Open Kitchens

Yes, kitchens that aren’t separated from living rooms are weird. I still can’t get used to them.

But the concept has an interesting history. Initially, such kitchen designs were considered a huge feminist advance. They allowed the person who cooked (and that was obviously almost always a woman) not to be isolated from the family while she was cooking. The sequence of “a woman goes into a kitchen => food magically emerges from said kitchen” was broken. Now everybody in the family could see how much work went into food preparation. Plus, a woman didn’t have to cook in silence (or while on the phone with another cooking woman.)

However, there was a negative side to this new design. It allowed and even promoted the brain-destroying, soul-crushing, concentration-slaughtering multi-tasking that leads so many women into anxiety and extreme exhaustion. Now that kitchen and living room were one, cooking was invariably combined with child-minding. So instead of a restorative activity based on a deep concentration, cooking became an exercise in trying to control several very different things simultaneously.

The result is that nobody wants to cook because it’s not even pleasant any more.

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3 thoughts on “Open Kitchens”

  1. Did the popularity of open kitchen design coincide with the rise of open workspaces?

    Because open spaces at work and open spaces at home would piss me off. I am a huge introvert.

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    1. I hate open-plan offices passionately. I find it impossible to keep my office door open, so people think I’m never in the office. In reality, I spend about 6 hours a week in there because I don’t like to bring anything teaching or service related home. When I work, it’s very intense. I go into a zone, and I don’t tolerate any interruption. So I keep it closed. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to do all the prep, the tests, and the service paperwork in those 6 hours.

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  2. It can also disguise how small a house is (although I know it’s currently all the rage with people can afford any size of house they want) our house doesn’t have a separate dining area at all, and the kitchen flows into the living room. If it was completely separate, we would never be able to fit more than a couple extra people around our table

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