• March 4, 2011

Before Kitchens Were Gathering Areas

Kitchens of the early 1900’s


Can you imagine calling this room the heart of your home? To my modern eyes the early 1900’s kitchen looks rather cold and uninviting, utilitarian, and with all those pipes and exposed brick, industrial.

It is interesting how the industrial look is a current kitchen trend with industrial lighting and stainless steel.

At this time, some kitchens were still located in basements. In many upper middle class and well-to-do families kitchens were the domain of servants. Kitchens of yesteryear were not the hub of family life the way our kitchens are today. Friends gathering around and chatting to the host while she (or, as in my house, he) prepared dinner would have been unimaginable.

“Modern” conveniences such as a water heater, gas range, and garbage incinerator were available, but it is still a few years before what we would recognize or relate to as a modern kitchen of the 1910’s-1920’s.

What do you think of the 1900’s kitchen? Anyone want to go back? :)

Comments { 7 }
  1. cheryl

    What a great collection of photos!

    The stoves in all of them are beautiful… and the floors and the sinks and the windows – I’d keep all of those elements! But the big huge pipes and the water heater right out in the open? Definitely wouldn’t bring those back!

  2. kelly

    These pictures are very telling for kitchens of upper class, servant inhabited kitchens… how about some pictures of farm kitchens… they were gathering places, they were then and continue to be the hearth of the home.

    • Heather

      Hi Kelly! Unfortunately, in the past as today, more humble farm kitchens weren’t photographed as often as high end homes and were rarely included in design publications and books of the era. I grew up on a farm and have much appreciation for farm kitchens!

  3. Down Comforter

    I love the ornate detail of the stoves if only houses had kitchens that big anymore!

  4. CWard

    Yes – I get your point about ‘upstairs’ friends and family not gathering in the kitchen as the host prepared the food – but one could say that we as modern people now desire the lively, friendly, all gathered round the kitchen table atmosphere and lifestyle enjoyed by the servants in the past.

  5. Fernando

    Beautiful and interesting!!. I am writing from Argentina, sorry for my english. I think that kitchens are the “Cinderella” in houses restoration. Ofen, they are demolished or transformed in such way that the original style is not recognozible. I think that kitchens should be included in “patrimonial” concepts to be preserved, as one of the house´s space that more changes suffered as time goes by.
    Congratulation! your site is great!.

    • Heather

      Thanks for your comment! I agree. Kitchens are often one of the most updated and modernized rooms in a home.

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