Vintage 1950s style stoves from Big Chill

retro-stoves

A DAY LONG IN COMING: New, retro-style stoves with an authentic vintage look. Big Chill is now taking pre-orders for fall delivery of these 30″ ranges, which run on gas or propane. Eight colors. This stove has a far superior look to all previous attempts, which have been too caricatured, in my opinion. The Big Chills seems to mimic real stoves from back in the day. For example, the backsplash (or whatever you call it) is pretty similar to vintage Magic Chefs, from my recollection. Even at $4,295, I think they should do quite well — not just in the retro renovation market, but among all homeowners. Cozy comfy granny retro will continue to be hot hot hot for years to come, extending deep into the mainstream marketplace, I predict. Many thanks to reader Lisa for sending me this hot off the presses info to share with all! Big Chill website here.

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Comments

  1. Juju says

    A blue Big Chill fridge has been on my wish list for ages.

    They featured one of the dishwasher’s yesterday on The Price is Right.

  2. vacationbarbie says

    It doesn’t say if the oven is self cleaning….at that price I would hope it would dust and mop the floors too! LOL

  3. says

    I am so envious! I can’t purchase these sort of stoves (or anything reminiscent of them!) here ~ or I could purchase them and not have anyone be able to service them! I’d love a Big Chill fridge too.

    They’ll likely be available here in the next decade!

  4. Palm Springs Stephan says

    Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’m not a huge fan of Big Chill. In my opinion, they are vastly over-priced. They are really just a modern stove (or refrigerator or dishwasher) chassis with a specially made shell. The interior and all the parts are totally standard and can be found on most newly-made stoves/fridges/dishwashers. Even some of the exterior parts can be found on stoves at Sears and other places. You pay a premium just for the shell and the logo. Add $300 for delivery and you’ve got a $4500 stove!

    For my money … and very nearly the same price … I strongly prefer refurbished originals. I’ve found several companies that take old appliances and totally refurbish them for a comparable cost. Why have “Big Chill” written on the front of your stove when you can have “Westinghouse” or “General Electric” or “O’Keefe & Merritt” or “Wedgewood”?

    But I’m a purist; I strongly prefer restored originals over modern reproductions. Others may prefer otherwise.

    • pam kueber says

      Stephan, I hear what you are saying. The reason I am posting reproductions is that there ARE a significant number of people – the majority, I am sure, of the American populace – who do not have the desire or patience to do this “the hard way”. Sometimes folks just want the look…they’re willing to pay for it…and they will “save” their money on another aspect of the project, perhaps. You know that I personally agree with you about doing the legwork and finding true vintage, personally.

  5. says

    I am SO WITH YOU palms springs steven! Im such a purist too! BUT I do like how these new models look closer to the originals. These ones are much less flamboyant and less “caricatured” than the ones they had before.

  6. Deb says

    Just a cautionary note re: the Big Chill refrigerators – only “some” models are Energy Star rated. I love the way they look also, but would definitely ask that question if I were seriously going to purchase one!

  7. Tappan Trailer Tami says

    The colors are fab, but alas, I prefer the good ol’ originals also. My 1949 Tappan Deluxe (complete w/ light up red knob bezels) and “Visiguide” awaits restoration in my living room. Even if I pay about $3k to have it professionally restored, I’ll come in about $1k less than the Big Chills, more if I tackle some of it myself.

    Nice find though for those in a “new” mindset……

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Tappan Trailer Tami. First: Tell us more about that name! Second and importantly: Do-It-Yourselfers: Be sure to know what you are working with when it comes to vintage stoves. Is there asbestos in the insulation? Lead in the paint? As with all vintage surfaces/materials of the era, it is imperative that you know what you are working with. Renovate safe.

  8. Palm Springs Stephan says

    I understand completely, Pam. I know that some people are very distrustful of anything “old,” on the assumption that it will not work correctly. Others want the reassurance of a factory warranty. And still others like the modern conveniences (self-cleaning for an oven, ice-makers for a fridge) that reproductions usually incorporate but that cannto be had with originals. We live in a society of disposables and rapid replacement, so many people do indeed want new reproductions rather than refurbished originals.

