The Unfitted Kitchen | VICTORIAN KITCHEN DESIGN

The Unfitted Kitchen | VICTORIAN KITCHEN DESIGN

The unfitted kitchen is one of my favorite aspects of Victorian kitchen design. I love the free standing, unfitted kitchen decor. Having a Victorian kitchen table and a big antique cabinet just makes my heart happy. The counter space doesn’t really bother me too much because it’s really about efficiency. In our Victorian farmhouse, I’m interested in the efficient kitchen. Today I hope you enjoy this discussion on unfitted kitchens and Victorian kitchen furniture. And who knows, maybe it will be great for you too!

Here is a link to the full blog post:

What is an Unfitted Kitchen?

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RESOURCES MENTIONED (some affiliate links)

https://www.adlib.co.uk/clients/hampton-court-palace-kitchens-av/
http://www.homethingspast.com/historic-kitchen-visit/

Through the Tudor keyhole


https://www.historicnewengland.org/explore/collections-access/gusn/200552/

The Second Industrial Revolution, 1870-1914


https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/readbook/AnIdealKitchen_10870418#8
https://books.google.com/books?id=ivNLAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+efficient+kitchen&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiOz7TsmP7lAhVNTt8KHS-pCdcQuwUwAHoECAIQBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/Architectural.Styles.VictorianKitchen.htm
https://www.instagram.com/p/B8QPR00n9s2/
https://mcmansionhell.com/
https://www.realhomes.com/design/freestanding-kitchen-ideas

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50 Comments

  1. Chris's Garden Pyle on October 5, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    I wish I had an unfitted kitchen. I have much of the furniture for it. Hoosier pie safe enamel top work table with 2 drawers and a tall storage cabinet I made by marrying two shorter cabinets together. Well all pieces are being used around the house. They sure would have looked cute in an unfitted kitchen. I even have the large dining room or work table on wheels. Nice fat legs. funny we never used a dining room table. I have my grandmothers which is not much more than a pallet now. I guess being 70 years old it is a bit worse for wear. But this darling table I bought after hubby died is amazing. I still do not eat at it. I sometimes use it to do book work on and one end of it has a fairly large parrot cage I keep house plants in. All is good. Thanks for sharing all of this. OH and one of your earlier videos when you talk of aging in place. Heck we did not even consider it until we were in our 60’s for me and 70’s for hubby.

  2. Brightwood House on October 5, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    Absolutely correct, and so well done. Kudos. I live similarly. Perfect info.

  3. Lisa Bracken on October 5, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    So glad I found this video! Hard to find anything on unfitted kitchens and I hate islands too

  4. Theresa on October 5, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    I haven’t watched very many of your videos, yet, I really am enjoying your farmhouse reno. My question right now is, do you have a pantry? I always thought the kind of kitchen you are making would need a big pantry!!

  5. Skarfp 1956 on October 5, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    My house is an American four-square built in 1896 so what type kitchen do you think was here?

  6. iliana garcia on October 5, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    I love islands in kitchens and more contemporary design. My taste is so very different from yours, yet I really enjoy watching your videos because of that very contrast. You keep me engaged and interested in your lifestyle and exited to see what’s coming next. I like learning about the different perspective you have on design and esthetic, and I love your how your personality transcends through video. Keep it up, I really like all your content, enthusiasim, and positive energy!

  7. AnneO Oconnor on October 5, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    You’re the cutest, in an "I admire your style" way!!!

  8. S on October 5, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    Okay get a grip, if you are still alive in 20 years you might want to redo the kitchen. And who says you can’t put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, sand down the wood cabinets etc. Personally I think you’re one of those people that just is never satisfied with something.

  9. Gail Dedrick on October 5, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Our kitchen in our 1930 cottage is entirely unfitted.

  10. Joella Koslowski on October 5, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    Interestingly informative.

  11. Deborah O'Neal on October 5, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    I just watched a video about this from Milestones Kitchen. I hadn’t heard of them before. I really like the concept. It makes a lot of sense.

