In the days before electricity and piped natural gas, family kitchens in modestly sized homes were large but very simple. They contained a heat source (like a wood burning stove) for cooking and a built-in sink with or without running water. Everything else was a piece of furniture. The family kitchen was the central work and social place of the home where family members and sometimes friends performed most domestic chores and socialized with each other.
When electricity and gas brought many timesaving devices to the kitchen fewer people were needed to prepare meals, losing the kitchen's social importance. With more leisure time, socializing was delegated to other living areas of the house because, in most instances, the kitchen was too small.
Builders have now come full circle and realized the importance of the kitchen. More people are choosing to entertain within the comfort of their home. Plans have incorporated the kitchen as a social room again. New homes almost always have a breakfast/family room in complete view of the kitchen, such as in the great room concept. The new kitchen is designed to once again be the central hub for gathering in the house.
The kitchen atmosphere itself breeds easy hospitality and social ambiance by lending itself to flexible numbers; you can always pull up another chair. It is certainly the most used room of the house. Consider how many times you enter and use the kitchen in your normal weekend routine:
7:00am – Wake up and make coffee
7:30am – Breakfast
8:00am – Read the paper/Surf the web for top stories
9:00am – Plan lunch and dinner
10:00am – Girlfriend comes over for small talk
11:00am – Sort through the mail
12:00pm – Lunch
3:00pm – Snack
3:30pm – Listen to the radio
4:30pm – Start dinner
6:00pm – Dinner
7:30pm – Clean up and make to-do list for the next day
Now add children to this scenario and multiply the number of entrances and exits into the kitchen exponentially.
For most families, the kitchen serves as central command for the home and has become a pseudo second family room. Whether you are a gourmet cook or microwave diva, everyone seems to gather in the kitchen!
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