    I also agree with you on taking great care when DIY-ing with old appliances. I am currently refurbishing my stainless steel Florence built-in wall oven, and I’ve come across several small pieces of asbestos inside the doors already. BUt using a little common sense and reasonable safety measures, I’ve been able to replace the old deteriorated fiberglass oven insulation with modern high-efficiency ceramic fiber insulation at very low cost. The hard part is getting the old oven clock to work again …..

    • abby says

      “BUt using a little common sense and reasonable safety measures, I’ve been able to replace the old deteriorated fiberglass oven insulation with modern high-efficiency ceramic fiber insulation at very low cost”.

      Stephan, hi from Australia.Reading this old post and hope you are still around. I am desparately trying to DIY fix my old wood stove. It seems to have asbestos insualtion and has rusted thru the top layer of steel under the chimney. I am a keen DIYer but needs some tips on how to deal with it. Can’t find anyone here in Oz who can advise. IF you are around I can send some pics if you could help me – or anyone for that matter. thanks heaps. I am a huge forum fan. abby

      • pam kueber says

        Hi abby, I am really not keen on having folks give advice like this on the blog. Please, you’re gonna have to find a properly licensed professional down under! Good luck!

  9. Tappan Trailer Tami says

    Hi Pam,

    Someday once my remodeling starts you’ll see the “trailer” part of my name. Since I live in CA and didn’t inherit a house here, I bought a 1977 mobile home (almost trailer) instead. While I am a great fan of all things vintage/retro, the gold circular 1977 kitchen will leave, and the circa 30-40-50 kitchen will arrive. I’ve been following another blog whose owner is currently restoring a Tappan Deluxe himself, and all seems to be going well so far. I won’t be tackling any of the wiring, probably just the cosmetic stuff ie, 60 years of grime removal :)

    You can see what my Tappan looks like here (mine is exactly like this short of a little rehab):

    http://tinyurl.com/mtpvnq

    And here is my score ($40 plus shipping) for my new kitchen ceiling lights that will also be rehabilitated:

    http://tinyurl.com/l9zqd5

    • pam kueber says

      Wow, Tami, those kitchen lights look amazing! I haven’t seen that style before. So cool that you are rehabbing a mobile home. I’m telling you, there are definitely days when I think: The smaller the better. Less space to be a pack rat. I have a major problem.

    • pam kueber says

      Tami, the Tappan is fabulous, too. One of my favorite vintage stoves. I almost put one in my kitchen but went for something more mod, the ’59 GE Pushbutton.

  10. Tappan Trailer Tami says

    Ah, Pam! I bought a 61 GE Pushbutton from the estate of a little old lady – pretty immaculate. I ended up giving it to my mom, and she loves it! They are a great stove, I hope you enjoy yours~

    Now, you can all pray for me……since I last posted this afternoon, much has happened. I’m not really ready to tear out my kitchen yet so don’t *really* need a refrigerator just yet….but, a minty all original working 1956 Kelvinator Foodarama has come my way. Oh, how I LOVE these! It isn’t cheap, but then I DID get all of my kitchen cabinets for free…..oh what to do!! I wish someone else could decide for me.

    Here is what a Foodarama looks like:

    http://tinyurl.com/r654f3

  11. Genevieve says

    Hmmm… I like the overall look and colors, however, I have to say I am very put-off by the nobs. They are so undeniably *now*, and kinda cheapy looking at that. It’s like running the 400 m dash and then deciding to walk the last ten meters. The devil is in the details for me.