  12. AthleticAmee on October 5, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    Love that I found this video!!! Especially bc I’m designing my new kitchen 🤪 I want 1940’s farmhouse comfy feel. Basically I wanna feel like I’m back at Grandmas house. 💕 what about an island on casters?🤔

  13. Dalton Bedore on October 5, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    i just bought a 1935 house with a (IMO) terribly dated early 2000’s renovation. Can’t WAIT to "unfit" the kitchen and make it more like it would have looked back then, but with modern ergonomics 🙂 thank you for the video

  14. Mrs Dove on October 5, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    You are my new favorite person. This has been a huge light bulb moment for me. I’ve been scanning YouTube on and off for a kitchen video that fit my life. If I typed farm kitchen I got farmhouse kitchen with shiny unused renovated kitchens. You speak my language.

  15. Julia Taylor on October 5, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    This is brilliant timing for me as I will close on a circa 1900 (or 1870 depending on who you talk to) farmhouse on Tuesday. It has two ugly 1940-50s kitchens back to back (9one may be a summer kitchen.)I have spent the last week looking at pictures of kitchens and hating everything in them. Unfitted is perfect!

  16. Ca Bo on October 5, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    💗

  17. Jeanette Mullins on October 5, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    The house I grew up in (in the UK ) was built in the 1970s and was a weird part fitted kitchen. It was too small for a table and poorly designed with three doors. Under the window it had a short row of fitted cabinets with the sink/drainer on and a couple of wall cabinets but the rest of it was free standing. it was a pretty terrible compromise. We had a freestanding cabinet on the other wall next to the oven but it never really worked because it was hard to open the cabinet up in such a small space. Was a nightmare to modernise as the space that had the fitted cupboards is much narrower than modern cabinets.

  18. Judy Lewis on October 5, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    You are very informative but I would enjoy seeing more of your remodel projects. I would also like to say you two are so cute as a couple and doing a beautiful a remodel together.

  19. featherjean on October 5, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Restaurants do that on purpose. Something to do with cleaning. As you have pointed out. Now I want to rip out my kitchen cabinets and have free moving stuff.

  20. Foshee Family on October 5, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Thank you for this, we bought a “old house” and we are quickly finding out that parts of it are MUCH older than the info from the county says! I believe that our kitchen was last heavily renovated in the late 1930s and besides coat on coat of paint it hasn’t changed much since. We have one wall of cabinets and that’s it! Definitely will be taking an unfitted kitchen into serious consideration lol

  21. Mister F. on October 5, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    I live in an 1887 gabled ell cottage and am doing a near complete demodernization to ca. 1910 to 1925 (period of historic significance). The very first thing I did when I bought the place in 2014 was unfit the kitchen. This year I’m planning on reconstructing the kitchen lean-to from the foundation to it’s original 13×15. The only fitted element will be a custom McCray style built-in 9 door icebox-pantry that I’m assembling with historic material and features salvaged from a demo house.

  22. Daniel Robinson on October 5, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    I just found out about this type of kitchen and decided this is what we’re doing in our awkwardly shaped 120 year old kitchen. Hope it turns out awesome!

  23. Charlotte Claussen on October 5, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    I just moved and have a kitchen like this ugh no counters etc house of seven and I don’t know how to cope yet 😩😂

  24. Krystal on October 5, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Ever since you started discussing the design of your kitchen – it honestly never occurred to me; my father owns a construction company and builds custom cabinets; I grew up with all sorts of those extensive fully fitted kitchens with ALL THE CABINETRY. But from the start when you explained what you’re doing and why … just, mind blown. It makes more and more sense every time I hear you talk about it. I’m very much into the idea of that sweet spot you mentioned. I love the idea of maybe one section of the kitchen being more built in – most likely where gas lines for stoves and water lines for sinks would be, but the rest of the kitchen being all freestanding. Beautiful work table in the middle, because I do enjoy the practicality of the islands having grown up with them always, but I would much prefer the flexibility and style of the table vs a huge solid mass of an island. So here I am. Solid convert to your preaching. I just love it.

  25. sofia johansson on October 5, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Great video as usual Paige! I found this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N9RCQjPqh4 it’s a video from 1949 about how to design an efficient kitchen. It’s super interesting and something I thought people who like your video might like.

