I fell in love with old stoves when I was a kid reading about Ma’s cooking in Little House on the Prairie. I could very nearly taste Ma’s fat-fried cornbread cooked to perfection in a cast iron fry pan over an open fire. And while we’ve nearly replicated that experience at various times while camping or when the power has gone out and we’ve managed to boil water on our wood stove, the experience is, well, maybe more fun to read about than to actually practice. Stoking a fire to a rousing roar takes skill. Boiling a big ol’ pot of potatoes takes a long time. Making crackling fry bread is a skill I’d still like to perfect while camping.
When a dear friend of mine suggested that I buy her brother’s old wood coal cook stove, I looked at the picture and wanted it immediately. It had been sitting in her brother’s garage for several years, and hadn’t been used for years before that, but it was in beautiful shape. As we finally took the steps to remodel our kitchen, we started designing the space around it.
While trying to find a place to install a chimney and make room for this wonderful old piece (as a wood stove for the kids to use) and a usable stove (for us to do everyday cooking on), I stumbled on a few sites that featured awesome, usable, restored stoves retrofitted to use either gas or electric. I was hooked on the idea and after a bit of research into induction cooktops, we decided to go that direction. I thought we could make it look pretty cool. My husband Brian suggested we talk with a few metal workers to see if they could help us.
We worked with Rory’s Custom Fabrication here on Bainbridge. They were enthusiastic about the project and took on the job. Along with the help of our wonderful carpenter, we stripped off all the doors and chrome pieces and set the stove in our driveway. Rory’s team came out to our place and cut and welded the stove to allow for a drop-in induction cooktop. They also built a beautiful, sturdy base to lift it up to counter height. I scrubbed it all out, and Brian and our carpenter worked together to get it ready to bring inside. Then we spray painted the entire thing in a matte black.
I spent a few days polishing all the chrome pieces, and was happy to see them come to life with a bright sheen. With the help of a friend, we finally brought the stove in and set it up.
After months of construction and single-burner cooking while we waited for the space to be set up and ready for it to be installed, I couldn’t believe the project was nearly complete. And it was beautiful!
The five-burner induction stove has been an incredible change for us; we love it. It boils giant canning pots filled with cold water and potatoes in about two minutes. Scrambled eggs, the litmus test of a good stove, are delightfully fluffy and flavorful and cooked to perfection in about a minute.
We’re still working on retrofitting the range hood and installing the fan, backsplash, and pot filler, but we’re nearly done. I love our old stove and look forward to years ahead of happy cooking on this historic, old piece.
I can’t wait for summer harvest and apple season. I can already smell the cinnamon. 🙂