    I am in the last stages of buying a home and rubbing my hands in anticipation of getting in to the kitchen. The house was built 1941, and the kitchen has what looks like original cabinetry – and a vintage stove (I think it is a Magic Chef? I have a terrible memory) that the original owner had restored before she died – so it’s already been refinished and refurbished quite well. Unfortunately, it also has mis-matched wall paper, linoleum, and Formica counter tops (not from the forties). Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

    • pam kueber says

      Welcome, Genevieve. We’ll all be eager to see pics when you’re in. Good luck with the close!

  12. Palm Springs Stephan says

    Thanks, Tappan Trailer Tami, for the reference, though I was actually already aware of them. They are already re-porcelaining my range-top grates and burner heads.

    I mentioned Sears in my first response, Pam, because they do indeed have some very affordable stoves that will work nicely if someone wants a newly-built “close enough.” And their Kenmore line used to include a very authentic looking refrigerator, though sadly that model line seems to have been discontinued. Sears was actually one of the first to jump on the retro-renovation bandwagon, well over a decade ago.

  13. Jeff says

    I agree that restored originals are best-

    I just bought a 1949 Roper 6 burner/double oven/double broiler junior Town & Country model in excellent condition for 150.00.

    I am having one of the California companies reporcelain the burner grates and heads to freshen them up, but otherwise it’s a great working gem. This same stove is available at one of the restoration companies for 8200.00!

    Keep checking your local craigslist for great gas or electric stoves. If they are properly serviced, there is really not much on them that can go wrong, they’ll last forever.

    The old appliance club is a great resource for ordering parts, so if your local stove repair person can’t find parts, this is where to go.

  14. pam kueber says

    Another tip for readers if they’re going vintage: Before you buy a vintage gas stove, know whether it features an Automatic Safety Pilot. And, check whether your local code requires it. It is illegal with a capital “I” in my state, for example, to hook up a stove that does not have an automatic safety pilot. A safety/legal issue you need to be knowledgeable about.

  15. MrsErinD says

    I agree with PS Stephan, I would rather have an original, and for that price you could have one fully refurbished!!!

    We bought a 1950’s Tappan Deluxe stove for 80 bucks, Hubby is going to refurbish it, yes, you do need to know about the pilot light, and you can get a doohicky to make it safe, there is a website that sells all the parts you could need, I THINK it was antiquestoves.com, I think, there may be another too.
    Thankfully Hubby knows how to do all this stuff safely. We have found so many vintage items cheap and have been able to restore them ourselves.

  16. pam kueber says

    FYI, I spoke with the folks at Big Chill yesterday. The stove is not a shell – they designed it and have it made for them with the goal to provide modern performance cooking…the knobs are cast-metal and emulate vintage originals…and the backsplash (or whatever that’s called) emulates Chambers, not Magic Chef as I incorrectly said (I am not a vintage stove spotter quite yet!)

    • girlhende1 says

      Hiya pam!
      Did you ever find out if the Big Chill ovens have a self cleaning function? I have been lusting after these appliances for months, but don’t want to call BC myself because I’m nowhere near ready to buy yet. (I don’t even have my own house yet!)

  17. mid.century.girl says

    PalmSpringsSteven….we are looking for a modern 60’s gas stove. Please share the companies you’ve discovered that refurbish the originals. We just purchased a white ’65 GE fridge in MINT condition (for a $100!) and need a stove as well. Any suggestions for a source would be greatly appreciated.

  18. Joni Trojacek says

    Great Retro look, but what about a more fashionable “RETRO” price with today’s current economy trend? Apparently, this slump is not effecting the owner’s of The Big Chill. Oh well…

  19. pam kueber says

    Joni, see my comments from 6/11. I know the price sounds high, but I am pretty tolerant. This is not mass production….

  20. emma says

    I love the stoves but the price tag is absurd and crazy.
    I will take my $300, ten year old stove and for $100 have it painted a “vintage” color.
    Not criticizing your blog-I totally understand the reason you posted these gems. They are fun to look at!

