My first house had a wonderful kitchen: nicely spaced appliances, plenty of counter space, a built-in buffet next to the dinette. Our current house was once a cabin, that was later added onto to become a chalet. The additions are all seamless, except for the kitchen. What began as a serviceable, simple cabin kitchen grew into a long, narrow, unattractive area, with a lot of unusable space. My friends would talk about their plans for their kitchens, and I would smile and nod, jealous, because nothing short of major renovations would make my kitchen attractive or even fun.
Then the oven died.
The Admiral range and oven was the best cooking unit we had ever owned. And we had paid nothing for it–it was sitting beside the road with a “free” sign on it. Rob tried to fix the oven, but the computer had died, and replacing it would cost a small fortune.
We went to Sears, looking for a simple gas stove, with no computer to break. The saleswoman said we could special order one, but that we should not expect an appliance to last more than 5 years, and that the Admiral had long outlived its life expectancy. At that point, we turned our attention to something that might last longer. A wood burning unit would be great for reducing our dependence on the grid. We found Kitchen Queen stoves online–they are modern woodstoves, with a water heating unit, mainly marketed to the Amish. However, the price of these–and other wood burning units–was too high. We decided we would consider a Kitchen Queen for our next house. In the meantime, we researched older gas stoves, and found that they do hold up better.
On Craig’s List, we found a 1930 Magic Chef, in very good condition, for less than a new gas stove. The seller’s Italian grandmother had cooked on it for years. We installed it, and made sure to cook a lasagna.
Surprisingly, the stove matched the mint-green paint that was a part of our kitchen’s wainscoting. The dark paneling ended just above the top of the stove. Rob found a wooden, fold-down table that fit in the unusable area, and my parents provided some cute chairs to go around it. Rob created a hanging rack for our 2 cast iron pans, spatula, and oven mitt, right above the table. To top it off, we found a handmade teapot at the Salvation Army’s store. Rob mounted my hand crank “Spong” coffee grinder on the wall, completing the ’30’s motif. All that remains is the flooring, which we want to replace with very plain, non-trendy linoleum.