Show Menu

Kitchen and Farmhouse Design Plans

Working Kitchen Plans

To help homemakers reduce time and work involved in kitchen activities, the Bureau is designing and preparing construction drawings for kitchens, with different arrangements of equipment — the U, L, broken U and L, and parallel-wall types of arrangement. They are designed to reduce walking, stooping, and stretching to a minimum, in accordance with accepted principles of work simplification.

--Hazel K. Stiebeling. (1948). Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Home Economics, p. 1

The following reports published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture contain various kitchen plans. They were developed by the Bureau of Home Economics and the Clothing and Housing Research Division of the Agricultural Research Service.

(Click any image to access full text)


A Step-Saving U Kitchen

A Step-Saving U Kitchen (1948)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics. Kitchen designed by Lenore E. Sater, Head of Housing and Household Equipment Division

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 646

"Maximum convenience for the homemaker 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 laboratories of the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics.

Basic plan. 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 decorated as a separate center.

As shown on the plan (opposite), the sink is at the center of the U, and the refrigerator and range are at the ends. The three key pieces of equipment are brought within easy reach of one another. Other arrangements of the three pieces in a U or an L might be equally convenient.

The U as shown here, while compact, is large enough for two women to work with plenty of space. There is also ample storage to accompany the activities usually carried on in a farm kitchen when there is a separate laundry and workroom.

Smooth production line. This kitchen is planned to cut walking, stooping, and stretching to a minimum in accordance with modern work simplification ideas. It is planned so that jobs can progress in orderly fashion from one work center to the next. The production line is from right to left, since most right-handed women prefer this."


A Step-Saving U Kitchen

A Step-Saving U Kitchen (1949)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics. Thye, Lenore Sater and Dodge, J. Robert

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 646, Slightly revised

"Maximum convenience for the homemaker 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 laboratories of the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics.

Basic plan, — 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 decorated as a separate center."


Energy-Saving Kitchen-Workroom

Energy-Saving Kitchen-Workroom (1956)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Office of Information

Picture Story Number 99

"Pictured here is the energy-saving kitchen-workroom designed by housing specialists of the U. S. Department of Agriculture especially for the many homemakers who must conserve energy because of chronic illness or age. Developed in USDA' s Home Economics laboratories at Beltsville, Md., it is the first in a series of kitchen designs based on research into energy costs and space needs for performing various household tasks."


Beltsville Energy-Saving Kitchen: Design No. 1 With Workroom

Beltsville Energy-Saving Kitchen: Design No. 1 With Workroom (1957)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Agricultural Engineering Research Division. Clothing and Housing Research Division

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Leaflet Number 418 Plan Number 7103

"This 17 1/2- by 18-foot kitchen-workroom is designed to reduce the energy cost of kitchen-workroom activities. The storage designs, workspace, and arrangement of equipment are planned especially for the many homemakers who must conserve energy. The broken-U arrangement of the meal-preparation area is convenient and efficient; it permits easy to the dining room, utility and outside. The U breaks between island and range unit. Supplies used every day are stored in easy-to-reach places. Folding door on dish cabinet and nylon glides on pull-out shelves and drawers are energy-saving features."


The Beltsville Kitchen-Workroom With Energy-Saving Features

Beltsville Energy-Saving Kitchen-Workroom With Energy-Saving Features (1958)

Howard, Mildred S. Tayloe, Genevieve K. Thye, Lenore Sater.

Home and Garden Bulletin Number 60

"This kitchen-workroom was designed primarily for older or physically-handicapped farm women who must conserve their energy. Its many energy-saving features, however, will work equally well for any homemaker.

In planning this kitchen-workroom, the designers have applied findings of studies of the energy expended by women in performing household tasks. They have also taken into account studies of the space required for various household activities.

Storage designs, workspace, and arrangement of equipment are planned so that work can be done with a minimum of walking and other motions.

The overall size of the kitchen-workroom is 17 ½ by 18 feet."


Beltsville Energy-Saving Kitchen: Design No. 2

Beltsville Energy-Saving Kitchen: Design No. 2 (1958)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Clothing and Housing Research Division

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Leaflet Number 463

"This is the second kitchen designed and tested by housing specialists of the U. S. Department of Agriculture for homemakers who must conserve their energy.

Designs of work areas and arrangements of equipment were planned to reduce walking, lifting, and reaching and to eliminate some motions necessary when conventional designs and arrangements are used.

As shown in the plans above, the kitchen is oriented to a family room with dining area. If you plan to use the kitchen without the family room be sure to nnake adequate provision for the dining area. Three feet between the edge of the table and wall or refrigerator is needed for passage. Two feet between the edge of the table and the dish cabinet is adequate."