  21. pam kueber says

    Readers, no more ranting about the price, okay? We are pushing the limits of my #1 rule, “no one can be made to feel bad about their choices.” For folks who want a brand-new, retro-style range, this is the best we have seen yet. It is their business to decide how to allocate their budget. I, for example, splurged on a Sub-Zero. I drive an Escape – not a Navigator – but not an 1990 Escort either. We all make choices.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Deb, this site isn’t for DIY, it’s more about aesthetics. You might try some other sites on the web – like oldhousejournal.com – I bet they have advice on this. No matter what you do, be aware that there could well be lead in the current paint job, do appropriate research and take appropriate precautions. Also for anyone considering renovating vintage appliances, there could be asbestos in the insulation, we’ve heard. Other stuff – in other spots – I’m not sure….hence, I point you to professionals.

  22. Theresa Call says

    I have a 1950 tappan stove, has a bread warmer , 4 burners, i would like to get it resotred and converted into propane..I live in California, by contra costa area and would like to find some that can restore and convert.. I really appericate your help.. Thank you..

  23. Melissa says

    I have a 1953 Tappan Deluxe 4 burner stove with a center grill. Can Not seem to get the oven to lite I am not sure how too. Just bought it. Top works Great Oven is on right side Broiler is on left I see the red push button, I’ve read the instructions on the door. It has a cord to plug in. Does the cord have to be plugged up for it to light. I have tried it plugged but still couldn’t get it lit. DOes anyone know what I can do to get it lit. Can’t afford to have a professional do it. And I know the holidays will be here soon. I f you know how to get it lit please help.

  24. Roni Dee ward says

    I like the look of these retro appliances. But $5,000. dollars??? What is it about these and other similar stoves (Elmira) that makes them worth that kind of money?

  25. Nebraska Nan says

    I have some unrestored vintage appliances, but repair and parts in this part of the country–not happening. I would also prefer the original restored appliance, however–Hubby is not so tolerant of the little quirks of elderly appliances….plus, the restored price tags are higher than Big Chill. I think it’s a good compromise and for some of us, it works.

  26. Jeffinprov says

    I happily follow and enjoy this blog, even though my personal sense of decor might be best categorized as a cat fight between Norma Desmond and Grace Coolidge. [ed. note: Do not underestimate the former First Lady.] I stoutly refuse to be guilted-out by those who know what I paid for my restored 1924 Glenwood six-burner range. It is not only a superb and delightful piece of kitchen equipment, I find it beautiful. There is not a piece of art to be had at that price range that would lift my spirits on a day-to-day basis, not to mention being exceptionally functional. When it’s not lifting my spirits, it feeds magnificently into my dark angel’s depression that we won’t see again a culture that could produce such an object. The retro-facade product line is undoubtedly lucrative for Big Chill, but my heart lies with the Real Deal, which seems to have its own Heart.

  27. Tinyrica says

    Tappan Trailer Tami

    I just got on this site.

    Where did you get those ceiling lights. They are really nice.

    Tinyrica

  28. Jan Rutherford says

    My mother has a 1950’s 19″ Tappen double wall oved in need of a total rebuild on the face controls.Have been told the parts are not longer available. Is the a Portand Oregon locaton that can do this or sugggestions for 19″ repalcements?

  29. Jeanie says

    We are remodeling our country cottage kitchen and would like to know if a 1950s O’Keefe and Merritt Aristocrat range is safe for use. It is in excellent condition and we are assuming the insulation and paint are original.

    • pam kueber says

      Jeanie, we are not experts on this question here. You need to consult with a properly licensed professional. Good luck.

  30. Miriam & Bill Ward says

    I just sent an question about an Harper-Wyman gas stove from the early 60’s. It’s an Enterprise, Model #G30T. The mercury sensor in the oven is not working. I understand that this part is not available as mercury is now banned and am needing a new part to replace this. When your company does a rebuild repair service on an antique stove what part do they use. ( I’m not sure I gave you my right e-mail address on my first comment to you.) Sincerely, Miriam

    • pam kueber says

      I will not respond – see story in Kitchens/Appliances about where to potentially get help with old stoves.

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