I’ve been working on some renovations of our little lake house in Hartwell, Georgia for several years. It’s been a labor of love, and I drag my feet finishing the work because so much of the fun is in the process. The house we bought was a flat-roofed shack on a spectacular lot that faces the big waters of Lake Hartwell and though initially an ugly duckling, she had a huge stone fireplace made from stones pulled from along the lakeshore, wood ceilings, original cabinets, and an old white enamel cast iron sink with integrated drainboard. She was mine as soon as I pulled into the driveway. I could see the swan.
As we waited for our closing date, we talked a lot about how we wanted to feel when we were in the house and what we wanted our guests to experience. We discovered that our fondest memories were of being kids growing up in the 1960’s when a kid could sleep in the back of the station wagon all the way to Myrtle Beach, when your grandmother made sure to have homemade Jam, fried apples and bologna on the stove when you arrived, when we looked forward to the annual school carnival with almost as much anticipation as Christmas, when we rolled on shady grass to cool off on a hot summer day, and when eating a piece of salted watermelon with your Dad was a little slice of heaven that could change the course of your day.
So we decided to create a space reflective of those days complete with old pennants found in a trunk my mom kept of my childhood memorabilia, a pair of old gas tank covers we found in a barn facing demolition, a pastel of my mom’s childhood playhouse and even a souvenir plate from King’s Island. With each step it became more clear that our appliances were fighting against our end vision. There was no black plastic-front refrigerator or stainless steel dishwasher in Granny’s home place. In fact there was no dishwasher but I wasn’t ready to give up that little luxury. I just had to figure out how to camouflage it.
And now I finally get around to Elmira Stove Works. Elmira is a Canadian company that manufactures reproduction antique and 1950’s-style appliances. Northstar is the 1950’s line of refrigerators, ranges, range hoods and dishwasher covers. They even offer a keg refrigerator and their own interpretation of a retro microwave. The appliances are offered in the best of the 1950’s colors: Buttercup Yellow, Flamingo Pink, Robin’s Egg Blue, Mint Green, Candy Red, Black, Bisque and Quicksilver.
So Granny would still be shocked by my microwave, even if it is a cheery Buttercup Yellow, and probably confused by my Mint Green dishwasher cover, since rubber gloves were the only dishwasher covers she ever needed. She might even raise an eyebrow if she knew I had to bypass the gas range for it’s electric equal. But when she opened that big Mint Green refrigerator and discovered an automatic ice maker…….I daresay I’d hear an “atta girl”!
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