To the rest of the world, David Pogue is a tech guru. He’s a writer (Yahoo, New York Times, Scientific American), TV correspondent (“CBS News Sunday Morning,” PBS “Nova Science Now”) and author (“Missing Manual” series, “Pogue’s Basics”) who has won 3 Emmy awards, 2 Webbys and a Loeb for journalism.
To Westporters, he’s a neighbor.
Which means he worries about the same things you and I do: traffic. How his kids do in school. His kitchen renovation project.
Here — because David Pogue is a neighbor, friend and “06880” fan — is his exclusive story about one part of that kitchen remodel:
When we decided to renovate our aging kitchen, one of my greatest stresses was: What happens to the old kitchen?
For most Fairfield County residents, I’d imagine the answer is, “it winds up in the landfill.” Occasionally, “Habitat for Humanity will take a few items.”
But I’m here to tell you about an amazing alternative that I wish everybody knew: Renovation Angel.
Our kitchen designer told us about this outfit. To be frank, it sounded too good to be true. Listen to this business model:
* They dismantle and haul away your old kitchen for free. You’re saved the cost of the demolition, disposal fees, dumpster rental, and so on.
* They give you a huge tax deduction.
* They then resell your entire kitchen, both online and at their huge showroom in New Jersey. All of it: cabinets, countertops, appliances, lights, chairs —whatever you can part with. Other people who are renovating their kitchens get luxury stuff for a fraction of its usual price.
* The best part: Renovation Angel then gives the proceeds to charity. They donate to programs for addiction recovery, at-risk children, job training, and social entrepreneurship.
To me, this seemed like a win-win-win-win-win. You win (free demo and the tax writeoff); the planet wins (nothing thrown away); your kitchen’s buyer wins (saves a fortune); Renovation Angel wins (employs 135 people); and, of course, the charities win.
I decided to try it. I sent them photos; they sent a guy out to measure. They asked when we wanted them to show up, and recommended that we have the water and gas disconnected when they arrived. That was it.
Oh — except for the part where they said that our nearly 20-year-old kitchen would earn us a $40,000 tax deduction! Unbelievable.
And so last week they showed up on schedule with a big truck and a 4-man, fully insured crew. Board by board, piece by piece, they dismantled our kitchen, protecting each piece as they loaded it into the truck. They worked nonstop for 4 hours, treated each piece like an heirloom, and left the place spotless. (Incredibly, ours was their 2nd kitchen of the day.)
Renovation Angel is the brainchild of Steve Feldman, who credits a drug addiction recovery program with saving his life when he was a teenager. About 12 years ago, he saw a 10,000-square-foot house in Greenwich being demolished — and watched all the fine marble, custom cabinetry and expensive appliances get tossed into a dumpster. That was the inspiration for Renovation Angel.
Now, a dozen years later, he’s recycled 5,000 kitchens, donated $2.2 million to charity, and kept 30 million pounds of stuff out of landfills.
The experience for us was joyous, effortless and thrilling — not words you usually associate with home renovation. Seems like Westport is a national hub of nice kitchens and kitchen renovation. So I can’t help myself in trying to spread the word!
As I said, David Pogue may be world famous, but he has typical Westport/1st world problems. Like, how will he and his family eat while their new kitchen is being installed?
Click below for David’s great time-lapse video of the entire Renovation Angel project: