My partner and I just spent 6 months in the country, where we built a house. Most of the time, we live in cheap condo in the city, 3 long long flights up, in a shadyish neighborhood, against a grubby single block park. Our building is a gut rehab of a 19th century apartment complex with the typical problems left by a fleeing contractor.

Our house in the country is several rungs on the ladder higher than our home. Turns out, there are American artisans who make things from wood and saws and stains with exceptional pride. For instance, we had our cabinets, front door and stairs made by a company in Holland, Michigan called Van Enk. Working with Van Enk was also slightly cheaper than ordering cabinets from overseas.  We sat with the owners of the company – a gentlemenly father and son – and picked the size, weight, color and hinge. Halfway through, we visited the factory and met our door in its cradle, just a big slab of heavy, rough horizontal hewn oak. We got to talk to the man making it.

The craftsmanship is exquisite and visitors spent a good part of the summer and fall just playing with our cabinets. Each of the men who built our cabinets, door and stairs have been to our house, taken pictures, touched up a few things. We got to thank each one. We felt so grateful that we were able to work with local cabinet makers and so awed by their work.  We love the quality of something made in America.

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