Saturday, February 6, 2010

6 February 1956 “Planning a Dream Kitchen and some Recipes”

I found this wonderful film from 1949 about remodeling your kitchen. They performed various tests and studies at colleges to decide the best way to lay out a kitchen by using and studying homemakers. Take a moment to watch it as I discuss it below.

For some reason the whole movie may not show up, if it does not, then follow this link HERE.

I have been studying my various homemaker manuals, magazines of the year and keeping my own running list of my ‘wishes’ and ‘needs’ for my ‘new kitchen’. This film does a great job of an overall layout plan. I like when they show how to make affordable lighting for the farmer who has less money (and they use fluorescent bulbs, which might seem not as pretty but really, how green they were then and they didn’t even know it!)

I think the planning center so important.

The Cookbook holder in the door in the ‘mixing center’ is pure genius. Such a simple solution and yet, so many times I have had to juggle my cookbooks and how I hate to get anything on my nice vintage books.

The pull down bins for flour and such are just as they have in the old Hoosier cabinets (which these 1950’s ladies mother’s and grandmothers most likely used)

Even the spinning corner cabinet has the intelligent move of a smaller shelf on top.

It’s funny when you think how small, but effective, these kitchens were and how kitchens have grown so LARGE to the present day and yet how many of them sit unused or just to heat up premade foods!

You can bet I am going to make one of those pull out work centers. It is so nice and would be great when preparing vegetables for canning or peeling apples for applesauce etc. And I like that the worktable can be moved next to her. I wish I knew what she was doing while sitting there. It appears she is ironing some form of plastic that is sealing her food she is preparing. IN the 1950’s freezing food was all the vogue and canning thought rather old fashioned, so the new young wife was all about that. I, however, don’t mind freezing some things, but I prefer the idea of canning, as it will use less electricity than a large freezer and I am sure the ladies back then did not pay what WE pay for electricity today. Does anyone know what product she is using in that part of the film when she is ironing plastic at the work station?

When I saw the hole in the counter with the bucket underneath for vegetable prep I almost sprang from my chair! Yes, I want that. So smart and makes so much sense. And great, if you like to compost, as you can take your bucket and empty it into your mulch pile. Really wonderful. That is a definite for my ‘new’ kitchen. I like the idea of the potato and onion storage there as well, though I would probably have that much smaller or not at all. I will most likely have a dark space build in my pantry for those.

I like the bins over the stove (cooker) but not sure if tea and spices should be kept over the heat. I have heard that that can spoil their flavor, yet, it is nice to have them there. Maybe, as they are in little tins set into the wall behind wood, they are protected. I am definitely going to think about it. I have some cute little vintage milk glass bottles of spices (in one of my old blogs from last year I showed how I copied a pattern from my collection of corning ware bowls to decorate them) But it might be nice to buy the spices, empty the contents into a drawer with a little scoop (they sell these scoops at a local store that is a darling old place) and then just scoop as need be, then I wouldn’t have to fuss when the little holes in the jars get plugged from the spices.

I also like that in this area over the stove there is even a secondary place for flour which is used when thickening sauces and gravies, so well thought out! I also like that the counter space next the stove shares the wall with the dining room and then those dish cabinets have a slider that opens into the dining room. So smart and saves steps for setting the table, clever indeed!

I love the little cabinet behind the sink for the soaps and things you use most. I hate to have packaging out and sometimes put my dish soap in a cute decanter, but to be able to just keep that away in the closed cupboard but not have to stoop under the sink would be great. This built out area would also afford a great spot to have plants, such as herbs, on a good size sill and obviously to orient the sink towards the sunniest part of the kitchen.

I like the idea of cutlery and silver drawers being above counter height and that space to dry dishtowels, very smart as well. It would save on having to feel the need to wash the dishtowels more than needed. I would think a well dried dish towel would last a few days and still be clean, as it is just wiping off clean dishes.

