How to Add Antique Style without Really Trying

We haven’t always lived in this stainless steel world with clean lines, tidy angles, and sleek kitchen accessories. There was a time when appliances were built to last, yet ornate in their details. That perfect antique style may seem intimidating and stylistically challenging, but believe us, you don’t have to be a world famous designer to achieve this look. Here are a couple of ways to turn back the clock.

Elmira’s Antique Collection is essential for achieving an Anne of Green Gables aesthetic without sacrificing the advantages of modern technology. It offers a full line of vintage-styled appliances that range from microwaves to wood-burning stoves.  The flare of a Victorian style range combined with the look of your sleek modern kitchen can easily be the staple piece you need to obtain that perfect modern / Victorian mix.

“Antique” styling can refer to anything that is at least 100 years old. To complement your kitchen design, add accents of cool vintage finds. Antiques can sometimes have wear and tear, so be sure what you are purchasing is in good condition. Along that note, vintage items can be delicate. Check the items that are more frequently used to see if they’re sturdy enough to withstand daily use.

If you’re a thrift shopping novice, the flea market, art festival, or antique store scene can be a little intimidating. In order to at least look like you know what you’re doing we recommend these tips to make your shopping trip as smooth as possible.

Be the Early Bird
The good stuff goes fast. The average pieces will be there all day long, but the truly amazing pieces are being picked over by designers, store-owners, and collectors before the sun is up.

Keep an Open Mind
Don’t go in with one specific item on your mind because chances are you’ll never find it. Just because you don’t like the color of it now doesn’t mean a little DIY can’t help later.

Take Laps
If you’re looking for furniture, cruise around the market quickly on the first lap because it often goes first. On your second lap, take your time and look carefully high and low for the little accessories that will add some authentic details.

Finally, there is a fine line between Victorian Chic and your grandmother’s cookie jar, so it’s not only important to know what to look for but how to incorporate it.  Modern Victorian is a style mixture that requires a careful balance. For example, find a set of ultra-chic chairs to pair with your grandmother’s old wooden dining table or reupholster an old Victorian-style armchair.

Having a Victorian-inspired kitchen can be challenging but Elmira’s Antique collection is a great place to begin. Remember it’s important to start with the larger centerpieces, then add the smaller details as you go. Consequently, knowing how to use those perfect antique pieces is just as important as finding them. Be patient, get creative, and stay positive because your dream kitchen is worth the wait.

A Brief History of Diners

For many people, diners have become a home away from home. Since they are open late hours – many 24 hours a day – they are a popular place to socialize or eat after a late night out on the town. In fact, the diner has been cemented in place as a cultural icon — it is a setting in acclaimed films like Pulp Fiction and When Harry Met Sally, TV shows such as Seinfeld, some of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and even a painting by Norman Rockwell.

Let’s throw it back to a time before shows like Happy Days and Riverdale to see how the diner originated, and to offer tips on how you can upgrade your kitchen or recreational bar area with this classic style.

Originally conceived by Walter Scott, the first diners didn’t look much like the buildings with chrome interiors and neon signs that we know today. In 1872, Scott repurposed a horse-pulled wagon into a car that served sandwiches, coffee, pies and eggs to townspeople late at night. These early ‘mobile’ diners (precursors to today’s food trucks) had large wheels, overhangs, murals and frosted glass, while later iterations had smaller wheels and larger counters. In 1913, Jerry Mahoney established the first stationary diner, ushering in what would eventually become “diner culture.”

By the 1950s, Mahoney owned 6,000 diners across the nation. As these fun restaurants gained popularity after World War II, their aesthetic took on more of the retro look most of us are familiar with, including elements such as colorful leather booths, wood paneling and porcelain tiles. Once diners spread to the suburbs, the look changed again as stainless steel exteriors, large windows and wall decor were incorporated.

As styles and trends circle back around, more consumers are opting for retro styling, including the diner aesthetic, for their kitchens or recreational spaces. To bring some of this nostalgic inspiration into your kitchen, consider adding a table and chairs with chrome accents and bright, vibrant colors, or opt for leather (or vinyl) booth-style seating. Other elements could include checkered tile and floors, retro artwork and neon signs. Flea markets and antique stores are great places for picking up many of these items. Last, but certainly not least, bring the look together with retro appliances like those in our colorful Northstar collection!

Diners have become an American icon. They have become so popular, in fact, that some have been certified as historic sites. If you happen to venture out on the open road – perhaps even Route 66 – this summer, drop into one of these classic diners. Or if you prefer a fun experience at home, there are plenty of subtle or overt ways to give your kitchen the perfect dose of diner flare.

