How Has Kitchen Expectations Changed Over the Years

Real Estate Agent with DFW FINE PROPERTIES 0506509

by Patricia Feager


A lot has changed in the residential kitchens over the many generations of home buyers. For example, a homeowner in the 1950's was lucky to have a stove, refrigerator, sink, linoleum floors, and if there was a pantry, people were very lucky! It was really special if people owned a Dining Room Table and a China Cabinet. If an owner was lucky, they had a kitchen table in their kitchen. The kitchen table could have been made out of Oak Wood or a metal table and chairs. 


Although big and bulky, by the late 1960's and 1970's, homeowners that were very lucky had their own washing machine and clothes dryer. In some parts of the country, owners still didn't own their own washers and dryers until much later. Today, in many older homes a home owner is lucky if they have a washer and dryer hook-up in their basements.  


By the 1970's owning an Amana Microwave was very trendy. The introduction of the Amana RadarRange in 1972 changed the way people started to cook meals. Some interesting advertising included:


  • Bakes a potato in 4 minutes
  • Cooks a Hot Dog in 20 seconds
  • Make a 5 lb Roast in 35 minutes


Young buyers (today's Baby Boomers) quickly ran out to buy large and very heavy Microwaves while their parents debated whether or not they were being exposed to radiation! A lot of research and development occurred over the years. 


The concept of having a built in Microwave didn't occur until years later. Until I moved to Texas in 1997, a Breakfast Bar, an Island, and Granite Counter Tops, were unknown to me. Today, it is very common to have them in many different size kitchens. They make work space easier. 


Today's buyers have an expectation for a trendy new Kitchen, built in Microwave, built in dishwasher, choices to include an array of unique Islands and breakfast bars with many different types of Kitchen Counter Tops and different features, including Cabinets with brushed nickle pulls, contemporary lighting, Sinks, Faucets, and kitchen flooring, which are better today in residential homes than existing Vintage Bed & Breakfast places across the country.


Today's modern conveniences are liberating features in many homes that weren't even available to the young adults who lived during World War II and children who grew up in the 1950 and 1960's. Yes! expectations have changed. Ironically, many home owners prefer to eat out. And rarely do new young buyers ever want a Dining Room. Kitchen appliances have shaped the lives of homeowners all because of greater vision, innovation, resourcefulness, and creativity. Things just keep getting bigger and better!








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                                         Patricia (Peace without Panic) Feager (Faith without Fear)
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MBA (University of Dallas)
(Bachelors of Arts & Science)
Paralegal (Southeastern Career Institute)
Associates (3) (College of Lake County)
KU (University of Kansas)


CRS (Certified Residential Specialist)
SRES (Certified Senior Residential Specialist)
PSA (Certified Pricing Strategies; Mastering the CMA)
CRS (Certified Military Relocation Specialist)
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"With self-discipline most anything is possible." --- Theodore Roosevelt 





Comments (22)

Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Patricia, what a great post walking us down memory lane then back to the present. I always enjoy going into some of the ultra luxury homes and look at their kitchens... funny part is I would dream about having a kitchen like those, and sadly they do not cook, instead go out to dinner or have house chefs that cook in these kitchens:))Endre

Jun 05, 2018 10:47 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I recently sold a house; actually a mid-century modern with all the retro kitchen appliances included. My buyers were ecstatic and couldn't wait to cook on what grandma used to cook on Patricia.

Jun 05, 2018 11:07 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Each decade seems to have its special kitchen style.  I can remember my first microwave oven.  It was a Magic Chef, that weighed a ton.  When I went to replace it, I took my son along to help me carry the new one to the car.  I was very surpised to find how light it was, in comparison to that old one.

Jun 06, 2018 01:37 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Patricia, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!    

Jun 06, 2018 01:38 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Patricia... for me when I consider a home, it's all about the kitchen. I've had clients who felt the same and who put in the most amazing kitchens but then never used them... they said they liked looking at them and it was worth it to them.

Jun 06, 2018 03:53 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yes, expectations and available features have certainly changed. I took clients to see a house a few months ago, and there was a contraption built into the kitchen counter. We were trying to figure out what it was, and then we saw the Nutone box with the blender and other devices inside.  Very cool.

Jun 06, 2018 04:30 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Patricia I lived through all those changes.  In fact my parents did not even have a functional refrigerator until around 1962.  Before that the iceman would deliver a huge ice cube to keep things cold.

