Vintage Red Kitchen in Iowa




While searching on flickr for something I stumbled on to Barry and Maria Stahl’s 2008 kitchen remodel. I’m a sucker for vintage, I saw that Detroit Vapor Stove on that tile wall with 1913 and I was hooked.

“We are in New Albin, a tiny town (population about 450) at the very, very northeast corner of the state, right on the Mississippi River at the MN/IA border. The house was built in 1913, as best we can tell, so next year is its 100th birthday. It was constructed of cinderblock for the first floor and wood frame for the second. It has lots of sets of windows in sets of 3s. We have lived in the house since 2002. It’s been through many remodels and has been at various times a single family home, a boarding house, a shop and eventually home to a little old lady who blocked off the upstairs and lived in just 4 rooms of the main floor.”



In 2006 on her blog Shallow Thoughts From Iowa  Maria said about her kitchen – “horrible 1970s patterned vinyl floor covering that just about blinds you, and if it doesn’t, slowly drives you insane, a la Charlotte Perkins Gilman‘s The Yellow Wallpaper crossed with the patterned carpet at the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining

b) crumbling plaster and a hole where a doorway used to be (it’s only closed permanently on the other side, the kitchen side has studs)

c) the ugliest cabinets you ever did see, made of warping particle board frames and PLASTIC (yes, you read that right) drawers that are falling apart

Here’s a few pics of the kitchen before renovation.








“We had an old oil furnace that was in terrible shape. We wanted to replace it with geothermal heat, a ground source, closed loop system. We got all the quotes for it and went to the bank. The crazy thing was, it would not raise the appraised value of our house enough to justify another loan, and we didn’t have the cash. But, our banker told us, if we redid the awful kitchen, that would add enough value to justify a loan for both the kitchen and the geothermal system! So that’s what we did. I got my dream kitchen and we got a reliable, fairly “green” method of heating the house. Oh, and we got central air out of the deal, too.

The kitchen was nice and roomy, but had a total of 4 doorways, so it ended up being mostly trafficways. We closed one of the doorways, which gave us a nice big L shape along 2 walls for cabinets and fixtures. It made all the difference. I had bought a 1930s Detroit Vapor gas stove at a garage sale in Bangor, Wisconsin, years ago, and we designed the kitchen around it. It’s the second thing people exclaim over when they walk into the room, right after “Wow! Everything’s so red!”

The ceiling is now red painted beaded board, the same color as the cabinets. I’m a tall woman, 5 foot 11, so I love having high cabinets for all my treasures. I have lots of vintage enamelware and kitchen gadgets on top of the cabinets (more than in the Flickr photos, it’s really gotten kind of excessive now – ha!). It’s a very nice kitchen for 2 cooks to work, as there is plenty of counter space.

The floors are local hard maple, cut, cured and milled by our local sawmill, Konkel Hardwoods. John Pitts made the cabinets. The sink is from IKEA, and my husband did all the tile work.”














Here’s how it all came together and the “red” is fantastic! And that Detroit Vapor Stove. And all the vintage kitchen collectables on the shelves. And that “1913” tile work!!














Thanks to The Stahl’s for letting us visit your kitchen. Visit Maria’s blog Shallow Thoughts from Iowa and her site Sweet Gal Decals.



About ramonasvintageapplianceforum

junker, antique "wheeler dealer", vintage appliance lover View all posts by ramonasvintageapplianceforum

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