 

Something Old, Something New

The Hambly House is quietly nestled on a corner lot in the neighborhood of Westdale, in Ontario, Canada. Built in 1939 for Jack Hambly, the original house featured a distinct Art Deco style with rounded edges, stucco walls and a flat roof. It also had many nautical inspired elements, including a porthole window. After years of wear and tear, the house was purchased in 2013 by Tina Fetner and Lane Dunlop, who decided it was time to renovate the historic home and bring it into the 21st century. They selected architecture firm DPAI and Toms + McNally Design to help them achieve their vision.

One of the main focal points of the house is the kitchen. The homeowners already owned a suite of Northstar retro appliances by Elmira Stove Works, and brought them from their previous residence. The appliances – along with the home’s Art Deco style – inspired the mid-century kitchen design. The refrigerator and range in classic Robins Egg Blue are set against a matching blue accent wall for optimal visual impact. Bright white cabinetry, countertops and island make the blue pop even more.

In its original state, the bungalow-style home had very small rooms and closed in spaces. The homeowners wanted to open up the home to create a more contemporary look and a feeling of spaciousness. To accomplish this goal, most of the original interior walls were demolished and half wall partitions were installed to subtly separate spaces while maintaining the visual flow.

The homeowners also desired more living space and opted to add a second story featuring a floor-to-ceiling glass wall and an outdoor roof spot ideal for catching a few rays or spending a quiet evening stargazing.

Appreciative of the home’s history, the homeowners were careful to maintain its traditional art deco features, such as the rounded corner on the front of the house and the paned windows.

This old house definitely got its groove back thanks to some fun upgrades from its new owners. The home still has the original bright turquoise trim, and art deco built-ins on either side of the fireplace, but it also has a new mudroom added to the back of the house. The Hambly House is proof that – with the right design and renovations – you can take anything old and make it feel like new again.

All images by A. Marthouret, Revelateur Studio

Mid-Century Modern – Back to the Present

Style trends come full circle, and mid-century modern design is currently doing exactly that. The use of sleek lines, interesting colors and a mix of both traditional and non-traditional materials is the essence of mid-century modern style that harkens back to the mid-1930’s to mid-1960’s. So, what has sparked the current resurgence of this design trend?

Shows such as Mad Men have no doubt helped this style gain new popularity. In addition, today’s homeowners – busier than ever – appreciate the timeless look and minimal effort required to maintain mid-century modern style. And, then there is the added bonus of infusing our dwellings with a little nostalgia from a bygone era.

Breath of Fresh Air

Mid-century modern style is understated and uncluttered – providing a sense of stability in a chaotic world. This versatile aesthetic blends clean lines and gentle, organic curves with geometric forms and fun shapes to provide a minimalist look that’s both functional and stylish. There’s no unnecessary ornamentation collecting dust and dirt here. A simple wipe down will keep things looking crisp and new.

Bridging the Generation Gap

Millennials are the largest demographic purchasing new items for the home, and many are opting to furnish their homes with mid-century inspired items, including kitchen appliances. Mid-century modern is fresh to them and a welcome departure from the dusty pastels and beige overstuffed sofas that they likely grew up with.

Their parents, Gen Xer’s and retiring Baby Boomers – a growing number of whom are looking to downsize – are embracing mid-century modern as well. They too are looking for the perfect mix of “stylish, easy to clean (a.k.a. time-saving) and doesn’t take up too much space.”

But, there’s more to it than that. Age tends to make us more reflective, and memories are powerful. We all long for tangible bits of our past, and movies, music, and even furniture – in this case, brass tipped feet on an end table, an Eames-esque chair, or a barrel lampshade – can (re)connect us with the magic of another time.

Get the Look

So, how can you incorporate a touch of the mid-century modern design trend into your home?

Start by finding pieces that reflect the distinguishing features of the style. If there is a specific era you’d like to emulate, you can buy vintage furniture or an iconic piece that has been made new to suit your needs and budget. Try visiting antique markets or an online site that sells vintage and refurbished furniture.

Another way to get the look without breaking the bank is to build around current pieces. Just make sure to avoid using too many patterns, and stay within a designated color range.

Whichever direction you choose, don’t feel overwhelmed – the goal is to have fun and incorporate small elements that ultimately tie the look together and give the perfect mid-century vibes!

