A Step-saving U Kitchen 1951 -- Thye, Lenore Sater, Housing Specialist Plans by Dodge, Robert J.,...|
A Step-saving U Kitchen |
Thye, Lenore Sater, Housing Specialist
Dodge, Robert J., Architect
Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics
Agricultural Research Administration
Home and Garden Bulletin 14, USDA
Issued November 1951
Archive copy of publication, do not use for current recommendations.
The PDF file was provided courtesy of the National Agricultural Library.
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Home and Garden Bulletin No. 14
Formerly Miscellaneous Publication No. 646
To Rear Entr. Hall
" Working drawings are available from the extension agricultural engineer at
most State agricultural colleges. In some States, county extension agents will
place your order.
• If working drawings are not available in your State, write to Housing and
Household Equipment Division, Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Eco-
nomics, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Md. This office
cannot supply the plans, but will direct you to a State that handles them.
1 Working drawings are detailed, so that a local carpenter or cabinetmaker can
reproduce them easily.
• If your storage needs are greater than those of the average family, you may
wish to increase the size of certain units. Do not decrease the size of units. The
space allotments needed for individual utensils and supplies have been carefully
planned to allow ample room for removing articles.
HOUSE-DRESS NOTE : The young women pictured at work in this kitchen
wear functional house dresses designed in the Bureau's laboratories.
Lenore Safer Thye, housing specialist. Plans by J. Robert Dodge, architect
* Maximum convenience for the home-
maker at her work is the aim of this
step-saving kitchen, planned primarily
for the farm home. It was designed in
housing and household equipment lab-
oratories of the Bureau of Human
Nutrition and Home Economics.
—The unbroken U shape
was chosen for arranging equipment
because it forms a compact dead-end
work center through which household
traffic cannot pass. It also allows the
dining corner to be planned and deco-
rated as a separate center.
As shown on the plan (opposite),
the three key pieces of equipment are
brought within easy reach of each
other—sink at center of U, refrigera-
tor and range at ends. Other arrange-
ments of these pieces in a U or an L
might be equally convenient.
The U as shown here, while compact,
is large enough to give two women com-
fortable working space. There is also
ample storage to accompany the activi-
ties usually carried on in a farm kitchen
when there is a separate laundry and
Smooth production line.—
kitchen is planned to cut walking, stoop-
ing, and stretching to a minimum in
accordance with modern work-simpli-
fication ideas. It is planned so jobs
can progress smoothly from one work
center to the next. The production
line is from right to left, as preferred
by most right-handed women.
Comfortable work heights.—
Counters are 36 inches from the floor—
the height used by manufacturers for
most cabinet counters and gas and elec-
tric ranges. If this height is not com-
fortable, it can be adjusted an inch or
two by changing the height of the toe
space. The pull-out lapboard has a
top 26 inches from the floor. Tests
show that this is a comfortable level for
—To save time and
energy, storage is provided for supplies
and equipment near the places where
they are first used. Articles in con-
stant use are near at hand; those seldom
used are farthest off. Cabinets have
been designed especially to hold the
various kinds of kitchen articles.
Corner space in cupboards and on
counters is often wasted, for it is hard
to reach. Revolving cupboards in
corners of the U are a good solution.
Light and air.
—A broad window
over the sink and its counters and an-
other in the dining corner provide good
natural light and cross ventilation. A
fan built in the wall above the refrig-
erator helps to ventilate and carry off
Semi-indirect artificial light illumi-
nates the work surfaces with a minimum
of glare and shadow. The fixture is a
U-shaped wooden trough with four 40-
watt fluorescent tubular bulbs mounted
on it. The dining corner has a semi-
indirect incandescent fixture.
Mixing jobs go quickly when
supplies and utensils are with-
in easy reach and the work
space is adequate, as in this
mixing center. The refrig-
erator is conveniently placed
at the right end of the work
Corner cupboards with re-
volving shelves above and
below counter level tie in with
the mixing center.
