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Vintage appliances...or new that looks vintage?

13 years ago

My kitchen style seems to be changing with my color change. The vintage cottage look is really appealing and the vintage appliances are a good match. I don't know if I can find actual vintage appliances that will work or have to get new appliances that look vintage...or maybe a combination.

So, does anyone have vintage (1930's to 1950's) style appliances in their kitchen? Are they really vintage or made to look old? Would you choose them, again?

If anyone has pictures, I'd love to see them :)

Comments (18)

  • artemis78
    13 years ago

    We have a 1955 O'Keefe and Merritt stove that I really like---it's all gas but it works pretty perfectly. We restored the electrical and the periscope as part of the kitchen remodel, so now it has lights and a working electrical outlet over the griddle, too. The oven is on the small side, so if you routinely use full sheet pans or do very large birds or the like, it's not a great match (or else you'd need a wall oven in addition). But for everything else, it's fabulous. Ours is four burners (two 9K BTU, two 12K BTU) with a griddle which works fine for our needs. They did make double-oven versions, too, though they're rarer and tend to be pricey.

  • plllog
    13 years ago

    There are people who do restorations of vintage ranges and put in new insulation, burners, etc., and charge as much as a high end range. If you folks are good with machinery, it's something you can also do yourselves. There are websites that specialize in advice and parts sources.

    I wouldn't go with a reproduction. Instead, either go with the real deal, restored or just buffed up, or get something that just has a look that's consistent with your style. People really like the AGA 6-4, for instance, and it looks like it could have been made anytime this last century--and it's made out of cast iron. Even something like the Bertazoni has a kind of old look to it, brand new.

  • remodelfla
    13 years ago

    I can't speak to their efficiency, but I know Big Chill makes them.

  • Circus Peanut
    13 years ago

    Bought my 1949 O'Keefe & Merritt for about $400, restored it myself for about another $1000, and believe it will last for at least another 60 years. We absolutely adore it.

    The brilliant thing about actual vintage appliances is that anything that can break can also be mended or replaced, unlike modern ones.

    Some older GW threads discussing vintage ranges:

    Vintage stove: practical or not?

    O'Keefe and Merritt oven

    Any thoughts on reconditioned OKM ranges?

    O'Keefe & Merritt 1951

    Should I get a second oven if I own a Chambers range?

  • palimpsest
    13 years ago

    I would have a vintage range no question.

    I think an old refrigerator would be an energy hog and they are not really big enough by modern standards even if completely overhauled so in this case I would consider a Big Chill or Northstar.

    I would have a paneled DW.

    My general preference would probably be to have a vintage range as a focal point and have the rest be simple current appliances or maybe paneled.

  • ideagirl2
    13 years ago

    Elmira Stoveworks in Canada also makes the Northstar range of appliances, which are 50s-style. I've seen them in person--fridge, range, vent hood and microwave--and they're really nice (see link below). They come in a ton of colors.

    I agree that an actual vintage fridge would be an energy hog and also an inconvenience because the storage setup was very different back in the day. (Groceries and eating habits have changed a LOT.) But if you had a real vintage range from the 40s or 50s, you could pair it with a Northstar fridge--which is built on an Amana chassis, if "chassis" is a word used in the refrigerator context, and the two normal-sized ones (18.2 and 19 cubic feet, respectively) are Energy Star-compliant. (There's also a smaller Northstar fridge available). They're really nice machines. And being built on an Amana base, I'm guessing parts are easier to find than they would be for a true specialty brand.

    If you get a 30" or smaller range and happen to find colors that match or work together, a Northstar vent hood might also be good with a real vintage range. The vent hoods are very cool looking in person. I was trying to rationalize getting one myself, even though my range is not 40s/50s-style. (It's more 30s style, but new.) To my husband's relief, they don't make Northstar vent hoods wide enough for my 36" range.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Northstar vintage-look appliances

  • kathec
    13 years ago

    There was a poster on this board, inspiredisabel, who had these reproduction appliances. Her range (cobalt) was still working, but her fridge died after 6 years.

    I have a vintage 1950's Chambers I am currently restoring. Mine is yellow.