Beltsville Energy-Saving Kitchen: Design Number 3

Beltsville Energy-Saving Kitchen: Design No. 3 (1963)

Howard, Mildred S. Tayloe, Genevieve K. Parker, Russell C.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Leaflet Number 518

"This is the third energy-saving kitchen designed and tested by housing specialists of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the working convenience of the homemaker. It is carefully planned to reduce walking, stooping, lifting, and reaching in meal preparation and other kitchen activities.

Three arrangements of cabinets and equipment are presented. For a detailed layout of arrangements A, B, and C, turn to pages 2 and 3. Records of the distance walked in preparing, serving, and cleanup of identical meals in arrangements A, B, and C showed very little difference. Each arrangement is efficient and well suited to family use.

The distinctive feature of this kitchen is its use of slant-front, wall-hung cabinets. The bottom shelf of these cabinets is 5 1/2 inches deep and the top shelf is 9 1/2 inches deep, which makes the face of the cabinets extend farther out over the counters at the top than at the bottom. The mix and range cabinets and the other wall storage cabinet are hung only 4 inches above the surface counter instead of the customary 15 or 18 inches.


L-shaped Kitchen Arrangements

L-shaped Kitchen Arrangements (1963)

Agricultural Research Service. Clothing and Housing Research Division. Howard, Mildred S. Tayloe, Genevieve K. Parker, Russell C.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 935

"These are examples of efficient L-shaped arrangements for kitchens. The width of each work area is based on the recommended counter widths given on page 4 and the cabinet space needed above and below the counter to store items listed on page 3. Foods are grouped by area at which they are stored, such as range foods. In some arrangements, two types of items are stored together, such as mix and sink foods.

Select the arrangement that fits best into your house plan. Compare the list of items you want to store with the list on page 3. If you need more storage space, increase the width of the area where you need it, if your plan permits, or provide space elsewhere for extra supplies and seldom-used utensils. If you use a single wall oven, you will have extra storage space in the base cabinet below the oven.

On page 3 you will find sketches of the wall and base cabinets used in the arrangements illustrated. Shelf spacing shown will make the best use of the cabinet.


Parallel-Wall Kitchen Arrangements

Parallel-Wall Kitchen Arrangements (1963)

Agricultural Research Service. Clothing and Housing Research Division. Howard, Mildred S. Tayloe, Genevieve K. Parker, Russell C.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 936

"These are examples of efficient parallel-wall arrangements for kitchens. The recommended counter widths as given on page 4 and the cabinet space needed to store the items listed on page 3 were considered in the development of these arrangements. Foods are grouped by and stored near the area at which they are usually used first — mix center, sink, range, or serve center.

Select the arrangement that best suits your house plan. Compare the items you wish to store with the list on page 3.

Provide storage elsewhere for seldom-used equipment and extra supplies if you need more storage.

Allow 4 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 4 inches between facing equipment — the space needed for two people to work and pass by each other.

Locate doors so that a major traffic lane does not go through the work area of the kitchen. If possible, avoid placing the refrigerator or oven so that they open across a frequently used doorway.


U-shaped Kitchen Arrangements

U-shaped Kitchen Arrangements (1963)

Agricultural Research Service. Clothing and Housing Research Division. Howard, Mildred S. Tayloe, Genevieve K. Parker, Russell C.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 933

"Illustrated are three U-shaped kitchen arrangements. Two of them have the sink in the center and one has the range in the center. When developing these arrangements, the recommended amount of counter space for each area was considered and storage was planned for all the items listed on page 3.

No special cabinets are shown for the corner base area, but in order to have sufficient base storage you must use part of it.

Select the arrangement which fits best into your house plan. Compare the list of items on page 3 with what you would like to store in your kitchen. Increase the widths of the areas where you need more storage or plan to store some seldom-used items in a less accessible place.

Provide 4 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 4 inches between facing counters and equipment — the space needed for two people to work and pass by each other.


Broken-U Kitchen Arrangements

Broken-U Kitchen Arrangements (1963)

Agricultural Research Service. Clothing and Housing Research Division. Howard, Mildred S. Tayloe, Genevieve K. Parker, Russell C.

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 934

"Broken-U arrangements for kitchens usually fit well into combination rooms such as kitchen-dining, kitchen-family, or kitchen-work rooms.

Three arrangements are shown. In the first the refrigerator is in the island; in the second the sink is; and in the third the range is. In each arrangement at least the minimum amount of counter spaces, as shown on page 4, has been provided, and storage space for the items listed on page 3. Foods are grouped by and stored at or near the area at which they are usually used first — mix center, sink, range, or serve center.

Compare this list with what you want to store in your kitchen. If you want more storage space and you can't increase the widths of the areas where the storage is needed, plan storage else- where for extra supplies and the utensils that you don't use very often.

