FIND OF THE YEAR – YOUNGSTOWN STEEL KITCHEN CABINETS

Ad for Youngstown kitchen cabinets

Ad for Youngstown kitchen cabinets

I love the look of vintage steel kitchen cabinets, specifically Youngstown cabinets with their chrome boomerang hardware. That is the look I was after when picking our future gloss white kitchen cabinets.

This was one of the kitchen ads used in a post from back in December 2014 while I was still contemplating what my dream kitchen would look like (http://modranchreno.com/2014/12/my-dream-kitchen/)

Youngstown Steel Kitchens ad from 1954 Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Youngstown Steel Kitchens ad from 1954 Better Homes & Gardens magazine

I never thought I’d be lucky enough to find an original set of Diana-Style cabinets, but recently I was excited (to say the least) to see an ad for a set of vintage Youngstown kitchen cabinets online. I saw them and knew that I had to be the next owner of these great cabinets. I forwarded the ad to my sister with the heading ‘I must have these’.

I contacted the sellers who had recently pulled the cabinets out of a 1950s home they were renovating for a family member. With two other potential buyers coming from out of town and a drop in price that was very reasonable I knew I had to act fast. So my sister and I headed out on a Tuesday evening, borrowed her boyfriend’s truck and picked up the set which managed to fit perfectly on the truck for the ride home (thanks H & D for your help.)

The cabinets waiting to be restored

The cabinets waiting to be restored

The set I got includes 6 lower cabinets. There is a sink unit:

The sink unit, minus the sink

The sink unit, minus the sink…notice the eye-catching red Youngstown Diana the huntress emblem

Two four drawer cabinets:

The four drawer cabinets

The four drawer cabinets

My favorite piece, the giant lazy susan:

The lovely lazy susan cabinet

The lovely lazy susan cabinet

There is also a two door – one drawer cabinet and a thin towel unit with pull out racks for drying one’s dishtowels.

This page is out of a vintage brochure for these Diana-Style Youngstown cabinets. It shows a couple of the units I have.

Youngstown Steel base cabinet options

Youngstown Steel base cabinet options

Steel cabinets came in a few colour options and as you can see in the photos, the cabinets I got were originally a lovely aqua…they would have been fabulous. Over the years someone painted the fronts white. I haven’t decided whether to try to match the aqua shade or paint them all white – but they’d look wonderful either way. There is also some rust on some spots that needs to be addressed. That is why I am thinking of asking an auto body shop if they might take on a job like this and how much it would cost. They could deal with the rusty areas and spray paint or powder coat them evenly like they would a car, rather than me painting them by hand. I also plan on testing them for lead paint which is always a possibility with vintage furniture.

While they get refinished I will be deciding where to put them. Since six lower cabinets would not be enough to do a full kitchen and I already have a kitchen on order that is paid in full, I have a few alternate uses in mind. My options are to create a bathroom vanity, a serving area in the dining room or install them in the basement for a stylin little kitchenette area. Any other ideas?

I’ll definitely update this post once I get them painted and set up in our house. They are going to look, as they would have said back in the fifties…mighty swell.

I also recently got my hands on a few old brochures for steel kitchens. The first few pictures are from another top steel kitchen company from back in the day, Republic Steel. I would have gladly taken either brand although I must say I prefer the boomerang hardware on the Youngstown cabinets. But I do love the simple designs and colourful countertops in these illustrations…beautiful!

From a Republic Steel Kitchens brochure

Lovely kitchen illustration from a Republic Steel Kitchens brochure

 

L shaped kitchen illustration from Republic Steel Kitchen brochure

L shaped kitchen illustration from Republic Steel Kitchen brochure…love that linoleum!

 

A u shape kitchen illustration from a Republic Steel Kitchen brochure

A U shape kitchen illustration from a Republic Steel Kitchen brochure

 

Republic Steel Kitchen options were very similar to Youngstown

Republic Steel Kitchen options were very similar to Youngstown

The following pictures from a 1955 Republic Steel Kitchens brochure are sure to inspire.

A pink and red peppermint stick inspired kitchen, 1955.

A pink and red peppermint stick inspired kitchen, 1955

 

1955 Republic Steel Kitchen - I love the bar counter and the yellow Formica...and the wallpaper - wow!

1955 Republic Steel Kitchen – I love the bar counter and the yellow Formica…and the wallpaper – wow!

 

A simple L shaped steel kitchen, 1955

A simple L shaped steel kitchen, 1955

Steel kitchens were a very popular choice for a few decades but they had to compete with more traditional wood kitchens. Wood cabinet makers like Kitchen Maid advertised their wood cabinets to be ‘warm and friendly’. I’m sure some people found steel cabinets cold and too industrial, and they had the potential of rusting – especially on sink cabinets. Wooden cabinets were available with clean lines and were also offered in a variety of colours, painted with enamel paint so they were easy to clean. Eventually, people lost interest in  steel kitchens and wood won out. The kitchen photos below are all enameled wood from a 1953 Kitchen Maid brochure.

Kitchen Maid wood kitchen, 1953

Kitchen Maid wood kitchen, 1953

 

For the laundry kitchen, Kitchen Maid offered laundry carts and built in ironing board units

For the laundry kitchen, Kitchen Maid offered laundry carts and built in ironing board units

 

A very functional Kitchen Maid kitchen, 1953

A very functional Kitchen Maid kitchen, 1953

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One last totally unrelated thing. Did 1950s housewives really wear high heeled shoes indoors at all times? Like while they made a sandwich for lunch or while they did laundry like in these illustations?  I like a nice pair of shoes as much as the next gal but heels all day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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