George creates a built-in oven enclosure with brick veneer

aquamarine-oven-in-brick-wallGeorge sent in these photos of his retro renovation kitchen — he very ingeniously “built in” his wall oven by creating a brick veneer surround. I’ve definitely seen precedents for this idea, and am so pleased to see a reader do it. George shares his experience, and a bit of the step-by-step his contractor and mason used to get the job done. And we get to see more of the adjacent vintage GE stove — a dumpster-dive! –>

vintage-stoveFirst, George tells us about the range — it went in first:

…I had been reading “Atomic Home” by Whitney Matheson, and slowly designing my home in mid-century motif, after the pictures in this book…. The stove was a rescue from the San Francisco Mission District – the owner had the stove in the trash bin. When I came upon it… I thought, gosh, somebody is going to throw this thing away and it looked like it still had some life left in it…  Oh, yes, my research indicates that the stove is from 1959 in terms of model year….Love to gaze at the stove and play “Affair in Aruba” by Les Baxter to get the true feel of the mid-century…I swear by the stove, and it cooks wonderfully.

George does note that he had to do some work to replace inconsistently-heating burners….”Well, it took me about 2 years,” he admits.

vintage-exhaust-fanHere’s the story on the wall oven and the brick veneer surround. George writes:

For the wall oven, I was lucky enough to find a couple who had purchased an Eichler knock-off in Palo Alto, CA, and were planning to rip-out the high-grade Formica countertops and remove the existing, GE turquoise appliances (original to the house). They were going to re-do the entire house and turn-around to sell it. Luckily they advertised the wall oven on Craigslist, one of my typical haunts for mid-century collecting.

It was here that I picked-up the GE wall oven to match the circa-1959 stove. The wall oven had been in very good condition, as the former owners of the house seldom used it (according to the buyers of the house, and people from whom I purchased the wall oven). The former owners of the home didn’t have any young children that might have rough-housed the oven. It was, however, quite dirty. So I purchased for approx. $100.00 and cleaned it up with some Easy-Off (slowly becoming my best friend), and some latex gloves.

After reading through some 1950-1960 mid-century magazines, I decided to add a brick enclosure for the wall oven to my already pretty-mid-century kitchen. I had a carpenter come in and add the build-out for not too much money ($400). A mason added the brick façade (thin-brick, available at a local stone factory) – this was a bit more ($1,000 altogether labor and materials). Walla, I think it made a nice addition to the beautiful stove.

There you have it, a keen, all-electric kitchen (AEK) with turquoise appliances by GE, circa 1959-1965.

Oops, almost forgot. I purchased the ceiling exhaust fan off E-Bay about four years ago (see top of photo) – this was $150; it was new-in-box. Simultaneously with installation of the wall oven and brick, I had an HVAC installer install the fan over the renovated stove ($350). Works great; the ceiling fan was manufactured by a company called National out of Ocala, FL (no longer in business – I looked for it). The model is “Chef-Aire.” The fan is circa 1970s, is 9-inches in diameter, and has metal blades and a heavy, metal crank-shaft inside built to last a lifetime (as long as you oil it each six-months according to the instructions). Guess they didn’t have Teflon ball-bearings back in those days. I had a damper installed to prevent back-flow of cold-air into the house during the winter. I forgot that these fans are a bit louder then those available today, ahhh but nostalgia….My aunt’s home in Miami, FL (circa 1964) had one of these near the kitchen stove.

Anyhow, take care and hope all is going well.

George – Pleasant Hill, CA

Thank you so much for sharing, George. The whole thing is genius. Adding brick veneer to a kitchen is a great – and not too expensive — way to add visual interest. And, I know you have more going on in that house of yours, so look forward to doing another feature soon.

  1. Annie B. says:

    Exactly, Tailfin! Just saw lots of creamy yellow appliances of all sorts in vintage early ’50’s ads. A great color, too. I can’t yet get a visual of the “Quik” brown, but I’m sure I’ll run across it somewhere. Thanks for your help!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Annie B., I am hesitant to try and answer your question without actually researching the question. Intuitively, I think you have hit on the order…I just know I’ve seen documentation that could “prove” it. I’ll be on the lookout…It will likely be a while unless the retro decorating gods throw it into my lap. Meanwhile, the colors cards for steel kitchen cabinets on Fast & Easy Paint Page likely also are in the ballpark….

