There are many purposes for having an efficient butler’s pantry. Let’s talk about a few!
1- If you entertain and enjoy cooking meals for company, the butler’s pantry hides the prep and cooking messes so that your kitchen and dining spaces remain show-ready for your guests. I like to add a single basin sink in a pantry so that large cookie sheets or servingware can soak without issue. Having a second sink in the pantry where all of those cutting boards and sauce pans can hide or soak until cleanup time also removes the stress of presenting your guests with a memorable feast. Close the door and let the dirty dishes wait!
2- If you entertain and have staff on hand to cook and serve the meal, then a butler’s pantry can accommodate extra people working without congesting your main kitchen area. The extra appliances that a butler’s pantry can accommodate also means more options for heating and serving than if you have just one kitchen space.
3– Speaking of appliances, I often put the “unsightly” appliances like the microwave or the double oven tower in a butler’s pantry to avoid interfering with the beauty of cabinetry or window spaces in the main kitchen. A secondary fridge, dishwasher, and even cooktop are all items I place in pantries of fine homes to reap as many work options from a kitchen as possible. Both large families and frequent hosts alike benefit from a pantry that works for them!
What Are the “Must-Haves” for a Butler’s Pantry?
A good pantry starts with a storage wall; shelves lined from floor to ceiling with space enough to store the dry and canned goods for your home. Items used most frequently should be kept within easy reach, so keep that in mind for snacks, baking supplies, canned goods and breads/ pastas. A good step stool will give you access to the top of the shelves, where overstock (extra paper towels, etc.) can be stored and lower shelves are a good location for heavier items such as water bottles and potatoes or onions. Clear containers are best for food item storage, but open baskets for snacks and vegetables are great for quick access and easy organization.
Storing extra dishes and dinnerware in a butler’s pantry keeps access to linens, stemware, large platters and utensils all in one place where it’s easier to find by hospitality staff or yourself when you need them. Large drawers, hanging racks, and china hutches are custom touches that can serve your needs in a unique way that both stores what you need AND looks beautiful while doing it. A designer is someone who can look at your items and your intended space and create a pantry that will serve you well for years to come!
Other Items to Consider in a Pantry Are:
1- a sink and a dishwasher so you can avoid carrying dishes from the kitchen’s dishwasher into the pantry for storage. I like to use dishwasher drawers in this space so that you can run a smaller load of stemware (for instance) without running a larger appliance.
2- a utility closet where the mop, buckets, brooms and vacuum cleaners can be stored and plugged in for charging. Home cleaning often starts in the kitchen, so this location is ideal for easy and frequent access.
3- pet-minded spaces such as a food station or food storage work beautifully in a pantry. This keeps food contained to one area and allows for easy access away from small children or other hazards. Feeding your pets where the food is stored makes it easier for you AND for your four-footed friends!
4- a “Costco door” or floor-level doorway from garage to pantry is a nice way of unloading the heavier shopping items found in warehouses into the home with less effort. These doors can be locked from the inside and can even serve as pet doors, so discuss this with your contractor if unloading pallets of Gatorade or water bottles is frequent enough that your back is pleading for this pantry detail!
5- a dry bar can be a unique and compact space that serves your needs well in a pantry. A mini fridge and/ or ice maker allows you to serve your guests in style without taking up too much of your home footprint. Open shelving with stemware and a little bar sink surrounded by a gorgeous countertop, and you’re ready to be shaken, not stirred!
One More Thing
You know I have to insist on some fun details in this space! A butler’s pantry is a great opportunity to have some fun with tile, lighting, and color. A punch of color on the cabinets or on the backsplash is unexpected, as is an impactful tile or light fixture overhead. A beautiful door is another way to add impact in a creative way. A good designer will have this little Cinderella space meant for work and cleaning all dressed up for the ball with these details and more. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help transforming your space, my magic wand is always at the ready to make your pantry, and every other space in your home, absolutely beautiful!