Why are old kitchens so GOOD?

– Oh, hi, you caught me at
the best time because see, I’m about to go out to the barn right now and film this video. The video doesn’t actually have anything to do with the barn, but I have a barn and
I really like my barn and I have to film a video, so I might as well film
the video in the barn. Wanna come? (upbeat music) (sighs) My barn, in case you
hadn’t picked up on it, I really like old kitchens. It’s one of those topics that if someone came up to me and said, “You have to give a fantastic
speech to 10000 people “in 20 minutes and it
must be an hour long,” I’d be like, “Cool, we’re
talking about kitchens.” But the weird thing is that I
don’t actually have any desire to have a 1905 kitchen because electricity and refrigeration and dish washers. But there is still
something so undeniably, unbelievably compelling
about these old kitchens, and for the life of me, I could
not figure out what it is. Why do I so desperately
love these with the sinks and the tables and the butler’s pantries? What about them just calls
to my little inner soul that says, “I need you?” And then one day, while
ensconced in some book or another from over 100 years ago about
how to set up a kitchen, I figured it out, and it all
starts with manufacturing. If you’re new here, you may
not know that I am actually an engineer by training. As a matter of fact, so is my husband. As a double matter of fact, we are both double-degree’d engineers, so there are four
degrees in our household, which in practice just
means that everything we do is four times more complicated
than it needs to be. There are many different
types of engineers. You have product engineers. You have design engineers. You have structural engineers. You have building engineers. For the last nine years, I have worked as a manufacturing engineer. That just means that
I spent all of my time on a production floor trying to figure out how to make the process run better. There’s a lot more to it than that, but I think the best way to explain what exactly I did is
with a demonstration. First, I gotta go get some stuff. (upbeat piano music) Come here, kitty, kitty. Come here, come here. Big game hunter. Did you get yourself a mouse? I’m not gonna take your
mouse, don’t worry. (upbeat piano music) Now this is just a
random assortment of junk that I found around our
barn, but for the purposes of demonstrating a manufacturing process, this will work just fine. (upbeat piano music) I don’t know what this thing actually is, but let’s pretend that
it’s our finished product. All of these individual
pieces are our raw materials and we have to combine them
together to make this thing. At this point, let’s just say
that I am a small business. So I only need to make one
or two of my thingamabobs at a time to fulfill demand, but then maybe suddenly
some search term explodes and my demand all of a sudden skyrockets, and now I need to make 100
of these things in one day. So I buy some manufacturing space, I buy a bigger factory,
I get more product, and we’re ready to start manufacturing. It might look something like this. We’re buying all of our supplies in bulk. So we’re gonna put our chicken
water feeders over here, and we’re gonna put our stools over here, and we’re gonna put our sticks over here, and everything is all spread out so that we have plenty of
room to store everything. But now we’re gonna
start making the product, so let’s see how that goes. (upbeat piano music) Did you see how much wasted movement I had building this thingamabob? I walked around this hayloft five times just to build one product, and in the world of manufacturing, that takes a lot of
time and time is money. So this is the point where you would call in an exceptional
process engineer to help you figure out how to make the
process more streamlined. The most obvious way to make
this process more efficient is to just simply put the
materials closer together before you start to build. (upbeat piano music) Do you see how much faster
that assembly process was? And can you imagine how many more products you could make in a given
time if you just improved the efficiency on some of your processes? That’s basically what
I did for nine years. Paige, what does this
have to do with kitchens? Everything, let’s head back to the house so I can show you exactly what I mean. (upbeat piano music) Two years ago, when I started dreaming up the design for this kitchen, I had absolutely no idea what
historic kitchens looked like. So I did what any red-blooded
American girl would do when separated from her dreams
by a chasm of ignorance. I researched, I found an absolutely astonishing number of
historical references, particularly in the area of
domestic science help books. I’ll link the other ones I found below, but I just want to talk about this one because it’s one that I
happen to have a hard copy of. “The Efficient Kitchen,” copyright 1914, by Georgie Boynton Child. I have talked about
this before because this is literally a book that
will knock your socks off. It is completely worth a
read from start to finish. This particular copy came
from forgottenbooks.com, which is an amazing resource. They have a ton of books