• Generous counter space.—Of
food-preparation jobs, making cookies
and bread requires the most counter
space. Allowing for this, a mixing
counter should be at least 36 inches
long, with 42 inches more desirable, the
Bureau's research has shown. In this
kitchen 44 inches is provided.
Double-deck flour bins.—
flour handy is a problem in farm kitch-
ens where much baking is done. In
this kitchen, replenishing the small
container is easy.
A small metal bin above the mixing
counter replaces the flour canister,
which usually takes up counter space.
Directly above is a big bin for about
40 pounds of flour. Pull out a metal
shutter in the bottom of the big
bin . . . and flour feeds into the small
bin just below.
More bins in a row.
—Next to the
small bin is a bin for granulated sugar,
and beyond is one for other sugar,
meal, or flour. ' The small bins are
removable for easy cleaning.
Right-corner Lazy Susan.—The
wall cupboard with revolving shelves
at right bend of the U is part of the
mixing center. It is big enough so that
staples in daily use can occupy the
outer part of the shelves and yet leave
• room near the center lor reserves.
These shelves are extended down to the
counter, providing storage at working
level for the heaviest and most often-
The base revolving cupboard is for
the larger mixing bowls, baking uten-
sils not stored elsewhere, a large jug of
vinegar, saucepans. The top three-
quarter shelf is just right for storing
saucepans with long handles. The toe-
board under the corner base cabinets is
removable, to allow for brushing out
under the shelves.
Utensils above mixing coun-
—Since the Lazy Susan holds the
many staples used at the mixing center,
cupboards above the counter are left
for equipment and supplies usually
stored below the counter or in more
The wall cabinet above the mixing
center has shelves for mixing bowls,
measuring spoons and cups, casseroles,
custard cups. The top shelf is fitted
with dividers to file the pie, cake, muffin,
and bread pans, and similar pieces.
Above the big flour bin, is a small verti-
cal file for such articles as the pudding
pan, tube cakepan, salad mold.
Recipes at eye level.—
A rack in-
side the right-hand door of the wall
cabinet (shown at right) holds a recipe
card or an open cookbook.
Pull-out boards that lock.—The
two pull-out boards under the mixing
counter lock into place, and can be
pushed back when the gravity stop
under the board is released. The
smaller board makes a sturdy base for
attaching a food grinder. It also is
handy for chopping small quantities of
vegetables. The larger board is for
use with larger quantities of food.
Drawers close to counter.
the pull-out boards are three drawers:
One just deep enough for spoons, spat-
ulas, and other mixing tools; a slightly
deeper drawer for such things as a hand
egg beater, can opener, graters; a deep
drawer for refrigerator dishes and cov-
ers. All of these drawers can be opened
A place for seated work.—
out lapboard, shown on page 16, is in-
cluded in this center.
—Below the lap-
board are two tiers of drawers, with
two drawers in each tier:
Left tier: Top drawer for the chil-
dren's lunch-basket supplies, and picnic
things. Bottom drawer for seldom-used
odds and ends of equipment, which
most kitchens inevitably include.
Right tier: Top drawer for recipe
books. Bottom drawer has dividers
for filing large, seldom-used baking
A step-saving set-
up for preparing
vegetables or for
and knife rack
near counter level.
Garbage hatch in
cupboard at right.
1 Bins for vegetables and fruit.—
The counter for preparing vegetables
and scraping and stacking used dishes
need not be so wide, front to back, as a
mixing counter. By taking off 3 inches
and using as much depth as possible in
the outside wall, four bins are built
under the windows.
The big bin at the vegetable-prepara-
tion counter holds about 20 pounds of
potatoes. Next is a 10-pound bin for
onions. Similar bins to left of sink are
for other vegetables and fruit.
Made of metal and wood, the bins
are easily removed for cleaning. The
metal-lined compartments into which
they fit are also easy to clean.
In this step-
saving kitchen it is no trouble to save
garbage for hogs—a problem chore in
many farm households.
