10 Future Home Innovations ... That Weren't

Push-button Everything

Model houses of the future from the 1950s and 1960s focused heavily on features in the kitchen. That makes sense, as living rooms and bedrooms have remained the same in a lot of ways in comparison, while kitchens especially are full of appliances and other gadgets all designed to make living easier. But apparently some designers thought that we didn't want kitchens that actually looked like kitchens, with the traditional stove, refrigerator and counters and cabinets full of various appliances. Instead, you'd be hard-pressed sometimes to figure out that the kitchens in these "future" homes were actually kitchens. They just look like rooms with a lot of panels on the walls and ceiling.

Push this button and a "cold zone" lowers out of a cabinet to keep your perishables at the right temperature. Another push of a panel reveals the microwave (which was supposedly going to replace the stove entirely). Pushing a different button makes a panel slide open to reveal a sink. Basically the entire kitchen was supposed to be hidden, to be revealed in stage at the appropriate times by a confident housewife while she cooked and cleaned. On the surface, it sounds and looks pretty cool. But then the practicality of having so many moving parts and having to push a button to get to, well, everything, would become annoying. An automated kitchen means that all of those mechanized parts have to be maintained (and can break down), and think of the waste of energy. What if you went into the kitchen just to get a cup of water, but the cabinet holding the cups wouldn't rise out of the counter? There are enough machines in the kitchen, so it looks like we're ok with just incorporating newer appliances like dishwashers and microwaves into the existing structure.

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