available, mostly for free. They have a subscription service, and then you can also get them to reprint out-of-print
books, which is outstanding. Rather than explain what
exactly makes this book so fantastic, let’s just
read a few excerpts, okay? “Efficiency must be the key note. “Efficient work, efficient rest. “The elimination of all unnecessary work. “The doing of necessary
work in the easiest, “most economical way. “The next consideration is
that the kitchen convenience “is be in compact relation to one another “so as to economize the
worker’s time and strength. “Our supplies, our worktable,
our stove and our sink “must be near enough together
so that we can keep an eye “on one thing while we’re doing another.” And the best, the absolute best. “In most kitchens,
groceries are kept together “in one closet, agateware
utensils in another, “cooked food still in another. “Surface dishes, which are part of a set, “in the dining room. “This is a logical arrangement,
and we do not see that it “is wasteful of labor
until we begin to work. “Then we find that the
waste of steps involved “in getting equipment and
material for any one process “becomes a very serious loss indeed.” This is why I love this so much, because it’s the same thing. My background as a manufacturing engineer has been ingrained into my person. I spent years doing these same
analyses on production floor only to find that they
figured it out in 1914. And the thing is, no one is
talking about this today. I mean, I will binge watch
a home organization show or a kitchen remodel any day of the week, but no one is talking
about how to systematically make your life more efficient
by means of kitchen design, except Ms. Child. I went to do a little bit of research about how to design your kitchen, and there’s a little bit of talk of, “Make sure you have counter
space where you need it,” but mostly it’s, “Pick the
finish for your cabinets. “Make sure your stone top is really good.” There is nothing that is this granular about making a super,
hyper-efficient kitchen, and as a person who is obsessed with getting the most outcome
with the least effort, this is my love language. And before anyone says,
“This was just a plot “to make sure that women
stayed in the kitchen more “and got more cooking done
and stayed in the home,” let me read something to you. “There will undoubtedly come a time “when the more ambitious
homemaker will be able “to write after her name
titles as imposing as “Master of Science or Doctor of Laws. “She who shall have solved the problem “of successful homemaking
will have been obliged “to bring to her work as much
intelligence and training “as is required by any other
science or profession.” Here’s the thing. Running a house is really, really hard. Somebody has to do it. Imagine three meals a
day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, making sure that everyone in your family is fed and doesn’t die. That is a ton of food. And all without Uber Eats. I maintain that kitchens
of this time period put out way more food in a day than most kitchens that we see today. The point of this book was
to give women the tools that they needed to make their
homes run more efficiently so that they could have more free time to do whatever they
wanted, that’s incredible. As a manufacturing engineer, I can tell you that these
principles are the same principles that I applied in many
different production scenarios. And as a manufacturing engineer, I can tell you that they work. This is what I want in my kitchen. I want a kitchen that is efficient. I want a kitchen that will
work really hard for me. I want a kitchen that is flexible so that when I need it to
perform differently in 20 years, I don’t have to do another $30000 kitchen renovation to do it. Maybe I just have to buy a different table or a different piece of furniture. So much has changed since
these kitchens were popular, and yes, there is more convenience, and yes, you can have Chinese
delivered to your door, and yes, you can buy some
as seen on TV product that will theoretically help
you do something faster, but I don’t think that’s
a substitute for good, old-fashioned efficiency analysis. Is it going to require a little
bit of a change of thought? Yes, there’s not gonna be
a ton of counter space. Is it going to look very
different from a lot of kitchens that are out there today? Yes, I think incidentally it
will look somewhat historic because the principles that I’m following to set it up are historic. But ultimately, at the end of the day, I don’t ever want to
renovate this kitchen again. I want to put it in place. I want to think of as much as I can, and then I want to leave the design free to be changed in 10, 15, 20, 50 years when I need it to perform differently. This is really, really exciting
because I have searched low and high and there are very few examples of what I’m imagining in my head. You will have to tune in next time to see what exactly we are going
to do with the kitchen, what our design plans are, and I hope you stick around
for the entire process. Thank you so much for watching. I will leave links to
any important references that I think could be
helpful below, and otherwise, I will see you next time, bye.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *