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Kalon Studios Champions Made-in-America Designs

by allyson rees | May 29, 2015 | Lifestyle

Kalon Studios is bringing made-in-America re-nouveau-able chic to the forefront of home design.

Kalon Studios scored Martha Stewart’s 2014 American Made Award for unfussy, yet elegant, pieces like this Isometric bench in ash ($665), crafted from nontoxic, sustainably sourced materials.

When Kalon Studios debuted in 2007, the eco-friendly design movement was still very much in its infancy. “Back then, there was a very specific color palette—a lot of beiges, grays, and greens,” says Michaele Simmering, who started Kalon with husband Johann Pauwen after the birth of their first child. The couple wanted a safe, sustainably built, aesthetically pleasing crib, and when their search came up empty, they decided to create one themselves.

Bucking the traditional palette of baby pink, baby blue, and white, Simmering and Pauwen designed their first best seller, the Caravan Crib, an elegant raw-maple piece available in a rainbow of bright colors. “There’s the appeal of having something fun that adults can respond to and that’s not just babycentric,” explains Pauwen, an industrial designer who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Today, Kalon Studios boasts a range of thoughtful contemporary American craft furniture for both children and adults. Pushing the boundaries of sustainability, its products are made by highly skilled craftspeople in the Northeast and feature local, renewable, sustainably forested materials and nontoxic finishes. “We’re taking precise methods of mass production, but applying them to natural materials,” says Simmering.

For spring, Kalon is introducing several new pieces, including the Simple Bedroom Set (a low-profile collection featuring a bed, dresser, side tables, mirror, and shelf); the Simple Table, made of ash; and the striking No. 5 Series, an infinitely modifiable seating system consisting of a chaise, a sectional, and a sofa. “There is no expense spared on this thing,” says Pauwen, describing the No. 5 Series’s white oak frame, solid brass details, “incredibly comfortable” 100 percent natural organic-latex cushions, and wool upholstery fabrics.

Kalon’s “zero compromises” stance is what differentiates it from other brands and earned it Martha Stewart’s 2014 American Made Design Award. “We’re pushing things way further than anyone would expect a company to,” says Simmering. “It’s not something we need to be on a soapbox about. It’s just something that, for us, is the reward for doing the work that we do.”

Photography by: photography by molly cranna