Regional resources for outfitting your kitchen
You buy honey from a neighbor’s backyard hive. Your milk comes from a dairy just outside the ‘Cities. And the highlight of your weekend is a trip to the closest farmers market. But do you know the origins of your cutting board? Or your refrigerator?
Inspired by the popularity of locally grown food, we turned our attention to the space in which it’s prepared, to highlight kitchen products made by regional manufacturers, artists, and craftspeople.
Plato Woodwork is a fifth-generation, family-owned company located southwest of the Twin Cities in Plato. Its woodworkers built this kitchen’s custom cherry-wood cabinetry and island made from quartersawn white oak and finished with a Beachwood stain.
Sub-Zero is one of the best-known producers of premium refrigerators, which are favored by culinary pros for their cooling technology. Though the appliances have a sleek, luxurious look, their roots are surprisingly humble: According to company legend, founder Westye F. Bakke built the first freestanding freezer in the basement of his Madison, Wisconsin home. In 2000, Sub-Zero acquired Wolf—a manufacturer of high-end ranges, ovens, and cooktops—and now produces those products in Wisconsin as well.
Despite being totally blind for most of his adult life, Minneapolis furniture maker George Wurtzel has been creating made-to-order pieces since he launched his woodworking career at age 19. His rustic, strap-top bar stools are handmade from Minnesota red oak and leather. (Wurtzel also hand-turns wooden bowls, including the one beside the stove created from spalted Bigleaf maple—wood that’s imbedded with unique patterns created by fungal growth.)
Though it’s best known for its global collection of sculpture, painting, and photography, the Walker Art Center is one of the top spots in the metro to shop for quirky handmade items created by local artisans—and all proceeds support the museum’s artistic and educational programs. The Walker’s gift shop carries the work of Twin Cities architects Scott Helmes and Steve Buetow, who develop functional art made from recycled and industrial materials under the name S2BH. The designers call the light-blue piece by the stove a “coaster,” but its futuristic, curved form also works beautifully as a spoon rest. It’s made from molded Corian, a material better known for its application in durable, food-safe, countertops. Keith Moore, of St. Paul–based Pilot Design, made the painted wood clock on the shelf adjacent to the stove. The creative typography reflects Moore’s background in graphic design.
The personality-packed indie gift shop I Like You in Northeast Minneapolis is another go-to source for locally made household goods. They carry an especially fine selection of kitchen tools made from Minnesota wood, including this pepper grinder by Greg Just, ladle by Jim Benson, and cherry-wood cutting board by John Calabrese.
Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis is the region’s headquarters for ceramic arts, with exhibitions, classes, studio space, and a sales gallery featuring top ceramicists from the Midwest and beyond. The shop’s stock of one-of-a-kind dishware—everything from platters to vases, to bowls—is as varied as it is changing.
Kitchen walls are often overlooked for their gallery potential. The charming square paintings were created by local artist Amy Rice and the abstract work next to the refrigerator was painted by Roy Oakvick.
For more homegrown building and remodeling resources, see Midwest Home’s Made in Minnesota database of more than 300 local companies at mhmag.com/madeinmn
Cherry-wood cabinets and quartersawn white oak cabinets, Plato Woodwork, platowoodwork.com • Sub-Zero 42-inch side-by-side refrigerator and Wolf 48-inch Pro Style gas range, Sub-Zero and Wolf, subzero-wolf.com • Strap-top bar stool, $350, and wooden bowl, $225, George Wurtzel, gmwurtzel.com • S2BH Corian coaster, $35, and Corian platter, $120; Pilot Design painted wood clock, all from Walker Art Center shop, walkerart.org • Greg Just wooden pepper grinder, $40; Jim Benson wooden ladle, $30; John Calabrese wooden cutting board, $60, all from I Like You, ilikeyouonline.com • Dishware from Northern Clay Center, northernclaycenter.org • Amy Rice paintings from Nina Bliese Gallery, ninabliesegallery.com • Roy Oakvick painting from Retro Wanderlust