I found this antique cookstove, with it’s tile exterior, on Craigslist, but it was a battle. A battle talking my husband into getting it and a battle getting it cleaned up enough to ever think about bringing it into our house. But now that the battles are over with a victory win, we BOTH are loving this antique addition to the kitchen in our new 100 year old house.
Here’s what happened, and how I found room for it…
First, let me just say that we’ve been married for 35 1/2 years and we are deeply devoted to each other, each day our love and respect for each other grows… but we didn’t just arrive there… We are both strong personality individuals and tend to voice our opinions to what some may describe as vigorously… or robustly… the situation with this antique cookstove was a perfect example of that!
During the early stages of the renovation of our 100 year old house, while finalizing the kitchen plan, I came across a listing for this antique cookstove. I wasn’t really looking for one, it just plopped into my lap… on my computer screen… while I was perusing Craigslist. Well, being part Dutch, and always having a penchant for blue and white tile among other Dutch styled things, I decided I needed to figure out a spot (and use) for this antique stove in my kitchen plan.
This was the picture in the Craigslist ad… (funny how things look better on a sunny day)
One cold, rainy fall day, my husband and I drove a couple hours northwest from our house to go ‘look’ at the stove. It was being stored outside, along with a scattering of other junk accumulated in her yard, shed and porch. She pulled back the tarp to show a cookstove that clearly had seen better days. It had piles of rust and mouse nests inside the oven compartment to prove it. In fact, part of the inside of the stove was so completely rusted out, as I pulled out one of the bottom drawers I found myself looking right through the bottom of the drawer to the muddy yard the stove was sitting on. In other words, the stove was a complete disaster… and I loved it! I was giddy with excitement to get this lovely wreck into my kitchen plan.
In fact, I had gotten so carried away in my own vision and excitement that at first I kind of forgot that my husband was along, and that he might have an opinion about this cookstove. Oh boy, did he ever… Let me just say that my husband was as far opposite on the spectrum of my giddiness of wanting this cookstove as possible… He was so solidly planted on the complete polar opposite in fact, that I could sense he was struggling with wondering if I’d completely lost my mind.
Funny thing is that usually, almost always, unless it’s a big financial purchase, (big things, we both feel very strongly about both agreeing and totally being on the same page) but with smaller things, and home design things, I am the one that decides. He is typically very trusting and supportive of my decisions about these matters. But for some reason with this stove, he, well, he HATED it!
So there we were, at an impasse. We both had our feet stuck in the ‘mud’ literally and figuratively!
I was convinced this was the perfect piece, it was the perfect look, perfect size, just perfect! And I could see it for how it was going to be, blinded to how it was looking in the present state. (not always a good thing to only see things for how they can be… sometimes a reality check is vital!)
And he was convinced that ‘No way, was this filthy thing ever coming into our kitchen!’ He was just not currently able to comprehend it could ever get clean enough to be a welcome entity in our house.
So what do you do in a case like that? There we were in the rain, getting wet, and not even close to compromising. The gal, probably around 65 years old, that was selling the stove had loaned me an umbrella, which I was using to keep the majority of the rain off my head with, even though a couple of the umbrella splines were no longer attached to the fabric of the umbrella and were bent up in a awkward fashion. She just stood there looking at us, I’m sure she could tell I wanted it, and he didn’t. (ha! That wouldn’t have been all too difficult to figure out.) So we excused ourselves to go ‘discuss’ it in the truck.
Good idea… a little privacy… but in reality, the truck was parked 5 feet from the stove, she was standing next to the stove, protected from the rain with the shed overhang, and to top off the lack of privacy, due to the dripping wet umbrella in my hand, I had to leave the truck door partly open, holding the half broken umbrella out the top of the crack, preventing it from dripping inside the truck. And then the discussion began. I’m sure she heard every word of our robust discussion. It must have been a comical picture… I can only imagine how her viewpoint of the ordeal was…
But in the end, there was a meeting of the minds and a compromise of the price, I think we paid something around $75 for the stove. (or maybe a little bit more… for sure it was under $300) 🙂 Her son came over to her place, and put the stove in my husband’s truck using a forklift. I had no idea how we were going to get it out once we were home, the thing weighed a ton, but at least I had won that battle and it was loaded. The rest I could deal with.
Once home, it took so much scraping, sanding, both by hand and any power sander I could find, I also used different grinding tools… anything to try to get the rust and corroded metal off. Some of the really bad inside tin pieces, I just snipped out with tin snips. Finally I had the piece cleaned up enough that I primed and painted it with rustoleum. One of the hinges on the oven door was broken and I found a metal fabrication place that repaired it, they also reconstructed the 3 bottom drawers. It was a ton of work, but what a fun accomplishment!
Then we gutted the kitchen and, this is what we had:
You know when a kitchen is gutted, it seems like you have endless possibilities for a plan, but once you have considered where the plumbing must be located, and where the work triangle needs are, and in our case work around 6 doorways in the kitchen, your possibilities become quickly dwindled.
Once thing for sure I knew that I wanted, if at all possible, was 2 sinks. One large main sink and a secondary sink for all those times you need a sink but the main one is being occupied. Once I placed in the kitchen plan where that 2nd sink was going to be, (instead of additional cabinet space, like how I did the extra kitchen sink at our former house) I decided to use the antique cookstove next to the 2nd sink for countertop space. I just didn’t have room for the rail that was attached around the top of the cookstove, you can see in the original picture, besides, it was in such bad condition, I don’t think I could have used it if I wanted to.
This is that same corner in our kitchen now.
We use the antique cookstove top as a counter for the coffee/espresso maker. It’s a perfect spot for the coffee bar, with the second sink right there too.
Above the stove is a fun collection of stuff, with many coffee items in the mix, each with its own story.
The ovens of the antique cookstove are now where we keep all the foils and wraps etc. I found two long plastic trays at Walmart that fit perfect and slide in and out with ease.
The old, original, thick, heavy, porcelain and cast iron handles on the oven doors and bottom 3 drawers are so charming.
The whole exterior of the cookstove is covered with these very thick tiles, each held on with a center screw.
On the top, you can see the separate plates that lift out, revealing where originally the wood or coal, I’m not sure which, would have gone in to keep the stove and oven hot. I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable that would have been in the summer… no wonder they had summer kitchens, to try to keep that heat separate from the rest of the house. But still, the poor soul that would have had to be in the vicinity of the working cookstove preparing the meals.
Now that the antique cookstove is clean, usable, (though not as its original purpose) and in its place in our kitchen, we both love it. It’s such a fun vintage piece to have in this kitchen that originally, back 100 years ago when this house was built, would have very likely had a cookstove very similar to it.
You know how when you get a red car, you start to notice all the red cars out there, well maybe that’s what’s going on, but lately, I’ve been noticing antique or vintage stoves popping up in other kitchens.
This came from a fun article Country Living Magazine featured about antique stoves every collector should know about.
Ha, trust me, I’m sure our antique cookstove is not monetarily worth anything like these very special ones featured in the Country Living Magazine article, but ours is worth other sorts of treasures to us. 😉
And the other day in Country Living Magazine again:
I noticed this cute charmer in a kitchen where they were actually talking about painted floors.
So, maybe it’s not just because I have one now… maybe they are being used more in kitchen designs.
Do you have an antique or vintage stove in your kitchen?
Here are more closet and storage ideas:
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