Design Inspiration From a Vanderbilt Mansion Kitchen

Although the Vanderbilts themselves probably never set foot in the kitchen of the Breakers mansion, it was designed to be state-of-the-art for it’s time. The 2-story high kitchen was situated on the first floor, but away from the main house to keep the cooking smells contained and to prevent the possibility of fire, which destroyed the original house that previously sat on the property.

The kitchen included a 21 ft long cast iron, coal burning range and a broiler with a mechanical spit. There was plenty of room to prepare meals on the large zinc (the predecessor to stainless steel) work island in the center of the room. For an old-fashion, warm elegant feel, zinc is still an option in modern kitchens today.

A massive marble mortar sits ready for use at the end of the island. Open storage prevented clutter and made pots, pans and other utensils easy to find and grab. Large windows provided plenty of natural light and the room was also very well-ventilated.

Fresh food, when delivered, was brought up with a dumbwaiter and stored in side rooms that were kept cool with ice cut from the local pond.

Even though you may not live in a Gilded-Age mansion or have servants preparing your meals, there are some great design elements to take away from the kitchen at the Breakers. Visit the Breakers.