Thursday, February 13, 2014

An Empty Spot

We had this odd nook in the kitchen by the french doors that were just begging for... something.

At first I thought shelves with reclaimed corbels or brackets, but closed storage adds some practicality in a room that needs to be fiercely practical.

My next thoughts included an antique pie safe...

I love the scale of it, and the punched tin is so pretty.  It's also $700, which appears to be the going rate for a pie safe- Craigslist, antique stores, everywhere.  Yowzers.

After I had exhausted all my Craigslist-searching for pie safes, I started poking around for Hoosier cabinets (my grandmother had one in her kitchen, and I can't help but feel nostalgic about them)...

They have awesome cast-iron counters and neat nooks inside (flour bins and sifters, bread cabinets, etc.)  They, too, are also frequently more than $500, even on Craigslist.

My next thought was something like these...

As you can tell by the perfection, these are from Pinterest, and thus unattainable. Herrumph.

We've perused all the antique shops in East Ridge (which is Chattanooga's mecca of undiscovered junk) and turned up empty-handed.

We decided to try The Knitting Mill, which is in a hipper part of town, and is therefore generally pricey.  (If you're ever in Chattanooga, it's worth a visit: the building itself is A-MAZING)  They have rare pieces, primitive furniture, and Chattanooga memorabilia.  Enough about my love for the shop; the point is that we went there.

We wound around the aisles and found so many awesome things, including a pie safe, but the previous owners had replaced the original punched tin with chicken wire.  Seriously? I know it's popular on Pinterest, but massacre a beautiful piece of American furniture with chicken wire? The redeeming feature was the price (relative to other pie safes): $250.

We were eyeing and measuring a Hoosier cabinet when one of the managers says, "That's my cabinet, so if you're interested, I'll make you a good deal." Oh, really?  She took it down from $395 to $300 with very little negotiating. Sold!

 I could talk for days about the cast iron counter, the original hardware, bin pulls, and green glass, or the solid wood, but I'll just let the pictures do the talking...

This was such a perfect find for us!  Craftsmenship like this is so rare.

Hoosier cabinets were only made between around 1890 (when the Hoosier company starting crafting these cabinets) and 1930 (at which point, most newly-built homes had cabinets built into the kitchen).  They became obsolete, in a way.

Stylish storage never goes out of style, though.  Anything from old kitchens is guaranteed to add charm and function. 

Happy hunting!


  1. What a beautiful find, and for such a good price! I'm glad it has a home with someone who appreciates it. It's really a treasure. -Dawn @ We Call It
    History & Home link party, Tue-Fri, weekly, join us!

  2. What a deal you got on that Hoosier cabinet. I live in Indiana, so I speak from authority. LOL. I don't think I've ever seen one with glass in it though. You did very well on that!

  3. Thanks! I'm glad a true Hoosier appreciates it!

  4. The counter tops are enamel. I have one in my kitchen in Kansas.

  5. I too have a Hoosier Cabinet and I refinished it from white to orginal wood. Did you know that you can turn around the enamel table and hopefully the undamaged back can be reversed. At least that is what
    my husband did with ours. I think my husband turned the track around. Also ours has a date of 1920 on the bottom.

  6. Thanks for reminding me that it is time to make a little trip to Chattanooga! It has been a few years and we always enjoy it.

    I have an old Hoosier courtesy of my son which came out of a house he bought a long time ago. The house was built in 1924, and I am guessing that is about the age of this one. The sifter is gone, but it is otherwise completely intact. Unfortunately, someone painted it "battleship gray" years ago, and I am sure the paint has lead in it. Therefore, I don't want to strip it. I would be curious to know more about the Hoosiers. Any suggestions?

  7. I too have a Hoosier Cabinet that I refinished as well. Underneath the tray it has a
    date of 1920. My husband turned the enamel around to get a unblemished surface.
    If yours has two tin lined drawers on the side one is for cake and the other bread. Some of the hoosiers came with a bread board and a spice rack. Actually my husband built a box and set it on to make it counter height. Love the flour sifter and it holds a ton of flour.