Gone are the days when a butler’s pantry was considered an out of reach luxury. Like the growing popularity of walk-in wardrobes, a modern butler’s pantry gives you that added storage space you’ve been wishing for while giving you an extra selling point for your home. Ultimately a butler’s pantry is the best way to keep your kitchen looking sleek and clean leaving the dirty dishes out of sight when you’re entertaining. Whatever your budget and lifestyle requirements, there is a butler’s pantry option for every home.
WHAT IS A BUTLER’S PANTRY?
Best described as a “kitchen within a kitchen,” a butler’s pantry first featured in great estate homes in the 18th century, where fine china and silverware were stored. Originally designed as a small pantry area between the kitchen and the dining room, the space served primary as an area for the butler and other household servants to shine cutlery and plate food. These days, a butler’s pantry has seen a resurgence in new and renovated homes, where the increased focus of the kitchen as the focal point of a home has brought along with it more demands to look like a display kitchen- pristine and presentable at all times.
WHY ARE THEY SO POPULAR?
A clean and uncluttered kitchen can set the tone for the rest of a home. While it’s still on trend to have an island bench and a kitchen designed for entertaining that opens-up to the main living space, the gloss can quickly wear off if it becomes overcrowded with kitchen appliances you rarely use and dirty dishes in the sink.
A butler’s pantry is the perfect solution for people who love to entertain but prefer for their décor and food to be on display, rather than dirty dishes. Christmas, birthdays or even just a quiet get together can be much less stressful if the mess stays in the butler’s pantry and not in the middle of the kitchen.
The other great thing about butler’s pantries is that they can be whatever you want them to be depending on the size of your budget and your needs. If you have the space to spare, a good sized butler’s pantry is a real treat, while if you’re not so spatially blessed, even a small one is sure to make a difference for you.
A butler’s pantry with the works can incorporate your cooktop, oven, microwave and dishwasher in addition to storage space. Another popular option is for the pantry to include a wine cellar, functioning as a bar area when guests come over.
On the other side of the spectrum, you can opt for a very minimalistic design where the area can be quite small accommodating for a sink, some extra bench space and shelves to store appliances that you may not use regularly.
ROOKIE ERRORS TO WATCH FOR
While some may argue that a butler’s pantry is a relatively straightforward area to build in a home, there are several pitfalls that can be avoided if you know what works and what doesn’t.
By nature, a butler’s pantry is always going to be a smaller space than a kitchen. That’s why you need to think through which appliances you’ll have in the area as it needs to be well ventilated to cope with a lot of heat that potentially will be generated by your fridge, microwave, cooktop etc. The last thing that you want is for the heat to get trapped with some undesirable consequences like deteriorating cabinetry. This can be easily overcome by giving your butler’s pantry sufficient space for the heat to dissipate. This could be through incorporating a rangehood, and ensuring that there are windows for sufficient ventilation.
Plumbing and Electrical Requirements
An easy installation mistake to make when people build their butler’s pantry is not factoring in the plumbing and electrical requirements. During the design phase, you need to consider which appliances you’re likely to use in the space and how frequently you’re likely to use them so you have sufficient power points assigned. You’ll also need to figure out the placement of sinks so you’re plumbing needs are identified early on.
As you’ll be gifted with some extra space for storage, you’ll want the design to be right so that you optimise shelving arrangements. Do you have a lot of fancy platters and vases that are currently kept in closed cabinetry? Then consider open shelving for your butler’s pantry to show these pieces off.
You shouldn’t shortcut the process of mapping out your butler pantry’s design. Every little detail counts for a space that you’ll utilise well and complements the overall look and feel of your kitchen.
Another key design tip is to ensure seamless integration with the rest of your kitchen. This can be delivered through organising your kitchen so some of it is on display and some of it is partially screened. Alternatively, the butler’s pantry can be a continuation of the kitchen, utilising the same colours and materials used in the kitchen.
If you are opting to use your butler’s pantry for more than just storing appliances and crockery then you should be looking to bring in some natural light to light the space- making a big difference to food preparation and the general feel of the space. Depending on where you decide to position the pantry, you can look at replacing the kitchen splashback with a window or consider adding a window for a view outdoors. If you can’t install a window then achieve a well-lit working area by installing an overhead light or skylight and lighting under the shelves above the benchtop.
Don’t Go Too Small
Finally, be careful not to choose too small a space for a built-in butler’s pantry, otherwise you may end up having a dumping ground in the corner of your kitchen, not a separate and well-organised space to be proud of.
Butler pantries are an exciting new development, pulling the best functionality of historical kitchens into modern kitchens. At Nu-Look, we would love to workshop with you some creative design options that will suit your unique home. Talk to one of Nu-Look’s design consultants today for a free consultation.