The smaller storage closet would also be a boon to keep your broom and stepstool etc at hand but out of the way, this could really be a fairly shallow closet. I love that all of the cabinets are just built from basic lumber. I am going to have to try my hand at making simple drawers and such, as I want to really specialize my cabinets to MY needs. It will be so much cheaper than buying prefab cabinets, they will be of nice wood and I can finish them how I like! I also want to make space for a kitchen table, or breakfast nook area when I do our kitchen. Now, hubby and I eat our breakfast in the dining room and while it being darker is nice in the evening as you are winding down with dinner, not very good in the morning. Bright light and a view of the garden would be my hope. Maybe cheery white and butter yellow with display for my inherited collection of milk glass.

The ledge at the kitchen dining area is also so smart. Lately I have been wanting to make room on the sideboard to have the percolator plugged in while we are eating breakfast, but this shelf in the breakfast nook would be perfect and you could have the toaster there as well as the coffee plugged in. And of course some plants and maybe some light reading material to enjoy on a Sunday morning.

I like that the point, at the end of the film, is that the homemaker, due to the well planned kitchen, can actually sit down and enjoy the meal with her family. So important, I think. Even though I am the one doing all the ‘work’, I really enjoy mealtime with hubby. To be sat down at a nicely set table, linens, water pitcher everything at hand, is really enjoyable. We can sit and talk at our leisure and it really frames out our days together.

So, I am not sure if any of those ideas would apply to any of you, but I was really impressed with how well laid out that small space was. It definitely helps me to realize I do not need a kitchen much larger other than space for a table to eat and a ‘workstation’.

Now, that film was immediately post war and meant as a very efficient work space for a farmers wife (though I am going to apply many of it’s suggestions)

Now, gals, lets look at another film on Kitchen Design, this one is from 1957. You will see some differences, but still good ideas. Perhaps this film will be more helpful to you in your kitchen design. Let’s watch first, then discuss.

Again, if the movie isn’t showing the whole picture go to this link HERE.


Okay, first off, I adore her dressing gown! That might have to be one of my monthly dress making challenges, maybe March. And I love her high heeled gold slippers.

Now, this film is more about concept than actual practical know how like the first film. You can see how in only 8 years things such as washing machines/dryers and dishwashers as well as the kitchen ‘family room’ are becoming typical parts of the middle class American household. Still, some good advice and fun images and what a pretty dress too!

I found some more interesting films of the time that I will be sharing in future blogs.

50s countrykitchen  I am beginning to like the idea of wall ovens and a separate stove top. Although I really like many of the vintage stove (combined cooker and range top) I think, especially for me as I am tall, that the stoop to the oven would be nice to leave behind. I also like the idea of storage under the cook top. The only downfall will be that it must be much harder to find vintage separate pieces such as this.

I have, since I do love cooking so and want to further venture into that area in a more ‘gourmet’ turn, considered getting a modern commercial grade stove/oven, such as this.commercialoven It can be rather expensive and I don’t want it to be overwhelming for my little kitchen, but the idea of 6 burners and double ovens does excite me. However, how often would I need so much cooking space. I most like will stick with something vintage.  So, I think over the next month or so I will include more info and discussion on planning our dream kitchens.

Now, for what goes on IN the kitchen, some recipes. I promised a few posts back to share one of my pot roast recipes.

potroast For this roast, what I did was first heat a pan on the stove to VERY hot, but with no oil. Then, making sure you have dried off the raw meat (wipe it with a rag or some sort or cheesecloth). Then I use salt and pepper and thyme some dried rosemary and encrust the raw meat. Then, pan-sear it in the dry hot pan just until it browns. This should not take very long. Just turn it until all the sides are browned, then set aside. Now, into that hot pan with it’s lovely bits of meat/fat and seasonings from the roast, pour in some oil to cover the bottom of the pan (olive or vegetable). Then as that is heating up, cut up onions and garlic to cook in the oil until sweet brown. Now, to this add one cup of tomato sauce and bring to a boil, then cook to reduce it to about half the original amount. (I just eyeball it). When that is done, make a tinfoil boat and fill the bottom of it with half the cooked sauce and then put in the roast, pour the rest on, throw some fresh potatoes in there and tent it up tight. Now cook in a slow over (about 200-300) for a few hours. During the last 30 minutes, I add the vegetables. I don’t mind the vegetables being very cooked as the vitamins will be in the sauce.It is very good this way, I think.

