you go the route of butcher block, you can chop your vegetables atop a slab of domestic maple or black walnut.
Interested in marble? There are a few beautiful, white options other than the typical Italian varieties of Carrara and statutory. The Alabama Marble Co. quarries domestic white marble of extremely high quality, rivaling the beauty of premium Calacatta marble. Ridiculously dreamy slabs of white marble are available from the Vermont Quarries Corp., including ultra-resiliant Danby varieties.
Even granite, the most popular stone countertop choice, is quarried domestically. Here are some varieties you may want to explore:
• Champion Pink granite from Tennessee
• Amherst granite from Ohio
• Champlain Black granite from Vermont
• Colorado White granite from Colorado
• Radiant Red granite from Wisconsin
• Royal Green granite from New Jersey
Of course, you can get custom countertops fabricated from concrete and stainless steel, as well as zinc. And let's not forget Formica, the old American kitchen standby. They have a plant in Cincinnati. And Corian, made by Dupont. Well, considering Dupont helped my hometown get on the Superfund list, I think it is a safe bet to say their plastic countertops are made in America. I will leave you to decide whether or not that is a good thing.
Flooring & Tile
Wood flooring is gaining popularity in the kitchen, thanks in part to water resistant finishes like aluminum oxide and StreetShoe water based. Pre-finished and sand and finish domestic floors are milled and finished in the US. Excellent.
Marmoleum, the new fancy linoleum, is quickly gaining in popularity. It is made of natural materials, biodegradable and available in a variety of colors to create many looks. However, its European manufacturing means that this simple floor composited from pine sawdust, is no bargain. So, even though I wanted to mention Marmoleum, in regards to this post I have to mention it as...un-American. But still, quite a product.
Many tiles are made in the states. One of my favorite companies is Inglenook Tile out of Lancaster, PA. Julie the owner personally makes these gorgeous brick veneer tiles that can be applied to walls or floors. She used to make dolls sold on QVC. Doesn't get much more American than that.
Inglenook wall tile and pavers in my old kitchen.
There are a bunch of small businesses out there manufacturing and selling recycled tile. Here are some companies to check out:
Another big kitchen expense. Despite what seems like a lack of manufacturing happening in the US, there are plenty of American made appliances to buy.
Thermador ----- La Follette, TN
Dacor ----- Diamond Bar, CA
FiveStar ----- Cleveland, TN
BlueStar ----- Reading, PA
Subzero/Wolf ----- Madison, Wisconsin
Viking ----- Greenwood, MS
Whirlpool, who now owns or manufactures for Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana and Ikea, still has plants operating in the US.
Lighting can be little trickier. Yes, much of the big brands have their fixtures manufactured in China. Hudson Valley's gorgeous fixtures, however, are 75% made in the USA, 25% China. There are, of course, smaller companies that will allow you to follow the American dream of self reliance by purchasing a product made stateside. Schoolhouse Electric claims to be such an operation. It pains me to visit their site because their products are so cute!
Fixtures and shades from Schoolhouse Electric.
So while you decrease your personal coffers for your remodel, feel free to redistribute your funds stateside, keeping transport expenses down and supporting jobs in your local community. There are so many American companies manufacturing just what you need without sacrificing style or function.