St. Charles Cabinets: The Prettiest Steel in Pittsburgh

In my previous post, I mentioned that we realized we didn’t want to spend 20% of the cost of a house fixing it up. Which is to say, doing work we’d have to do, just to make the place livable. Which is part of what makes our little midcentury sweetheart so attractive: she’s move-in ready, as HGTV would say.

But… that’s not to say she’s perfect. I mentioned the leather wallpaper, for instance. I didn’t mention the wall-to-wall carpeting (not sure about the state of the floors underneath), nor did I mention the years of paint globbed over 1950s textured wallpaper. (That’ll be another post.)

The first thing I noticed about the kitchen was: shiny! Second thing: Electric stove. A gas stove is a must for me, and we’ll be spending most of July moving in; at some point during that process, we’ll be getting rid of the glass-topped flat electric cooktop and installing a sweet honey of a gas cooktop.┬áHaven’t selected one yet, but I see continuous grates in my future.

Glass cooktop, no thanks. But double ovens!

We’ll also likely get rid of the breakfast table and replace it with a giant butcher block and garbage hole: all the space and beauty in the world does not make up for how much I miss David’s genius countertop in San Francisco.

See? You chop the food and then just sweep the leftovers into the trash! Beautiful!

But now that we’ve been scouring sites like Retro Renovation for tips and ideas, I’m realizing our beautiful, soft gray steel cabinetry–which flirted and winked at me when I was touring, no lie–might be more than just a cool original feature: they might actually be St. Charles cabinets, a line that came in various colors and was all the rage in the 1950s. (Our house was built in 1953.) Two years ago Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs house got an updated version of these cabinets (Viking bought the line, although they’re now discontinuing it).

Retro Renovation has a multitude of articles devoted to the St. Charles line, and even this terrific post showcasing their 1957 ad campaign.

Image from Retro Renovation


The St. Charles color palettes are just gorgeous, but I’m happy the previous owners selected and stuck with gray; it’s a pretty, soft, neutral color that will be an excellent backdrop for accents.

Our home inspection is on Tuesday, so I plan to scour the cabinets for any indication of their provenance. In the meantime, a giant thank-you to our sweetheart’s previous owners, for not tearing them out.

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One Response to St. Charles Cabinets: The Prettiest Steel in Pittsburgh

  1. Melinda says:

    Just enough fixing-upping to make it fun.

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