I always say to save your grease/fat/drippings etc. You can make wonderful things with it. Last nights dinner was ‘stuffed chicken thighs’. I usually by my beat bone in, as then you can boil the bones for stock. I had some leftover drippings from something similiar to the above recipe, with tomato garlic etc that I had cooked chicken in earlier in the week. I just kept the fat in the freezer.

So, I deboned the chicken thighs (and set these aside to make soup stock). Then I spread them out and pan seared them in the heated leftover drippings until they were lightly browned. I made rice separately and as I had cornbread earlier in the week, I saved the crumbs and bits you sometimes get left in the pan. In the last few minutes of the rice cooking, I threw those in with some butter. Then I layed out two of the thighs, filled with stuffing and set another thigh on top and closed with toothpicks. SO, when I served it I used the toothpicks as little holders for some of the cooked mushrooms. stuffed chicken1I just love little touches like these as I feel they are part of the art of cooking and even if it is quaint, twee, or kitchsy, it seems rather vintage. It also elicits a smile from hubby, as well, and shows I put some thought into tonights dinner.stuffed chicken2This was really just to show how much can be made out of so little. Those bones got boiled yesterday with seasonings and will be soup with homemade biscuits for tonight’s dinner.

  I don’t recall if I ever showed my ‘birthday gift’ in action. Hubby had got me a vintage mixer with all the attachements and I was excited. Although I have two working handcrank meat grinders, the electric one really makes a difference. Here you can see it in action on some pork.grindingporkI am going to get an attachment that will allow me to stuff my own sausages. This grinder is good not only for raw meat, as I have here with pork, but with cooked leftover meat. You can grind it up and make patties or rissoles. For example, cooked pork, bread, apple and onion sent through this mixer to make the base, then form into patties or balls then pan fry or oven bake, so yummy. A mincer/grinder allows you to take leftovers and make so many great dishes.

I think I have shared my cheesecracker recipe before, but if not here it is. If you have never tried it, you must. They are very easy and you won’t believe the taste. Here they are rolled out and I simply use a pizza cutter to cut to desired size.cheesecrackers1Here are some I cut out longer and made into cheese straws and served with a dinner I had for friends. cheesestrawsThey look lovely on the table and are so good before the meal with salad and straight on through to dessert!

1 Stick of Butter  at room temperature
2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese (also good with half cheddar and half Romano)
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon  pepper

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1. Preheat your oven to 325°

2. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl until dough chases itself around the bowl.

3. Dump the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to bring it together forming a ball of dough.

4. Roll out dough to 1/8 or 1/4 inch.  If the dough is too loose to roll, toss it into the fridge for 15 minutes.

5. Once rolled out, cut the crackers.  You can use a knife, pizza cutter, ravioli cutter, cookie cutters, whatever you like. I like the rough texture of the hand cut, but for a tea or something, little shapes from cutters might be more appropriate.

6. Place the crackers onto a cookie sheet  with cooking paper. You can even butter the paper to make them yummier!

7. Bake for 11 minutes or until the crackers start to get just golden on the edges.

8. Place on a cooling rack until the crackers are no longer warm.

And then be prepared for you family to praise you and ask for the often!


  1. Help, please. I don't see the links. :(

  2. PS: Thank you for the recipes. I really enjoyed this post.

  3. computer trouble again. The movies, if they don't play should now have the links thanks.

  4. Thanks for the links. Great films.
    First film:
    I don't like the items stored over the stove. Steam and grease would ruin them. One does need an exhaust fan of some sort even if it isn't necessarily vintage. The other problem is having drawers and cupboards open directly across the counter - you'd have to move anything and everything that happened to be working on at the time. Third, I'm short. Most of those designs wouldn't work for me, but I sure can see them being helpful for a tall cook. This film does have some amazing ideas, though.

