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HAVEN:
Q+A WITH STEVE FELDMAN OF RENOVATION ANGEL
16 April 2021
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Steve Feldman, who I had the pleasure of being introduced to through my friend Chris West, is the founder and CEO of Renovation Angel, an innovative non-profit organization that aims to mitigate waste by recycling pre-owned kitchens. Getting to know Steve was such a pleasure. He opened my eyes to new possibilities concerning recycling and reducing waste in our industry.

I’m excited to collaborate with Steve going forward and thrilled to introduce you to him. I hope our conversation motivates us all to do our part in keeping Earth blue…



When and how did you discover the idea of recycling luxury pre-owned kitchens for charity?

At the core of it, I started Renovation Angel because I wanted to “give back” after my life was given back to me. I was a teenage drug and alcohol abuser, raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, and suffered two bouts of suicidal depression before I got my recovery.

In 1998, after 18 years in the radio business, I left to pursue fundraising for addiction recovery outreach projects and providentially met my most benevolent donor in Greenwich, CT. During the 2001 downturn, my donor lost $30 million in one week. She handed me one last check and wished me luck.

Serendipitously, her next-door neighbor was the Queen of Iran. As I was leaving, I saw a sign in the Queen’s driveway – “Demolition in Progress.” I drove up to her 10,000 square foot mansion and saw that the house was already gone! While staring at the empty lot, I had an idea; why not start a demolition donation program and earn the money for the addiction recovery outreach projects rather than ask for it? The idea was well received and after a successful four-year pilot program, I established Renovation Angel in 2005.

Our charitable mission is to reduce landfill waste, create recycling jobs, and repurpose kitchens and interiors. In the last 16 years, we have recycled and repurposed over 7,500 kitchens, reduced over 43 million pounds from the landfills, and created over $26 million in new recycling jobs.

Our charitable mission is to reduce landfill waste, create recycling jobs, and repurpose kitchens and interiors.


In your business, how do you stay inspired?

Inspiration and change are synonymous for me. I am constantly thinking of and implementing new ideas, industry partnerships, and solutions to challenges. I stay inspired by telling my story to everyone I meet while working to build a legacy for Renovation Angel.

I stay inspired by telling my story to everyone I meet while working to build a legacy for Renovation Angel.


What is on the horizon for Renovation Angel? How do you see it evolving?

Our goal is to change the current trajectory of waste. Each year, 100,000 luxury kitchens are thrown away, the equivalent to 350,000 to 500,000 tons of landfill waste. Renovation Angel would like to recycle every single one, creating over $400 million in new recycling jobs and allowing thousands of consumers to repurpose luxury kitchens.

We aim to inspire high-net-worth consumers to recycle rather than dump and industry professionals to incorporate recycling into their best practices. We know that consumers often want to recycle… they just need someone (they trust) to provide a method for achieving this goal.

A huge perk to working with Renovation Angel is that homeowners, on average, save between $10,000 and $50,000 in tax and removal savings by recycling their kitchen. We offer free, white-glove removal and facilitate the tax deduction process.  In addition to our expertise in recycling, our team is trained on the nuances of making a “non-cash donation” worth thousands.

My hope is that consumers and industry professionals reading this blog will be intrigued and inspired to reach out to us with their remodeling projects. In addition to luxury kitchens, we also reclaim bath fixtures, lighting, home décor, antiques, architectural elements, and artwork.

My hope is that consumers and industry professionals reading this blog will be intrigued and inspired to reach out to us with their remodeling projects.


How do you love spending your time outside of work? What’s important about that to you?

I love being outdoors. My love of natural beauty was inspired by my father, a biologist and true nature lover. Top of the list is hiking in the mountains and walking on the beach (swimming when the temperature allows). I have many favorite spots around the country. To name a few – the red rocks of Sedona, AZ and the Catskills in New York (where I was born). My favorite beaches include Cape May, NJ, and Pacifica, CA. Being outside clears my mind (and emotions) and allows for creativity to flow.

What do you love most about the city you live in?  

I live on the east side of Scottsdale, AZ, backed up to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I enjoy mountain views when I walk out my door, and several hiking trails are minutes away. Scottsdale is a city that combines modern living with natural beauty (and an interesting assortment of wildlife – coyotes, bobcats, javelinas, and roadrunners!).

I love being outdoors. My love of natural beauty was inspired by my father, a biologist and true nature lover.


Considering you are bi-coastal, tell us your favorite things to do on the East Coast…

Favorite restaurant?

Ninety Acres Culinary Center at Natirar, Peapack-Gladstone, NJ

Favorite coffee/tea joint?

Out There Coffee, Cape May, NJ

Favorite outdoor activity?

Taking my dog for a walk on the beach in Cape May, NJ.

Favorite place that no one knows about (until now…)?

Hiking at Lake Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY.

What is a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

My first full-time job after college — I was a late night rock n’ roll DJ!


Q+A