Bring On the Drama – 4 All-Star Kitchens in Film

The biggest night in film is always full of fun and fanfare! The 2018 Oscar nominees and winners featured a diverse selection of movies. In honor of the occasion, we thought we’d take a look back at previous nominees to count down a few of the best kitchens in film. From period dramas to adaptations of literary classics, here are some kitchen designs worthy of any home.

Ratatouille (2007)

There’s nothing like fine dining in France. Ratatouille follows young rat Remy, who has a gifted sense of taste and smell, on the pursuit of his lifelong dream – becoming a chef in Paris. Through a series of events, Remy ends up in the kitchen of Gusteau’s restaurant. A lot of work and detail went into bringing this restaurant kitchen to life for the big screen. The use of black with brass accents, tiled floor and copper pots created the perfect French kitchen, making it easy to see why this Pixar standout went on to win Best Animated Feature.

Julie & Julia (2009)

From a fictional chef to a real-life professional chef: in the film Julie & Julia, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) decides to add some joy to her life by cooking over the course of one year every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) by Julia Child (Meryl Streep). The film is interwoven with flashbacks to Julia Child’s time in Paris in the 1950s, and the set was meticulously recreated based on pictures of her original kitchen. Meryl Streep garnered a Best Actress nod that year, but was edged out by Sandra Bullock for her performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side.

The Help (2011)

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, The Help takes moviegoers on a journey through Mississippi in the 1960s. The retro style and pale hues of Skeeter Phelan’s (Emma Stone) childhood home would be perfectly complemented by mint green Northstar appliances. All of the elements – from the checkered vinyl floor to the Formica-and-chrome table complete with cherry red seating – provide the quintessential mid-century southern style needed to make this film pop. The critically-acclaimed movie was nominated for Best Picture, but lost out to The Artist.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

This film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic gave us a taste of the glitz and glam of the 1920s. The film, directed by Baz Luhrmann, included all of the elements of the roaring 20s yet still felt very modern. The movie used 42 individual sets, created both on location and on soundstages. It took the production team 14 weeks just to build, paint and decorate Gatsby’s mansion, which called for a grand ballroom, library, master bedroom, entrance hall, and terrace, as well as a garden. The meticulous attention to detail paid off, as the film earned an Oscar for Best Production Design.

Did your Oscar picks win this year? What was your favorite film from this list, or is there another film that you think had a great kitchen set?

Five Easy and Inexpensive Kitchen Hacks

With the holidays out of the way and – in much of the country – cold weather still hanging on, late February and early March can be the ideal time to get organized. Why not devote a weekend afternoon to getting your kitchen in order and ready for spring. Here are some quick and budget-friendly kitchen hacks to make your task easier!

Store baking necessities in glass jars

If you like to bake, get rid of unsightly bags and boxes, and pour your baking accoutrements into farmhouse-chic, airtight glass storage jars. They’ll keep flour, sugar and other baking ingredients fresh, and the wide mouth container will make it easy to scoop out what you need without making a mess. For a bit of extra flair, label jars with vintage style stickers, available at most craft stores.

Get a message board

Too many reminders and notes can make any kitchen look less than chic. Instead, tack up an old-fashioned cork bulletin board or chalkboard on a free wall to eliminate clutter. If you’re feeling adventurous, purchase a piece of foam insulation board from your local building supply store, cover with fabric of your choice and, voilà, you’re all set.

Organize plastic bags creatively

While it’s great to reuse plastic bags, don’t let them take up valuable space in your cabinets and drawers. For a fun, colorful way to store and dispense your bags, stuff them in an empty tissue box and use command strips to attach the box to  the inside of your pantry or a cabinet door. You’ll be able to easily pull out bag s one at a time. Choose a patterned box for a little extra flair.

 Show off cooking utensils

Have your own, personal arsenal of specialized kitchen utensils? Instead of hiding them away, take a cue from celebrity chefs and proudly display your tools. Try hanging them above your stove using stylish coat hooks, or install a curtain rod and hang them on shower curtain hooks. For a more utilitarian look, store utensils on a peg board.

Optimize under-sink storage

Install a tension rod underneath your sink and hang frequently used cleaning supplies on the rod. Store paper towels, soaps, sponges and other go-to items on a small lazy Suzan so you can easily access them as needed. For even more utility, install trash bags on an under sink wall hanger (similar to how you’d mount a paper towel roll).

Elmira Stove Works offers a complete line of 1950s-inspired kitchen appliances to give your space a trend forward, mid-century modern feel. Plus, our appliances are equipped with the very latest in cooking technology – which means you’ll never sacrifice the performance you demand for the aesthetics you prefer.

