For the home she’s building for her family on Banks St., on the former site of a carefully disassembled Ranch house in Ranch Estates, architect Karen Lantz tried to make sure every product was made in the United States. But the breaking point came with cabinet hardware, Mimi Swartz writes: “‘This one?’ Lantz said, picking up the pull on the left and turning it over for my inspection. ‘From Italy. Nine dollars.’ She picked up the one on her right. ‘This one?’ She paused. ‘China. Four dollars.’ The U.S.-made pull that was closest to what she wanted cost $72. She called company after company trying to do better. When she asked why the American pulls cost so much more than those made overseas, the answers ranged from ‘We make them here’ to ‘It’s a classic.’”
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Time passed; the cabinet installers grew restless. Finally, Lantz gave in and bought Italian. (She has tried to avoid Chinese products since problems with contaminated drywall surfaced in the early 2000s.)
“I needed 160 of them,” she explained. “It was a big price difference, and I just couldn’t do it. I tried, but I just couldn’t do it.”
Near completion on the house, Lantz estimates she came within 90 percent of her goal. In addition to the pulls, she gave in to sinks from Germany and faucets from Italy, and when Lantz fell in love with solar panels designed in Colorado but manufactured in China, she threw in the towel.
- The (Almost) All-American Home [NY Times]
- Previously on Swamplot: The Slowest Demo in Town: Karen Lantz Pulls a House Apart
Photo: Karen Lantz