Properly speaking, the kitchen is a scrupulously clean room intended for operations connected with food materials, and for this purpose only. It is not the province of the kitchen to provide space for eating, for washing and ironing clothes, for lavatory purposes, for removing boots, wraps, and overalls, or for passageway from the back of the house to the front. For the sake of cleanliness and speed, such activities should be provided for elsewhere. It is poor logic and poor economy to plan for such features as laundry tubs and cleaning closets in the kitchen, for they are too unsanitary and too unrelated to food work to have a place there. Moreover, in order to include the laundry work, the kitchen must be made larger than it would otherwise need to be. A separate room for laundry purposes should be provided, either in the basement or, as in the case of the farm-house, on the same floor as the kitchen and adjacent to it.
* Cornell Reading-Course for the Farm Home, Bull. 108.
This room can also be used for the storage of cleaning materials and as a direct entrance into the main part of the house, thereby eliminating constant passage through the kitchen. Therefore, by taking out of the kitchen proper all operations foreign to foods, a smaller and more convenient room may be planned.
Even in altering an old house, this idea of planning the kitchen proper for food work only, should be the guiding thought. Thus, a large kitchen in which the family washing has been done should be remodeled in such a way that all food work is grouped at one end and laundry work and passage at the other end, with the stove as the common piece of equipment between. If the room is large enough for it, a thin partition wall may be used to complete the division. This makes a more cleanly and more economical arrangement than does the single large room with the two kinds of work crossing each other. Such a kitchen alteration is shown in Fig. 34.
The same idea of grouping the food work in an alcove and using the remainder of the space for another purpose can be applied to a combination kitchen and dining-room, such as is shown in Fig. 14. The compact kitchen end could be made light and washable in character, and the dining-room end more like a sitting-room, with passage through the room halfway between, thus disturbing the comfort of neither part.
It is evident from the foregoing explanation that the intelligent planning of a kitchen involves a number of side issues, which, in the case of the farmhouse, unite to make of it a very complex problem. If the kitchen is to become a compact, businesslike compartment for one use only, the entire working arrangements of the house must be thoroughly studied in order to make sure that there is a definite place allotted to every need (Fig. 37).
The location of the kitchen will of course depend on the remainder of the house plan and on the location of the other rooms. Theoretically, the best exposure and location for a kitchen is toward the north, the northeast, or the northwest, with at least two outer walls for light and air. This implies either a corner location or a separate wing. South, southeast, and south-west are less desirable exposures for a kitchen, because they are likely to be hot and glaring and are usually hard to ventilate. Furthermore, southern exposures are usually at a premium for the more important living-rooms. If the arrangement is such that the kitchen can have but a single exposure, it can still be made a very comfortable one as regards light, air, and coolness, if it faces north and is provided with plenty of windows; whereas, a kitchen having but one outside wall, and that facing directly south, is in the very worst situation from every viewpoint.
The size of the kitchen is determined chiefly by the number of workers and by the kind of fuel to be used for cooking. In general it should always be large enough to accommodate two workers in emergency, and yet at the same time as small as convenience will allow.
A kitchen in which coal is to be used for fuel is normally larger than one in which gas is to be used, because of the larger size of the range, the need for a convenient supply of fuel, and the fact that for reasons of comfort the other pieces of furniture cannot be placed too near the stove. Years of experience in planning, equipping, and using kitchens under conservational methods, show that a gas-fuel kitchen with a pass pantry need not exceed 150 square feet of floor space, and that a coal-fuel kitchen, together with a pass and food pantry, ordinarily need not exceed an area of 200 square feet of floor space. This area may be arranged in such shapes as 9 by 12 feet, 10 by 12 feet, 10 by 13 or 14 feet, 11 by 11 feet, 11 by 12 or 13 feet, or 12 by 12 feet, for the kitchen proper, and 5 by 7, 8, 9, or 10 feet, or 6 by 6, 7, or 8 feet, for the pantry, according as these measurements best fit into the plan for the remainder of the house. In general, approximately square shapes for kitchens and pantries are more convenient than are long, narrow ones. Eight feet should be the minimum width for a kitchen.
Of course the areas given are merely guides to help determine the probable amount of space needed for kitchen developments and to serve as a sort of check on wasteful or crowded planning. It is very easy to plan a kitchen that is too large; it is also possible to plan a kitchen that is too small, where freedom of motion is cramped and where one tires of standing always in one place or position.