    The thing that attracted me was that the individual pieces are able to be restored, unlike modern appliances. Also, there's no electronic panels to fail.

    So far I've had the burners, drippans, grates and oven bottom re-porcelained. They look amazing, like brand new. I've decided to forgo re-porcelaining the outer (colored) panels as they're in pretty decent shape despite being 60 years old. There's a couple of small nicks, but it adds to the vintage lived in feel. I am planning to have the top and handles re-chromed as soon as I get some $$. I figured to refinish any the working parts to make clean up easier.

    There's quite a community of old range lovers, so there's a lot of information available to help you.

    Mine isn't done yet, so I can't speak to how well it functions, but from everything I've read I think I'm going to love it. I can't wait to use the daisy cone burners!

    Here's a photo of the deep well burner. You can see the pattern. It's the same on all the top burners.

    Here's LuAnn the yellow Chambers

  • John Liu
    13 years ago

    That is a very beautiful range.

  • marcolo
    13 years ago

    Funny how today people spend oodles of money to get Bluestar or Capital burners that don't send the flames out to the side walls of the kitchen instead of up at the pot. Old stoves made this same fabulous functionality available to everybody.

    Some of these old ranges do have pretty high BTUs. I think some of the O'Keefes had burners upwards of 15K. Others are pretty underpowered, even by the standards of today's run-of-the-mill, non prosumer brands. Vintage stoves are great, but buying one does require a lot of work, research or money. Or all three.

  • francoise47
    13 years ago

    Dear Lavender Lass, I happily cooked on my Chambers B for 13 years. The burners were fantastic. Last year I decided I wanted a bigger and more reliable oven. But I did feel sad giving up the Chambers B! Actually, I couldn't give it up -- just put it in the garage. It felt a little like putting grandma in the garage.


    (Sorry if this doesn't work; I'm trying to figure out how to post images IN the message.)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Chambers B range

  • pinch_me
    13 years ago

    I really wish I had the money to get a set of reproductions. But - I don't. My white appliances will have to be the vintage look for the next untold number of years. They work fine and I don't have many visitors so I will be happy with what I have. I love my kitchen anyway.

  • farmhousebound
    13 years ago

    I originally purchased and had refurbished an older GE refrigerator. While I absolutely loved the way it looked, it was not practical at all--small and needed defrosting alot. I then purchased a Big Chill about the same time as gsciencechick in white and love it.

    After looking around alot, we found a 1930's-something Chambers C which I affectionately call "Baby". I wouldn't consider anything but a ModernAire Hood for her and they are definitely a focal point in our kitchen. I love cooking on her but am having a little difficulty with the ovens. If after retirement I get more into baking I told DH that we may need to put an oven out in the garage--"no one puts Baby in a corner"! (LOL)

  • lavender_lass
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    I can see why the reproduction refrigerators make a lot more sense (thanks everyone) but I do love those vintage ranges! While we'll probably never get natural gas out to the farm, maybe we can find an electric one, or use propane.

    Thank you all for the beautiful pictures of your favorite appliances. They're so wonderful and I can see why you're all so fond of them!

    Farmhouse- I really like your white (canisters/shakers?) on the shelf, above the range. Great hood, too :)

  • farmhousebound
    13 years ago

    Thank you--they are milk glass shakers (salt, pepper, sugar, flour). Also just fyi, our Chambers uses propane. That is the only thing we had done to her when purchased was to have them do what was needed to convert it from natural gas.

  • sabjimata
    13 years ago

    check out heartland ranges and bert heritage line

  • ideagirl2
    13 years ago

    Agreed, Sabjimata. All the vintage-repro ranges that I know of have electric versions (ceramic top). Actual vintage electric ranges of course have the coils.

  • jessicaml
    13 years ago

    Lavendar lass, I was looking for pictures of old european kitchens and came across these:

    Vintage-Inspired London Kitchen

    La Cressonni�re: Kitchen

    The fridge in the 1st picture is actually a modern fridge with an old fridge door on it, but the vintage stove is functional. Apparently the stove in the 2nd picture is functional but too smokey for regular use.