Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/71

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  1. dado. Tiled walls are more easily kept clean than distempered walls, which show every mark. When distemper must be used, some light shade should be selected, but not necessarily buff, although that colour is generally preferred because walls and woodwork should agree in colour, and buff is liked better than grey or green in a kitchen. Certainly buff has many good qualities to recommend it; it is clean-looking, and in consequence of its colour nearly approaching that of the wood it show signs of wear less quickly than other colours. Those who work in kitchens of this description have the housekeeper's room and the servants' hall in which to sit when their work is done. An apartment of different appearance is necessary in smaller middle-class households, where the maids have to spend their leisure time in the kitchen, and also in the homes of the working-classes, where the kitchen is the living-room of the family. For these, the most appropriate and durable wall-coverings are varnished papers. Recent years have introduced many new fashions in this direction, but nothing that can be recommended in preference to the old-fashioned oak papers with dull surfaces, specially prepared to receive the varnish after being hung. The initial outlay is considerable, but a good, well-varnished paper will last a very long time. Moreover, it always looks bright, is easily kept clean, and its smooth surface prevents any accumulation of dust, which is a great recommendation from a health point of view. The woodwork should be painted, grained and varnished to match the paper. The sanitary, so-called washable papers are less expensive than varnished papers, but their glazed surfaces will not stand repeated applications of soap and water; they may, however, be wiped over with a damp sponge or damp cloth.
  2. The Floor.—Floor-coverings are very rarely found in kitchens devoted entirely to cookery. Oil-cloth and linoleum are the only materials which can possibly be used, and they are generally unnecessary. The substance forming the floor varies according to the locality. In the north of England large flags of smooth stone are cemented together to form a floor that is nice to walk upon and easily kept clean. In the Midlands the kitchen floor usually consists of unglazed red tiles, which present a clean and bright appearance; while on the east coast the floors are frequently laid with red or yellow bricks. Wooden floors and concrete floors may be seen in any part of the country, particularly in large establishments where these details in construction receive considerable attention. In middle-class households, where it is desirable to combine utility and comfort, good linoleum will be found the most serviceable and suitable floor-covering for the kitchen. The patterned varieties are preferable to those with plain surfaces, which quickly become disfigured by marks made by the furniture, etc.

Kitchen Fixtures.—The fixtures are the immovable articles attached to the walls of the kitchen. They vary considerably, but in large households where the kitchen is used simply for its legitimate purpose