Vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinets — with Thermador ovens and lots more

st-charles-kitchenEver since last week’s mega story about the New Old Stock 1948 Youngstown steel kitchen cabinets, steel kitchen cabinets have been on everyone’s mind — with lots of new tips coming in. A great one, from reader Deb: This gorgeous set of 1953 St. Charles steel kitchen cabinets for sale in Maine — at what I consider a very reasonable price, considering the quality, condition and what ya get.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsThis looks to be a spectacular set — salvager Pete says the buttery yellow paint is in great condition, and just wait until you see all the rare and hard-to-find pieces. Pantry cabinets… two Thermador ovens… warming oven… linen cabinet… aerated vegetable drawers… and more! Oh, and St. Charles: The creme de la creme of vintage steel kitchen cabinets — these things were the heaviest that I know of.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: Pete and his wife (above) salvaged these from a nearby home that was slated to be torn down. They thought they would use them in their own kitchen remodel, but changed their plans. They put a lot of work into the project — they had to disassemble the cabinets from the other house. Pete took lots of photos, so we also get to see a bit of what these cabinets look like underneath and behind. For example, note: St. Charles’ do not have built-in kickplates. The base cabinets are boxes. You build a plinth to set them on. Or: You can set them on legs, as shown in these advertising photos. I presume that when you set them on to legs, there might be further structural requirements to ensure the base sits safely on the legs.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: What a nifty design idea for a big kitchen with sinks for two cooks — jut out the dishwasher to create separate areas and even more counter space. Won’t your contractor love you when you ask for this? Not.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: Three pantry cabinets — with drawers underneath!

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: Linen drawer.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: Lazy Susan, St. Charles style. Who else is digging the floor. Hey: Greige that gets my seal of approval — mark this day on your calendars!

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: Bread box, I think…

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsRare to see pantry cabinets! 

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: Drawers for vegetables.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: Note how the laminate is installed to ring the sink. No hudee — there’s a piece of steel (?) molding that wraps the laminate, it’s similar to an undermount sink installation. We see this vintage installation method on occasion. Also interesting to see: Stainless steel sinks in a 1953 kitchen.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: Yup, that’s the under side of the countertop, sans cabinetry underneath.

Pete said that the countertop also was made of steel — countertop material adhered onto one ginormous 17-foot run of steel. He and his wife could not move the countetop, it was so heavy. They pulled the cabinets out from under it and left it where it hung. Oh my.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: A good look at the plinths.

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: More bread drawers. 

vintage St. Charles kitchen cabinetsAbove: The Thermador warming ovens heated right up, Pete said.

Where to buy these cabinets:

Like this story? Here are some more:

Slide show:

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will double in size on screen… click anywhere to move forward and look for previous and next buttons within photo to move back or forth… you can start or stop at any image:


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  1. Janet in ME says

    Move over, Julia Child ! This kitchen is amazing and obviously designed for someone who cooks and bakes and cans a lot. I just love that six burner stainless cooktop which is the upscale version of the GE Wonder Kitchen. That pull-out shelf at eye level was made to hold a big heavy stand mixer – how nice not to have to lift it out from below. Everything about this kitchen seems to be so well thought out and I would swoon to have a kitchen like this. If I were younger, I would build a house for all of this to fit into! Hey, at least I can brag that I have two of those dustpans.

  2. Reader Deb says

    So glad he allowed you to feature these (with additional photos!) before someone scoops them up and the listing is removed.

  3. Jay says

    That is one spectacular kitchen! Those ovens and six burners in a sea of stainless counter with a hood. Thermador was not a cheap product even then when this kitchen would have been installed. Some serious cooking took place in this room. Is that turquose Boomerang formica, I couldn’t tell? Not sure when they were introduced but the stainless sinks are one piece self rimming bowls, they may or may not be original to the kitchen. A really big kitchen!

  4. Rebecca says

    Amazing! I’ve spent the last 1.5 hours trying to figure out how we could get these from Maine to Kansas. We just bought a 1960 MCM house and the kitchen needs some serious help. I know these are from 1953 but I don’t see much of a difference between them and the 1960’s styles so I think they could work (especially if we painted them a 1960’s color). Must continue plotting…

    • oh Holland says

      Rebecca, hope you find a way to nab these amazing cabinets, not only because they are so rare and beautiful, but so you’d submit posts about your remodel for us voyeurs!

    • Timewarpterry says

      Hey, Rebecca – Topeka here! Not too many MCM fans in this neck of the woods, but I’m trying to stir up some interest so some great homes can be saved. Where are you located?

