We hope this SITE will help you create a kitchen that works for you. 1. stores and with hand-me-downs. We might have discovered an interest in cooking or entertaining as we had friends over and socialized surrounded by food. We probably discovered that at a party everyone ends up in the kitchen, no matter how hard you try to move the crowd to other parts of the house. Later on, in our own homes, the kitchen assumed other roles: relaxation center, information depot, a spot for coffee before work, a place to cook for dinner parties, and a storage area for all those wedding-gift appliances and housewares. Eventually almost everyone starts thinking about ways to improve their kitchen.

Perhaps friends or business colleagues remodel or build new homes with that state-of-the-art kitchen you've always dreamed of. Maybe your old inefficient layout, out- dated look, and aged appliances don't work as well for you now. Your lifestyle changes as you change, and the ways you use your kitchen change with it. Children, careers, hobbies, and new technology all affect the way we use our kitchens. These lifestyle considerations are of- ten the underlying reason for remod- eling and building a new kitchen. Yet they are seldom considered during the early planning of a new kitchen. In- stead, we tend to focus on cabinet styles, wall colors, appliances, and the many items that are found in every kitchen. All too often a new kitchen project begins and ends with a visit to a cabinet store, resulting in a kitchen plan based on how many cabinets will fit in a space and on that store's flavor of the week in finishes and styles. De- sign comes in second to salesmanship.

Understanding how kitchens be- came so complex can help you make the many choices necessary while planning your new kitchen. In less than 100 years, we've gone from wood cookstoves and kitchens manned by servants to halogen cook- tops that heat instantaneously with the touch of a button. We're now an egalitarian society that pitches in, washes the dishes, buys the groceries, and chooses the menu, regardless of gender or income. Because we work in our own kitchens, we often have strong opinions about how they are pu t together. The Evolution of the Modern Kitchen Until the 1920s, most kitchens were inefficiently laid out. Families that could afford cooks had large storage pantries removed from the cooking area. With servants doing the work, there was little attempt made to pro- vide convenience and comfort for the homeowner.