Saturday, March 17, 2012

What's A Hoosier?

Nope, I'm not talking about someone from Indiana or basketball, I'm referring to a very popular kitchen cupboard from the 1920's.  Before there were built-in cabinets and fancy kitchens, this piece of furniture was the culinary work space of the kitchen.  It served not only for storage, but it was also a baking/prep station.  Since my daughter has a very small kitchen, she decided that her Great Aunt Dorothy's Hoosier would work for her pots, pans and linen storage. (Aunt Dot found another with even more bells and whistles that she likes better for all her baking.)  It would have a second purpose too.  She would use it as a bar when she has guests.

Oak Hoosier Cabinet
Let me show you all the gadgets it has.  Here's an inside view.  Do you see the little lip above the castors?  That's where you put the ant poison.  The ants never made it past this point.  TMI?

All Hoosiers have a built-in flour sifter.  The sifter tips out on a hinge so it can be filled with flour.  A bowl was placed under the sifter and the baker would turn the knob to sift the flour into the mixing bowl.   Ours only has a flour sifter but some also had a container to hold sugar.

Inside the doors are wire shelves.  The upper ones are for holding spices.

The lower cabinet also has a pull-out wire shelf and a door-mounted shelf for pan lids or baking sheets.  There is also a hidden pull out wooden cutting board.  The top drawers are for utensils and the lower drawer is a tin-lined bread drawer.  My daughter keeps her tea towels and table cloths there.

The green enamel work surface pulls out and doubles the size of the work top.  It was used for baking prep.  It is a very hard surface and wipes clean.  It's a perfect water/stain proof spot for my daughter to create, prepare, and serve her Margaritas.

I didn't take a photo of another feature, but if you pull down on the knob above the pitcher and glasses, a roll down door completely covers that area too.  I call this the inspiration for appliance garages in our modern day kitchens.

My daughter has a small table and chairs.  The chairs are vintage faux bamboo and we painted them chartreuse.  They're just the right size for the small space in front of the cupboard.

I believe we've gone owl crazy.  We found the salt and pepper shakers at TJMaxx.

West Elm has the best accessories.  How cute is this covered butter with a row of owls.  The little yellow owl is actually a timer.  The orange teapot was found on the sale rack at Target.

Our other West Elm favorites are the plates we placed in a row next to the Hoosier.  Of course there are owls involved.

Keep your eyes out if you're looking for this efficient vintage cupboard.  This is oak, but many times they are painted in vibrant colors.   I've seen bright yellow and even a lime green.  Of course, some were also painted white.   We're thinking of updating hers with paint too.
What do you think?



  1. Her Hoosier is gorgeous. I have one also, but I have to use mine in the bedroom, no place in the kitchen or dining areas. I love the way she has hers set up and yes it is great storage. Hugs, Marty

  2. Looks terrific!!

    Great post.


  3. Kathy I love the hoosier cabinet - the green work surface is such a great pop of color and all the nifty storage is so handy. The greens and oranges are also such a cool color scheme! Your daughter is so lucky to have a wonderful family heirloom and a such a stylish mom to help her decorate!