      • Rebecca says

        We’re an hour west of you in Manhattan. There are just a handful of MCM homes around here and we finally lucked out on one. Sadly a lot of older homes get turned into rentals (and ruined) or have bad renos and are flipped. We have no intention of ever turning loose of ours!

  5. marya says

    So cool. But what about that tile? Gorgeous! Was the entire room tiled, or did they match the wallpaper to the backsplash? I wouldn’t put that past someone who invested as much in this kitchen as they clearly did.

    • Pete says

      The whole kitchen was Mexican tile. Four tiles were put together to make the image that you see. It is amazing.

  6. Scott says

    This kitchen makes me laugh at contemporary kitchens labeled as professional. THIS is a real cook’s kitchen.

    And symmetrically arranged burners… I would be ashamed to admit how many hours I’ve dreamed about symmetrically arranged burners.

  7. mimi says

    LOVEly! The tile and whatever that ceiling is…almost as perfecto as the cabinets. I think the 3 bin drawer is for flours and sugar; at least that’s what my gramma’s were like. A little painful to see it removed from its home. I can almost hear its family having holiday dinners. The cook had flair!

    • pam kueber says

      Ah! Thank you! You are surely right. A carry over design feature from Hoosier cabinets, that faded relatively quickly as a feature in steel kitchen cabinets.

  8. Mary Elizabeth says

    This kitchen brings back wonderful memories of the kitchen in my first house. I didn’t use the bread drawers after a while, because no matter how religiously I cleaned them, mold spores stayed in there and the bread always got moldy. So I stored boxed groceries in there.

    I love the yellow color of this set, and the turquoise countertops are a perfect compliment.

  9. Jamie says

    LOVE love LOVE the kitchen (including the wall tile) what a lucky lady (or man) that get’s to enjoy cooking in that kitchen in their own home.

  10. Kathy says

    What a great kitchen–too bad they couldn’t salvage the top as well. Did they take the sinks and faucets? They look to be quite the thing. I love the buttercup color too–a popular and versatile color from 1920s-1960s. It looks like they went through the catalogue and picked one or more of everything.

    I really like the bump out by the sink and I don’t think it would be that horrible to do something like that today, perhaps minus the curved box. I also like the depression under the single sink and the high gooseneck faucet. Perhaps designed so you could pull up a stool while peeling veggies? Love the island and the angled peninsula too. I like the tiles too, and the mix with wood countertops and cabinets.

    It is truly deluxe for the time. I wonder if it is from a seasidee “cottage” (mansion) that the wealthy used to summer in.

  11. Pete says

    Hi Kathy! We did take the sinks. I think to goose neck faucet was to fill a big pot of water. Hence the shallow sink with the faucet would have made it easier for the cook to get the pot of water to the stove. Now – a days I think we see the faucet directly over the stove. It was from a “Summer Mansion.” I was an amazing home. There was o expense spared in it’s construction. I is sort of a time capsule. I am lucky to have been able to see it and hopefully preserve some of it.

  12. Ruth Ann Kuntz says

    Love the extras added to make a modern functional kitchen. My St Charles cabinets came with the metal kick plate bases. Someday I will sand and paint them. I gave up on all the same brand so mine will have Geneva and St Charles.

  13. Elaine says

    I had the good fortune to see this kitchen before it was removed from the house. The pictures don’t do it justice! If the Smithsonian didn’t have Julia’s kitchen I’d say it should go there. I spotted only a couple of very minor modifications. I love the breakfast bar that attaches to the end of the cabinet with the warming ovens (you can see the mark on the cabinet where it goes). The top has metal legs and is shown (detached) in the last picture.

  14. la573 says

    Love those built-in Thermador cooktops with the control knobs integrated into the front cabinet face. I’ve seen these before but never realized how amazing they look set into a matching stainless-steel countertop!

    Don’t think Thermador makes these anymore, but Gaggenau (now a sister company) either still makes them or did recently enough for them to show up on the usual online flea markets.

  15. GlennS says

    Anyone know where to find a replacement St. Charles badge? We absolutely love our St. Charles but the name plate under the sink is missing. Been searching for years on eBay and craigslist!

  16. Nikka says

    I just bought a Home built in 1932, the kitchen cabinets are Steel or Metal, I have done nothing with the kitchen and not sure what I am going to do with them, They are in Perfect condition , I think they were Gold at one time and were pained a cream color, Is there any way I can find out the value of them? Thank You in advance.

  17. Freda Simpson says

    I have an original Thermidor cook top, oven and warmed would not work but the cooktop still works.

    Dr. built apt that joined his office. Stainless counter tops with
    Oven and cooktop with griddle that does not work or has not bee


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