It wasn’t until the post-war housing and industrial boom that new homes were built with ease in mind and old homes got remodeled to meet with demand for up-to-date kitchens and storage. Some things were made easier by modern kitchens, but some of these old elements were pretty darn useful.
Since counter tops were often not a feature of old kitchens, most women always had another table in their kitchen and it made life so much easier. My grandma kept using her enamel top table even after she had an updated kitchen because she preferred it!
Plate racks often held dishes since the deep enclosed new cabinets were years away.
Counters or sinks or drainboards were slanted to drain into the sink. When modern sinks came out many women lamented that their built in drainer boards had disappeared!
Because many old kitchens weren’t “designed” rooms, they often didn’t have windows or else had windows placed differently than we would today. With no counter tops, window placement was often low. While we may love being able to look out the window into the backyard while we scrub dishes, low windows do have some advantages, especially when cleaning the floors.
Even the White House kitchen (pictured above) didn’t have true counter tops or enclosed cabinets at the turn of the century!
Our kitchens are more spacious and lavish than ever before, even though we spend less time cooking in them than generations past. Certainly our grandmothers had to make a whole lot more food in kitchens that hadn’t always been designed with them in mind. Still, those built-in drain boards and beautiful Hoosier cabinets look like they would be lovely additions to a modern kitchen even today.