Best of Yesterday Plus Today: Vintage Victorian or Refreshingly Retro Appliances

Sep 14, 2018
Courtesy of: Fireplaces Plus

All the warmth of an old-time kitchen with the cool of modern convenience, Elmira Stove Works’ Antique Appliances are timeless standouts. See a sample at Fireplaces Plus on Bay Avenue in Manahawkin, and peruse the catalog for the full line. Rather turn the clock back to the 1950s and ’60s? Elmira’s Northstar Appliances line is refreshing retro charm.

First, let’s set the stage for the antique line.

Elmira’s Antique appliances add a dramatic statement to many styles of decor, not just Victorian or traditional or country. They’re a striking accent in a contemporary kitchen.

“The timelessness of each piece assures its longevity, harmonizing with changing styles while maintaining its unique elegance and charm,” the company catalog invites.

In the Fireplaces Plus showroom, sales representative Marc Corliss leads customers through more information on choices, features and installation.

The antique line comes in ranges, refrigerators and even as decorative applications of today’s microwaves and faceplates for dishwashers. They’re striking individually, or create a strong picture together.

“We do quite a bit of them. They’re more on the higher end side, so from a price point of view they’re more in the range of a Viking company or Subzero company, but they have a very unique look,” Corliss said.

They may have the look that brings thoughts of a great-grandmother’s homemade bread, but the convenience is up-to-date.

“The conventional oven has got digital controls; they have self-cleaning ability. It’s just made to look old,” explained Corliss. “The company manufactures them out of special-made Kitchen Aid components that are made just for them to build into their product.”

Burner arrangements come in choices of gas, electric, smooth-top electric, even a combination of gas and electric sections.

“Sometimes people want the combination because they like to cook with gas, but on the side there are smooth-top elements that you can turn really low for more-delicate recipes like sauces.”

Like the burners, the ovens can be ordered in either gas or electric. “The electric oven is also available in what they call a true convection system,” noted Corliss. “The convection aspect of it allows everything to cook more evenly.”

Continuing to point out conveniences, the sales veteran of 25 years in the store noted the heat indicators built into the electric burners, “which allows them to turn themselves down if, say, you boil a pot dry.”

Turning to aesthetics, besides a choice of colors, customers can choose trims. Certain areas come standard in nickel color; then the door trims are an option. Scrollwork adds compelling design.

Refrigerators, too, shine in trims including nickel, antique copper and antique brass.

Elmira Stove Works is a Canadian company in Ontario. The appliances are built there, handcrafted one by one. They generally take about six to eight weeks to be made and shipped.

The company can either ship the order directly to Fireplaces Plus or deliver it to the customer’s home. Talk to the salesperson for more details.

Sold much less frequently but worth mentioning is the woodburning firebox model. It’s called the Fireview high-efficiency woodburning cookstove. It has an optional side warmer that keeps dishes warm at 200 degrees. Gas burners on top are also optional.

Northstar Appliances

Bring Back Memories

Some buyers remember the time these 1950s-’60s replicas duplicate, and that’s why they want, or must have, the Northstar look once they see it. Yet younger homebuyers also turn to their retro appeal, which brings a fresh look to contemporary kitchens.

The company catalog points out that the appliances are “more than just a pretty facade.”

Soft lines, rounded corners and refreshing colors fit the home, cottage or beach house nicely. But with it comes “the premium performance you’d expect from the most modern appliances.”

“Behind the vintage-inspired control panel and analog clock, you’ll find state-of-the-art technology,” it says of the stoves, “manually or fully programmable functionality for baking, convection baking, broiling, convection broiling, and self-cleaning.”

“With these refrigerators you can order them with or without water dispensers, ice makers, just like any other refrigerator out on the market,” added Corliss. “It’s just that they happen to look like the ’50s and ’60s refrigerators.”

What your father’s refrigerator didn’t have was a factory-installed Brewmaster draft system – the ultimate bar fridge.

“The system includes through-the-door tap dispenser, coupler, connections, CO2 cylinder, retro-frame splash plate and drip tray. Keg and fittings can be removed to utilize full fridge functionality,” lists company literature.

Colors are white, black, candy red, buttercup yellow, robin’s egg blue, mint green, bisque and quicksilver. The company can also provide custom colors.

“We’ve seen an upswing in inquiries of these, as well,” said Corliss, noting that Rachael Ray had the yellow models on her show’s set for a while.

The Fireplaces Plus salesperson said there is “no difference” between installing the gas or electric Elmira Stove Works aesthetic models and other, more standard types. Customers can ask more specific questions when ordering.

Both the antique and retro styles make new memories in the kitchens of today’s families.

“They’re both pretty popular,” said Corliss. “They’re not inexpensive, but it is something that if it’s in the kitchen, it’s going to be there for a long time. It’s definitely a really good value added to the area.”

Fireplaces Plus is located at 660 East Bay Ave., Manahawkin. The phone number is 609-597-0667.

— Maria Scandale




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