Pocchio 1Kinsey PocchioMrs. CorbettAP Literature6 November 2011 Senior Project Paper Americans eat three meals a day, every day. Usually, at least one of these meals isprepared in their own kitchen. Since food is such an important part of human development andhealth kitchens are considered one of the most important rooms of the house. This is why, nomatter where a person lives, there will be a kitchen. Kitchens take a lot of work to be madeperfect and a kitchen designer must not only know how much kitchens have evolved over theyears but kitchen measurements, kitchen accessories, color, and lighting are all factors they mustkeep in mind throughout the kitchen designing process. People throughout the world are gaining interest in kitchens and kitchen design. Kitchensare considered one the most important rooms of the house because as Rossbach states the kitchenis where “the family’s nourishment is prepared…in the ancient Chinese tradition from whichFeng Shui is derived, that room is associated with wealth” (qtd. in Gerber 74). Interior decoratorsand kitchen designers spend time studying Feng Shui because people are gradually accepting theChinese belief that proper Feng Shui makes people feel healthy and live better lives. Back inmedieval times fat lords were considered to be wealthier and better off than others, this furtherproves that the kitchen is a room associated with wealth. John Bredemeyer stated on behalf ofthe Appraisal Institute that “the kitchen has evolved from a room where food is prepared to the
Pocchio 2hub of the house…a kitchen expansion is one of the best ways to increase your property value”(“Six Cures for the Small-Kitchen Blues” Garskof 63-65). A kitchen expansion if one of the bestways to increase property value due to the fact that more people today buy their homes for thekitchen rather than for some other room. Kitchens also provide a lot of property value because ofthe large amount of time individuals spend perfecting their kitchens. “Explorations and researchhave centered on creating kitchens that are flexible and maximize efficiencies for both“housewives” and workingwomen and men” (Schneiderman 17). Flexible kitchens are essentialin everyday life because multiple people need to be allowed to cook in any kitchen. It is alsoimportant to maximize efficiency in kitchens because people want to be able to cook a meal asfast as possible in today’s society as opposed to how kitchens used to be. The kitchens of today are a direct reflection on many decades of evolvement and largeamounts of technology; kitchens have evolved a lot over time. “Long before the Europeancolonists arrived, Native Americans had cooked on open fires or hot stones. The colonistsbrought the idea of a more permanent hearth within a specific room; the kitchen” (Irvine 534).The kitchens that are in America today are not necessarily “American”; they come fromcollaborations of different types of kitchens from different groups of people. “Early Americanmanor houses, especially in the South, usually had separate kitchens, often connected with thehouse by a covered way or porch” (“Kitchen” 1). Once the colonists came to the New World thekitchen made a major evolvement, it moved inside. At this time, however, kitchens were still sounimportant that they were not considered part of the actual home. Stephen Crafti explains that“In the victorian period, the kitchen…was the “back of the house”, or even located in a detachedbuilding.” and that “While the kitchen’s status moved up a few notches over the next couple ofdecades, it never came close to competing with the formal rooms of the house” (6). Kitchen
Pocchio 3evolvement was not an important thing in the colonial and Victorian periods. Crafti, however,did explain change was going to come soon. The largest development of kitchens happened inthe late 1900’s. Although kitchens did become more important once to colonists came to America theystill have lots of room to evolve throughout the 1900’s. “With the building of larger houses, thekitchen became a separate room” (“Kitchens” 1). With the advancement of technology houses,and kitchens, became larger. As the kitchens became larger they became a separate room ofeveryday houses. Crafti states that “while the 1950s kitchen heralded a new wave of domesticmodernity, [the kitchen] still remained separate from the informal living areas of thehouse….however, there was a service hatch, which allowed meals to be served into the adjacentdining areas” (6-7). The introduction of the service hatch shows a bridge developing between thekitchen and the family. The more the people acknowledged their kitchens the more developedthe kitchens could become. Crafti also stated that “in the 1950s, with the explosion of newkitchen appliances, the kitchen progressed to being a showpiece for modernity” (6-7). Due to theintroduction of new kitchen appliances people became more interested in developing theirkitchens. This is due to the fact that new appliances made it easier for people to cook in theirkitchens, making them more user friendly. With the start of a new decade kitchen evolvementcontinued at a surprising rate. The late 1900s affected the design and layout of kitchens everywhere. Crafti furtherexplains that “the 1960s saw a bridging of the kitchen and informal meals area” (6-7). This is thefirst time in history that American kitchens joined with the family eating area. This showscooking becoming a part of people’s everyday lives. “As women entered the workforce thedivision between the kitchen and the dining area became less defined” (Crafti 6-7). Due to the
Pocchio 4fact that women were the biggest users of kitchen it is not surprising that once they stoppedbeing at home as much the kitchen became even more important to the home. This is due to thefact that men had to start helping their wives in the kitchen. “By the last quarter of the twentiethcentury, kitchens were designed on an open plan, where not only cooking but also familyactivities…took place” (Irvine 536). The twentieth century shows a final collection of aspectsfrom other kitchens over the years. The kitchen in the twentieth century is the heart of the homeand the place that all family members come together to enjoy each other’s company and eat.Considering the fact that kitchens are incredibly important to everyday life it is understandablethat so much work goes into kitchen design. Knowing how to design kitchens is an art; and the best way to master any art is to startwith the basics. “A distinct cleanup center, mix center, and cooking center are the basic buildingblocks of a good kitchen layout” as stated by Sam Clark, kitchen designer and author (Goudiss1). The basic building blocks are the things every kitchen must have in order to functionproperly. Without these things people will have much more stress when cooking than if theseguidelines are followed. “In addition to a sink, cabinets, and refrigerators, many [kitchens] havea dishwasher, trash compactor, garbage disposal, and smaller appliances” (“Kitchens” 1). Whilecertain things are required to have in order to make a kitchen work well other things are neededto make life for people easier. Many people believe appliances are the most important aspect ofkitchens because they aid some much in cooking. Another basic of kitchen design is the“triangle”. Kitchens designers must keep specific measurements in mind when putting a kitchentogether. Maria Goudiss states that “the triangle is an imaginary line from the sink to the cooktop to the refrigerator and back to the sink. The sum of all the distances should be no more than
