110 years coming to an end

klavierDecember 31, 2013

It kind of saddens me to be taking the pry bar and sledge to the kitchen after it has stood essentially unchanged for 110 years, but the kitchen has exhausted it's usefulness and needs updating. The most recent addition to the kitchen is probably the sink which I imagine is 1950's.

The stove will be staying, and the light fixture will also be reused. The Westinghouse fridge (Sulfur Dioxide refrigerant) is not large enough to accommodate our growing family, so it must go. It is being replaced with a early 1990's Traulsen that I am having rebuilt with new compressors and r134a refrigerant.
I have acquired a vintage drain-board sink with an apron to replace the one that is currently in place (chipped and cracked). I will be custom building the base cabinet in my wood shop. We will be installing a 1200 CFM vent hood (cleaning grease off the ceiling has gotten tiresome). The stove wall and back splash is getting a white and blue talavera tile, and the black and white asbestos floor tiles are getting replaced with French ceramic tiles from Terramano Co.
The vintage china cabinet is getting carefully removed, paint stripped, and will be placed on the left wall. I will be building cabinets to match the same style that are about 3 glass panes in height instead of 4, and the lower cabinets will have a butcher block counter (I had considered copper, but I managed to acquire salvaged bowling alley lanes that will make beautiful counters).
In addition to tile, the stove side wall will also be framed out to accommodate modern construction features such as vented plumbing, and GFCI receptacles (note the complete absence of plugs in the current kitchen).
I will also probably be adding several can lights, and be putting up powder coated white tin ceiling.
Hopefully the new kitchen will last 110 years.

This post was edited by klavier on Tue, Dec 31, 13 at 10:15

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Sounds like it'll be 110 years YOUNG :) Your plans sound wonderful, keeping all the best and making it work. (I hope you're keeping the curly-mop at the table, too, who matches the style perfectly)

Do you have to take any precautions when removing asbestos tile?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:20AM
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What a fabulous kitchen (the old one). We just about finished our reno of our 100+ kitchen. I kept all of our old cabinets, which I love, unfortunately nothing else in the kitchen was old.

I love your plans, too bad about the fridge, it is a beauty. I hope you rethink the idea of canned lights in an old kitchen; the two just don't mix well and I think they may ruin the look of your tin ceiling. We put in school house lights and a five-light vintage looking fixture and our kitchen is very brightly lit!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 10:48AM
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It's sad to see a vintage kitchen go, but it sounds like you are planning to preserve the style as best you can while making it more functional.

What are your plans for the old fridge? I'm not sure if there are collectors for such things, but it would be unfortunate for it to go to a dump if there are folks who would want it. I've seen fridges from 1950, and yours looks older.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Not my first time renovating old kitchens. I did this for a living for a number of years (hence the kitchen looking as good as it does). For asbestos tile, I mix white glue and water and soak the whole floor. Then I use a floor scraper, and wear an N95 or better mask, and have plenty of ventilation. The tiles don't have very much of the dangerous stuff in it, and the glue solution keeps the dust down (have a spray bottle handy to add more as you go). Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is nearly everywhere. It was used in very many products for centuries. If you live in an old house, it is very likely you have asbestos (and lead) around you. Compared to smoking, exhaust from automobiles, artificial flavors/colors, aspartame, etc, this risk is very very small. Obviously, construction makes dust that is many orders of magnitude more dangerous, but if you take precautions to keep dust down, and protect yourself, it is HIGHLY unlikely that you will suffer complications due to these materials.
That said, the blonde little cutie will NOT be around during the demolition.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Charming vintage kitchen, but I understand. The stove is for sure a wonderful character. I'm still on the hunt for a clock/thermometer accessory for my old Magic Chef. The holes are there from when one sat atop it but who knows what happened to it.

Can't wait for your reveal.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 12:12PM
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The fridge is a 1931 Westinghouse "Night watchman". It pre-dates the GE monitor tops. Sulfur Dioxide refrigerant can be lethal. No refrigerant guy will touch it since there is no procedure for collection of the refrigerant, and no legal way of disposing of it. It would cost several thousand dollars to have it retrofitted with a new system (assuming I do something crazy like drag it outside and shoot it to get rid of the refrigerant). Thermostat is mercury. Dangerous appliance overall, but it was the first of its kind. I had considered sending it to a company out west that claims to refurb them, but they quote close to $8k. Size just isn't conducive to spending the money. I may keep it in the basement as a novelty, but not practical or safe for regular kitchen use.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 1:16PM
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So glad you are preserving what you can in your historic kitchen.
However, I second using schoolhouse lights rather than cans. Not only do they suit a period kitchen, they give off plenty of good light, which is why they lasted so long. Also, because of their shape, I am able to use corn type LED's in mine.
Was the existing chandelier always located in the kitchen?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Hello All,
Thank you for the input about the lighting. I will try to figure out how to work school house lights into the design without the room being crowded by light fixtures.

The original kitchen light fixture probably resembled these:

These are original light fixtures around the house. Interestingly they were both gas and electric by design. Electricity was not added later. These were wired in to the original knob and tube wiring which was installed when the house was built (recently replaced with romex-lots of plaster work). Apparently people were not sure if they wanted to pay for gas or electric.

There is a single gas connection in the kitchen ceiling, so there was probably no other lighting in the room. I have no idea when this other fixture was added, but it looks 20's.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Good luck and post pics along the way. We remodeled our 100 yr old home's kitchen this year, making it ore practical, open, and conducive to today's living styles. We live in an historic district and often see the struggles with restoration vs. remodeling. Unless you want to live in a museum, remodel and use some of the original items to keep touch with the home's past, like the lights.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 7:23AM
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Those are lovely fixtures. There's an interesting article here about the dual fixtures:
Also, schoolhouse fixtures are available in many different mounting options, many can be mounted quite close to the ceiling, for less visual clutteredness, such as these:

Here is a link that might be useful: Rejuvenation flush mounts

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 11:55AM
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I sent you you an email about the release of the gas etc. c

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 1:47PM
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