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Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian


Story 11 [of 18] – Designing Her Ninth Kitchen


"The kitchen proper was our major concern because, to us, it is the beating heart and social center of the household."


When Paul and Julia Child moved into their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1961, they knew there was work to be done with the kitchen. After adapting to the quirks and limitations of various kitchens, Julia knew how she wanted to organize her ninth kitchen. While she mapped out the functional principles, Paul brought his sense of design to arranging the kitchen's elements.


He developed much of the kitchen’s look with the peg-boards and their outline drawings of pots and tools, the very arrangement of things around the kitchen. To suit his wife’s 6-ft 2-in (1880mm) frame, Paul specified that the countertops be 38-in (965mm) high, 2-in (50mm) higher than in standard kitchens. He also chose the cool color scheme, kept throughout the kitchen's forty-five years of use.


"Such was the initial design for the kitchen, and so it has remained, with minor changes, these many years. In it we receive our friends, we cook and dine, we teach and experiment. It is certainly the most loved and most used room in the house."


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