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A mint-in-box vintage stove finds its home sweet home in Lawrence Bill’s knotty pine kitchen

Last September, reader Tina sent me a tip that there was a mint-in-box Welbilt stove at the Re-Store in Alexandria, Virginia. I immediately did a post, but never found out what happened. Well… nearly nine months later, I hear from longtime reader Lawrence Bill — he snapped it up … relocated it to his home in Kansas … and shares the whole story with us today. Goodness, I sure do love hearing the end of these stories! 🙂  Bill writes:

Hi Pam,

Well … as promised, attached are some photos of the gas stove I mentioned. The project is now complete as you can see, and the stove is sitting snugly in our kitchen, already cookin’ up some righteous grub. Do you recognize it? You should. For in fact, I found out about this stove after “Tina” (I need to thank her personally) sent an email + pics to you regarding the stove last year and you posted it. As it happened, I was in the area where the stove was for sale, took a quick trip over to have a look it, and bought it on the spot. It’s a brand new 1962 Welbilt Tiara gas stove. That’s right, brand new as in unrestored, not refurbished, not gently used, not mint condition, but never out of the box! Indeed, parts of the stove were still in the box … had all the original papers, owners manual, even the factory tags. All mint, unmolested. The Restore people had no idea where it came from, it just appeared … poof! This was the non-Ebay MIB find of my dreams. I’d been searching for quite some time to find a mint gas stove that would fit our 50s kitchen and not cost me an arm and a leg, and this was it, at the very attractive low price of $75. Of course, I spent $350 to ship it halfway across the country but hey, all in all, a lot cheaper than buying a new stove or breaking the bank with the restoration specialists out in California. At least, that’s how I sold the idea to my wife, who thought the whole thing was absurd. “What’s wrong with the stove we’ve got now?” (Technically, there was nothing wrong with our old Whirlpool electric stove, just that I liked this stove better.) Her words killed my enthusiasm for a long time, and the stove sat in our garage all winter and spring while I debated whether I should go through with swapping out our stoves. Not an easy decision as it turned out. I love gas, but it has its downsides. Anyway, to make a long story short, I finally I installed the stove a couple weeks ago. To my surprise, it required only minimal adjustment on set-up and is a real joy to operate and cook with. It’s not on the same level as an O’Keefe Merritt or Wedgewood or Chambers, which are superior vintage stoves, but it does the job and looks cool. I love it. My wife has come around and fallen for it as well. So thanks much to Tina (wherever she is) and retrorenovation for making it happen. It’s been fun.

As you can see, this is very much a galley type kitchen. It has a lot of built-ins, particularly a very large pantry which is not shown in any of the photos. The more I learn about modern houses the more I understand the importance of built-ins. I encourage you to think of a post you could do just on that subject alone. Well-designed modern houses (and they don’t have to be ranches) will typically have a lot of built-ins.

I’m particularly proud of this kitchen for its originality. Aside from the appliances and the faucet, nothing has been messed with since the house was built. The knotty pine, the Armstrong 5352 linoleum, the pale green (sea foam?) formica countertops, and of course the “Hudee ring”, are original. The kitchen is not perfect but generally speaking I think good quality and design holds up and resists the urge to rip out and renovate.

Bill

🙂 You know I love it. This story warms my heart soooo much. Thanks, Bill!

  1. Jana says:

    You are the man! Congratulations on finding your treasure. It (and your kitchen) looks great! I do have a question: I have been on a quest for a smaller size vintage electric stove for awhile. I continue to check local re stores, thrifts, auctions, estate sales, yard sales, craigslist, classifieds… etc. but no luck. May I ask Bill – what method did you use to ship your stove? (movers, freight,…) I am now looking for leads outside of my geographical area (Central Florida) and would like some advice on shipping options in case I come across a treasure like you found. I also would like readers to share any other suggestions on where to continue my quest for a vintage stove.

    1. Lawrence Bill says:

      Jana,

      I used U-ship (http://www.uship.com/), which worked well for me and gets my recommendation. You basically place an ad on the site and shippers bid on the job. I had a couple of Bubbas from Wichita pick up the stove and they delivered it without a scratch. The delivery took about 10 days, but I was in no hurry, and the price certainly couldn’t be beat. Good luck with your vintage stove quest, we’ll look forward to seeing the results (hopefully) on this site.

  2. TappanTrailerTami says:

    Oh, Bill !!!! What a stupendous kitchen and the stove is the frosting on the cake, for sure!

    My only other question: Do you think you wife would mind if you had two wives? LOL – yup, I’d love to marry a kitchen like that!

  3. Tina says:

    YAY! I was just wondering the other day if anyone had bought this beautiful stove. I’m so glad I was able to be the matchmaker for Bill and this awesome Welbilt stove! And so happy to hear he got it for $75. The price was $200 when we saw it, but the clerk told me he thought $100 would get it.

    The clerk was so nice, too. He had, in fact, pointed it out to us because he saw us looking at other mid-century items. None this beautiful, that’s for sure.

    Consider me thanked, Bill! You’ve made my day! And what a great kitchen!

    Actually… Retro Renovation has made my day two days in a row now! Yesterday’s guest blog was written by my friend Marybeth, a real-life friend who used to be an imaginary friend I met on the Internet (not here, but in another, non-mid-century-related forum; we were surprised to find each other here, too!)

    Isn’t life grand? Thanks, Pam, for this great space, too!

    1. Lawrence Bill says:

      Tina!

      Many, many thanks to you for alerting Pam about this stove. Can’t thank you enough. I think it was made to be in this kitchen, after all. It has turned out better than I could have expected. So thanks again. I owe you!

  4. jkaye says:

    Great stove, great story. Great kitchen. Looks like a great place to cook. I love the details in this kitchen, like the exhaust fan over the stove, and the wooden utensil holder next to the stove. Was that utensil holder original, or did you make it? Looks like something my husband could make.

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