    The second film had a very major flaw in one of the designs. For safety reasons, a stove top should never be under a window. A down drafted stove might be the exception. I'm not familiar enough with those to know for sure. Besides, who wants to have to wash the window every time you cook?

    Cooktop and separate ovens vs range: You can have the cooktop and ovens built in at a heights that comfortable for you.

  5. the lady sitting down at the pull-out workstation seems to be putting something into a set of boxes which have cellophane envelopes on the outside, and then ironing one flap of the cellophane to close the envelope down over the box.

    the person above is correct about the doors opening out over the work surface, but one could leave those shelves without doors, put sliding doors in, or hang a curtain instead of doors. just some thoughts!

  6. These film were quite interesting. The first one was most helpful to me, as I'm currently planning my kitchen and the work centers were specific enough to work in my 1930's kitchen. (I'm not making the kitchen 1930's but my house was built in 1930 and we're not making it bigger. So a compact well organized arrangement is needed. I also liked how they allowed for a real amount of serving pieces and cooking equipment. So many plans don't provide enough room for the amount of these items I need in my kitchen. Perhaps because so many people no longer really cook, as you said, Donna.)

    The roast looks delicious. I'm going to try it as soon as I get my kitchen back. I really miss cooking.

    I think if you have the space wall ovens and a cook top are nice, especially as you are tall. My former kitchen had them but I gave them up for more counter and storage space in my new one. The range you posted in the picture appears to be a La Canche. I absolutely love these but they are hard to get in the Midwest as they are French and sold in the US only thru an exclusive distributor with show rooms only on the East and West Coasts. There is no show room here so I'd have to buy it without seeing it in person and I wasn't comfortable with it. They offer many versions - some of which are smaller so they wouldn't over power your space. The colors, at least in their catalog, are just beautiful. And I love that they offer a "simmering plate" for more of a European cooking technique. But they aren't wall ovens and if you don't want to stoop it may not be the best choice.

    I'm getting an Aga, hopefully next week! They are made of cast iron and have a vintage look. I chose it because they have more than one oven in a range design. Again, not wall ovens, but a beautiful appliance.

    Thanks again sharing all the wonderful information you find on your 50's journey. I truly appreciate it!!


  7. s-Oh, I LOVE Aga's. At one point hubby and I were desiging a house and I wanted an Aga. It never came about and we sold the land. I always wanted one, but they are so expensive. I had hoped to find one second hand and perhaps I still could. My only concern was that I thought they were 'always on' and not sure how that would affect cost. But, since you are getting one, you can let me know how you like it etc. I am still not sure what to do. I have been making "wish" and "need" cards for my 'dream kitchen' to try and sort out ideas into tangible options. It makes me think of the scen in Mr. Blandings Builds a Dream House, when they first stop at the architects, just to 'see' if they might want to build a house. They are all set on their budget and then after awhile have added so many rooms, it's rather funny. Thank you for you appreciation.

  8. What a great post! I really appreciated the efficiency of the first kitchen. My favorite things were the rotating shelves, and I especially loved that the top shelf was smaller, to allow for long-handled pots, as well as the hidden drying rack for dish towels. I also loved that the work station was portable and had so many other uses. And I have a soft spot for the kitchen table and chairs in this film!

    On the second film, I agree about the dressing gown. Beautiful! It was interesting that ideas such as "pass throughs" were being incorporated, as was a kitchen/family room combination.

    In my previous house, I had a 1970s avacado green kitchen. It wasn't the prettiest kitchen, but I really enjoyed the double wall oven and separate stovetop. The double ovens were so convenient, and it was wonderful to be able to conveniently peek at my food, without stooping over. My current oven requires stooping to look, which I do not care for.

    Your cheese crackers look delish! I need to try those. Thanks again for a great post. The films have given me plenty of food for thought.

