While Mr. A and I were looking for houses, we saw lots of places with completely open kitchens. Like, somebody had taken a perfectly normal house and blown open the entire first floor so that you were basically cooking in your living room.
It drove me wild, because then what happens? You make fish and you smell it for hours while watching TV. You can’t shut the door on the mess and just sit and talk without being judged by the dishes and pots and pans on the stove and crumbs on the counter.
Audrey Brashich, a real-estate writer, defended her decision to keep the original kitchen in her Craftsman bungalow the way she found it, in the face of pressure from an architect. “To me, they aren’t isolated and inconvenient but rather refined and gracious,” she said. James Fenton, the poet and critic, retained his Harlem brownstone’s original layout rather than opening up the kitchen. By imposing modern floor plans, he observed, “you’re giving an unsympathetic treatment to the idiom of the building. The history of taste is full of these moments when completely stupid, destructive misbehavior takes hold.” The notion that having fewer rooms means having more space clings stubbornly in the face of mathematical reality.