Common practice is to peel vege-
tables and fruit into a pan or sink
strainer . . . then pour the peelings
into a garbage pail . . . then stoop to
put pail under sink, or lift it to a table
where it takes up work space.
Here, the garbage pail is in a metal-
lined compartment under the counter at
right of sink. Vegetables and fruit
can be peeled—and plates scraped—
directly into the pail through an oblong
opening in the counter. Counter open-
ing and lid are metal-lined for easy
The filled pail can be removed from
the yard side through an insulated door
in the back wall. The pail can be
taken out to be washed, through a door
opening on the kitchen side.
For tools and paper.—
garbage compartment are two drawers.
The shallow top drawer is for hammer,
pliers, nails, and so on. The deep
bottom drawer is a file for paper sacks
and wrapping paper.
'"" ...-"•' %
Cleared dishes progress to the left: Washed in shallow sink bowl . . . drained
S Two-level sink.
—The sink for this
kitchen was designed and constructed
in the laboratory. No sinks like it are
on the market.
The right bowl, 5 inches deep, per-
mits dishwashing at a comfortable
height. In so shallow a bowl, the drain
must be directly under the faucet to
prevent excessive splashing from run-
The left bowl, 8 inches deep, is con-
venient for draining dishes or washing
vegetables. The sink is wide enough,
front to back, for a medium-sized dish
drainer to rest on the rims, supported
well above the sink floor. Space at
side of the drainer allows liquids to
be poured down the sink or pans to be
emptied without contact with the
For cleaning supplies.—
compartment at the back of the sink is
for soap, brushes, and scouring and
in deep bowl . . . everyday dishes and silver stored near counter level.
soap powders. A compartment under
the sink, shown on page 10, holds extra
—Below the counter
at left of the sink are four drawers—
for tea towels, for cake and cookies (a
metal-lined drawer), for aprons, and
for miscellaneous articles.
Left-corner Lazy Susan.—
left bend of the U, a wall cupboard with
revolving shelves is for everyday dishes.
Heavy dishes and those most often used
are on the lowest shelves. The top
shelf is for ready-to-eat cereals. Steps
are saved when cereal and bowls are in
The revolving shelves below hold
skillets, roaster, and other utensils
used at the range. Shelves and open-
ings are large enough to take, in addi-
tion, big pieces of equipment such as
the pressure canner.
A large coffeepot is here, as well as
the percolator used daily, and also the
coffee—all handy to the cold water at
the sink. If a hot-water coffee maker
is used, a shelf over the range gives
more convenient storage for coffee and
" Under-sink storage.—The
storage compartment under the
sink provides a place for tempo-
rary storage of empty cans, jars,
and bottles, as well as for extra
The wastepaper basket is
mounted on the left door of the
under-sink cupboard; also a roll
of paper towels. On the right
door are hooks for the dish
drainer and a rack for the dish-
Tea-towel pull-out rack.—
A pull-out rack at the right of the
range is for drying tea towels.
To meet safety requirements,
there is asbestos board on the
side of the rack next to the range.
To ventilate the rack, the asbestos
board and the toeboard are both
• Shelves at range.
shelves are provided for foods in fre-
quent use at the range.
The lower shelf is for such supplies
as flour, sugar, salt, pepper, tea, cocoa.
The upper, for such staples as break-
fast cereals that require cooking, rice
and corn meal.
These shelves extend only a little
way over the range, but, even so, for
safety's sake there is asbestos lining
—The wall cabinet
is 24 inches above the range. The
lowest shelf allows just enough space
for meat platters. The shelf above is
mostly a vertical file for pot lids and
vegetable dishes. This leaves one-
fourth of the shelf for additional staples
used at the range. The top shelf is for
extra packages of all foods stored at the
range, and for dry breakfast cereal
above the range, and also the cabinet
above the serving counter, have double-
fold doors, hinged to fold back flat for
convenience and safety.
Shelves and cupboards over the range save many steps. They should
be protected from fire hazard by asbestos board under them.
