Contrast the idea that creating a tiny room all closed in would make history as part of the modernist movement with the open plans that our kitchens have today. Contrast the assigned food storage containers with the many and varied food packages that require adjustable pantry storage for our personalized food preparation and eating habits.
Contrast the concept of no cold food storage with our many, multiple and flexible refrigerators today. Contrast those little food storage cubbies at floor level with the treasured children of today playing on the kitchen floor. And contrast the overall space given to the kitchen with our super-sized kitchens today. In fact, many walk-in pantries today are bigger than this tiny kitchen!
Still, this kitchen is efficient, and in that efficiency, there's a lesson to be learned!
It seems that food prep habits have changed and in many cases been streamlined, but the basic steps have not. It’s hard to imagine that one person cooked from scratch to make meals in that tiny space while today, with all the wonders of technology and beautifully expanded space, we do take-out or use the speed cook oven. The concepts of good lighting, flexibility in work surface heights and warming “drawers” that were added then are still critical to good kitchen design, and thankfully, the options have advanced.
We’ve gone from making our own to prepackaged foods and our storage has adjusted. We’ve changed from one cook to many and our zones have multiplied. We’ve even planned play storage for the little ones where once the food was stored in cubbies.
This may seem like just a nice story, and you might be wondering what we can learn from this or what can you do differently because of this information. As one dear friend and kitchen designer, Lorey Cavanaugh, remarked, “It’s amazing how many people today plan kitchens without regard for basic function, but instead as a place to include a coveted appliance or a look that works, even if the space does not.”
Another friend, architect Hayden McKay, pointed out that this kitchen is larger than many New York apartment kitchens, including hers. I’d say that as we experience the current downsizing of our homes, while the Frankfurt kitchen does not exactly fit the way we live today, it certainly deserves our respect for lasting 80 years and for fitting so much function in such a small space. And, it may just have some concepts to help us stay focused on function as we assess needs and develop programs with our kitchen clients.