April 26th, 2021 / posted by paularath

The right side of our kitchen, all pau! (The print of an orange is one of my old monoprints.)

My long time readers may remember that buying local has always been a high priority for me. My “Wear Aloha” initiative, introduced at Washington Place in 2011, asked people to wear at least one thing that is made in Hawaii every time they step out of their home. It could be an entire outfit, a pair of earrings, a handbag, a T-shirt – as long as you are wearing something made in Hawaii.

Well, now it’s 2021 and many businesses are hurting. Or, even worse, closing. Restaurants, small local retail establishments, art galleries, 170-year-old Love’s Bakery, are all gone. So it’s time to think beyond fashion when it comes to buying local.

Seth took great pride in the box he built for the microwave. Perfect!

When Jerry and I took a good hard look at our kitchen cabinets a few months ago, we realized that it was time to replace them. Rather than ordering ready made cabinets from some mainland company, we called our friend Ollie Wynn-Williams at Hardwoods Specialty Products for a referral. We figured a guy who sells wood to cabinet and furniture makers would know who does the best work.

Seth Gonzales in his Kapolei studio.

I’m delighted to report that Ollie sent us to Seth Gonzales, a talented furniture maker who is sometimes available for a job such as kitchen cabinets. What a find!

Seth is, in a word, a perfectionist. He searches for the perfect wood (in our case, maple from Hardwoods Specialty Products) and his work is impeccable.

Seth adds a piece of crown molding he created.


The studio is well equipped and spotless!

On the day we visited Seth’s studio, he had just finished a beautiful kitchen island top that he was sending off to San Francisco. He had also completed two exquisite koa cabinets that were awaiting a client.

So next time you’re considering a remodel, call a local artisan rather than going to a big box store.

And by the way, it was outstanding value and cost less than expected!

Paula Rath

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