The Well-Planned Kitchen
I just found this little booklet and I want to share. It is old, from 1921. But so much has not changed at all.
Tips From 1921 That I Can Use Now
Much of the information is still really practical. These are my favorite tips.
Use: Stop letting everyone use the kitchen as a drop zone.
Outlook: Keep the view from the kitchen neat and attractive. Make sure that all there are pavers or something and a door mat so people don’t track dirt in.
Size: This is funny, the small, compact kitchen is 9 by 12 feet. But the point of keeping things closer together so you don’t have to walk so far is still good.
Floor, Walls, and Woodwork: The floor, walls, and woodwork should be smooth, free from cracks, and easy to keep clean. The floor should be easy to clean, comfortable to walk and stand on, and not slippery.
Ventilation: I remember when I didn’t have air conditioning. I rented an apartment with a kitchen smaller than my closet, no window, no vent, narrow door. It was miserable. We ate a lot of salads and sandwiches in the summer. Or grilled out.
Lighting: Make sure the sink, stove and worktable have good light. Use paint colors that reflect light to make a dark room lighter.
Equipment: Your work surfaces should be substantial, easy to keep in order, carefully grouped, and set at such height that you do not have to stoop or strain your muscles as you work. Sink, stove, and worktable should close together to save steps.
The booklet suggests putting the work table on casters to be easily moved where needed. A lot of kitchen islands are on casters now.
It suggests adjusting the height of the work table by raising it on blocks hollowed out to fit the legs.
Rest Corner: What a good idea! Have a comfortable chair and maybe books and magazines to relax in without leaving the kitchen. I know if I wander away, I sometimes forget I am cooking, with sad results.
Is your kitchen a “convenient, well-arranged workshop?”
The booklet concludes with “As you look around your kitchen, does it meet the standards of a convenient, well-arranged workshop?”
Look around your kitchen. What can you takeaway to make it more convenient?
The Well-Planned Kitchen
The conveniently planned and equipped kitchen saves time and labor for the housekeeper and contributes to the health and contentment of the whole family. Good lighting and ventilation are important too in making the kitchen a pleasant workroom.
Remodeling old kitchens is often a difficult problem, but even minor improvements, such as giving walls, woodwork, and floor an attractive, durable, easily cleaned finish, and adjusting table and sink to a comfortable height for the worker, reduce drudgery and save energy.
Is your kitchen used chiefly for the preparation of food, or is it a combination cookroom, laundry, wash – room, passageway, and dining room? It is better to use the kitchen only as a place for preparing and, if necessary, serving food. This is more sanitary and permits more compact and convenient arrangement of equipment. Laundry, wash room, and general storage room are sometimes combined and used as a place for men and children coming in from out of doors to leave work clothes and muddy boots and rubbers.
Is your kitchen conveniently placed with respect to the rest of the house, especially pantry, dining room, cellar, and storeroom? The distances between these rooms should be as short as possible so as to save steps. Differences between floor level of kitchen and dining room, or kitchen and pantry, are sometimes necessary, but they waste time and strength [and often cause serious accidents.
Is the outlook from your kitchen windows pleasant? If not, can you improve it? Cleaning up the back yard will often help, and a hedge or a trellis of vines can sometimes be used to screen undesirable features. Also, trim walks of concrete or some other permanent material and well-seeded lawn about the kitchen door keep much dust and mud from being carried indoors.
Is your kitchen of such size that you can work quickly and conveniently? The small, compact kitchen is economical of the housekeeper’s energy and time; 9 by 12 feet is considered good size. Many kitchens are too large. Partitioning off a dining alcove, or an extra pantry, or even a laundry can sometimes be done at relatively small cost and pays in greater convenience.
Floor, Walls, and Woodwork
Are the floor, walls, and woodwork in your kitchen smooth, free from cracks, and easy to keep clean? The kitchen floor needs a durable finish or covering that grease and water do not affect, and that is easy to clean, comfortable to walk and stand on, and not slippery. Painting, oiling, or covering the floor with some washable material such as linoleum has been found satisfactory. For walls and woodwork, a washable finish of attractive color, such as can be given by a good quality of oil paint, is perhaps best.
Doors and Windows
Are the doors and windows in your kitchen well placed? Badly planned doorways waste wall space and make unnecessary passing through the room. Broad, short windows placed about 3½ feet above the floor are probably the best type for most kitchens.
Is your kitchen well ventilated in winter as well as in summer? Stuffy rooms are fatiguing to work in, and are sometimes the cause of headaches and colds. Simple window ventilators and screens that admit outside air without drafts may be made at home. Transoms over doors are also an excellent means of letting out the heated air near the ceiling of a room.
Are sink, stove, worktable, and other important parts of your kitchen well lighted? Every kitchen needs good artificial lighting as well as plenty of daylight and sun during some part of the day. Dark, gloomy kitchens may often be transformed into cheerful workrooms by cutting an additional window or even by painting walls and woodwork a color that reflects rather than absorbs light. Reflectors behind wall lamps and lights help in throwing light where it is most needed.
Have you hot and cold running water in your’ kitchen? A good supply of running water helps more than any other one thing to lighten kitchen work. If running water is out of the question, can you not at least have a pump in the kitchen? In any case, have a well-lighted sink of material that is durable and easy to clean, and provide a sanitary method of drainage.
Screens and Porches
Are the doors and windows in your kitchen screened? Flies and mosquitoes are a menace to health, and flies especially should be kept out of the kitchen where food is prepared. Metal screens carefully fitted to each window or door are best, but cloth netting tacked on the outside of a window will serve. A screened porch opening from the kitchen makes a pleasant summer dining room and place for preparing vegetables, and in winter may be inclosed in glass and used as a storage place.
Is your permanent equipment substantial, easy to keep in order, carefully grouped, and set at such height that you do not have to stoop or strain your muscles as you work? Sink, stove, and worktable should be near together so as to save steps. Scattered equipment means walking many unnecessary miles during the course of a year. If the kitchen table is on casters it can be easily moved where needed, thus saving steps. The various kitchen tasks can be done most comfortably at different heights. Sinks especially are often set too low; 30 inches from the bottom of the sink to the floor is considered good average height. Experiment until you find the best height for your table, ironing board, and washtubs. The table can be raised on blocks hollowed out to fit the legs, and with a little ingenuity yon can adjust the ironing board and tubs.
Cupboards and Shelves
Have you plenty of well-planned cupboard and shelf space for storing utensils and food supplies? Save steps by grouping similar things and placing them near the part of the room where they will be used. For instance, keep mixing bowls and spoons and such dry materials as sugar and flour near each other if possible. Narrow shelves often economize space better than wide ones and are easier to clean and to keep in order. Low cupboards are on the whole preferred to those reaching to the ceiling, and are not so likely to become “catch-alls.”
Is there a comfortable chair in which you can rest while bread is baking or dinner cooking? A gay colored washable cover on the cushion of the chair sometimes furnishes just the color needed to brighten the room. Some kitchens even have a rest corner with table and books and magazines by the comfortable chair.
As you look around your kitchen, does it meet the standards of a convenient, well-arranged workshop?