By the 1920’s refrigeration was more common, though initially dangerous, poisonous gases were used for cooling, until Freon gas was discovered as a safer alternative. Kitchens, now painted (or “enamelled”) in gloss white oil paint, were easier to keep clean – part of the new wave of ‘sanitary’ spaces that were likened to “the scientific cleanliness of a surgery”. And ‘toe-space’ under the cabinets was introduced to most kitchens. This handy invention was claimed to have been invented by a Seattle company who said, proudly: “This is progress!”
Kitchens are the focal point of our lives, and in many ways, the most important room in the house. Look at what features might be original in your house and see if you can incorporate them into your preservation and renovation project. Original cupboards can often be retained, and so can sinks and tiles with some careful care and attention.
If you are not able to keep original features, they can often be recreated. New cabinets can hide new appliances, and a kitchen can be built that is ‘timeless’. It will be functional and appropriate to the history and style of the house. It will not ‘date’ within a few years, requiring yet another expensive ‘redo’. Let the house tell you what it wants.