Kitchens Past and Present
Kitchens are a fundamental part of any household and believe it or not they’re the product of decades worth of innovation, in function and appearance.
By looking into by looking at past kitchens we may get an idea what to expect from kitchens in the future aesthetically and ergonomically.
This blog takes a look at the history of kitchens and will hopefully provide you with some great inspiration for ways to improve your current kitchen!
Nowadays every kitchen has hot and cold running water, electric refrigeration, cooktop and a surface for food preparation.
With these modern conveniences, it’s easy to forget that over two centuries ago all kitchens were made of an open fire with food hung from massive rafters and cooking utensils consisted of clay pots and stonewares.
Most commonly the kitchens were located in a separate room from the house.
Cooking was thought of an arduous activity, as they were dirty places full of smoke, soot and heat from fireplaces. They usually only occupied by slaves and servants to labour in.
Things started to change when gas cooking and electricity was invented in the early 1900s. People started to use refrigerators, boilers and ovens.
With the industrial revolution and introduction of production line into factories, efficiency became sought after in working environments, the kitchen included.
19th Century Kitchens
In the 19th century the development of the “model kitchen” came about.
Sisters Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe wanted to bring order into the most chaotic room in the home.
They specifically designed storage spaces for ingredients and utensils and put in the latest technology at the time being the wood-burning stove.
20th Century Kitchens
In 1926, Austrian’s first female architect, Margarete Lihotzky, designed the “Frankfurt Kitchen” by drawing inspiration from the Frederick Taylor’s industrial time and motion experiments.
She was commissioned to help solve the housing crisis in post war Germany. Her design became the world’s first mass produced fitted kitchen, designed to let the cook do their work with as little movement between workspaces as possible –known today as the kitchen triangle concept.
After the World War 2, kitchens became the area in the house where housewives would spend the majority of their time so design and function became a big key.
This era also saw the debut of the blender, microwave and toaster, each making an impact on daily household life and lessening the effort it took to whip up a meal.
After the 1950’s the style of the kitchen changed from cheerful and funky with colourful wood and plaster to more minimalistic look, with toned down materials such as stainless steel becoming very popular.
21st Century Kitchens
With busy lifestyles and the conveniences of the 21st century you now have kitchens then can basically do everything for you with ovens that clean themselves, fridges that automatically defrost and utensils that mix all your ingredients.
With Kitchens increasingly becoming a communal area in a household they have slowly integrated into the main living area forming an open-plan space.
People will always be drawn towards the kitchen so make sure you have a well-designed island bench and seating perfect for entertaining guests.
Today there are so many beautiful materials to pick from for an island bench you can basically choose from any type of stone and timber.
Choosing the right splashback is also a fundamental ingredient to any kitchen design. Look at mirrored, coloured glass, tiled or wallpapered splashbacks.
Contrast is key!
Make sure to add some pendant lighting over your island bench to lighten and brighten the space and add a focal point in the room.
You can also use a skylight to maximise light over the benches, which creates a connection to the outdoors space. Also have a look at using black to highlight simple forms which create dramatic contrast.
Now with so many choices to be inspired by it’s the perfect opportunity to create your own contemporary kitchen with a range of materials!