The serving counter is next to the
range and handy to the dining corner.
doors.—To speed dining-
room service and save many steps, slid-
ing doors (shown at right) are back
of the serving counter. When these
doors are opened, dishes may be taken
from the wall cupboards on the dining-
room side. The doors also open up a
passway through which food is served
from the kitchen counter to the dining-
For company dishes.—
serving counter is a 44-inch cabinet for
storing good dishes. Farm families
usually serve in family style. So space
is allowed here, near the range, for
meat platters and vegetable dishes of
the company set.
For silver and such.
drawers under the right end of the long
wall cabinet are for articles used when
setting the table for everyday meals—
silver, table hot pads, paper napkins.
Under the serving counter.—The
base cabinet is fitted with—
• A large bread board . . .
• A drawer for small utensils used
at the range: Meat forks, basting
spoons, potato masher, other pieces . . .
• A metal-lined bread box big
enough for four loaves and a pan or
two of rolls . . .
• A file cupboard for trays, cooling
racks, turkey platter, other large items
conveniently stored upright.
• The dining corner is large enough to
seat six comfortably. With the table
pushed to one side of the dining area
or set with the long side against the
window, there is room for a baby's play
A 6-foot window looks out on the
yard and drive. It also provides for
cross ventilation with the window over
the sink. Harmonizing colors of cur-
tains, walls, and dishes help make the
corner cheerful and attractive.
Under the window a radiator is
flanked by open shelves where the
toaster and waffle iron may be kept.
There is room here for magazines and
books at left and children's toys at
the right. The top shelf provides a
place for potted plants or flowers and
also serves as a counter for convenient
use of electrical equipment. Conven-
ience outlets directly below eliminate
reaching or stooping to make con-
Dining corner, large enough for chairs rather than benches. There is
ample space for pushing back chair and passing behind seated person.
• A useful step saver is a desk at which
to plan meals, telephone, and make out
market orders. This kitchen desk is a
drop-leaf table on casters. A shallow
drawer holds pencils, pads, grocery
bills. Placed next to the cooking cen-
ter, the desk provides a convenient
place to work while the meal is cooking.
Desk used as table.
raised, the desk makes a 48-inch table.
It can be easily moved where wanted
for use in food preservation or for set-
ting up salads or desserts when serving
a group. It can also serve as a tea
cart, or it will seat two extra persons
comfortably for meals.
With a fluorescent light directly
overhead, the table is a good place for
a child to study.
extends back into the wall, making a
place for a recipe book or two, telephone
book, a kitchen radio.
Mirror for last look.
ers say that when someone is at the
door or when they join guests they like
to see that they are presentable. A
mirror above the desk meets this need.
" Storage closet.
—Near the doors
and out of the way of meal preparation
is this closet for the kitchen cleaning
equipment. Besides such things as
broom, brushes, and dustpan, the lower
section can hold the step stool. There
is a hook for aprons. A rack on the
door provides storage for first-aid
The upper section is reserved for a
selected supply of canned foods—sav-
ing trips to food-storage room.
corner-cabinet shelves turn easily and
smoothly on a ball-bearing pivot. To
keep them from turning, a catch placed
beyond the reach of young children is
a wise precaution against accidents. A
metal rim keeps utensils from sliding
off the shelves.
The pull-out lapboard in the food-
preparation center provides a comfort-
able place to sit for long and tiresome
jobs, such as making sandwiches, shell-
ing peas, or preparing foods for can-
ning and freezing. It is planned for
use with a kitchen chair which allows
the worker to sit comfortably, with a
good back rest and with her feet flat on
the floor. Food supplies and utensils
taken out for use can be placed on the
counter above within easy reach.
BUREAU OF HUMAN NUTRITION AND HOME ECONOMICS
Agricultural Researdjs$Kitrfmistration ,.^i»|J|^^"
United States Deparfi|ient pf,/Vsri(jiSlMilrV
Washington, D. C. \\^ .Issued November^951
U. S . G O V E R N M E N T P R I N T I N G OFFICE: 1951