  9. Thanks for the videos, they are nice! I've been dreaming about our future kitchen for quite some time now. Right now we rent and our kitchen is just a corner. We have our table inside the kitchen where I prep since I need to sit down. I have an adjustable office chair that I use for the stove. I love the idea of having a sit down space!

    When we buy a place someday (or perhaps it will be the second place we buy due to budget), I'd love to renovate and make an open gallery kitchen:

    -From left to right on the wall with a window in the end on the other wall, with a big island.

    -Fridge on the left on the wall, then cabinets and counters, then a pantry on the right
    -On the island, right in front of the fridge would be a double sink, then place for a cutting board with space underneath for my chair or stool, then stove/oven (not sure yet if I want a separate oven).
    -Maybe some pots and pans hanging from the ceiling on top of the island
    -An office on the wall facing the kitchen
    -Stools for the island

    I really love cherry wood cabinets and would like them to go all the way up to the ceiling for more storage.

  10. Housewife07- Sounds like a good plan. You could have pull out baskets in the island on the sink side for potatoes and onions, garlic, leeks, etc. The "office wall" is smart. My kitchen won't be large enough so I've moved my household office to our family room/basement. We housewives DO need an office, don't we? I was pleasantly surprised to see a planning area mentioned in both films.

    Donna, now I remember you mentioned your Aga love before. I really can't believe I'm actually getting one. I feel so lucky! This is the Aga I'm getting:

    It's more of an American type of range with 6 burners and 4 ovens but doesn't stay on all the time. My hubby had some concerns about it and so did I. Not to mention that they are VERY heavy and we didn't know how much reinforcement we'd have to put into the floor. But it would have been nice as we removed the kitchen radiator so the Aga may have provided enough heat on it's own. Another issue was we couldn't find anyone authorized to service the "cooker" since the system is so different from most ranges and ovens available here.


  11. I love those films, and the stoves are to die for!!!! Where I used to live the house came with a 50's stove, which I quickly got rid of when my grandparents bought me a new one. Aah rush in haste and repent in leisure, I love a good 50's stove and am hoping one day to have on in my house again :)

    On a side note, the chairs in the first film is similar to the ones I have in my kitchen, albeit they are maroon in colour.

    I assume the second film had metal cupboards, like my grandmother had in her kitchen, very cool :)

    Mom in Canada

  12. Sarah: That is a great idea, thanks!! And I didn't know Agas existed before, so thank you for talking about it! Since 50's gal started talking about an office in the kitchen, I thought it was so smart and wonder why so few modern kitchen designs have it.

    I think I will keep at least one room vintage style, probably the laundry room with that nice vintage turquoise.

  13. Oh and that pot roast looks so good! I've never made one, it's something I've been meaning to make for a while!! And those cheese crackers, yum!

  14. I know I shouldn't be, but I am so envious of your mixer! I bet you just love it!

    Will have to try your cracker recipe!

  15. Christine-I am so glad you enjoyed the movies. I was actually quite excited by the first, because it gave me ideas to think about and add to my 'wish' and 'need' list. Perhaps I will post those next time, just for fun.
    hosuewife07-it sounds as if you have it mentally all planned out. That is very good. I used to imagine a more 19th unfitted kitchen, but that was before I was really cooking in it. As I haven't a cook and scullery maid, those plans have now become more 1950's in nature. Though, I will still need to keep a colonial nod to my house, as I think she deserves it, but I am not turning the dinning room back into the keeping room and roasting mutton on the open fire!(althought, that does sound like fun! That will have to wait until 'My Year 1700')
    Sarah- the Aga looks lovely. I had wanted and planned for an English aga and to have it built in to appear to be inserted into the old kitchen fireplace. I liked that it can supply your heat and hot water. Very 1900's house but in a modern way. Perhaps the English versions aren't available here now, I don't know. It was 1999 when we were desiging our house and a big chunk of the kitchen budget was to go to that AGA. I thought, better to have an empty room with a wonderful cooker,right? Of course, then I wasn't a SAHW.
    I love a good Potroast and so tender when done right. I don't like them overcooked and stringy but slow cooked and juicy are a treat!
    Jenn-I adore my mixer, it even had the two original milk glass bowls, as I was so happy, and then proceeded to break the largest bowl last week, I almost cried! luckily, the base works for any of my corning anchor hoking vintage bowls, so no worries. And you cannot go wrong with those crackers. Serve them at your next dinner party and see the response and then, very of matter of fact, reply, "Oh, those, I just whipped those up".

