RE: Common House kitchens/ open closed design
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 01:58:28 -0500
This is a good example of why a good searchable archive would be very useful
for this list. This  topic came up within the past year and got several
responses. So note that I changed the subject header on my reply to be more
specific so future work towards an archive will be easier.

Ahem, now to my reply,

Sharingwood has an open kitchen, you walk in the front door, and after the
lobby the kitchen is to your right, the serving area is to your left. There
are no barriers. Noise is a NON-ISSUE. I wish CH designers would get over
this fear of noise. The noise of the dinner participants easily dwarfs any
pot banging that goes on during dinner prep or clean up. We have our
scullery (dishwasher) in a seperate alcove and the noise from that does not
intrude on conversation in the least. I suppose if somebody was doing dishes
during our Sunday morning Yoga class the noise would be noticable, but its
not a problem at all during meals.

The advantages of an open design are obvious, you feel like you are
connected and people stop in and lend a hand easily. You are not cut off
from seeing your kids play, people during pre-dinner talking, etc. It
encourages people to stop by and say hello to the cooks. Remember, this is
supposed to be a social experience, including the food preparing. That's the
point of community dinner, is to chat with neighbors.

I suppose the disadvantage is that from the dining area you can see the
kitchen mess, and of course, walking by the kitchen too close means you
might be recruited to carry the salad or peel a cucumber as you chat with
your neighbors. I will repeat again for those that missed it, noise is not
an issue in the slightest, not from the kitchen anyway.

We do 4 dinners a week and a breakfast on Saturday, the number of partipants
varys from a low of 20 to a high of 45. If there is an average, we have
defied setting it, it always seems random although numbers seem higher in
the winter, lower in the summer.

I don't have a clue how the kitchen makes the slightest difference to our
community other than its easy to use. The most frequent complaint is about
the lighting in the winter, or about the quality of the knives.

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communties Association
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.