Ringing in the New Year – Vibrantly

As we head into 2018, and interior decorators are keeping their eyes on the latest color trends. Ultra Violet (the color, not the rays) was recently announced as Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year, and it’s already making inroads in fashion and home decor. According to Pantone, this “dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”  

Brilliant violet isn’t the only hue you’ll be seeing lots of this year, however. Pantone’s TECH-nique palette is one of many bright and bold color schemes the color authority has selected for 2018.


Color Your World 
 

If you’re looking for an Ultra Fun way to spice up your kitchen, consider adding a color “pop” with a few accessories, or even a big bold “splash” of Ultra Violet with a full set of appliances.


Accessorize, Accessorize
 

Seeking a less expensive and less permanent way to incorporate the new Pantone Color of the Year? Lots of fun and quirky kitchen accessories are available, including this cool espresso machine and just about everything else you can imagine. If you prefer official flair, the Pantone website offers a wide array of items in Ultra Violet.


Be Bold. 
Be Bolder! 

If you’re all-in on color, Elmira offers a full range of appliances in virtually any color you can imagine, including Ultra Violet. “Go for bold” and create a style statement by pairing white cabinets with 1950s-inspired Northstar appliances in Ultra Violet.

Tie it all together with a matching splashback, microwave and dishwasher panel, and you’re ready to go. If you’re not quite that committed, maybe add one appliance – say a fridge or microwave – in violet and the rest in a neutral tone. 

If violet isn’t your style, you can choose from a variety of “not-so-standard” colors, along with hundreds of custom colors to create your perfect look; for example, Northstar in Mint Green or Antique appliances in Liberty Blue.

Transforming your kitchen into a visually stunning masterpiece can be as temporary or permanent as you want. What better way to kick off 2018 in style than to incorporate a pop of eye-catching color! 

If you like this story, check out the following links to see how Ultra Violet is making a name for itself in 2018… 

Pantone Just Released Their Color of the Year – And, It’s Ultra Stunning 

The Hidden Meaning in Pantone’s Color of the Year 

HGTV – Our Editors React to Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year

For more information on Elmira’s complete line of retro and antique appliances, visit www.elmirastoveworks.com. 

Have Yourself a Holly, Jolly Kitchen

It’s that time of year once again. Crisp, white snowflakes delicately falling in the back yard – the thrill of placing your favorite ornament on the family tree – and let’s not forget the smell of mom’s homemade gingerbread cookies baking fresh in the oven. That’s right…Christmas is just around the corner, and Elmira has a few ideas that will make your kitchen the statement of the season.

Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be the same, dull routine of hanging up lights, putting out wreaths and setting up the porcelain nativity scene your in-laws gave you. Be creative with your decorating and make a bold statement this Christmas with one of Elmira’s many festive-colored, retro-styled appliances. With a multitude of “not so ordinary” options from which to choose – all you have to do is find the one(s) you’ve been dreaming of (design your own kitchen here), and you’re sure to be the talk of the town!

The most important space in the house – a.k.a. the kitchen

Think about it. Where does a family spend most of its time during the holidays? Whether you’re baking Santa-shaped sugar cookies, heating up gravy on the stove or storing the leftovers from the 20-pound turkey in the refrigerator, it’s safe to say that kitchen appliances are an essential part of the Christmas experience. Even when nothing is cooking, baking or being spilled on the floor, the kitchen is the focal point of every home – the gathering place for laughter, unforgettable moments – and lasting memories.


What says “Christmas” more than pops of red and green?

Looking to brighten up your kitchen with a little comfort and joy? Elmira’s popular Northstar line is available in dazzling hues of Candy Red and Mint Green – there’s even a frosted silver option – providing the perfect accompaniment to neutral toned cabinetry and accents. The colorful collection, inspired by appliances from the 1950s, includes refrigerators and ranges in a variety of styles and sizes along with hoods and splashbacks, microwaves and dishwasher panels. There’s even a keg fridge for those who prefer to enjoy their favorite brew during the holiday festivities. For those who lean toward a more rustic 1890s look, Elmira’s Antique line is also available in a stunning Cayenne Red hue, as well as in Liberty Blue, Bisque, White and black accented with nickel or antiqued copper.

So, this holiday season – and all year-round – celebrate the joy of friends, family and home-cooked meals by adorning your kitchen with a little extra pizazz. It’s a wonderful life!

