'This Can Be Done': Builders Take Up U.S.-Made Homes Pledge

While some pledged to use more products, others decided to go a step further.

ByABC News
May 8, 2012, 7:56 AM

May 8, 2012 — -- The American-made home that Anders Lewendal set out to construct in October 2011 is complete -- and has started quite a movement across the U.S.

"We're amazed. We've had calls and emails and hundreds and hundreds of builders and homeowners, company owners, politicians," he told ABC News. "We're glad the movement's had some momentum behind it."

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In Bozeman, Mont., Lewendal, an economist-turned-builder, constructed a house made entirely from U.S.-made products -- from the nails, screws and bolts to the staples and the bathtub. The house was built with more than 120 products from more than 33 states.

"The house is done and every part of it is made in America," he said. "I can say there's only two things we could not find that's produced in this country. It's a microwave oven and a door chime. Neither of which are important for my client anyways in this house."

Here is the list of products Lewendal is using to build the made-in-America house.

Lewendal maintained last year that if every builder bought just 5 percent more U.S.-made materials, 220,000 jobs would be created.

From Gorilla Tape of Cincinnati to a Sherwin-Williams plant in Georgia and a Moen plant in Pennsylvania, companies around the country agreed that if builders bought more American products, they would put people back to work.

U.S. Builders Follow Lewendal's Lead

So far, builders have been following Lewendal's lead, even signing petitions and contracts pledging to build with 5 percent more American products including Maze nails, which are produced in Peru, Ill.

But others went a step further in the Made in America cause. Currently all-American homes are being built or have been completed in Montana, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida and Virginia.

In Bullard, Texas, builders Gary Bayless and Joe Runnels from Bayless Custom Homes constructed their first all-American house.

"If you look behind everything, you might be able to see [the label] 'Made in America,'" they told ABC News.

Gerald Rowlett in Lake Oswego, Ore., said the day he and his team finished their American-made home, they celebrated by singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"It's not just the product you see here," he told ABC News, "but it's all the materials behind these walls that were made in the U.S. as well. I had veterans call me. [They] wanted to donate their time to our 'Made in America' project."

And in Spokane, Wash., home builder Corey Condron broke ground in March on a house using only American-made products. He said the nails were from the East Coast and the flooring was from Idaho -- even the bath fixtures were made in the U.S.

"I get energized by the whole idea of 'Made in America,'" Condron told ABC News. "This can be done and it's not that hard."

A group of architects, engineers and those in the construction business also just broke ground on the "Eleanor House" -- named for the 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Eleanor -- which will be built using nothing but U.S.-made products.

Lewendal said that he set about building the Bozeman, Mont., home to prove that making all-American homes is "easy to do."

"The idea is to get one all-American home built in every state in the union," he said.

These companies have built or are in the process of building all-American homes:

Gary Bayless Custom Homes Inc.; Bullard, Texas

Anders Lewendal Construction; Bozeman, Mont.

Build the U.S.; Orlando, Fla.

T.E. Jones of the Tidewater Builders Association; Chesapeake, Va.

Westlake Development Group; Lake Oswego, Ore.

Condron Homes; Spokane, Wash.