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Fridge fuses funky retro and modern convenience

After searching for two years, a homeowner found a new appliance that suits her 1950s-style decor.

By JANET ZINK
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 6, 2002


When Dawn Dayringer bought her Seminole Heights home 12 years ago, it came with vintage appliances.

That was just fine with Dayringer.

She wanted to maintain the historic feel of the house, which was built in 1926.

"When I bought the house, one of the things that really sold me on it was that there was a refrigerator and electric stove from the '50s, and they both worked," Dayringer says. "I was thrilled because they were so perfect for the house."

All was well until two years ago, when the refrigerator finally died.

She refused to bury it.

"I couldn't bear to get rid of it," she says. "I still use it as a pantry."

For a year, she used a backup refrigerator in her guest house to keep food fresh while she searched for the perfect replacement.

"I'm trying to keep the spirit of the house alive. Not throw a bunch of modern stuff in," Dayringer says.

Finding furniture, faucets, doorknobs and even hinges with a vintage look hasn't been a problem, Dayringer says.

But the refrigerator presented a dilemma.

Her problem was solved when she was flipping through a magazine, searching for ideas for her renovation. She saw an advertisement with a bright red Northstar refrigerator by Elmira Stove Works that looked as though it had been plucked from the set of Father Knows Best.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, they're finally doing something,' " Dayringer says.

Elmira, a Canadian company, has been making antique-styled appliances with contemporary features for more than 25 years. The company's stoves are modeled after those commonly used in the mid 1800s, and microwaves, ovens and refrigerators mimic the look with their paneling and trim.

The Northstar refrigerators were introduced a year ago. The 18.1-cubic-foot refrigerators, which includes 4.64 cubic feet of freezer space, come in a rainbow of retro colors, including robin's egg blue, flamingo pink, buttercup yellow, mint green and candy red. They can also be ordered in a custom hue.

Dayringer opted for a white model that sits next to her white stove, a relic of the 1950s.

"I love it," Dayringer says of the refrigerator. "People who come in don't even know that it's a new refrigerator. Of course, when you open it up, it gives it away."

Prices for a Northstar refrigerator range from $2,695 to $2,995, depending on the color. A factory-installed ice maker is $150 extra.

Locally, the Northstar refrigerators and Elmira Stove Works appliances are available at Kugel Quality Fireplaces in North Tampa.

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