  26. Shirley Colopy on October 5, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    A young teenager came into our 1880 home once and stopped and said “Wow! This is like going back in time and living in a real farm house!” Lol

  27. dwysan on October 5, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Believe it or not Bill Bryson wrote a whole book called At Home where he researched the evolution of how homes came to be the way they are today. He talks about Victorian kitchens and how differently they worked.

  28. Jess Kan on October 5, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    Great kitchen history lesson!

  29. Amanda Dobbs on October 5, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    Oh god, I am WITH you. Modern kitchen design pisses me off completely. When I see the kitchen designs all the HGTV/DIY Network/whatever corporate-sponsored media that wants to condition you to spend money on a whole lot of shit you don’t need, I really get hacked off. (And of course the website you were looking at WOULD say you need to renovate your kitchen every 10–15 years. They’re selling you!) Modern kitchens are lazily designed and built with flimsy materials—and prohibitively expensive. In what universe do cabinets make sense for efficiency, especially blind corner cabinets?? Things get shoved to the back and you can’t find anything. Drawers and pullout racks make so much better sense. Also, the pullout countershelves you mentioned are excellent. I want them in my own home. I’ve been looking for a reasonably priced antique kitchen table with the porcelain top and drawers, but I want end up having to build my own. I have a bakers cart on caster wheels that I pull out to the center of the kitchen if I need extra space. I also use the kitchen table if it’s a really big project. We can, freeze, and dry a lot of our food, though, so I wish we had a wider and deeper sink. If I had my way, I’d redesign my kitchen as a giant Hoosier cabinet, almost like this: https://youtu.be/2N9RCQjPqh4. It’s an old 1940s US Archives educational video about the ideal, most efficient kitchen design, and they touch on what you were talking about it making no sense to have an open-layout kitchen. I love unfitted kitchens, but I’m at a time in my life where that wouldn’t work for me. But, I’m like you: Know thyself. Loving your channel! I’ve been binge watching. I want to move out to the country and start a small homestead. Watching your channel is helping me plan.

  30. Carmen Colon on October 5, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    I think missed this video. How I came across it because I need to rethink the style of my kitchen. Very interesting.

  31. Barbi Brewer Haase on October 5, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    I love this idea, I think I may do something like this to my old Farmhouse, however I do have a makeshift island, an old dresser, has many drawers in which I store spices, canned goods and stuff like that. Searching for the perfect stove… my newish glass top has given me nothing but problems! I enjoy cooking with cast iron pans and they get too hot for the glass cooktop and I must have replaced the coils in the oven at least 3 times.

  32. JennyM on October 5, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    A couple of decades ago when we were hand building our house, I fell in love with Smallbone’s of England unfitted kitchen. So gorgeous! Smallbone, unfortunately charges a zillion dollars per running foot for their kitchens so they were WAY out of our pricing scale.
    Nonetheless I had my cabinet guy copy one of their designs for my pantry. I still like unfitted kitchens. I recently saw a kitchen with a huge glass fronted, enormous free standing cabinet in it. I’ve also seen people using drugstore apothecary cabinets in kitchens. Unfitted doesn’t mean that cabinets aren’t against the walls, it just means that they may not all be matching built ins. Nowadays, though, I think making everything within arms length is a mistake. As a population of couch sitters, walking 5 ft to grab your groceries, is only going to benefit your health over time. (PS any island can be put on wheels, and any clutter can be removed from any flat surface… Just sayin….)

  33. Kori Emerson on October 5, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    IM NOT ON CRACK !! We are seriously siblings nay… the same person in 2 different bodies. I want an unfitted kitchen so flipping bad. I’m gimpy and counters SUCK. If I’m having a bad back day, I basic have a swear party in my head. YOU HATE YOUR ISLAND TOO ! That’s it ! I’m seriously making that dress.. how do you feel about a period corset?

  34. Cody Collins on October 5, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    Fitted unfitted

  35. Caitlin Bures on October 5, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    Omgoodness! I hate modern islands too! You have my dream kitchen!

  36. D. C. on October 5, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    I like the idea of spaces being adaptable I just dont want to have to sweep behind cabinets if they aren’t built in

  37. WyomingHome on October 5, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    Working with an architect soon on the design of a small (1200 sq ft) timbered house and this is exactly what I want (and have been saving photos of). I just didn’t know the official term for it. Thank you!