  16. I want a fridge stocked with beer and a huge walk in freezer stocked with meat for my perfect kitchen.

  17. Well, Sean, if we are going to play THAT game I want my fridge stocked with champagne and Pate', a wine cellar stocked and freezer full of pheasant, quail, partridge and other various game. But, I will settle for getting to 'do over' my kitchen.

  18. This is my first time commenting on the blog, and I just have to.

    I LOVE the kitchen in the first film. I already adore everything 40's anyway, so that's right up my alley. My grandmother's kitchen is somewhat similar and she has a couple of revolving shelves. For her pots and pans, storage containers and other stuff like that she has the usual looking cabinets but when you open them, the "shelves" pull out like drawers. My grandfather is a carpenter and he built the kitchen for her and it's just wonderful.

    I'm going to be doing a lot more exploring of the website and your blog. I'm a SAHW and that's the only thing I've ever wanted to do. Hopefully I'll be able to change that SAHW to SAHM before too much longer.

  19. Rachel-welcome to the posting world. I love to read a 'new poster' it always makes me feel good. I also loved that kitchen and as I only want to add a small bump out to my existing kitchen and I want that space to be able to have a breakfast nook, walk in pantry and separate laundry room, I have to really make the over all space VERY well organized. I loved many of the ideas they have in that film.

  20. Thanks for the videos! They were much fun to watch. I like the '49 one better than the '57. The lazy susan shelves, the canisters for flour, sugar, potatoes, and onions, and especially the shelf with vertical slots for baking pans are all wonderful ideas. I also liked the pull out counter for working while seated.

    In the '57 video, I liked the space for sitting at the sink. Doing dishes always seems so hard on my feet! However, I've never liked the open kitchen look. I prefer for the kitchen to be enclosed and separated from other living areas, especially the dining room--call me old fashioned!

  21. Harper-I agree, I like the kitchen separate from the rest of the house, it is the 'work space' and I would rather sit and enjoy a separate breakfast nook (where I might try the pass throughs covered by the cabinets as in movie one) or the dining room and not worry about how messy the kitchen is until I am ready, and finished with dinner, to go and take care of it. This is also why having company and using a front entrance and having a back kitchen makes a dinner party/party nicer as they never have to see the mess and you don't have to worry about it until the party ends.
    this is 50s gal by the way, forgot to sign in again!

  22. 50s gal,

    My dear, thank you, THANK YOU, for your pot roast recipe. As you will find out in 1961, Julia Child always said that meat can not be properly browned unless it goes into the pan dry. Your roast was browned to absolute perfection - picture perfect!

    *Kindred Spirit*

  23. Great post :) And i loved that recipe, will ask mom to make it for me one day :D

    Will follow your blog from now on :)


  24. I love kitchen that are well planned out with nooks and crannies and a place for everything. I used to have a kitchen that had slide out cabinets shelves, as Rachel had mentioned in her post. I miss those sooo much, and definitely want to have them in my final, permanent kitchen. I'm not fond of the idea of having things stored near the stove. As mentioned, the moisture from cooking can affect those items negatively. I only store non edible items in the cabinets directly around my stove. I don't know if you would have it in your kitchen, but I've always loved the idea of the ironing board that folds into the wall, such as this , but better camouflaged. It would also be nice if the holding cabinet was large enough to keep the iron and starch in there as well, keeping it all together in one place.

