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A farmhouse kitchen is a type of kitchen that combines a food preparation and cooking space with a dining and socializing space. Many homes today feature a farmhouse kitchen, though in the past, only farmers and working class people had such kitchens, as wealthier homeowners would separate the dining area from the kitchen area to avoid the smoke from cooking fires and stoves. Modern stoves generally do not create smoke, and hoods designed for venting smoke from cooking items are a part of just about all modern kitchens, so farmhouse kitchen rooms have been integrated into many modern houses.
Sometimes known as a smoke kitchen, the farmhouse kitchen features a full service kitchen in most cases, with countertops, cabinets, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, and appliances used for common cooking functions. One part of the kitchen, usually spaced away from the cooking preparation areas, is set aside for dining or otherwise socializing. This area will feature a kitchen table with several chairs, and family members or guests can sit at the table before, during, and after a meal. The farmhouse kitchen makes the serving process much easier as well, since the cook or people serving the meal will not have to enter a separate room where diners will be sitting. Instead, the dining table is only a few feet away.
Some farmhouse kitchen designs call for a kitchen table, which is often set near windows to capitalize on available sunlight, as well as a prep station at which people can sit and eat on less formal occasions. This prep station serves a dual purpose, as it is often used for cutting or otherwise preparing foods for cooking, as well as for eating meals when only one or two people are eating at one time. The prep station may also feature cabinets for storage; this prep station is usually a freestanding unit separate from other countertops and cabinets.
Some modern farmhouse kitchen designs mimic the rustic look and feel of older farmhouse kitchens by including wood stoves and other antiquated furniture and appliances that are not often used in today's kitchens. Wood furniture and cabinets are often used in such kitchens, and the wood is often treated so the grain is prominent. Pots and pans are often hung from hooks over a stove or sink to further the rustic look.