Friday, January 14, 2011

When it comes to Kitchens, It’s Not Easy Being Green

…at least not if you’re trying to be affordable. When we began planning our new kitchen, we hoped to build green. We wanted energy efficient appliances, cabinets from sustainable materials with low VOC glues & finishes, recycled countertops, green flooring. Well that’s all well & good if you’re a Rockerfeller.
Most of the kitchen sites we looked at say it’s not a whole lot more to buy green cabinets. What they mean to say is it’s not that much more than ordering custom cabinets
 We wanted to get bamboo cabinets, most of what we found was only available out west, California, Oregon, etc. Not many made here in south Florida unless you buy custom made. We were quoted around $10K for just the cabinets. That’s about half of our whole kitchen budget. There are RTA bamboo cabinets available online that are in our price range. Although most are built with plywood cores, which are better quality, there’s no telling how bad the VOC’s in the plywood or the glue attaching the veneers are. 
Then I came across the retro renovations blog and started looking at vintage metal cabinets, Youngstown, Geneva, etc. I was immediately drawn to the vintage look for our 1947 built home. But again, Florida was the problem. To find these vintage cabinets you need to go to the northeast or midwest states. Then you have to find pieces that fit your layout and most likely have them repainted. 
I spent months drooling over listings for these wonderful old cabinets and then came across a story on their blog a women posted about her renovation. It cost her $5K for her cabinets after purchase, transporting & refinishing & she lived about 20 miles from where she found them. Plus it was only one wall of cabinets. I decided it would be too much to pursue the vintage cabinets. St. Charles has started re-manufacturing their metal cabinets, but I can tell by looking at them they are most likely out of my price range too. I emailed our closest dealer but never got a reply.
So I have been keeping my eyes out in the classifieds for used cabinets. They may not be built green originally, but recycling would make them green. But so far I haven’t found any that I can use yet.
Most likely we’ll be getting RTA cabinets, perhaps bamboo, perhaps somewhat green. It does appear since California passed a law pertaining to the VOC’s in plywood, that most of the plywood used today is meeting their standard, so that’s a plus I hope.

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