  38. Randi Heisler on October 5, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    We’re struggling with our (very…what’s a good word… violated maybe?) early-1900s farmhouse. The kitchen is my stumbling block, and I was top of my interior design class for kitchen design (was suggested to Omega Cabinets by my professor for an internship but ex-husband got transferred and life happened). I’ve tried for over 7 years to find the right way to handle this disproportionate and under-used (large-ish) space, and have FINALLY discovered why. It needs to be unfitted. I’ve unknowingly been doing it already: shelving units for pantry items, looking/begging for a pot rack to hang them all up, using a mid-century formica table as counter/work space… I thought I was going crazy being unable to design with "standard" cabinets and despite my attention to detail keeping the period farmhouse "look" in the rest of the house (black metal, weathered wood, etc all things I love) I NEVER thought to apply the "how was this used originally" plan to the kitchen. I’d been brainwashed to assume I *had* to have fixed cabinets because they were the more modern way so they were "better" use of the space. No. Not in this kitchen. You, my dear, have opened my eyes to my solution and I’m THRILLED to start finding and designing for the kitchen!!! 🤩

  39. meadow_wynne on October 5, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    This was absolutely fascinating! You definitely need an HGTV show!

  40. Zut Knacka on October 5, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    I’m so with you on the kitchen island. We built our house about three years ago and I could not bring myself to put one in, no matter how much convenience it was going to bring me.
    I don’t get why people MUST cram an island into the kitchen whether it has room for it or not and ruin what used to be a perfectly proportioned room with good flow.

  41. Valerie McQueen on October 5, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    Islands don’t collection junk, people do. One awesome thing about having a fitted kitchen is precisely that every single thing has a custom made place to be wich prevents cluttering. I’m 100% up for fitted kitchens and open shelves because I’m neurotic like that. 😂😂 Btw, and this is completely out of topic, but I love your nose, idk if is your make up or what but your nose looks sculpted and I love it. ❤️

  42. Tracie Andreski on October 5, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    Love your kitchen sink. My Grandma had one just like it.

  43. Sandy Bush on October 5, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    This really strikes a chord! I have been searching the internet for something – I wasn’t quite sure what it was – for my kitchen. It makes so much sense, but I haven’t actually thought about it in the terms of "fitted" or "unfitted". My kitchen is already pretty much like this but I’m needing to find ways to make it more efficient. Everything I look at online about kitchens is built in, homogenous – even if they vary greatly in styles. Now I can look at my kitchen with a totally different mindset. Thanks!

  44. Jeff Purtell on October 5, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    I love history in general, architectural history particularly, and I especially appreciate studies of the function of different rooms through time. (sounds pretty boring when I type it lol). I really appreciate vernacular architecture which is pretty much what many rural and middle class houses were in the time period you are referring to. Your video checked all the boxes for me. Wonderful history lesson. I thought I was well read but I’ve never heard of "fitted" or "unfitted" kitchens or seen a study on their evolution. Your highlighting of the inward or outward focused work flow was very interesting. Thanks for your research and presentation and posting this great video.

  45. ThreeRunHomer on October 5, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    The big problem with typical kitchen cabinets of today: they hide rot! Anyone who renovates homes will tell you that kitchen floors often have rot that was hidden by the cabinets (usually because of a hidden leak under the sink or dishwasher). Unfitted kitchen furniture with legs leaves no place for leaks to hide, and the openness allows airflow to dry any inadvertent drips. I recently bought a house and discovered a rotted floor under the kitchen cabinets, and I’m not going to repeat the same mistake.

  46. David The Good on October 5, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    Great explanation.

  47. David Morton on October 5, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    all this and you don’t show us your kitchen ? Or a good unfitted kitchen?

  48. Jackie Boyd on October 5, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    I love my unfitted kitchen, just for that reason; I can just move an item to replace it when I need to. Love your shows.

  49. DeDraconis on October 5, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    First video of yours I’m seeing and very much subscribed. 😀

  50. Danette Mannion on October 5, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    I just told my husband I wanted to do this. I didn’t know it was a thing so I went to YouTube. I love this

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