Some people build dirty kitchens away from the main house in the Philippines. Others build theirs adjoining the main house, like we did.
Some people build theirs with wood, except for the roofing. We built ours with most of the same materials as our main house. It doesn’t make sense to use cheap materials.
Our dirty kitchen is only about half of the extension we added to the back of our main house. I took the picture from the doorway adjoining the regular kitchen. The doorway on the opposite side of the rear wall opens up to the laundry room, which is almost the same size as the dirty kitchen. Both rooms are bigger than any other room in the house except the master bedroom.
I don’t remember when we started building the extension and I don’t remember when we finished. It took a few years because my monthly budget was too tight to do it all at once. We started renovating when we replaced the wood cupboards with aluminum and HardieFlex due to termite damage. Then we replaced the open windows with bug screens and jalousie windows to keep the flies and blowing rain out.
I took the picture before anyone cleaned it up. My wife, Josie, chose the colors for the dirty kitchen. We have red cabinet and cupboard doors. A thin layer of red cement covers the original gray cement. She uses red floor wax to spruce it up from time to time. Can you tell she likes the color red? The only thing you can’t see in the picture is the round table because it was below the camera’s field of vision.
The walls are cement and rebar (and paint), just like the main house. We’ve already repaired some earthquake cracks, and we need to repair some more. We replaced the roofing in 2019 with the same type of roofing we used for our carport. We’re trying to remove every trace of wood from the house because of termites.
We don’t want our house to stink. It’s really that simple. Josie and her sisters like to cook food that will stink up the entire house for hours. Things like dried fish. It’s hard to sleep when the air stinks around you. No amount of air fresheners can get rid of some odors.
We do most of our cooking in the dirty kitchen. In fact, I can’t remember the last time something wasn’t cooked in the dirty kitchen. Josie will, of course, use the regular kitchen when baking or doing something other than cooking on a burner, which isn’t often.
I’m sure you can find them in the United States, even if “dirty kitchen” isn’t the term people use. If I ask someone there if they have a dirty kitchen, I’ll probably be told the kitchen is clean or get yelled at or something.
Edited and updated. Originally published in August 2017.