04 July 2012

Four Favorite American Design Ideals

Tomorrow, our nation celebrates its 236th birthday and the ideals of freedom and democracy on which the United States of America were founded. Happy Birthday, USA! 

This whole month, I’m celebrating Gold Notes’ fourth birthday. Today marks its 202th post. For my Independence Day-inspired Four Favorites, I thought I’d honor those American ideals that elevate kitchen and bath design. 


The Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were two of the most innovative documents ever created for the governance of people. They were liberating and inspiring. Innovation continues to liberate and inspire. Microwave ovens and dishwashers have added dramatically to the convenience of kitchen work. The development of induction cooktops and application-rich smart phones and tablets take innovation even further. 

Amana debuts the first microwave oven
Photo Courtesy of Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation

Made in America has always meant well-constructed products designed to last a lifetime. It still does, and this provides a valuable counterpoint to flimsy imports that offer style but no substance. You see these imports imitating American designs on discount shelves and web sites everywhere. There’s no savings in buying something you’ll have to pay to remove and replace in a year or two when it fails. 

High quality Waterstone Faucets are made in America
Photo Courtesy of  Waterstone


The rugged individual has always been an American archetype. Symbolized by the cowboy above all, it’s this celebration of one person’s ability to define his or her own destiny that has become the embodiment of our freedom. 

This individualism has inspired the founding of companies like Vent-A-Hood, Apple Computer, Sub-Zero Wolf, Thermador, Viking, GE and so many others that have enriched our homes and lives. Their founders believed there was a home on the range for their idea. They were right. 

Vent-A-Hood invented the kitchen ventilation hood
Photo Courtesy of  Vent-A-Hood


Americans are a compassionate people. We’ve donated millions to tsunami relief in Asia, earthquake relief in Haiti and hurricane and tornado support to our own neighbors. Our military leads medical missions around the world and the Peace Corps continues its invaluable work abroad. 

When Katrina hit New Orleans and the surrounding area, I was working for The Home Depot as a Tampa, FL-based kitchen designer. I was so proud of our company for getting supplies into the hurricane-ravaged area when FEMA couldn’t, and for sending teams to the affected areas to help out. They also paid employees for food replacements when they went without power and lost the contents of their refrigerators and freezers. I will always remember that about my former employer. 

Home Depot volunteers getting ready to help tornado survivors in Joplin, MO
Photo Courtesy of The Home Depot

Happy Fourth of July, Gold Notes readers!


  1. Lovely post, Jamie! About "Quality": I know people who are on their third or fourth cheap imported kitchen faucets while my quality faucet is good as new. A faucet is one of those things it doesn't pay in the long run to economize on.

  2. A lot of American products are made in Asia, iPhone, Nikes, Just to name 2.

  3. That's unfortunately true, Andrew. Many, though, including the Waterstone Faucets and Vent-A-Hoods are still made in the USA. I do my best to buy American whenever possible, but I won't give up my iPhone!


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