Mystery Solved: Geneva, not St. Charles, Steel Cabinets

We headed back to the Our Sweetheart on Tuesday for the home inspection, otherwise known as When That Guy Terrifies You Six Ways to Sunday About Your Major Life Choice. On the up side, it gave us about three hours in the house, armed with a notebook, tape measure, and two cameras.

The first thing I did was run for the signature on the cabinets. They’re not St. Charles, but they ARE Geneva cabinets. (I’d show you the signature but it’s blurry.) According to this excellent article at, Genevas were probably the second-most-popular kitchens back in the day, just ahead of the more upscale St. Charles. When the seller’s realtor stopped by, she revealed that her brother had lived in the house, and they repainted the cabinets by–get this–autobody detailers. Apparently that’s the best way to go with steel cabinets, because they’re the only ones good enough to get a high, even sheen. This is an upside to moving into an insular neighborhood: everyone knows everyone, who lived where, and how they painted your vintage cabinets.

Just because I love them so much, here’s another picture. This features three of my favorite cabinets: the drawer under the double ovens, the ventilated cabinet with a pull-out shelf, and the broom closet on the end. Seriously. It’s a broom closet.

Granite countertops, new tile backsplash--and they left the cabinets. Bless!

One of the quirks we noticed in the house is that nearly every wall is wallpapered. We didn’t notice it at first, because almost all of said wallpaper is painted over. Like, with a lot of paint. The entire front hall, steps, and bedroom hallway are all painted-over wallpaper, and when I opened the coat closet, I found the original wallpaper.

Can you see the glitter? It's gilded.

The living area has wallpaper on the walls and the ceiling, and it’s over plaster. Which means we won’t be able to remove the wallpaper, for fear of taking out giant chunks of the wall. As no one is staying in the house on a life sentence for which he’s innocent, that’s not really ideal. One of my colleagues, who’s an architect, suggested we just lay drywall over top of the wall and go with that. Could be!

In the basement, while the inspector was judging the safety of the 21-year-old water heater, I took a closer look at our laundry tub and realize she’s no ordinary laundry tub. She’s a cast iron behemoth. She’ll need a little epoxy along the bottom, but I feel safe just knowing she’s in the house. In case, you know, the bomb ever drops and I need a place to hide the girls.

Mama Tub: 600 pounds of old-fashioned scrubbin'.

We made a load of other decisions as well, of course, and took many notes, most of which I’m sure I’ll be sharing with you. But before you go, a little light to shine on your day. These beauties hang in the front and upstairs hall, and they’re like little fortresses of solitude, lighting up the darkness in a sassy grandma kind of way.

Shine on, crazy light fixture!


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4 Responses to Mystery Solved: Geneva, not St. Charles, Steel Cabinets

  1. pam kueber says:

    Congratulations! What a beautiful Geneva kitchen … and I love the lights — very collectible!

  2. Jody says:

    Thanks! I just adore your blog–thanks so much for visiting!

  3. Marci says:

    I have the exact wash tub/basin in my basement.

  4. Samantha says:

    We’ve got Geneva cabinetry in our Chicago apartment!

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