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May 17, 2012

New Appliances In Mom’s 1950s Time Capsule Condo

By Sara In AZ

The condo came with a refrigerator and a stove, but you could tell they had been through the ringer. They were pretty beat up and the refrigerator smelled, so we thought it was best to get some decent appliances in here for Mom.

You can see that the fridge is way too big for the opening, as it is sticking out probably a good 6 inches from the opening. This posed a real problem because then you could not open the little cabinet door fully ( to the bottom right) and access the lazy susan. ugghhhhh.  I would LOVE to know how the refrigerator area was originally configured because there are hinge markings along the edges of the wood enclosure the fridge is in. Maybe the original refrigerator was very small and concealed by cabinet doors? Was something else in there originally???? I guess it will always remain a mystery!


Here is a picture looking towards the stove. I’m sorry I do not have a more close up picture of the stove for y’all to see, but trust me it was in really sad shape!


Our main problem going into this was actually finding appliances small enough to fit the spaces.

It was my dream to possibly get a retro Northstar Refrigerator, or…………………………………..


…………a sweet Big Chill  retro fridge to put in the condo. But unfortunately even the smallest models manufactured by both companies were still too big.  Sad smile



So the search continued until we found Avanti through our local appliance dealer.


I know it’s not the most “retro” looking refrigerator, but it fits and it was not very expensive so we went for it. I think this is the smallest refrigerator my Mom has had in years at just 7.5 cubic feet!


And here is Mom’s new Apartment Size Refrigerator – as Avanti calls it.  It’s SOOO Tiny!!!!


Mom had really gotten used to her old oven, which was an electric flat top range, so when she saw Avanti offered this flat top range she decided that this was the one she wanted!


And here is her new Deluxe Electric Range from Avanti. I think this range actually has a slight retro feel to it!


And here is her kitchen now, with the new appliances installed! YAY!!!


But, we are not quite done with the kitchen yet y’all! No siree, over the next few weeks we will be wrapping up all the loose ends in the kitchen and topping it off with a surprise vintage find!

Coming up next Thursday, the kitchen gets a stylish new look with a beauty treatment on the old ceiling vent fan! Sooooooo mysterious sounding isn’t it?!?

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19 Responses to New Appliances In Mom’s 1950s Time Capsule Condo

  1. Ann

    May 17, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Given that there is a dining ell (low counter) in the kitchen (so no need for a separate table and chairs in the kitchen area), my guess is that the area the refrigerator is now in was the pantry (especially given that it used to have a door) and the original refrigerator was free standing against the wall that directly across from where the refrigerator and dining ell are now. I think. I can’t quite see what, if anything, is on that wall from the pictures. Is there any electric on that wall?

    • Ann

      May 17, 2012 at 9:42 am

      One other thought. A refrigerator could have gone where the stove is now and a free standing gas or electric range could have been on the “empty” wall.

      • Sara In AZ

        May 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

        Ann – My husband was actually thinking the same thing, that there was a pantry where the fridge is now and the fridge was on the opposite wall originally. Yes, there is electric on that opposing wall too. The old stove was hardwired (with no plug) into that same spot, so I am pretty sure a stove was always located there. But the stove area is confusing too because it has 2 spots for something to be hardwired into, a stove and?????? So something else used to be there to. Also, if you look closely at that first pic with the white stove you will see a small strip of counter attached to the other side of the stove – maybe like 1 inch wide. That really confused us. I was thinking that maybe originally they had some type of drop in stove there as both sides (of the inside) on the counter top were left unfinished. Ugggghhhhh, so confusing isn’t it! 🙂

        • Ann

          May 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

          I wonder if it was for a stove and vent fan?

          I have been really impressed with all you and your family have done with this place. Neither me nor my guy are “handy,” but just seeing what you have been able to accomplish with certain cleaners, elbow grease, patience, and persistence has given me hope and inspiration to tackle some of my own projects.

          • Sara In AZ

            May 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm

            Hi Ann! The vent fan is in the ceiling. It was never above the stove because the upper cabinet (above the stove) is still fully intact and matches all the others. You’ll see the ceiling vent fan in the post next week. Maybe one day we will figure the mystery out! 🙂

            Thanks SO much for your compliments, that is so very kind of you! And yes, cleaners, elbow grease, and patience are what got us through most of this renovation…..and you can do it too!!!!

  2. Toni

    May 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I think the fridge works. Small, but she probably doesn’t need a lot of space. The stove is great. Totally retro feel.

    • Sara In AZ

      May 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks Toni! 🙂 I think the fridge is completely the right size for her being that she is a single gal she really does not need tons of space. And I know, I just love that stove!

  3. Christine

    May 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Yep! love it! the stove is great – pity about the blue fridge – very cool.
    Love this site!! Told all my readers about it..

    • Sara In AZ

      May 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Thank you Christine! Maybe one day we will find a retro fridge that will fit in there!

      Glad you like the site, thanks for spreading the word! 🙂

  4. Vickie

    May 17, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Yep, gotta agree with the above, the space where the refrigerator is was definitely originally a pantry. The frige went where the stove is & the stove was free standing. Great job – as usual – Sarah!

    • Sara In AZ

      May 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks so much Vickie! 🙂

  5. Silvercat

    May 17, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Cute! I’m jealous of the amount of counter space.

    • Sara In AZ

      May 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you Silvercat! 🙂 Yes, especially for a smaller place the counter space is really, really nice.

  6. Eartha Kitsch

    May 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I’ve never seen those before. Super cute!

    • Sara In AZ

      May 18, 2012 at 1:55 am

      Thanks Eartha! 🙂

  7. RetroRuth

    May 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Sweet!!! It’s too bad about the fridges not fitting, but that stove is really awesome! Love the look on that one. You guys scored again!

    • Sara In AZ

      May 20, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Thanks Ruth! 🙂 It’s ok about the retro fridges not working out, maybe one day we will get something a bit more retro in there…maybe even a real vintage fridge!

  8. Laura

    May 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    You have my sympathies on the refrigerator struggle. There is apparently a real lack in the market of small sized refrigerators for older homes with smaller kitchens. The “vintage” fridge I inherited from the house was full of rust and mold, and didn’t have a freezer. The one I ended up with, a small GE with a bottom freezer, STILL sticks out a hair too far into the kitchen, but at least it’s at the end of a cupboard run. I’d LOVE to find coppertone vintage appliances that would fit in my kitchen, but I had to find something that would work right away, of course. Don’t you just wish you could order a custom size in a custom color that didn’t cost any more than a floor model? Here’s to fantasy!

    • Sara In AZ

      May 20, 2012 at 12:43 am

      Oh my gosh Laura, you went through the same ‘fun time’ we went through trying to find a fridge that would work. It’s SO crazy isn’t it!?! You’d think there would be a bit more out there in terms of smaller and more cute looking fridges, but no! I guess everyone is thinking monster size is the way to go now. eeekkkssss!!!! Don’t give up on your Coppertone appliance finding dreams, they may just come true one day!