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Kitchens tell us so much about the prevailing culture and are a reflection of its values and philosophies. They play a prominent role that it plays in our lives in both the physical and social structure of the home. Kitchens started out as totally utilitarian and, being noisy, hot and messy, were relegated as far from the “living” areas of a home as possible. Throughout their history, no other room in the house underwent more changes than the kitchen, due to ever-constant advancements such as the invention of cast iron, electricity, and plumbed water.
In the 19th century, kitchen work was the purview of women only and were totally workspaces where guests would never enter. In the early 1900s, kitchens became much more efficient, especially with inventions such as gas as the preferred source of heat and the Hoosier Cabinet. In the 1930s and 1940s, technology, kitchen appliances integrated with cabinetry, helped create a sense of interior design and easy workflow with the space. In the mid-century, kitchens became more quiet, more clean and more organized. By the 1960s, designer kitchens came into vogue. Kitchens became a locus for the at-home chef. As the century came to a close, more and more often, kitchens were built for entertaining. Today, the goal of many homeowners is to have a kitchen for aesthetic pleasure along with ultimate functionality.