Blog #4 – World War & Interwar Years
By: Valerie Cochrane
Contemporary Culture & Design
Focus: Christine Fredrick
There are many interesting developments that happened throughout history but since I am fascinated with interior design it only made sense that I would want to further my knowledge on the home interiors. The most interesting thing that stood out for me is how kitchens got turned from an open concept, do everything in this tiny little room, into a more designated space used for only a few particular practices. Christine Fredrick founded this idea called Taylorism in 1912 – 1915 (shown in figure 1).
Christine wrote articles that provided knowledge to woman about housekeeping, home interiors, cooking etc.. The woman’s role was to be at home and take care of the children, so why not make homes into something to brag about. Christine had the right idea about furthering people’s knowledge about daily chores and important information about things to do at home to keep busy with. I must say her best idea was when she decided kitchens were meant for cooking.
Since houses were first built it was standard that the kitchen was the primary location of the house. It kept everyone warm because there was a fire, the fire had a purpose not only to provide heat but to also prepare meals over. It made sense during those times to have everything relatively close together, but as our society and culture started to grow we developed new techniques on how to prolong life but to also help make it easier. I would probably refer to this as luxury. Throughout history we kept developing that sense of luxury in everything we did. I’m not saying though that the kitchen wasn’t used as a common space anymore, because it still was, but as humans we wanted more of everything that was bigger and better. Christine Fredrick initiated the idea of making the kitchen used for only cooking activities opposed to entertaining, doing laundry and even eating. With the expansion of houses and multiple rooms as well as space that went along with it, there’s no reason that notion wouldn’t have worked.
It makes sense too, why eat in the same place where you have left a mess or is overly warm from the oven. A kitchen is a place where you should keep your secret recipes and play around with flavors, not so much an entertaining location. It is especially not a good idea to have a washer, dryer and chemicals located next to food. That is a disaster waiting to happen. Yes it is convenient when you are trying to multitask. Prep food, watch the kids and do laundry, but ultimately it’s also good to leave the space, go into another new area that is focused on a different activity.
There’s not a lot of information on her development with this idea, but as we know people did adapt this idea into our culture. Some people do still have laundry rooms attached to their kitchens but at least there is a safety hazard that has been established and resolved. I guess everyone likes something different and that’s the way it will always be. Kitchens are still a place meant for cooking specifically but other activities such as entertaining, watching kids and eating with in the kitchen have come back into play. Dining rooms are now meant for more formal setting where as kitchens have more of a simpler feel to them. I like the idea that Christine had started but I must admit to me a kitchen is more than just a place to cook. It is a place to socialize with friends and family, share ideas, talk about your days, and teach one another how to cook meals and to enjoy what you have just created. The open concept design is also coming back into play. I find it strange how we are so desperate to change our ways and to create something new but it seems that we ultimately keep resorting back to our history and simpler times. Yes we expand on those ideas and go in a different direction but that’s the refreshing part of things.
“Women in Advertising: The Campaigners.” Advertising Age. N.p., 24 Sept. 2012. Web. 2013.
"Christine Frederick." Wikipedia. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.
National Humanities Center. Christine Fredrick, n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2013.
Figure 2 – http://handcrank.wythoff.net/page/5