November 27, 2013

the chambers

I don't think I've been so excited about a project since the lockers-inset-in-the-wall incident. Or actually, even that wasn't as exciting as my new baby. My Chambers Stove.
Ahhh, my Chambers Stove! I can't even tell you how long I've wanted one of these. At least a decade. I've tried to pick one up in every city we've lived in except Dublin (where I briefly switched my longing to an Aga. Because, well, who wouldn't want an Aga?) but have always been foiled. For a long time I just couldn't convince Will that it was a good, or safe, or efficient. And then once I had (because for a 70 year old stove, they can be remarkably safe and good and efficient. You can cook with the gas turned off once the stove has been heated to the right temperature. I'd like to see a modern stove do that) they were suddenly popular and hard to find for less than an arm and a leg.
I've been watching Craigslist since we got here. Not obsessively, but just checking in every now and then, waiting. Which is how I found our friend here. Practically for free, totally rusted and perfectly located between a lecture Will was giving last week in New York and home. He was going to drive by it why not. Which is how I came to be in possession of my very own Chambers B model (although it may be a BZ, the serial number is so grotty I can't read it yet).
She is probably from the mid 40's. My guess, from looking at lots of photos of similar stoves, is 1944, but I'll be able to figure that out better when she is a little cleaner. And she's got some pretty cool features. That whole cook with the gas off, a deep-well burner that is like a built in crock pot. The griddle pops up and is a broiler underneath. Swanky, right? She needs an overhaul, but we need a new stove anyway and it will be cheaper to do that than to buy a new one. Or that's what I keep telling myself. And Will. It will take some major shifting of the kitchen to make her fit. We actually came up with a renovation plan that included one of these stoves when we first bought the house but scrapped it thinking we wouldn't find the stove. So that is possibly back. Or we may do something different. Either way it's a long term project. And if we ever leave this house, she's going to have to come with me. Unless we are going to a house that already has one. Or an Aga. Because, like I said, who wouldn't want an Aga.