Right in the middle. The kitchen

Finding the right holiday home is no easy task, not as a couple, not as a family, and certainly not together with friends. There are simply too many different needs. Particularly the kitchen is a room where ideas diverge: While some want an open kitchen as a place for socialising, others are bothered by untidy dishes and the smell of food in the living room and would prefer to lock both away behind a door. The appliances and utensils are also often checked in advance: Is there a dishwasher, enough pans, a Bialetti?

Every good party ends in the kitchen – we all know that. The kitchen is a cosy place for informal get-togethers, where you can communicate in peace while stirring something in pots or washing up on the side. Even hundreds of years ago, the kitchen was already the centre of every household – at that time, however, mainly because it was the warmest room in the house. There are many stages along the way from the open hearth to the modern kitchen: from the so-called black kitchen of the Middle Ages to the separate kitchens of the aristocracy to the Frankfurt kitchen. The latter was designed by the Viennese architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky in the 1920s – everything was to be space-saving, extendable or foldable in the smallest possible space so that the woman still had enough time for the family in addition to kitchen work. The trend towards smaller and smaller kitchens, which peaked in the 1970s, has reversed over the last few decades. In fact, no room reflects social change more than the kitchen.

In the meantime, cooking itself has become socially acceptable – indeed, more than that: It is an expression of an attitude to life and an important aspect of social interaction. As a result, the kitchen is also moving spatially (and stylistically) towards the living room. The kitchen becomes a room within a room – separated from the living room only, if at all, by a counter or a cooking island. Cooking becomes an experience, thousands of cookbooks are published every year, there are countless cooking shows and, more recently, even more blogs and Instagram accounts showing the best recipes from the most exquisite pumpkin-apple tart to Japanese mochi ice cream. As early as the 1980s Otl Aicher described the social function of cooking in his book “Die Küche zum Kochen. Werkstatt einer neuen Lebenskultur” [“The Kitchen for Cooking. Workshop of a new Lifestyle”], a plea for the open kitchen as the centre of living together. In particular, he emphasised the importance of optimal equipment in the kitchen: the right chair, optimal lighting, perfect kitchen appliances. Today, functionality and design are on an equal footing in the kitchen – whereby men in particular in addition to cooking like to philosophise about the quietest dishwasher or the best knife sharpener. And as far as design is concerned: Everyone wants to be able to express freely their personal style even in the kitchen without having to sacrifice practicality, whether industrial chic, Scandinavian hygge or elegant simplicity. But the kitchen always remains one thing: a place of informal exchange, in the middle of the action.

In many holiday homes, too, the kitchen is a central room – often even the largest, while the bedrooms become purely functional rooms. This is fortunate for all those who like to cook together on holiday, whether as a family or with friends. However, kitchen equipment and the demands placed on it vary greatly. Sometimes you are delighted with the clear simplicity of the interior design of a house, until you realise that this also continues inside the kitchen cupboards, and you have to wash up immediately after dinner to have clean plates for breakfast. Or because there aren’t enough pots, you have to cook the pasta for the communal cooking event in three stages. In other kitchens on the other hand, you may even find a juicer or a blender – and when things are going really well, even a milk frother. But that’s so rare that actually it’s always part of our luggage – or we buy another one, meanwhile we already have three.

Our own kitchen is an open one – it seems we are (still) in line with the trend. Nothing can be locked away, so the equipment is of course very important to us. We certainly won’t install a door, but sometimes there are cinnamon buns – and fortunately we all like the smell.


Text: Tina Barankay, December 2021

About the author: Tina Barankay has been combining her passion for aesthetics and design with her professional activities for many years, among others as an editor for the architecture magazine DETAIL. As a freelance journalist and consultant, she publishes articles, produces publications and designs communication concepts in the fields of architecture, interior design and design.

A small addendum:

We are very pleased about the numerous comments under the last Positions and are happy to exchange views with you. In connection with the topic of the kitchen, we would be interested to know what you often miss in your holiday home or perhaps even always have in your holiday luggage. Perhaps a milk frother?

2 Comments

  1. Wir hatten in diesem Jahr das Glück in etlichen Urlaubsarchitektur-Häusern und Wohnungen eine oder zwei Wochen verbringen zu dürfen. Und während wir diesen Kommentar verfassen, sitzen wir auch gerade in einer Wohnung (mit einer wunderbaren Küche), die wir in der Urlaubsarchitektur gefunden haben. Wir kochen auch auf Reisen gerne und oft, daher ist bei der Auswahl unserer Häuser die Qualität der Küche ein wichtiges Kriterium. Dennoch ist es immer wieder eine Überraschung was man so vorfindet. Oft ist die Ausstattung komplett und von guter Qualität, immer wieder aber auch eher mager. Daher fänden wir es sehr hilfreich, wenn bei der Beschreibung der Häuser und Wohnungen die Objekte herausgehoben würden, die über eine außergewöhnlich gute Küche verfügen.
    Was wir immer dabeihaben sind Geschirrtücher, ein Korkenzieher, meistens ein Schleifstein und oft auch ein Küchenmesser. Eine gefüllte Pfeffermühle ist auch ein gute Idee.
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  2. Ja, viele dieser Erfahrungen können wir teilen. Auch wir legen grossen Wert auf eine grosszügige , offene Küche zum gemeinsamen Kochen. Leider mangelt es zu häufig an vernünftiger Ausstattung. Vor allem bei Pfannen und Töpfen. In unserem Gepäck befinden sich häufiger eine Kaffe-Kapsel-Maschine, oder zumindest eine French-Press. Ab und zu auch Messer, Geschirrtücher, oder spezielleres Inventar.
    In unserem Architekturbüro ist die Küche auch oft “Dreh-und Angelpunkt”, Ort des Austauschs und des kreativen Miteinanders. Gekocht wird 3 mal die Woche, rein vegetarisch und wenn möglich mit lokalen Produkten. Die Küche war und ist in allen Lebenslagen der zentrale Ort.
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