The Evolution of American Kitchen: From Galley to Gathering Space (cont.)

By the 1900s, the kitchen became a utilitarian room for food preparation, and as women’s roles in the household evolved, so did the kitchen. The “ice box” and coal or wood burning stove added some convenience, but they were cumbersome, messy, and heavy. Decade by decade, dramatic changes were concocted, according to the Daring Gourmet.

By the 1920s, kitchens got a pop of color and some organization, including linoleum floors, colorful rugs, stand-alone cabinets, spice racks and calendars to help women run a household. The 1930s ushered in toasters and ice boxes. The “working triangle” layout – developed by the University of Illinois School of Architecture in the 1940s – established the perfect layout for navigating the storage, preparation and cleanup space of a kitchen. By then, cabinets were built into walls. Refrigerators and compact gas ovens made homemakers happier. Convenience and ease of use was key.

The 1950s brought in a decade of pink, yellow, green, and blue fridges, sinks and stoves. Kitchens featured print wallpaper, mixers, toaster ovens, milkshake makers and electric devices. Some counter space for mixers and food processing gadgets was added. Largely utilitarian, the kitchen was a space for food preparation, but not necessarily serving. Living rooms and dining rooms were still overwhelmingly used for family meals.

In a nod to the feminist movement and the rise of dual-income households, the 1960s kitchen included more time-saving items, including dishwashers. Cooking, preparation and cleaning time was shorter.

The 1970s featured mustard yellow, burnt orange and moss green counter space. By the 1990s, open floor plans, wine racks and other features made the kitchen more central.

By early 2000, kitchen islands transformed the kitchen allowing multipurpose use, including showing off food prep skills or eating informal meals.