Just ask Donny Wilson: When he and his wife, Jeanine, retired two bulky, old Servel propane refrigerators at their Lake of the Woods camp in favour of a newer, safer propane unit with a carbon-monoxide alarm, “I really didn’t feel like hauling the old fridges back out,” he says.
“We were wondering what to do with them when the idea came. We’re constantly struggling with mice in the pantry. Jeanine thought we could use the fridges for mouse-proof storage.”
Wilson’s a deft hand at finding new uses for old stuff, especially when it comes to equipping their camp. Consider the vintage pop cooler (remember the ones that held glass bottles in chilled water?) that sits beside the fridges: Wilson rescued it from being junked, repainted it, lined it with rigid foam insulation, and converted the 7Up server into an ice chest.
To renovate the refrigerators (both hand-me-downs from a local fly-in camp), Wilson spent a weekend removing what he calls “the guts,” including the rear grille, burners, and compressors. For a finishing touch, he spray-painted the fridges—considerably lightened by the loss of their innards—yellow and red. “That’s my wife’s colour scheme,” he says. “Everything is bright and cheery.”
Now one Servel acts as a linen closet, while the other stores food. “They’re 100-per-cent mouse-proof,” Wilson says, admiring his handiwork. After all, when you can thwart the rodents and avoid a lot of heavy lifting, that’s a winning idea.