Allow 4 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 4 inches between facing equipment — the space needed for two people to work and pass by each other. The passage- way at the end of the island should be at least 3 feet 6 inches wide.



There are some older materials produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on general principles of efficient kitchen design.

Here are two Farmers' Bulletins from the 1920s:

The Farm Kitchen As A Workshop

The Farm Kitchen As A Workshop (1921)

Barrows, Anna

Farmers' Bulletin Number 607

"The farm kitchen has been, and too often is at present, living room, dining room, washroom, laundry, entry from outdoors, and passageway to other parts of the house, as well as cookroom. Even in houses where it is possible to use the kitchen for the preparation of food only, it is very often far too large and is used for work which might better be done elsewhere.

The use and consequently the size and location of the kitchen vary greatly in different parts of the country. The present tendency is toward small, compact kitchens used only for the preparation of food. However, climate affects such matters; for instance, the detached or semidetached kitchen of the far South may be logical and desirable in so far as it means a cooler house. Even so, it means more steps and added cost of construction.

Each housekeeper must study her own conditions and decide whether it is best for herself and her household to make the kitchen a " general-purpose " room, or whether another plan is feasible and will result in more comfort for all.


Convenient Kitchens

Convenient Kitchens (1926)

Gray, Greta

Farmers' Bulletin Number 1513

"HIGH POINTS OF KITCHEN PLANNING

First, last, and all the time, in planning and equipping a kitchen, think about the work to be done in it.

If building or remodeling a kitchen, make it oblong and with no more floor space than actually needed. A kitchen is a workroom. Spaciousness is paid for in miles of extra steps.

Study the relation of the kitchen to the rest of the house. Make a direct connection from kitchen to dining room in the common wall between them. See to it also that there is easy access to front and back doors, to the telephone, to the stairs, to the cellar, and to the second floor.

Arrange for adequate ventilation in all weathers and for good lighting at all work centers at night as well as during the day.

Choose finishes for floor, walls, and woodwork that are durable, suitable in color, and can be kept clean easily.

Select furnishings that fit the needs, suit the wall and floor space, and will pay for themselves in usefulness. Weigh the pros and cons of built-in or movable furnishings for your own kitchen and compare prices carefully.

Decide on the most comfortable height of working surfaces.


The Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics produced several reports addressing the ways to design the school lunch kitchen, storeroom, and lunchroom:

Increasing the Efficiency of the School Lunch Kitchen

Increasing the Efficiency of the School Lunch Kitchen (1948)

U.S. Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics. U.S. Production and Marketing Administration

Program Aid Number 61

"Efficient arrangement of space and equipment in the school lunch kitchen is of major importance in economical management. By streamlining the layout, it is often possible to make a kitchen more productive with the same number of workers, thus cutting down the cost of labor, which is usually a very substantial item in the total meal cost. This publication describes a method of appraising school kitchen layouts by a study of food-preparation routes and suggests ways of improving layouts to increase kitchen efficiency. The method may be used in planning for remodeling or for new kitchens.

In large quantity food preparation, the forward movement of food from delivery to service may be compared to the assembly line in a manufacturing plant. A short, direct route that enables workers to prepare and serve meals with the fewest possible steps indicates an efficient kitchen layout. If the route requires much backward or cross travel the layout is wasteful of workers' time and energy. The length of the food-preparation route depends primarily upon (1) size of lunchroom area, (2) arrangement of equipment, (3) location of receiving and storage areas in relation to kitchen, and (4) location of preparation centers with respect to serving unit.


Storage For School Lunch Food and Supplies

Storage For School Lunch Food and Supplies (1949)

U.S. Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics U.S. Production and Marketing Administration

Program Aid Number 63

"Well-planned storage for food and supplies makes for efficient and economical school lunch operation. Proper storage of food helps to protect the health of the children who eat lunches at school, to conserve food values, and to prevent waste. Furthermore, storage facilities that are well-planned in relation to work centers save time and energy of workers and so reduce labor costs.

In recent studies of school lunch programs, storage problems were found to be numerous. In some schools storerooms were too small, or located too far from the kitchen. On the other hand, a few schools had store- rooms larger than necessary. Refrigerator space was sometimes too limited for proper storage of perishable foods. Storage space for small equipment was not always conveniently arranged at the work centers where it was used. Often workers did not have a suitable place for their street clothes and other personal belongings. Where space was satisfactory, it was not always used to best advantage.

Problems such as these need careful consideration in planning lay-out of space for new school lunch- rooms, in remodeling or enlarging lunchrooms already in operation, or in deciding upon management practices that will make most efficient use of the storeroom. This publication is intended to direct attention to storage problems, give help in planning and evaluating storage facilities, and serve as a guide to accepted practices in storage management. The contents may well be used as an outline for fuller discussion by those interested in the preparation and serving of school lunches."


