I would definitely keep it. It's original to your kitchen and has survived this long. You'd be surprised how well built old cabinets are compared to new ones. When I remodeled my kitchen, I actually used two sets of salvaged built in cupboards for my cabinets. I modified them to fit and also built a new cabinet using extra salvaged doors. Most people think my kitchen is original to the house now even though when I bought my house it came with a horrid 1980s kitchen. You could always move it if that's the problem, although it seems to be in a good spot from the picture.
Keep! The drawers are what we design into kitchens today for pot and pan storage and the full height uppers will swallow a surprising amount of stuff. Some paint stripper and crock pot for hardware can turn that into the central focal point for your kitchen.
Oh you really have a gem there I would say KEEP! I have a similiar cabinet, not near as fancy, in the laundry room of my project house, I plan to repaint it and so it stands out and maybe it will make good can storage or other back entry stuff, it's gross in side now and unfortunately uses the back wall as it's "back" but I see potential! Yours is way cool, does it have a wood counter top?
A definite keeper.
Thanks everyone for your input, and I apologize for my delayed response.
Linda, it does have a wooden ledge but not really a counter top. It is a nuisance when you have something on the ledge and then realize you need to open the cupboard door. I like your cupboard too!
I'm the one in favor of keeping it. I tell my husband that we can't just get rid of Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboard; we have a responsibility to preserve it for posterity! He is the cook in the family and is understandably more interested in a functional kitchen with a counter top. We've been having this debate for 33 years, so the debate itself is now historic in it's own right! Kitchen is small with 5 points of entry and an awkward layout, so it's a bit of a puzzle to figure out what to do with the space.
Some follow-up questions. We would be putting some new cabinetry alongside the cupboard if we keep it. How jarring would that difference be? Would it be better to try to play up or play down the differences? I also love the Youngstown sink, but not the rusted metal cabinet. Can a sink like that be refinished and incorporated with a modern cabinet?
Thanks again. It's so wonderful to get input from other folks who have an affection for old things. Everyone else thinks I am crazy!
Keep it! I would also have it stand out. I also have a great sink on some yucky metal cabinetry. I'm sure hoping the two can be separated, so I can keep the sink and get some custom cabinets put underneath.