Jun 06, 2018 08:56 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

George Souto - You and your family members made it through the tough times. Congratulations! I always remembered a refrigerator in my parents kitchen, but I have no idea when they actually got it and who would have hauled it up their steep and winding stairs and into their kitchen. I'm glad you mentioned the iceman. It was something I heard about but didn't have a clue when I was young or what they were talking about! 

As always, it's great to hear from you!

Jun 06, 2018 09:31 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - I haven't heard or seen a Nutone Box before. How interesting!!! Isn't it fun to make these types of discoveries in other people's homes and to watch the faces on clients when they learn about them with you too! Now that is very, very cool!

How exciting for you and your client and I hope they have or will be making a decision soon! I wish you the best!!!

Jun 06, 2018 09:35 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nina Hollander - I chuckled when I read your comment. It reminded me of a home I sold to buyers a few years back. Their goal was to have a dream kitchen. We searched in vain and then they finally settled. It was the curved island, as big as a conference table with exported marble that was their winning choice. On the day of the Walk-Through, I brought them my gift. It was for the kitchen, of course. But when I asked them if they were excited about cooking and preparing meals in their new kitchen, they looked at me as if I was from another planet. They said they bought the house to have wine parties and the island was perfect for party guests, wine and cheese.

Nina, you can never assume what you're buyers are thinking, can you? Don't you just love buyers!!! 

Jun 06, 2018 09:40 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Myrl Jeffcoat - Thank you for the feature! Yeah! 

As I read your comment, I felt your pain! The weight of that first microwave or whatever name they called it back then was a backbreaking experience! When I got my first Amana Radaroven, you might as well have called me skinny and my husband bones. I thought we were both goners when we brought that heavy piece of equipment into our home. When we finally got it out of the box, there was no counter space to accommodate its size! Then my husband had a brilliant idea! We went shopping to Sears for a portable Dishwasher (another big and heaving appliance) and we felt like we were living in luxury with a kitchen that had both, dishwasher and Amana Microwave on top! But the problem was, I rarely got to use the dishwasher because we had to take the Amana off, set it on the floor, and wheel the big dishwasher up to the sink; then I had to wait for him to make the connections to the plumbing under the sink!

Oh! Those were the days, my friend! Thank goodness they ended!!!

Myrl, I have a feeling if we ever sat down to talk, you and I would spend hours rolling on the floor laughing about our life experiences in the kitchen!


Jun 06, 2018 09:48 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS, - Many of those appliances back then were built to last! I don't think anyone thought about longevity for appliances or replaced them as frequently then as consumers do today. I'm already on my third refrigerator, third microwave, second dishwasher, and second electric stove. 

I can only imagine how much fun you had with your buyers who really appreciated getting what "Grandma" had in her kitchen. They must have been such a joy to you to see how excited they were and to be a part of their home buying experience! 

Wishing you many more clients just like them! Have a great day!

Jun 06, 2018 09:54 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Oh my gosh, I SO remember the Amana microwave and I laughed out loud at your comment about how the young folks couldn't wait to buy one and their parents were worried about radiation!

I also remember thinking that it was never going to be possible to cook a meat in the mircowave - remember how darn dry they turned out until we learned out to use them?! Nowadays, I never cook in the microwave but, when I was in college, that was our only choice! LOL

As for kitchens - absolutely my favorite place to be in a home. I love the front porches and the foyers, passing by &taking a peek at the family rooms...but, it's the kitchen I'm going after! Buyers are much the same (most of the time). Even if they don't cook, buyer want a 'trophy' kitchen for entertaining!

Happy Wednesday!

Jun 06, 2018 10:36 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Endre Barath, Jr. - I'm glad you enjoyed it! A couple of years ago I went up to Dennison, TX. The home that President Eisenhower was born in. When I peaked into the kitchen, it was hard to believe it was really a kitchen! We have come a long, long way. I scratch my head in wonder why has technology and design spent so much time and research developing products for consumers that seem to be on "display," in many luxury homes? 

I really do wonder about what type of appliances are in kitchens in restaurants and B&B around the world. I'm sure many of them don't have those luxury items and yet doesn't their food tastes delicious?

If a kitchen could talk, I'm afraid they would have many sad things to say. 

Thanks for coming along down memory lane! It's always a pleasure when you're around!

Jun 06, 2018 10:41 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dorie Dillard - Ah! Canning! a skill I never learned but grew up in that environment. I grew up in a house with Grandma and Grandpa living across the hall, behind their own door. I had my parents and 4 sisters in our flat. Downstairs below us was my father's brother and aunt and their 2 kids. Across the hall from them behind their own door was my Aunt and Uncle without kids.

