Here at Contour, we believe the kitchen is the new living room. The concept has shifted away from it being just a utilitarian space, to a social hub where family and friends can come together to cook, relax and socialise.

But the kitchen hasn’t always been a room that boasts both functionality and comfort. It’s hard to believe that the modern ‘multipurpose’ kitchen, with its open-plan design, island units and breakfast bars, was once used for food preparation and little else.

More than 100 years ago, kitchens were relegated to the back of the house, a completely separate entity from the eating and social areas of the home. Usually built to cater for just one or two people, the kitchen of yesteryear was a very different space to the one we associate with today.

The kitchen was a considered to be a purely functional space

The kitchen was a considered to be a purely functional space

For the wealthy, it was often a sign of poor hospitality for any sounds or smells from the kitchen to permeate the rest of the house. People continued to share this negative attitude towards the kitchen for hundreds of years - until the Industrial Revolution.

Factories began mass-producing appliances for the kitchen, as well as cabinetry and storage units and gas was introduced to fuel kitchen equipment, as opposed to hazardous coal. This rapid transformation drew people closer to the kitchen as they started to identify the room as more than just a cooking station.

The 1920s brought the most dramatic overhaul of traditional 19th century kitchens. Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky’s revolutionary design, known as the Frankfurt Kitchen, introduced the world to a space that was practical, efficient and compact.

The Frankfurt kitchen in the Haus Schminke in Loebau (Saxony), one of the most remarkable dwelling houses of the 20th century

The Frankfurt kitchen in the Haus Schminke in Loebau (Saxony), one of the most remarkable dwelling houses of the 20th century

Heralded as the prototype for modern-day, fitted kitchens, the compact design (just 6ft x 11ft) meant everything was in arms’ reach, saving valuable time. It also gave birth to the ‘golden triangle’, in which the cooker, fridge and sink were ideally placed for maximum efficiency.

The stigma of cooking as a domestic chore began to fade and was soon reinvented as a sign of affluence in most households. This, paired with American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s invention of the open-plan design, brought the kitchen closer to the heart of the home, adjoining it with the dining and living areas.

The kitchen was no longer just about practicality, but a room which homeowners wanted to be proud of. This led to a greater emphasis on aesthetics.

The 21st century has cemented the kitchen’s status as a social hub. Smart appliances have turned the kitchen into a technological powerhouse, working to make our lives easier and more enriching with its spacious, practical and stylish designs.

At Contour, we’re proud to be at the forefront of designing luxury kitchens that marry functionality and comfort.  As the heart and soul of the modern home, our contemporary kitchens provide a space where everyone can converge to cook, entertain, relax and work.

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