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Bring in the Butler

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In a modern kitchen, the butler’s pantry provides functionality and hides away the mighty mess. We reveal the value of the must-have butler’s pantry.

C.J Bruce

Housing author

In the latter half of the 19th century, the butler’s pantry emerged as a haven to plate up. For wealthy families, it was the domain of house staffs, thus the name ‘butler’s pantry’. It also stored silverware and china. While we no longer have our ‘Jeeves’ or even Downton Abbey’s ‘Carson’, the butler’s pantry is not a relic of the past. The number of users who searched for this on the Houzz website increased by 311 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021.

Here are top five elements for which customers are looking for in butler’s pantries.

1. Consider the layout and space

This extension adds an additional room to the home, so a Butler’s pantry can be well accommodated. As a guide, the width of the walkway should be at least 1000mm, then add another 600mm for benchtops. Consider L-shaped cabinetry to make the best use of the space.

Photo courtesy: Artisan Kitchen and Bathroom Joinery Coffs Harbour www.artisancoffsharbour.com

2. Close the door on mess

The main function of a butler’s pantry is to store additional clutter, resulting in a streamlined kitchen environment perfect for entertaining and meal prepping. Allowing homeowners, the option to put dirty dishes aside in a separate, closed-off room in the midst of a dinner party is invaluable. By installing a door that aligns with the pre-existing kitchen design, one can achieve a seamless look and functionality within the kitchen space.

Photo courtesy: Mick Ainsworth Building mickainsworthbuilding.com.au

3. Storage solutions

Floor to ceiling cabinets and cupboards ensure optimal storage capacity. Installing open shelving between 100 and 300mm wide above the benchtop allows for ease of access to reach for and replace items. An additional function of glass cabinet and cupboard doors can make everything visible at a glance to avoid items getting lost behind each other. Of course, if you’d rather hide the clutter, doors that match your main kitchen work a treat.

Photo courtesy: Mick Ainsworth Building mickainsworthbuilding.com.au

4. Lighting logistics

Natural light, such as skylights, is a bonus but task lighting is essential for these small spaces to avoid blocked sources. A combination of ceiling downlights, LED strips installed under overhead shelves and in-cupboard lights can mean that every corner of your butler’s pantry is properly illuminated. Flexible lighting is also important as the lighting levels you may require for food preparation will be completely different to the levels required to quickly grab an essential. Consider installing a micro-switch in which a tip catch is attached to the door frame, so it triggers the lights upon entrance.

Photo courtesy: Taswood Joinery www.taswoodjoinery.com.au

5. Multi-purpose function

For homeowners with less space, a room solely used for additional storage and appliances may seem excessive. To troubleshoot this issue, install plumbing into the pantry so the space can be used as a laundry/storage room. Washing machines and dryers are often unattractive and noisy items that can benefit by being hidden away within the oasis of the butler’s pantry.

If the amount of floor space allows for it, one other solution might be to use the butler’s pantry as a link between the main kitchen and the laundry location, which can be a great solution for workflow and efficiency.

Carmen Hansberry Design
Photo courtesy: Carmen Hansberry Design linktr.ee/carmenhansberrydesign

So, butlers’ pantries aren’t just for the select few with kitchen space spare. More households want to hide away more than their food items but also their means to bake, create and clean up.

Through this increase in demand for additional pantry storage and facilities, kitchen installations can increase in cost by up to 30 per cent of the pre-existing fee with the cost of these pantries ranging from $8,000 to $25,000. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to jump on this growing consumer trend!

 

First published on 23 October 2023

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