For distinctive kitchens, baths, and renovations, Jen Howard of JWH Design & Cabinetry is the woman to turn to.
For distinctive kitchens, baths, and renovations, Jen Howard of JWH Design & Cabinetry is the woman to turn to. While her projects are more often featured in high-end shelter magazines like Connecticut and New York Cottages & Gardens, she has a heart as big as her imagination. After Hurricane Sandy, Howard family and crew went down to the Jersey shore to see if they could help.
“We put back in a few kitchens, but we found that there were almost too many people there trying to help — and, sadly, a lot of vultures,” said Howard. “We realized that just showing up with a tool belt wasn’t going to get most of these families back into their homes. So we gave people our contact information and waited for them to call us back once they knew what they could and would do to restore their homes.”
Meanwhile, Howard kept wondering what she and her talented team could do for Sandy victims that would make a difference.
“Only connect,” to borrow from E.M. Forster’s 1924 novel, “A Passage to India.”
Carol Love, who works as Howard’s showroom manager, is married to Dan Love, Co-Pastor of Rye Presbyterian Church. Dan knew of an organization called World Cares Center that brings talented people together.
Last month, in a grassroots partnership with JWH, World Cares professional volunteers coordinated rebuilding efforts in Staten Island and the Rockaways. Jen’s 22-year-old son Chase was among the JWH crew of carpenters and painters.
“Chase came back and said, ‘Mom, it was amazing. Our guys put in three kitchens in two days!”
Jen continued, “Chase was also surprised to see that demolition was still going on more than a year after Sandy.”
Many of the cabinets JWH put in were donated. “One of the homes we helped with belonged to a widow,” she noted.
Jen Howard is prepared to do more installations. She’s ready to send available crews with just a few days notice. “And we might already have some pre-built cabinets that will work. Carol has an inventory of really nice misfits in the shop basement.”