  25. That fold out ironing nook really brings me back. In the 2 family house that my family owned in Boston (1904-until it was sold in 2000) there were fold-out ironing boards in each flat. They were deeply recessed into the wall and would have been able to store irons, etc. How I wish I still had the old cast-iron irons that were displayed in from of the hearth when i was a girl.

    *Kindred Spirit*

  26. PL I love those fold out as well, but they are pricey, however, last summer at a tag sale I found one with the baord and fold out mechanism for a dollar! I am going to build it into the laundry room, when I do that room. TO have it fold down and be ready in there will be a dream!

  27. I love the 1949 kitchen with it's nooks and crannies, it seems to me that the dream kitchen from that era was more modern than the one I have today.

    My home is only 7 years old, but I would love to have a kitchen like that, and imagine a place to peel potatoes, or scrap plates built right in the counter, Wow...... even a place to hang tea towels to dry without them being scene, neat!

    My kitchen is L shaped, not my fave, when pig's fly and money grows on trees, I will take into account the film I saw above when I redesign my dream kitchen :)

    Mom in Canada

  28. I adored the 1949 kitchen! I was making so many comments to my husband about it that I started it over again for him to see.

    I loved the idea of all the grains, etc. over the stove but agree with the other posters. WHAT IF you did the same set up, but placed in on a nearby wall?

    I was watching the I Love Lucy episode where they decide to get chickens. In that kitchen, there are shelves to the left of the counter with 9 or 12 clear jars holding the grains. It could be placed near the stove instead and it might work.

    If you get a chance to look at it, you'll see what I mean.

    Here's the link.

    You get a good view of the shelves at 2:30.

  29. I LOVE the series when they moved to CT. The house is a perfect example of 1950's modern mixed with 'Early American'. I laughed at the bills until I did the conversion and the grocery bill for the month of 88 dollars is 616 dollars which is a LOT to me a month! and their electric bill with the conversion is about what we pay as well.
    I love the stair in the kitchen as well. I love when an old house has the old servants stair from the kitchen to a back upstairs landing. Our house is very old but it is a cape not a colonial, so we only have the one stair. I am glad so many of you were as moved by the film about the kitchen as I was. It's funny how it is JAM PACKED full of great ideas, I think so much kitchen design today is just like a living room or any other room, all SHOW! Practicality/function AND DESIGN are so important, but in today's microwave pre=packaged world the kitchen is just for looks. Even a vintage kitchen might often just be about a collection of 'darling old pieces' but I DEMAND those things work. I have old 50's tools and appliances, but they HAVE to work for me, they don't get to just sit there a be pretty!
    I was thinking the same as you, have that storage but maybe next to the stove. Also if you made metal lined drawers/bins, they would most likely protect the contents from the steam of the stove. My stove currently is a downdraught, but I am not sure what I will have when I get my vintage stove. Right now I am cooking on a 1970's jenn aire convectionoven/stove. It has some nice features but it is electric and I really hate it.
    Oh, what did your hubby think of the video?

  30. In Denmark we talk a lot about “conversation kitchens”, which is so large you could host a party in it. But most Danes have normal small kitchens, our kitchen is about 7 sqm, we call it a “make love” kitchen, since it is so small that we have to be close to one another. :) I’m lucky to have an old-fashioned larder too, which adds a lot to the small kitchen – I just love my larder. I’ve posted some photos of both kitchen and larder in the forum. Btw: I have my spices over the stove and they don’t loose flavor.

  31. My kitchen really needs redone so I'm going to be watching these videos a few times to take notes. We're hoping to do it about this time next year so we'll have a chunk of change from tax refund and my hubby's annual bonus. I'm not going vintage, we intend to sell this house in the not too distant future too (maybe 5-10 years) once the market picks up. I'll definitely be using some of the ideas about flow and storage though and I'm going to install a couple of large cabinets to use as larder too.

  32. You asked what my DH thought of the video. He agreed that they were good ideas and said he could indeed incorporate them when we (someday) design our own kitchen.

