Re: What % of households gravitate to kitchen?
From: Carol Robinson (
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2006 05:38:43 -0700 (PDT)
I was part of a discussion this past weekend with the builder
  of Ecovillage of Ithaca and he also talked about designing those
  homes with the kitchens "up front" at the pedway just for the 
  reasons you mentioned of interacting with the community at the
  front of the home and the living spaces more to the back.
  I had never thought of this concept on my own. When we were 
  designing our homes, one of my top priorities was my  "view";
  we live in the mountains and have some woods on our property
  as well. I personally designed my home with my kitchen in the middle
  with the sink area facing the front of the home so that while I did dishes
  I could still see the activity in the center of the community. I have my
  living room in the front and I like being able to see into the community
  so easily. I have "picture windows" in that I have 2 windows side-by-side
  and they span 5 feet. If I do not want the community to see in my home, I
  draw the blinds. However, I find that I rarely put the blinds down and I 
  that many of my neighbors are the same way. The home next to me also
  has the living room in front, however, her kitchen sink faces the back of the
  home where we have spectacular views of the mountains.
  So, I guess what I am saying is that the concept makes sense, and my own
  experience is that much more goes into the equation of deciding, such as
  views of the community interaction, views of the physical property and 
  use of the space that is being designed.
  Carol Robinson
  Shadowlake Village Cohousing, Blacksburg, VA

Fillard Rhyne <fillard [at]> wrote:
  The past few years, I've repeatedly heard people recommend designing units 
with the kitchens in the front, the point being that the room(s) where people 
spend most of their time should be placed where the connection to the community 
is strongest.

I agree that locating the main "active room" in the front of the house is a 
great idea, but wonder what percentage of households (that don't already have 
the kitchen in front) actually spend more time in the kitchen than in any other 
one room. Are we talking a huge majority, like 80%, or is it more like 40% with 
the other households split among the living room, the den, the bedrooms, the 
garden, etc.? Anybody know?

I currently live by myself (not in a cohousing community yet) and work at home 
five days a week. It would be easy to go stir crazy, but fortunately my front 
room has a big picture window that looks out into the neighborhood -- I love 
it, it helps me feel like I'm part of the world. I spend most of my waking 
hours there as it's my combination living room/dining room/office. And even 
when chopping vegetables, why stand at a counter when I can sit at a desk or 
table in my living room? I'm not big on standing. :-)

Anyway, it would be depressing to move someplace where I still spent most of my 
time in my living room/dining room/office, but said room was now tucked away in 
the back somewhere. And it would be rough to pay a customization fee to get my 
living room up front where I want it, and then not be able to find a buyer 
when/if I needed to move. Thus my interest in knowing exactly how common the 
phenomenon is.

(Part of the issue may be the distinction between where people spend their 
time, period, and where people spend their "active" time or "social" time.)


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