Traditionally, homeowners used the butler’s pantry, which was typically nestled between the kitchen and dining room, to store serving items and keep the silver under lock and key. People today rarely have butlers, but a butler’s pantry still serves as a convenient staging area for prepping and serving.
Jewett Farms + Co. (design); Eric Roth (photography)
Functional Stoves with Storage
With their handy storage compartments and homey appearance, vintage stoves give off a cozy vibe, yet they're surprisingly well suited for hosting a crowd. Their many compartments allow you to cook several dishes at different temperatures while simultaneously keeping other items warm—all in less space than a double oven requires. If you can't find the real McCoy, modern versions of these classics retain the look and functionality of their forebears, but operate more efficiently.
Related: How To: Clean Any Appliance
Starting the day snuggled on a cozy bench with a cup of coffee sounds extremely enticing, which may explain the past popularity of breakfast nooks. Although homeowners rarely include breakfast nooks in their kitchen plans these days, the intimate little seats would be ideal for enjoying a morning meal or after-school snacks.
Built-In Spice Rack
When built-in cabinets became the norm, the traditional wall-hung spice rack disappeared from kitchens. Now that herbs and spices have been largely shut out of view, we miss their vibrant colors and textures, which almost beg to be displayed as decor. Plus, keeping herbs, spices, and oils close at hand can really speed up food prep.
Entertaining is far less formal than it was 50 or 100 years ago. As a result, many families don’t even own "good china" anymore, making the traditional china cabinet obsolete. But this piece of furniture can do so much more than just store and display dinnerware. Modern homeowners can use a china cabinet for storage, or flaunt it as the focal point of the dining room.
More homeowners should seriously consider incorporating a multifunctional wood stove into the kitchen. This old-fashioned classic provides economical, effective heating that won’t fail when the power goes out. Plus, a wood stove can double as a stovetop, and because burning wood is considered carbon neutral, it's environmentally friendly too.
Related: Buyer's Guide: The Best Wood Stoves
Mounted Plate Rack
In the early 20th century, most kitchens didn’t come equipped with built-in cabinetry. As a solution, the Hoosier Manufacturing Company adapted their baker’s cabinet to create a well-organized storage center and work area for the home cook. These days, a Hoosier cabinet can be particularly beneficial in a small kitchen, because it packs a lot of storage and counter space into a tiny footprint.
Butcher block has been a mainstay in restaurants, home kitchens, and, of course, butcher shops for centuries. As wood tends to warp with repeated exposure to water, homeowners of the past typically used butcher block for stand-alone islands in the middle of the kitchen. Nowadays, people have largely forsaken butcher block, turning instead to countertop materials like granite and marble, but butcher block has several advantages over these trendy stones. It adds visual warmth, it isn't too difficult to maintain, it's usually one of the cheaper countertop alternatives—and, unlike most other materials, you can safely cut on it.
Farmhouse sinks hark back to a time when water had to be hauled to the kitchen from springs and wells. But these fixtures have much more to offer than their rustic vibe. The deeper bowl is great for washing large pots and pans, and the apron front is ergonomically friendly. This combination of aesthetics and utility makes it no surprise that the farmhouse sink has been trending in recent years.
Horizontal Double Ovens
Owing to its generous capacity and cooking flexibility, the double oven has never really gone out of style. But most double ovens on the market today are stacked vertically, whereas vintage kitchens featured horizontally oriented ovens. Now that larger, six- and eight-burner cooktops are rising in popularity, the timing is perfect for side-by-side double ovens to make a comeback.
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