Pocchio 5[twenty-six] feet, and each leg of the triangle should be no less that [four] feet or more than[nine] feet” (1). The triangle is an important aspect of kitchen design because if objects are tooclose together people will have no room to maneuver. Also, if a kitchen is spread too far apartcooking will take long. “Any entry door should not interfere with appliance doors and appliancedoors should not get in the way of each other” (Goudiss 1). If appliance doors and too closetogether both will not be able to be opened at the same time. Not being able to open two doors atthe same time can slow down cooking momentously. Catherine Beecher and Harriet BeecherStowe stated that “half the time and strength is employed in walking back and forth to collectand return articles used” (Schneiderman 4). If not for the “triangle” people would still havecomplaints similar to those of Beecher and Beecher Stowe. The “triangle” eliminated a lot ofissues in kitchens. Another complaint most kitchen owners have is the lack of counter space. With most kitchen appliances being invented every day people are losing important spacein their kitchens. “Being integral to open-plan living areas…storage is often concealed.Likewise, the fridge and pantry are often tucked away behind a door” (Crafti 6-7). Havingstorage concealed saves counter space and makes the room look a lot more open. Refrigeratorstake up so much room that it is important that they get put in a part of the room that they are notin the way. Josh Garskof states that “if [a] kitchen is skimpy on counter-tops, create extraspace…with a sturdy counter-height worktable. Get a table with locking wheels and roll itagainst the wall when it’s not in use” (“The Three-Figure Kitchen Makeover” 50-53). Morecounter space would help any cook in their effort to prepare a meal. A table that is easy to movewould make a kitchen easy to walk through during the day while still giving the family cooksmore room to work when needed. Garskof also says “free up existing counter space by mountingsmall appliances under the cabinets. Since microwaves are giant space hogs, consider installing a
Pocchio 6built-in-and-vent combo over the stove” (“The Three-Figure Kitchen Makeover 50-53). Whileappliances such as microwaves are helpful in cooking they take up valuable counter space. Thatis why it is important to find ways to hang appliances out of the way. There are also ways to savespace throughout the rest of the kitchen. People can choose to either find ways to save space or completely redesign part of theirkitchen. Megan Kaplan explains that “space expanding tricks [include] raising the ceiling a foot,enlarging the existing windows, and adding two more for natural light” (89-90). If windowsallow enough light in they can open up a room. A higher ceiling also gives people more room tobreathe, making the room feel completely different. “A corner booth is a practical space saver ina small kitchen” (Bartolomeo 112). Just like putting a refrigerator in a tucked away part of theroom putting places to sit in corners can add a lot more room to a small kitchen. Also, booths donot require stools which can sometimes get in the way in a kitchen. “Opt for backless stools, andthey can be tucked almost entirely under the counter” (“Six Cures for the Small-Kitchen Blues”Garskof 50-53). Backless stools are the best option for kitchens if they are going to be placed inthe center of the room. This is to ensure people have enough room to walk around kitchenscomfortably. Another important aspect of kitchens is the color. If the color of a kitchen is not right it can make a kitchen feel dark and gloomy. SuzanneGerber says that color “makes cooking easier and whether natural or artificial has a hugeinfluence on mood” (74). The idea of color ties back with the idea of Feng Shui; color can have ahuge impact on people’s moods. After all, no one wants to sit in a darkly painted room. Gerbergoes on to say “white represents purity and should be the main color of a kitchen…avoidexcessive black…and red” (74). Painting a kitchen white will increase to room’s overall appealimmensely. Being in a black or red room will make the people in it have feelings of depression
Pocchio 7and anger. “To open up space, choose white trim and airy wall colors like dove or slate gray, andkeep windows free of full-length curtains” (Kaplan 89-90). Full length curtains in a light coloredroom will have the same effect as if the room were painted dark. With shorter curtains peoplewill be allowed to see outside and the light of the sun will brighten the room even more. Lightsare also extremely important for when the sun cannot light the kitchen up. Any cook with concur the without direct lighting cooking becomes an unnerving andexasperating task. Suzanne Gerber advises that “Overhead beams are associated with friction orseparation, so don’t install them over dining tables or stoves” (74). If the lights used for cookingare hung over the dining table they could ruin the entire feeling of the room and if they are hungover a stove they could cause the cook to get major headaches. This is why people must becareful in where they hang lights in their kitchens. Gerber also says that the stove “should alwaysface outward, so the cook won’t be startled and burn herself. If your stove faces a wall, you canmirror the backsplash or use polished steel to reflect oncoming visitors” (74). If someone were toscare the cook while he or she was cooking it could lead to a disaster. This is why most stoveshave polished backsplashes as described by Gerber. Kitchen design is not an easy task which is why most people who want to design akitchen hire a professional to help them in their endeavor. In order to be good at designingkitchens one should know what the basics of a kitchen are, measurement ideals, kitchenaccessories, good colors to paint a kitchen, and the right kind of lighting to use in each part of akitchen. All of this is influential in designing the perfect kitchen.