The Frankfurt Kitchen

David Trammel's picture

We forget that at one time, kitchens weren't these big rooms in the house with lots of cabinet space, stainless steel appliances and counter top islands but were corners of the living room or small closet size nooks. I suspect that will return once declining resources puts the death to McMansions and we all learn to live with less space.

Here is a fascinating look at the first small kitchens.

The Frankfurt Kitchen Changed How We Cook—and Live

While I am still planning to build a small office and garden shed in the backyard, with green house to develop a large garden for when I retire, I'm also planning to turn half my sister's basement into a bedroom and kitchenette, for living in during the very high heat Summer months and very cold Winter months. Like many older homes, she has a corner of her basement with water taps and a floor drain for laundry. I'm going to expand that into a laundry and kitchen space, with a half bathroom. I'll have to read further on how smaller kitchens were laid out.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Somehow I'm just getting around to reading this article six months after you posted. I see in the reconstructed Frankfort kitchen there is a fireless cooker next to the electric stove. I saw one at an antique store locally, too. Funny how knowledge of those has nearly left our culture.

I must say, the article has inspired me to go find the bundt pan I never use any more-- and to get rid of it.

alice's picture

Coming from the opposite perspective of vernacular local architectures in these islands, the kitchen is the living space -- the luxury of being able to close a door on the kitchen is the novelty. If you look at traditional cottages in the UK the downstairs room is where the stove/range is, and the table at which food is prepared, homework is done and so on. Also laundry, which is hung around the fireplace, as are hams, sides of bacon, and drying herbs, on hooks in the inglenook. I guess this is because the traditional household is a workplace -- a place where food is prepared but also clothing constructed and mended and laundered; and where food is preserved for trade or storage for use during winter.

Then upstairs the room or rooms are full of bed. If numbers make it necessary the downstairs room would also be a bedroom, for instance when visitors came, or elderly relatives, or after a son passed adolesence -- he would sleep next to the hearth downstairs until he got accomodation with a job. Reading some of the memoirs such as 'Lark Rise to Candleford' gives a background perspective on the social accomodations of ordinary people in the UK only a century or so ago. Much like in the rest of the world I guess. But deeply unfashionable in the UK at present. So many people seem to be striving for perfect artificial nails, perfect dyed and heat treated hair, luxury clothing, the latest phone . . . a different world. I suppose it's a display of not having to be bothered with cooking, cleaning, mending, conserving for the winter.