The kitchen is the engine room of modern life. This is the room where families are fuelled, stories are shared, homework is done, and meals are made. But the design, usage and social meaning of the western kitchen has changed profoundly in modern times.
HomeAdvisor researched five centuries of kitchen design to see what came before the modern kitchen – from the 1500s all the way to today. Research in hand, they created a series of digital renderings, showing how kitchens looked over the past 500 years.
The team started in England, 1520, and traced the kitchen’s journey to America where the story gained pace in the 18th century. To ensure their findings were accurate they worked with noted historians: Sara Pennell, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Greenwich and author of The Birth of the English Kitchen, and Nancy Carlisle, Senior Curator of Collections at Historic New England.
The result is six kitchens, roughly a century apart, from the past half-millennium of domestic life.
The researchers began by reading two books: “The American Kitchen 1700-Present” by Ellen. M. Plant and “Birth of the English Kitchen 1600-1850” by Sara Pennell. They then used the internet to source images of pertinent details found in the books. Consulting with historians Sara Pennell and Nancy Carlisle, they identified unreliable image sources among their research, and decided to use the online collections of museums and historical houses to find more reliable images. The team had problems differentiating between 1520-1620 and 1620-1720, as the kitchens weren’t that different. The solution was to shorten the time period and focus on either end of the centuries to make them less similar.