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:

  • Pete has them for sale for $5,000, pickup only about 1.5 hours north of Portland, Maine.

Like this story? Here are some more:

Slide show:

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CategoriesSteel kitchens
  1. 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


  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Lori says:

    Linen cabinet? I never could find a catalog that listed this cabinet… Anyone have full late catalogs?

              1. Reader Deb says:

                Neither one of these catalogs has the cabinet with the nine trays in it. I’m guessing the one pictured with the lock on it is the one for storing silver. Maybe the other one was custom made to warm plates for a large dinner party?

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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