A Memorable Thanksgiving with a Vintage Flair

Thanksgiving is a time-honored American tradition. The holiday is often celebrated eating a great home-cooked meal, surrounded by family and friends. It includes gathering in the kitchen in the morning to make that pumpkin pie or prepare the turkey while creating memorable moments.

When you’re congregated in the kitchen making all the side dishes and trimmings, have you ever stopped to think about how Thanksgiving dinner was made in your grandma’s kitchen? While some things never go out of style, kitchen appliances have come a long way… which is something we should all be thankful for.

In grandma’s kitchen, you had the feeling of being home. There was love and warmth around every corner. You also knew you were going to get a hearty home-cooked meal; not taking seconds was a serious offense. During after-dinner clean up, dishes had to be washed and dried by hand, which was no fun at all.

The day after the big feast probably involved some Black Friday shopping and then maybe cleaning the oven; after all, the oven just had its biggest day of the year. Back then, ovens were cleaned manually (or “womanually”). This involved spraying the oven with toxic cleaners, letting it soak, putting on rubber gloves, then mopping dirty toxic sludge out with rags. (Don’t forget to open the windows to let the toxic fumes out.)

Speaking of the cleaning your Grandma had to do, we would be remiss not to mention the nasty task of defrosting the refrigerator. This task included emptying the fridge and freezer, storing everything in coolers, letting the fridge warm up, and then chipping the ice out of the freezer with a steel spatula. Once the cleaning was completed, you could finally put the food back.

Today’s kitchen is not your Grandma’s – now, you can fit your unique personality into Thanksgiving without giving up the modern conveniences. Much like their original 1950s counterparts, retro fridges today offer customized shades and a range of styles to choose from. The outside may look foreign to those of the millennial generation, but its features are not.

Here are just a few bells and whistles to expect:

  • Self-cleaning ovens
  • Convection ovens for faster, even, precise baking and broiling
  • Programmable ovens for baking and self-clean
  • Warmer drawers
  • Frost-free fridges
  • Ice makers
  • Large functional freezers
  • Filtered cold water dispensers

It’s fun to look back to the days of June Cleaver, when evenings only consisted of the family dinner and  the fellowship around the table was the most important part of the day; and Thanksgiving dinner perhaps the most important meal of the year. The innovation of modern technology in kitchen appliances has helped preparing Thanksgiving dinner come into the 21st century, but some things like the warmth and love of family and friends while eating great food will never go out of style.

Sizzling Hot. Spooky Cool.

Tis the season for porches filled with spider webs, skeleton-lined driveways and jack-o-lanterns on the steps. As a child trick-or-treating on Halloween, nothing is more exciting than venturing up to an extravagantly decorated house. Well… maybe one thing: visiting a home featuring a spooky walk-through complete with “pop up” ghosts, goblins and ghouls.

Americans rank Halloween as their third favorite holiday, just behind Christmas and Thanksgiving. In 2016, Halloween retail spending hit a record high of $8.4 billion. Consumers spent money on costumes for all members of the family – kids, parents (and even pets) – along with candy and, of course, decorations.

As an adult, Halloween provides the perfect excuse to let loose and express ourselves differently than we do every other day of the year. There’s just something about dressing up and decorating the house, however crazily, spookily or just plain old differently, that provides an intriguing release from reality… seemingly what makes the holiday a favorite among Americans both young and old.

For those seeking to elevate their Halloween decor to the next level, the Northstar line from Elmira Stove Works offers a full range of customizable vintage refrigerators. Just in time for Halloween, the vintage-inspired Skulls and Flames design features an orange, airbrushed skull on a sleek black fridge that is sure to give anyone “the chills.”

Popular among motorcycle owners and vintage car aficionados alike, this visually striking fridge can even be tailored to be a draft beer dispenser, making it the ultimate man cave masterpiece.

Skulls not your thing? Fear not! Northstar fridges come in a variety of colors and can be airbrushed with a design of your choosing. These functional pieces of art are ideal for adding a pop of color to the kitchen or evoking masculine charm in a garage or man cave. If you happen to prefer the look of a solid color fridge, Elmira offers orange and black versions of its Northstar appliances – perfect for Halloween, and all year round.

Retro, colored appliances are not frequently found in kitchens nowadays, making these pieces all the more extravagant and gushworthy. With Elmira Stove Works, it’s easy to get the desired retro or antique look, without sacrificing the convenience of modern, high-tech appliances.

So, whether you’re seeking to up your Halloween decor and host a top-notch haunted house, or add a flare of self-expression to an otherwise generic kitchen or man cave, Elmira Stove Works has got you covered.