This post is part of an ongoing series on home decorating using Decorating Liveable Homes written by Elizabeth Burris-Meyer and published in 1937 by Prentice-Hall.
There was a charm about the glowing stove with the cat on the mat under the oven, the dimity curtains and the cuckoo clock, which differs greatly from the modern kitchen. Nevertheless, the quaintness of the old kitchen cannot be introduced into the modern one without making both seem out of place. ~Elizabeth Burris-Meyer
What do my mother-in-law’s kitchen in a restored Civil War era farm house and a friend’s showcase kitchen in a mcmansion have in common? Neither are cooking friendly.
For all of her talk about entertaining in other rooms of a house, Mrs. Burris-Meyer is fairly pragmatic about the kitchen and never once mentions it as a room for entertaining. She tells us to take advantage of the latest scientific studies on efficiency so that we can enjoy cooking. Last spring I mentioned I was in kitchen lust over The Step Saving Kitchen after seeing Retro Ruth’s link to a video of The Step Saving Kitchen on her No Pattern Required blog. The layout and decoration of a kitchen can really make or break its usefulness for cooking.
My first apartment had a galley style kitchen. It wasn’t very big but it had tons of counter space (topped with Formica) and it was a breeze to use and keep clean. Our loft also had a galley kitchen but it wasn’t very efficient and could be difficult to use. You see, the previous tenant had put the kitchen up on a platform to delineate it from the rest of the room and had installed porous/unglazed clay tiles that were unevenly laid, with deep valleys between each one, onto the counters and island. Additionally, I had to step down off of the platform to get to the refrigerator. It looked great but I’m guessing he rarely ate at home.
In our grandmother’s days, the kitchen was the heart of the home. Then a trend toward making it a showcase (no dirty dishes allowed!) came into vogue because eating out, having take-out, or just zapping some sort of frankenfood in the microwave became the norm. Now, it seems, there is a movement afoot in favor of “good home cooking” using locally grown/produced food and the kitchen is once again becoming the heart of the home.
Mrs. Burris-Meyers finishes the section on kitchens by reminding us that railroad dining cars are models of efficiency. Later, Pan Am used to have fully functioning kitchens on their planes. If legendary meals can be produced in a galley of train or airplane, just imagine what can be accomplished in a real kitchen!
How is your kitchen decorated? Is it enjoyable to use or does the layout make it seem like a chore?