Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vintage daydreams

For quite a while, I have had this little daydream of a vintage stove in our kitchen! Then this daydream became a discussion between my husband and I. Then we found out that most ( or all?) of these original vintage stoves are much wider than the standard ones made today. This actually poses a problem as our current 30 inch stove fits neatly between two lower cabinets...very neatly, with not an inch to spare. Another thing to consider is that the "back" of our lower cabinets is actually just the kitchen wall. SO...

...I started wondering what could be done and came up with a plan. What if we pulled out the cabinet at the end of the counter, and moved it down ten inches, added ten inches of drywall to go behind the cabinet on that side, therefore making room for an old stove?

I know, I know, this sounds absolutely insane. ( Even to me, it does, and that's saying a lot!) But sometimes you have to think this way if you want to get anywhere in an old house!

An old stove would make our kitchen "theme" complete. We have light green cabinet doors with clear glass knobs, a vintage table, and an old hoosier painted the same green as the cabinets. In other words, a 1930's/mid-century theme. A vintage stove would look so sweet!

This past Sunday, we went to look at this stove (also pictured above) that was listed on Craigslist.

The top of it had some scratches, and the burner coils were usable, but not in the best of shape. A huge drawback was that it was not a double oven, but one full oven with a warming oven on the other side. This could have potentially worked, which is why we went to see it, but when they said a "warming oven", what they really meant was a warming DRAWER. It is literally a big drawer on the left side, with no rack. I wonder, are all vintage stoves this way? Another deterrent was the rust in the warming drawer. The front was in pristine condition, and overall, it was in great condition. (Especially considering it is 61 years old!) I didn't expect it to look new! I think the burners could have been replaced, and maybe the built-in Scotch kettle converted to a burner, but how much all of this costs we didn't know. So we walked away from this sweet little stove...and I have been going back and forth ever since. I am not sure it was the right decision. I really liked the stove, and it was from 1947, and those are harder to find than ones from the 1950's.

On the way home, my husband brought up the idea of buying a retro reproduction. However, we were shocked at the expense! I just couldn't do it, even if we DID have the money~ which we don't...plus, there's something about the truly old ones that is so special.

But it hit me later that night~ maybe we COULD buy an vintage stove and restore it. We could have the things that are too difficult done by a professional in time, such as repairing the finish on the stove, rechroming, etc. We would just make sure it was in as good of shape as possible before purchasing. I understand my husband's concern that it be safe and up to modern codes, etc.

Does anyone know anything about restoring older stoves and the cost of doing it yourself versus having it done for you? I'm going to keep looking for information on the web, too. So far, I'm wondering if this may just be one daydream that stays just that! :)

*edited to add: A friend asked me what I meant by the warming oven really being just a warming DRAWER. On this stove, the warming oven pulled out just as a normal drawer would vs. as an oven door. It was a large "box", and you could put food items to keep warm, etc., but there was no rack inside.


StuccoHouse said...

Very cute stove. Here are a few tips I learned when looking for my stove.

Electric is much more complicated to restore (or find someone to restore for you) than gas. The parts are also very hard to find.

Brands names may be the best bet (Roper, Tappan, O'Keiffe & Merrit, Chambers, etc.). Again, parts are easier to find.

In my search, I ran across one true double oven....and one with a with a normal oven & a smaller oven/broiler on the side. At least in my city, they seem to be rare. (although I grew up in a house with one).

Burner heads & grates can be expensive. I'd look for a stove that had good burners.

Rust - not a big problem if it is light because it can be stopped. If it is serious, then it may be an issue.

Just my observations....

Cindy said...

I had two of these stoves in two of the old houses I lived in. One was gas and one was electric. They both had full double ovens. The electric one had a warming oven which was a pull out drawer under the double ovens and the gas one had a broiler drawer under the double ovens. I loved the gas one! It even had a little shelf on the top. I miss it!