Grandma and Grandpa canned. My mother cooked what they canned. The dairy was on the next block. As a kid, I went down into the shed in the basement to pick out the jars my mother wanted. Now that I think about it, my grandparents shed was like the local grocery store! 

Those were really, really good meals and everything was homemade. In a recent visit to see my daughter, I offered to take her and my son-in-law to the restaurant for dinner. My daughter looked at me and said, we don't go to restaurants, we eat at home and make our own meals. Mom, she said, since when did you start going to restaurants? That's not how you raised me.

Oops! As a Texan, only you could understand - what said about Foodies in Texas stays in Texas! 

Jun 06, 2018 10:53 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

William Feela - Master Bedroom and Kitchen is what does sell the house! It is the culture in which we live!

Jun 06, 2018 10:54 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Debe Maxwell, CRS - Rest assured, after reading your delightful comment, I am still rolling the floor laughing about that talk about radiation by our parents generation because WE bought microwaves! Whether it was true or not, we SURVIVED! I can see now how important it was to have dry, hard, rubber meat without taste as we tried to prepare a nice meal back then in 35 minutes or less! We were the "Love Child," generation! We had no time to waste for hours making dinner in the old fashioned oven our parents used! Women like us worked outside the homes to bring home the BACON! Weren't we all singing "I AM Woman, hear me roar!!!" 

You might be interested in reading what Myrl Jeffcoat had to say in comment # 5 and my reply in #13. I can see now why the weight of meat and the microwave was a blessing and curse. Both were so heavy. Remember - "he's not heavy, he's my brother?" Well that goes for the meat in the microwave from the 70's too! When the hard rubber meat got out of the microwave, it could have been used as a weapon on a football field! There was no way we could have gotten radiation because we couldn't chew it or digest it! I don't know why the old folks made such a big deal out of it!

Today in America, I haven't seen one kitchen (regardless of whether it's a luxury home or not) with out a build-in Microwave! They sure make a great statement for any kitchen!

I also love the front porches! Recently, I have traveled to Georgia, the North Woods with a client who is hoping to move there. Those front porches on the cabins are to die for!  So far, all the kitchens are too small. I remember Charlotte in the 90's looking at homes for myself. My tongue was drooling for one of those southern homes you have down there in Charlotte with the large front porch and those to die and go to Heaven for Kitchens! I couldn't agree with you more, being a gourmet cook or not, having a "trophy kitchen," is the best way to live! 

Jun 06, 2018 11:30 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Debe Maxwell, CRS and Myrl Jeffcoat - He's not heavy, he's my dinner!!!

Jun 06, 2018 11:35 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Having sold real estate for now 38 years, I have seen the kitchens evolve. Many kitchens in the early 80's didn't have dishwashers. Only the higher end homes had them in my area.

The deluxe colors of the 70's were the avocado green and harvest gold appliances and moved to almond in the 80's. Black then came on the scene. In the 90's, the first of the stainless arrived. Everyone thought they looked so medicinal and sterile and would never last. That tells you they never know. The new bisque color came next.

Now some 20 years later, stainless is huge and the new stainless finishes have been introduced and selling well. What will be next? Back to coppertone and green and gold?

Jun 06, 2018 02:57 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Debbie Reynolds - First of all, thank you for 38+ years in the real estate business. I applaud you for going through the many peaks and valleys, the highs and the low interest rates, and everything else in between. 

My first kitchen appliances when I got married in 1971 were the Avocado Stove and Refrigerator. Neither my husband or myself liked the color, after all, technically, he was still property of U.S. Army. But it was a deal we couldn't refuse. Both were built to last. After he passed away in the 1980's, I got rid of a perfectly good stove and refrigerator because I could no longer stomach the color of avocado or anything green, other than what was naturaly green, i.e., grass, tree leaves, and other plants. I then bought the Almond colors which didn't last and needed almost immediate replacements. 

I remember how black seemed so depressing to me, especially in kitchens that had red and black Z-brick. Unfortunately, I lived with that too and it really, really felt depressing! 

I now have SS and love it. I have seen retro colors coming back in the Dallas stores, i.e, red, baby blue, pink, red, yellow, and other funky colors that some might enjoy. As for me, I'm stuck on SS, the better quality and more modern SS products. 

I certainly hope the trend doesn't go back to Coppertone, green, brown, or gold. That's just too much for me! 

Jun 06, 2018 03:33 PM