    He also reminded me that a few years ago he asked about putting a hole in the counter for scraps to collect in a bucket in the cabinet. At the time I didn't like the idea. Well, that was before I finally got serious about USING my kitchen rather than "nuking" our processed food!

    I apologized for my earlier reaction and then said I DEFINITELY want that when we remodel!

  33. One thing I would caution you ladies about those open bins and such... Vermin! Insects and mice could very easily get into those foodstuffs and the open pail of garbage would have to be emptied at the very least, once a day. Living on a farm for the past 30 years has taught me that all food items need to be in covered containers. Potatoes, onions and the like are the exception. Those I have in open, vented containers so that I can keep an eye on how they are storing.

    I had a Lazy Susan (that rotating corner unit) that my FIL built into this kitchen when Dh's parents lived here. I hated it! Unless the circular shelves are surrounded by the enclosure, you may find that whatever is stored in it will either fall off into the "black hole" at the very back or handles will wedge into the corners. My dh recently tore ours out and found 3 very old and dusty food packages underneath. I now have a sliding garbage bin in that spot. A much better arrangement as it is below my prep & baking station.

    I was struck by the 40s kitchen, in that the first farm house we lived in, had a similar broom closet off the kitchen. At the time I was at a loss at how to utilize the space. Now I wish I had it back. (we've since moved) This small room was just steps from the back porch/laundry area and from the kitchen. There was a small sink/vanity for washing up when the men came in for meals. (This kept the main bath clean.) It was lighted by a west window. And there were built-in cupboards and drawers from floor to ceiling. A broom closet and next to it, 4 deep drawers for storage. A double cupboard above.
    Now I see I could use the upper cupboards for pantry items, (home-canning) and the drawers for cleaning supplies or extra out-of-season cooking items.

    Another wonder to the 40s kitchen was how did they access the 40# flour & sugar bins behind the drop-downs?
    I was not as impressed with the bifold cupboard doors as the narrator was. Did you notice how the "wife" had to move one to get to the dish cupboard. I could see the bifold being only half opened and someone hitting their head on that corner.

    I was also curious about her ironing the plastic in the freezer boxes. I didn't see that seating arrangement as very helpful. The extra counterspace she might have needed was too high above her when seated there. A better arrangement would be a padded stool so she could sit at the counter, such as was shown in the 50s kitchen.

    A final thought, if you do build your own Miss Donna, did you notice how some of the drawers and door seemed to stick. Many "helpful hints" in vintage home-making books recommend beeswax on drawers and doors to aid in this. You may want to talk to a cabinet maker about this. They may have some tips for you.

    Of the two "movies", I have to say I am more a fan of the 40s kitchen. It just seemed more homey to me. Maybe because it was geared towards farm families and after all, I am a Farmer's Wife.

  34. Kay-great tips and help. I have heard beeswax helps and even a good sanding too! I like the 40's video more as it was more helpful and realistic while the 50's was more about design, but I really thought that also sort of followed the pattern of the times, 40's more practical, 50's more design oriented. I actually liked the sit down seating at the counter, but I am tall so could acess a counter height comfortably enough while seated at a table height. I do want to know what she was doing with that heater though! I bet preparing food for freezer.
    That washup broom closet back area sounds perfect.
    I am going to do a mud room for sure and will either have a sink in that or the laundry room off that with a sink. I am toying with the idea of a stone floor in the mudroom, but need to think about slippery aspect vs. the good rugged scrubbability. I will document all my crazy times as I redo my kitchen. It will be a very real DIY money save as I am going to attempt to not buy anything new EXCEPT lumber/nails/screws/paint that sort of thing, but built cabinets mixed with old/salvaged etc. Even with windows and such, we have 100 year old single pane windows in the rest of the hosue and it is fine, so I feel I have carte' blanche to go and get wonderful old antique windows maybe with bullet glass, as our 'new' windows. It is our house afterall and we don't ever want to sell this house, so I want to have fun. If we ever have a child, he can worry about how drafty the windows are when he is older.


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