Sustainability has been a hot word in the last couple of years. Sustainability is the avoidance of depleting natural resources in order to keep an ecological balance. There is a multitude of reasons why we should all aim to be sustainable, most importantly, it’s good for our earth and our wallets.
There are many ways in which people aim to be sustainable, from ride-sharing to recycling, but a big easy one is our homes and decor.
Although the process of creating decorative pieces is commonly overlooked, choosing sustainable companies is often times even more impactful than practicing sustainability yourself, and in the end, you’ll have a product you can feel good about. In the case of Native Trails, they have been exceedingly successful at creating artisan pieces using sustainable practices.
Native Trails was founded by Naomi Howard in 1996 with a vision of bridging cultures, and combining artisan heritage with innovative designs and sustainable materials. They are well-known for their sinks, faucets, and vanities.
Below I will explore some of their more innovative and unique materials and options.
Native Trails’ first and most popular sink design was their copper sink. Each sink is handmade in traditional craftsmanship using recycled copper. Native Trails employs an artisan village in Mexico to hand form, polish, and hammer out their copper sinks using age-old techniques and tools. It takes several days and many thousands of hammer-strikes to create each sink, lending each one its craftsman’s own unique imprint.
The Farmhouse Sink is a beautiful way to display the copper (available in a dazzling polished finish or in a more subdued antique finish) as a kitchen centerpiece.
While the Cocina will give your kitchen a subtle unique touch.
Native Trails also makes these sinks in Nickel which would look very sleek in a white kitchen with stainless steel appliances.
If you’re looking for a cooler color pallet, consider NativeStone®, the Native Trails beautiful take on concrete. Concrete may not seem like a popular material for a sink because of its weight, but NativeStone® is made with jute, a soft but strong vegetable fiber found in Vietnam. The NativeStone® sinks are hand formed and polished, and then sealed with a cutting edge nano-sealer that prevents staining. Because of its jute content, the NativeStone® sinks are also 40% lighter than regular concrete, allowing them to be easily installed into your counters.
The Farmhouse Quartet is one of the most versatile Native Trails sinks, as it can be installed in four different positions, depending on how you would like to use and showcase your sink.
Native Trails really shines in their reclaimed wood collections. Although Yale does not generally sell bathroom décor, we do have access to the entirety of Native Trails products. The wood collections are primarily found in the Native Trails bathroom vanities, bathroom storage, and mirrors.
The Americana collection is comprised of pieces made of wood reclaimed from barns in the California Central Coast.
The Vintner's collection is comprised of wood reclaimed from wineries in the California Central Coast. The colors of the wood (Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Bordeaux) come from the natural staining that occurs to the oak barrels during the wine fermenting and aging process. My favorite touch is the little oak barrel marks that the artisans leave in the wood, making each piece completely unique.
A Chardonnay mirror with the original barrel markings still visible.
A Cabernet vanity exhibiting natural uneven staining.
One of the hesitations you may have about buying sustainable products has always been the price. Buying an efficient dishwasher or laundry will probably save you money in the long run, but what about a sink?
The first argument for Native Trails is their products are handmade with quality materials.
Scratching a Native Trail sink will not affect the finish or expose the undercoating. The copper they use is recycled, but it is not an alloy, nor is it simply copper lining a lesser quality metal base.
The second consideration is that their products, such as their sinks, are not only functional but stunning. When comparing prices between a white clay Shaw farmhouse sink, the NativeStone sink falls very close in range (less than $100 difference). But the Native Trails Copper sink, while double the price, can be used as a statement piece to add a unique dazzle to your kitchen.
If you’re not planning on changing your cabinetry and really just want a quick revamp, a new sink is probably not for you. But if you’re looking for a complete revamp, are aiming for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, or are as enamored by the company as I am, Native Trails is worth checking out.
This company excels at unique designs and you’ll feel great about their sustainable materials and age-old methods.
Get the Yale Kitchen Plumbing Buying Guide with a complete breakdown of different sinks, faucets, and accessories available. It is a great way to start your kitchen remodel project. Over 200,000 people have read a Yale Guide.