Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pie Safe is a 'California Cooler'

The only feature that's original to our kitchen, besides the fir floors, is the pie safe California Cooler (including its Shaker style cabinet doors). When we gutted the kitchen that lazy summer day...it was all that remained.

We loved its antique charm. When we told our cabinet maker we wanted to keep the pie safe California Cooler intact, he abhorred the idea, truly amazed we'd want to keep such a thing. We asked him to build the new cabinets to match.

This is the top cabinet. It is located to the left of the sink counter...you can see a smidgen of one of my bread boards leaning against it. 

This is the lower cabinet.  

Other than a fresh coat of paint, I just scrubbed each rack (they're removable) with warm soapy water....

...and moved in. 

This old pie safe California Cooler is our food pantry. So far, it's served us just fine. Our beans, grains and pastas, flour and baking groceries, and other dry goods, are housed in the lazy susan - which is to the right of the kitchen sink. 

Thank you Tamara for sending me information on the California Cooler! The information I read was so fascinating and is absolutely what it is. There was a vent at the top, which led outside, as well as a vent in the bottom floor of the cabinet (which you can see the patch from). 

Go here for more information on California Coolers! And thanks again Tamara! 

35 comments :

  1. I love it and totally appreciate the fact that you wanted to keep the original pie safe. It's charming. And it looks like it serves well as a pantry. I can see that we like a lot of the same foods: garbanzo beans, black beans, lentils, organic canned tomatoes, good-quality honey. Thanks for this peek into your old pie safe!

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  2. That's really clever Trina, it's so nice to be able to retain an original feature like that...I would love to have seen the builder's face! I'm assuming there is a door for the child locks that will be needed in the near future...cause there will be four little inquisitive hands wanting to investigate and help Mummy! Robx

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  3. I love pie and wish I had a place to keep my pies safe!
    What a perfect pantry!
    pve

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  4. I've never seen a built in pie safe, very cool, and I love that you saved it as part of your new kitchen! I also had to smile because we buy a lot of the same foods!

    Kat :)

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  5. Love those slatted shelves! Good go on saving something old and wonderful, and for nudging the cabinet maker to copy it!

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  6. Absolutely charming! I love the wear of the old racks and that you are using it now as a pantry....it only seems appropriate to house food in there. ;)

    Thank you for sharing!

    Blessings,
    Gail

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  7. I've always loved your kitchen... it was the inspiration for my butcher block counter tops... but this is fabulous! Saving such a beautiful, yet useful, part of the old kitchen. I've never seen anything like this! With all the other "updates" that were done to your place before you moved in you're lucky it was still there!

    ~Chris

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  8. I had to chuckle when I read the part about your cabinet maker's reaction. Just after we first purchased our house and did a walk through with a contractor who was going to help us fix some things up he kept making the ugly face and finally said to us, "who would live in a house like this?" I guess a lot of builders/contractors think "new" is better.

    Anyway, LOVE the pie safe and happy you saved it. It's neat to see.

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  9. It always amazes me how some carpenters do not value some of these old features. Good on you for holding on to it. I wish more people did the same.BTW, your kitchen was part of an inspiration for our kitchen re-do!!

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  10. This is so charming, and full of inspiration.
    hugs ~lynne~

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  11. Oh thank you! I love to see how those with no upper cabinets organize. This method makes sense -- dry goods in one spot, liquids in another. Did I get that right? You must be starting to feel like things are getting more manageable if you have found the time to clean and organize your pie safe. It makes a perfect pantry.
    Camille

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  12. One more thing: do you use a microwave/toaster? If so, where do you keep them?

    Thanks so much!
    Camille

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  13. Easy and rustic! Very cool. Who ever heard of a pie safe before?

    Kacie
    www.acollectionofpassions.blogspot.com

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  14. Don't know why but I am having trouble posting today. Trina you were smart to keep the pie safe intact. It is a work of art! :)
    Dianne

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  15. Marvelous and so pretty. So great to restore something and use it in a different and creative way while still keeping its original charm. That is exactly what you did. Thank you for sharing it.

    Cristine

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  16. Trina,

    I love that you insisted on keeping the pie safe. Why are some people so ready to rip down history? I think it serves your clever use as well as any new cabinet would.

    Deborah

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  17. That is so beautiful, so glad you decided to keep it. You rarely see pie safe's anymore.

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  18. I've never seen slatted shelves like this...they are absolutely awesome. Now, I want some.:))

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  19. Dear Camille,

    We do have a toaster (not oven) but I always remove it for pictures. But I have never owned a microwave.

    ; ) Trina

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  20. Is that a vent that I see covered up in the bottom of the cupboard? Was there ventilation out the top or rear also? I think what you might have here is actually a "california cooler" cabinet, google it and you can see that they were a common type of semi-refrigeration for perishables during the early 20th century. We had the evidence of one in our 1909 cottage. You are so lucky to have it intact. Enjoy! Tamara

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  21. Wow. How many pies did one family use to bake?? That is just beautiful and so smart of you to keep. Love it!

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  22. love this, and now that you mention it I do think a pie safe is free standing?? I've never heard of a California cooler! Very cool.... pun intended;)
    xxjoan

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  23. Trina, It's my pleasure! Enjoy your beautiful cupboard. Ours was located in a corner with 2 outside walls and ventilation in the floor and ceiling. We figure that it was torn out in the 60's when the kitchen had plywood cabinets put in. I would have loved to have seen what our original cupboards looked like. Have a blessed day, Tamara

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  24. "Of course" the cabinet maker abhorred the idea of keeping such a treasure...silly home owners! Hope he learned a thing or two! If I had a dime for every 'abhorred' idea in our house I'd be so rich...and if I'd listened to 'them' at all, I'd be living in a sterile box with no character what-so-ever...when will they ever learn?!
    Your cooler is fantastic and makes such a lovely and unique pantry...it's perfect for the farmhouse!
    xo J~

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  25. So cool. Now this is why I read A Country Farmhouse! Thanks : )

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  26. Ooh...I love it!! The color of the wood against the white walls is just beautiful!!!

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  27. Wonderful decision! It's a lovely pantry! Enjoy the gorgeous day, Kellie xx

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  28. Love it!!!

    I want my pantry to look like yours. IT IS TOO NEAT!!!!

    B.

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  29. Oh my! I grew up in a house in the SF area built around 1910. We had one of these which we called the "cold cupboard." The thing I remember most storing in it was butter because it kept it not too cold and not too warm. I was so disappointed to realize that I'd never again live in a house with one. I would have put one in my own home in PA except that I figured it would be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

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  30. looks like that will come in handy. very nice!
    KAT

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  31. I didn't mention it before, but we also had this California Cooler in one of our Bay Area rentals. It came with the slatted shelves to allow circulation and ventilation from the outside that had never been insulated over all of the years...I guess you can do that when you live in a place that never freezes!
    Camille

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  32. WONDERFUL images !

    Have a super week.

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  33. It looks perfect. So glad you kept it.

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