If you lust for granite countertops but only have the budget for laminate, there may a solution out on Rt. 46 in Fairfield.
Green Demolitions, which has been open for a little more than a year, is a 43,000 square foot warehouse stocked with kitchens salvaged when their owners decided to upgrade. They’re nice kitchens too, with lots of SubZero appliances and custom cabinetry, and available at a fraction of what you’d pay new. But there’s a serious catch. They were built for someone else’s kitchen layout.
“I could only give you the advice I would give my mother-in-law,” says store manager Steven Lounsbery. “Do your due diligence. Don’t make an emotional decision.”
Green Demolitions is the brainchild of Steve Feldman, a recovered teenage drug addict who left a successful radio career in 1998 to fundraise fulltime for the rehab program that had saved his life. Raising money was hard, but one day he drove by the residence of Farah Pahlavi, the last empress of Iran, and saw a “demolition in progress” sign and the idea struck him. Why not get rich people to donate old kitchens headed for the dumps, re-sell them to the public heavily discounted, and donate the profit to charity?
How good are the discounts? Last week, Lounsbery showed me a salvaged kitchen with a pricetag of $21,000. It features a blue pearl granite countertop, a Thermador stainless steel double oven, a 48″ Viking range with hood, a 48″ SubZero refrigerator, and cherry cabinets and island. A similar kitchen would be $75,000 new, Lounsbery estimates.
He says all his salespeople are experienced in helping customers decided whether a kitchen could fit in a potential customer’s house. “One of the things here is selling clean,” he says. “You are giving the customer all the facts.”
Green Demolitions sold 600 kitchens last year, many of them to online customers, and ships as far as Alaska. For distant customers, there’s a lot of faxing and emails of layouts and measurements. But if you’re lucky enough to live in our area, you can go right in with your measuring tape and your contractor.
If you’re coming in to look around, be sure to have measured your kitchen first, and drawn a layout. And don’t buy impetuously. Lounsbery remembers one client who fell in love with a salvaged Clive Christian kitchen, had it shipped to his home and Michigan, and had two contractors try, and fail, to make it fit in his kitchen. That customer is now consigning that kitchen at Green Demolitions.
The warehouse also features an nice supply of upscale bathroom sinks and tubs, along with a smattering of furniture.
Green Demolitions is located at 275 Route 46 West in Fairfield and open daily. Hours and directions are here. For donors, the store pays all the costs of removing a kitchen and bringing it to the warehouse. It says that 50 cents of every dollar goes to Recovery Unlimited.