Remodel vs Restore

In the world of vintage trailers, and really vintage anything, there is a distinct difference between “remodeling” and “restoring”. Those who “remodel” are changing the original design or functionality of the space. Those who “restore” are using every original part & piece possible to reclaim the glory of the day it rolled off the factory line. This seems as good a time as any to point out that we are going to REMODEL our ’56 Spartan Imperial Mansion. Perhaps if our intent was to fix her up for weekend trips or a guest house, we would consider a true restoration. But our reality is: we live in 2015 and Momma isn’t giving up all of the advancements those years have brought. We’re going for simple, remember? Not Stone-Age! 😉 We will maintain as much of the original design and cabinetry as is feasible to accommodate the modern lifestyle we desire.

The whole length of the kitchen/dining area. The fridge would have been to the right behind the built-in china cabinet.
The whole length of the original kitchen/dining area. The fridge would have been to the right behind the built-in china cabinet (which had been moved prior to this picture).
Double sink, space for a full-sized range & lots of cabinets for storage.
Double sink, space for a full-sized range & lots of cabinets for storage.

The original kitchen was a nice layout, with a full-size 30″ stove & oven and a full refrigerator to boot, but two very important things on my non-negoitiables-list need to be incorporated into our modern kitchen: a washer/dryer and a dishwasher. I know, I know. “You’re going tiny, you have to make sacrifices!”, but my idea of simple includes the word: EASY. And scrubbing dishes and clothes in my sink everyday is not the type of simple that I’m signing up for, so we’re remodeling the kitchen. Deal with it.

Take a closer look at the wall and ceiling panels and you can see where the casework was because the birch was never stained there!
Take a closer look at the wall and ceiling panels and you can see where the casework was because the birch was never stained there!

On that note, The Mr made some huge strides in the remodeling process this weekend! He managed to remove all of the kitchen cabinetry, backsplash and the partial wall. Somehow, the cabinetry is all residing in our shed right now. (The Mr is a Tetris Master.) There is one copper-toned backsplash panel that we want to reuse within the kitchen, but the others were in rough shape and got trashed. In The Mr’s words, “they were a bad choice when they were put in”. LOL. The partial wall panel has been moved to the master bedroom, and will likely get stripped down to become a proper door between our bedroom and the bathroom area. The original design had an accordion-style curtainy-type “door” there, but it is long gone and we really desire more privacy anyway. We’ve pulled another similar panel out from somewhere else that will possibly go back in this spot in the kitchen because it will not stick out as far into the walkway. Does that make sense? Basically, the wall that was there stuck out maybe a foot beyond the cabinetry, but we will replace it with one that is cabinet-depth.

Our plans for the kitchen are a bit fluid right now, but we do have a few ideas. To maintain the mood of the Spartan era, we would love to find a 50’s styled fridge. The dream fridge today is this one, specifically:

      Or maybe:      

Honestly, any of the NorthStar by Elmira Stove Works fridges would suit my fancy! This model (#1951) would fit the 24″ space we have for it, but will be a serious downsize in overall fridge space for us. Then again, everything is a downsize, so I’m not sure that’s even worth mentioning! As you walk into the kitchen, the fridge will be the first thing on your left. Then a 20″ cooktop (possibly a convection oven/microwave underneath), a single bowl sink, 18″ dishwasher, and finally a washer/dryer combo. The W/D we are looking at right now is the Splendide 2100XC Washer Dryer Combo:

Splendide 2100XC Washer Dryer Combo - White Nothing fancy to look at, but it has good reviews.

We’ve decided to hang on to all of the original cabinets until we are finished with the remodel. Just in case. Just in case life changes drastically and we never get the chance to finish building our ideal kitchen. Just in case we need to sell the Spartan, we want to give someone else the chance at a true restoration. And if all goes as planned, we know that there are others out there now looking for parts and pieces for their own restorations, so we will seek them out and find a new-old home for our 60 year old cabinets.

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