04 September 2012

Vintage Kitchen

Before I go on showing some of my other finds (yeah there's still more! but like a good girl a lot of my older stuff is going out this weekend when I do the local historical society flea market) I wanted to show you all a major find we purchased over the weekend.

Anyone who has been to my house knows how much I hate my kitchen. The cabinets are from the 50s or 60s but very cheap veneer which is peeling in many places. They are so terrible I can't even fit my dishes (which are vintage so no excuse that they made smaller dishes in the past) in them, and they have to reside in a sideboard in the dining room. I actually had started trying to at least paint them to brighten up -- that's the other problem, the kitchen is VERY dark. On the sunniest of days I have to put a light on. Its also a tricky set up as there are 3 doorways which breaks up the wall space, making it more difficult to put in cabinets for extra storage.

Since I love vintage details, and I love my house but hate my kitchen, I decided to research what would have been original to the kitchen when it was built in 1930. That led me to those fantastic old metal cabinets. We'd had them in a few pre-war apartments, and loved them. They were so easy to clean and always looked nice. So now the problem was were to find a set that would fit in our weird configuration of a kitchen.

I found a great resource, Retro Renovation, where there is a page of just metal cabinets. They showed the various brands available, I learned which were older, and got an idea of what people paid. I didn't think it was going to be an inexpensive option, but I really liked the look and thought they would be perfect for my little kitchen. Since we weren't looking to do the renovation right away, price wasn't an issue and I could take my time to find just the right cabinets.

Fast forward a bit and we were driving up to Boston to pick up the Punk Glam Princess who had spent the previous week with family on the Cape (Cape Cod, MA to those of you outside the US) and got a little bee in my bonnet. The bee had me looking on craigslist in the MA area for metal cabinets. I found the exact set I wanted at an amazingly low price (about 1/4 the going rate on the low end of pricing) and was very anxious to have a look.

The sellers contacted me when we were about 40 minutes away from them so we took a side trip to go  see them.

What we encountered was our house! Seriously, it was a Dutch Colonial with a kitchen the same size & 3 doorways. By now I was convinced and was ready to plunk down cash on the spot. But we had a further look and not only were the cabinets in fantastic condition for their age (1930s) but even the countertop was in perfect condition! Not to mention the sink and oven range hood were in fantastic shape as well! The seller's were so lovely to deal with, I walked away quite happily paying the asking price. (Hey, spent too many years working the flea markets, I NEVER pay the asking price, always haggle so this alone shows just how enamored I was!)

So last Sunday my husband picked up a U-Haul and got all the cabinets as well as the sink, range hood, and countertops and delivered them home. Okay now on to some pics!

Here is a shot of the countertops. I think they were probably replaced in the 60s or 70s as they don't look like an older pattern to me. But I could be wrong. Really its just amazing that I won't have to replace them straight away. Eventually I'll probably choose a funky boomerang pattern!

Geneva is the brand. They were the 2nd biggest manufacturers of metal cabinets.

This is how I can date them. The original 1930s cabinets had these plastic pieces behind the drawer pulls. Most are in excellent condition, only a few are cracked. I can't complain as for their age I'm surprised they're all intact!

Sorry the pics are so dark, its been rather dismal here the past fews days. Here you can see majority of the cabinets, the ones stacked on top are the uppers. 

Here is the fantastic sink with built in drainboards. Those white pieces sticking out of the sink are soffits that will be used to attach the upper cabinets securely to the wall. 
This is the range hood. Its upside down, but you can get the idea. 
There are also loads of little grates and things inside the drawers, and all the cabinets have metal shelves (they look like the grating on a BBQ). When it's a bit sunnier I'll try to take more pics.

So there you have it. My latest amazing vintage bargain. Now we have to figure out if we can do all the installation ourselves or have someone come and do at least the uppers as those kind of scare me to install ourselves!



  1. I'm wondering what you paid for the Geneva cabinets, most importantly, what you would think someone would be willing to pay for the sink base and stainless sink. I have one I'm trying to sell (a double sink, though), that looks just like this. I have no idea what to ask for a price! Thanks!

    1. Gosh it was two years ago I honestly don't recall! But I did find a lot of info on the website I referenced in the post Retro Renovation. They have headings for different things, and when you hit the kitchen one, you'll find all things related to vintage kitchens. You might also want to try contacting them, as I've seen then post things people were trying to sell. Hope that helps! Cheers, J


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