What is a Butler’s Pantry?

No longer do home cooks want to be secreted away in a separate kitchen from their guests. House design has trended towards incorporating an open plan kitchen/dining/living area, where the kitchen is the hub of the home. But the downside is that whatever mess goes on in the kitchen – from food preparation to cooking to cleaning up – is unfortunately there for all your guests to see! A butler’s pantry provides the solution to this dilemma, and is the entertainer’s secret to a presentable kitchen.

The Wikipedia definition of a pantry is a room where food, provisions, dishes, or linens are stored and served in an ancillary capacity to the kitchen, the term originally stemming from the Latin word panis for bread.  By Victorian times, large homes in Britain kept up the use of separate rooms for particular stages in food preparation: the kitchen was for cooking, food was kept in a storeroom and prepared in a larder, and the cleaning up happened in a scullery. A century on, and sculleries/butler’s pantries have made a big comeback.

A scullery can be like a second kitchen, or it can be much more compact. It can be open to the main kitchen, or accessed via sliding or bi-fold doors. Depending on its size, it can be used to house, for example:

  • dirty utensils, crockery, glassware and cutlery as they accumulate throughout a meal;
  • a full-size sink for cleaning woks, pots and pans;
  • a dishwasher;
  • rubbish and recycle bins;
  • general storage;
  • appliances such as a rice cooker, microwave or toaster; and
  • a handy, extra freezer.

The butler’s pantry shown in these two photos is obviously the envy of any home owner, with storage to die for, but of course not everyone has the space to allow for this sized room!

An enormous butler's pantry complements a simply stunning Hamptons sytle kitchen designed and built by Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms

An enormous butler’s pantry complements a simply stunning Hamptons sytle kitchen designed and built by Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms

The appliance corner of an enormous butler's pantry which complements a simply stunning Hamptons sytle kitchen designed and built by Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms

The appliance corner sits diagonally opposite – Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms

The photo below shows a more modest sized butler’s pantry flowing seamlessly from the main kitchen. Note the deep drawers, vertical lift overhead cupboards and deep, double sink with built in draining board. It has been designed not so much for food preparation, but for storage and cleaning functions. The auxiliary food pantry directly opposite the sinks has a soft closing sliding door as it is visible from the main living space.

Butler's pantry adjoining main kitchen, designed by Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms, Melbourne

Of course, a butler’s pantry takes up valuable space in your home, so you want to make it work hard for you. The designers at Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms in Hawthorn East, Melbourne can plan the space to use every last centimeter and make it as practical as possible to suit your particular needs.

Design considerations include clever storage solutions, task lighting (especially important as this space will generally not have a window), tea towel rails, and appliance placement. The materials used might not necessarily be as costly as those used in the kitchen itself, but still match to create a consistent aesthetic flow, especially for those parts of the butler’s pantry that might be visible from the dining/living area.

So come and see us at Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms in Hawthorn East to discuss whether a scullery could be the answer to your dreams of a clutter- and mess-free kitchen!

Click here to see our gallery of kitchen photos