By Sheria Butler & Sarah Karpf
American kitchens in the late 19th century were primarily used as workrooms and little consideration was given to make the space look anything but what it was used for–function (Geerte).
Upper class kitchens were the territory for servants only, while kitchens for the working class were smaller, multi-purpose rooms. More houses were able to get hot water and sewer pipes and used gas or wood for lights and stoves. Since the stove was constantly on (which made this room the warmest place in the house) the kitchen was used not only for cooking but often living, sleeping and bathing too (Early 20th Century American Kitchen). Due to the function of the family being in one central area, it created the idea that the kitchen was the heart of the home.
“Now, in the 21st century, change in our lifestyle and homes is set to make the kitchen the nerve center of everyday living (Kershaw).” The layout of the kitchen has changed dramatically since the 1800’s. Today in many homes one can enter their home through the kitchen or an adjacent mudroom or foyer that directly connects to the kitchen. The kitchen is a symbol and the center of one’s home. Humans are social beings, so we look towards the kitchen as the heart of the home, a place where friends and family can come together to prepare food, eat and socialize (Kershaw). Now, the kitchen is also a place for entertainment with the existing use of TV, iPads, and computers. The kitchen acts as a communication hub within a household enabling the family members to communicate through written notes, pictures, etc. within their kitchen.
The décor and aesthetic of one’s kitchen has become a focal point in the 21st century allowing individual’s kitchens and appliances to make a statement. In addition to looking stylish a functional kitchen is planned and furnished for maximum efficiency; not only is storage a necessity but traffic flow through the area needs to be convenient as well (Cyprus). People are designing kitchens that work best for their family. With modern technology, the ability to have a more personal and functional kitchen is becoming more prevalent and appropriate for the time.
Kitchens are going to continue to emphasize the connectivity and communication between families. An abundance of different technologies are going to develop; smart materials will surface to allow individual’s appliances to interact with their environments by conserving water, energy and waste management, as well as, materials infused with anti-bacterial agents that will ensure food safety (Kershaw). Kitchens will also be able to connect individuals with their consumer lifestyles.
Kitchens will continue to be a place for families to personalize. People will start to be able to modify their kitchens to their individual needs, and monitor nutritional efficiency and suggest meal options as well as physical activity. Kitchens will not only be a hub for a home but will become a part of one’s lifestyle and act as the “command center” of one’s life (The Future of Kitchens). With the increasing consciousness of the environment, plant life will develop and become more integrated within everyone’s daily lives and kitchens.
The emphasis on the environment and the importance of eating healthy foods will continue to grow within society and one’s home, especially within urban areas and communities. The trend of rooftop gardens will not only be limited to one’s rooftop, as the kitchen will become a place where individuals can grow natural and organic foods. People will be able to bring the plant life indoors to not only support healthy eating habits but to bring life and vegetation into one’s interior (The Future of Kitchens).
Cyprus, Sheri, and Bronwyn Harris. “What Is Functional Kitchen Design?” WiseGeek. Conjecture, 2003-2013. Web. 06 May 2013
“Early 20th Century American Kitchens.” Kitchens from 1900 to 1920. N.p., 2008. Web. 06 May 2013.
Geerte. “Victorian Cooking and Kitchens.” The Victorian Era. N.p., 21 Nov. 2007. Web. 06 May 2013
Kershaw, John. “The Kitchen of The Future.” EuroGraduate Live. N.p., 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.
“The Future of Kitchens.” Ikea. N.p., 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.