Specifications for Shelves and Floor Racks for the School Lunch Storeroom

Specifications for Shelves and Floor Racks for the School Lunch Storeroom (1950)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Production and Marketing Administration

Program Aid Number 133

"Sturdy shelves are essential in every school lunch storeroom. In constructing, them a 2-inch air space should be left between the shelves and the walls as shown above to permit the air to circulate freely behind and around the food stacked on them. The shelf frame, however, should be fastened to the wall for strength. The width and height of the shelves vary with the dimensions of the containers to be stored. Shelves l4 to 16 inches wide, spaced 12 inches apart, will adequately take care of No. 10 cans and 2-quart jars. Deeper shelves near the floor are needed for heavy cartons and boxes.

In planning the spacing of shelves, at least 18 inches should be allowed between the top shelf and the ceiling. Ceiling temperatures are generally such that it is inadvisable to store foods on the top shelf.

The bottom shelf should be at least 6 inches above the floor to permit sweeping and cleaning under it."


A Guide for Planning and Equipping School Lunchrooms

A Guide for Planning and Equipping School Lunchrooms (1956)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Marketing Service

Program Aid Number 292. Supersedes Program Aid Number 60 Planning and Equipping School Lunchrooms

 
"This publication is designed to serve as a guide for State school lunch agencies and others concerned with the planning and equipping of new school lunchrooms or the remodeling of existing facilities.

Work in this field was undertaken by the U. S. Department of Agriculture upon the recommendation of a representative group of State School Lunch Directors who serve as advisors to the Department on school lunch technical assistance activities.

Adequate facilities are essential to the operation of a good school lunch program. With new school construction rapidly expanding, these advisors felt that there was an urgent need to bring together, in practical and usable form, the best available information on efficient school lunch facilities and equipment.

The booklet presents information in the form of general guides, capable of being adapted to specific local situations and needs. It provides information on location, space, construction features, and equipment for all lunchroom areas and is based upon the service of lunches meeting the Type A standard.

For each lunchroom area, equipment needs are listed for four different meal loads, ranging from 100 to 750 lunches per day. Lunchrooms serving fewer than 100 or more than 750 lunches daily present specialized problems that are beyond the scope of this publication, although the same basic principles should be applied. For the same reason, the design of central food preparation facilities is not considered in this guide.

For many areas of school lunch equipment and facilities, there is no commonly accepted standard of minimum essential needs. The guides recommended in this publication are a consensus. Equipment recommendations have been checked against the quantities of food required to prepare Type A lunches, allowing a margin for needed variety in menu planning. Area and space recommendations have been checked to insure that they permit efficient arrangement of recommended essential equipment.

The materials included in the publication have been drawn from many sources, and the advice and counsel of school feeding specialists were sought by the Department in the development of the final recommendations. While the large number of contributors makes it impossible to list them individually, the Department wishes to acknowledge the extent and importance of their contributions."

Layout, Equipment, and Work Methods for School Lunch Kitchens and Serving Lines

Layout, Equipment, and Work Methods for School Lunch Kitchens and Serving Lines (1966)

Biedermann, Konrad. Wilhelmy Jr., O. Dull, M.R. Bouma, John C.

Marketing Research Report Number 753

"A study of six lunch operations in Ohio indicates that a thorough job of planning new kitchen facilities will pay off throughout the life of the facility in terms of reduced labor requirements. Best results are achieved in schools where the local administration draws the kitchen manager into the planning process, obtains new ideas from visits to new facilities, and formalizes requirements and plans in the form of tentative specifications. This procedure will help the food service consultant and architect in their detailed planning. Final plans should be reviewed by local school officials as well as kitchen management before being ap- proved. In many States, the plans also can be submitted to the State department of education for review and recommendations by the School Lunch Director.

With present trends in school enrollment, facilities must be planned for growth. Incorporating a 50-percent growth potential in output into new facilities is feasible, if enough space is allotted. Economies of scale will permit a sizable increase in output in the kitchen if additional equipment can be added as needed, and if adequate aisle space is provided. Larger kitchen facilities will require less floorspace per meal than small-scale operations.

In developing the layout, including storage areas, food preparation, and serving area, planners should provide a straight-line flow of the food, with a minimum of back-tracking. Within the kitchen, work stations should be set up on a functional basis, with similar equipment being grouped together in central locations.

Selection of equipment should take into consideration its conformance to present and expected methods of operation, the extent to which it permits adherence to applicable principles of motion economy, and its speed of output. Capacity, durability, quality of construction, and price are other major factors that must be weighed when comparing one make of equipment with another."