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:

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CategoriesSteel kitchens
  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…

    1. 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!

    2. 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?

      1. 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.

  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!

    1. 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.

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