  2. Thanks Pam! I am currently trying to decide what my next post will be, and contemplating writing several ahead of time and then setting them up to automatically post, so that I don’t have to write a new post daily. What are your thoughts on this?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Michael, I’ve done it both ways. Currently, I live (and post) day-to-day, for the most part. When I travel, I post ahead of time – once I had 10 whole days done in advance!

  3. Robert says:


    You know what!!

    He listed how much he paid for the item and carpenter etc. THIS IS SUPER!!

    It gives us a base for comparison as to it we paid too much (too late) or what to pay as we search for items and carpenters etc.

    I feel that would be a good addition to this site, maybe prices have been listed before and I just never noticed but I noticed today and liked the information/knowledge.


  4. Annie B. says:

    Thanks a million, Pam! My once and future kitchen aspires to a ’57-ish look (that is, 1957 and not the Heinz product…). I think I’d be OK with a pink and aqua scheme; however, the rest of the house is headed toward a Cliff May rancho look. See any problems here?
    I will check out the Fast and Easy Paint Page and soak up all I can.
    Thank you, once again, for your advice.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Annie, have you considered a Mondrian look for the kitchen? I *think* that might go great with your Cliff May look. Type mondrian into the search box. Also look at the Wilson house (search it) and at the Alcoa houses on the blog — they all have Mondrian style kitchens.

    1. pam kueber says:

      duh, this reminds me, sumac sue, that i recently saw a MIB NOS turquoise double sink on ebay – sold for approx. $300 as I recall!

  5. Annie B. says:

    Wow! Pam, you are a retro renovating genius. The Mondrian look in white, yellow, and orange….it would require nothing more than a paint job of the existing cabinets whose doors are really just big squares.
    I adore orange and my mid-mod spouse loves yellow (being red/green color blind). My heart yearns for a kitchen like yours in which I could stack “Blue Heaven” plates and turquoise Club aluminun, but..
    Maybe I could do a kitchen-on-the-style-cusp and have it all! (or not!)

  6. I have the original 1952 stainless steel wall Thermador electric oven and cooktop. The oven bake element burned out. Does anyone know where I could look to find another replacment?

  7. John Rountree says:

    Pam, the turquoise wall oven in the photo is the same oven I need to replace. I have little info on it. I would like to know the model #. The one I have I suspect was purchased in 1956 since that was when the house was built. Mine is stainless steel. I don’t know who makes ovens that will fit in the same spot. Can you tell me the model # or who makes equal size replacements?

    1. pam kueber says:

      I am not an expert on this stuff, John. Search the other posts, I believe that readers have pointed to some resources… Sorry, not sure where.

    2. Kirby says:

      My housemate has that wall oven. It was the original one in the 1952 ranch house he bought nine yrs ago. He was about to throw it away. but fortunately I convinced him to keep it along with a push button stove top. It is a General Electric model #1J501M. A guy I know owns a retro modern store here in Denver. He recently told us that he has some one who may be interested in buying it.
      Good Luck

    3. Vicki says:

      I have two built in ovens like the one in this photo. I need a thermostat but can’t find any…. Does anyone have ideas? Model # 1 J501M it’s the turquoise Built in oven thanks

  8. Jacki Carroll says:

    That’s the color! We are in the process of buying an almost untouched 1963 Ranch in AZ. The cook top and double ovens have been replaced and I am looking to buy a turquoise set of ovens and matching cook top. Can anyone help me??? Thanks so much :^)

  9. Linda says:

    We have an amazing interior/exterior thin brick system…Brickweb. This product is a DIY real brick system! Amazing for a backsplash for kitchens, walls for bathrooms, interior/exteriors walls, fireplaces etc. oldmillbrick.com, installbrickweb.com

  10. Darla says:

    Hi George,

    I’m wanting to put this brick veneer on a wall in my kitchen where the microwave, stove/oven are located. How easy/difficult does this veneer clean up? And is it safe on this wall ?


    1. George says:

      Hello darla. Sorry to respond so late. Cleans up rather well. My surface is unfinished, meaning not coated with anything. I just wet a sponge with water and wipe.

      I do recall seeing homes, where owners have painted with a semi-gloss paint to enable quick cleaning if food gets on the surface.

      Regarding safety, please contact your municipality’s planning office. Sometimes, they require certain wall board installed underneath the thin-brick, particularly with fireplaces, cooking appliances. Take care!

      1. Marsha Verde says:

        Is there a way, you could please put George in touch with me? I have ALMOST THE EXACT SAME OVEN IN PINK!!!! I need a new thermostat and cannot find one anywhere!! I am hopeful George could help me! Thank you for your help!

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