Kitchen Collectibles: Perfect Accessories in the Heart of the Home

Photo by Maureen Zambito Even in modern kitchens, collectible cooking tools, glassware and novelties can complement a design.

Kitchens are the heart of the home and today’s kitchen takes on a role that is bigger than ever. Many homeowners spend a fortune in kitchen remodeling and create a space that is for so much more than preparing food.

If you are in the market for a kitchen redo, big or small, make a point to attend the upcoming June 8 kitchen tour and gourmet market coordinated by the Museums of Oglebay Institute as a fundraiser known as the Secret Kitchens of Wheeling.

Tours take place from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (last tour begins at 2 p.m.) and begin at the Mansion Museum. There also is a gourmet market set-up on the lawn of the mansion for shoppers to enjoy from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The locations of the showplace kitchens are revealed with a detailed map on tour day providing descriptions and addresses of the homes.

I serve on the museum committee and wrote the text that will serve as a guide to visitors so I can assure you that all of these “secret” kitchens will “wow” you with details, storage options and surprises.

These are exceptional kitchens and dining spaces that are showstoppers. Kitchen collectibles are evident in a few of these new designs since several of the owners also enjoy antiques.

In the world of antiques, kitchen collectibles include everything from tools to glassware. With the popularity of mid-century modern antiques, kitchens are the perfect spot to blend a vintage set of canisters, colorful Fiestaware or other cool collectibles for show or use into your design!

Rolling pins, cookie cutters, sifters, wooden spoons, grinders, peelers and all kinds of vintage gadgets delight collectors of kitchen tools.

I first learned about the value of antique kitchen tools from my mother who educated me on the superiority of antique rolling pins. I remember her explaining to me that the old ones were usually one piece of wood, hand crafted from a quality wood. She owned several so I could get a first hand look at just what she meant.

I’ve had my antique rolling pin handy in my kitchen for many years now and enjoy the feel of the solid wooden tool with the aged patina and smooth well-used grips. I use it often and I made sure I found an antique rolling pin for each of my daughters, since they do last forever.

Wooden spoons are also great for cooking and stirring and offer the same solid feel and easy to maintain advantages. I have several antique ones that only get better with age.

Even something as simple as measuring spoons were constructed better several generations back. Durable well-made kitchen tools are not just a plus for cooking, they are fashionable in today’s kitchens and can make for an interesting decorative statement when contrasted with modern kitchen conveniences.

Many collectors get started with one type of kitchen gadget like rolling pins and are captured by the variety of kitchen gadgets and expand into more. Rolling pins are surprisingly plentiful, with a variety of sizes made for different types of dough.

Auctions and estate sales are a great way to find kitchen collectibles. Kitchen items are often boxed up and sold as a group so it’s easy to end up with surprises that expand your collection without really trying.

Linens, tablecloths and aprons are another kitchen item that has grown in popularity recently. Today’s manufacturers are reproducing many vintage designs, and lots of young women are making aprons, in cute designs with fancy trims. I’ve seen loads of examples on Facebook and Pinterest.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at zambitomaureen@hotmail.com.

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