How the room at the back of the house became the centre of the home

The kitchen is perhaps the most multifaceted room of the modern home. Long gone are the days when it was a room relegated to the back of the house for cooking, food prep and cleaning. Today’s kitchens are a hub of technology, and a space for socialising, working and eating, and when it comes to the traditional kitchen tasks these are often shared amongst many hands.

Modern kitchen islands are the backdrop of daily domestic family life, as well as where the party’s at, but even more than this, Tim Hayward suggests in his book The Modern Kitchen, ‘the kitchen is a constantly mutating expression of self’. It comes as no surprise then that the kitchen is often the room we spend most money on and the room we feel most at home in.

Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen has seen the most transformation in the past 100 years. One of the most iconic kitchen designs of the 20th Century – so much so that it’s celebrated in museums around the world, including London’s own Design Museum – is the Frankfurt Kitchen, designed by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky in 1926.

In the pursuit of ultimate kitchen efficiency, Schutte-Lihotzky and her team carried out extensive time-and-motion studies to understand how a user moves around the kitchen, with the goal of reconfiguring the layout and design of appliances to reduce the number of steps required between each task, in turn, decreasing stress and increasing time for other interests. The finished result was the first ever fitted-kitchen and measured a mere 1.9 x 3.4 metres. It’s design was so efficient that the Frankfurt Kitchen is often referred to as being designed like a factory.


In stark contrast, the post-war years welcomed the open-plan kitchen into the home. A concept often attributed to Frank Lloyd-Wright, this kitchen turned the notion of ‘kitchen as factory’ on its head, with a design that was as adept for entertaining as it was for preparing food. The pièce-de-résistance of the open-plan kitchen was of course the kitchen-island from which we’ve never looked back!

Today many would argue that the open-plan kitchen has overtaken the role of the living room as the primary social space of the home. Certainly, the Minà kitchen island by Minacciolo is the hub in the RB12 Design Space. Minà’s industrial aesthetic is paired beautifully with delicately crafted worktops, and details, like the bright red temperature knobs reminiscent of antique boilers, that lovingly hark-back to tradition as well as look great against the range’s contemporary dark grey finish. Full of character and the latest in kitchen technology, the Minà is at total ease being centre of attention – and that’s just as well, as we love putting it through its paces with cooking demonstrations for those customers looking for flexible, innovative kitchen solutions.