Do you need a second kitchen? The answer might surprisingly be 'yes'
Described as the ‘jack of all trades’ or a ‘kitchen within a kitchen’, a butler’s pantry is the ultimate luxury item for modern Australian kitchens. If your budget and space allows for it, a butler’s pantry can provide extra storage space and a better entertaining and dining experience for both you and your guests.
Here are some considerations you should take into account when planning and designing a butler’s pantry, as well as key reasons why you should include one in your next kitchen renovation.
What is a butler’s pantry?
A butler’s pantry functions as a utility room and enables you to both prepare and clean up food in area that is out of sight to your guests. A butler’s pantry is most commonly used to prepare drinks and appetisers, and store linen, glasses and cutlery. There has been renewed interest in butler’s pantries in Australian households in recent times, as evidenced by Dean and Shay’s butler’s pantry on The Block 2015.
Initially used as a pantry between the kitchen and dining area, the contemporary butler’s pantry provides additional cabinetry and bench space.
Pros and cons of a butler’s pantry
The primary benefit of a butler’s pantry is more space for cooking, storage and cleaning activities. A butler’s pantry provides a place to hide the dirty dishes, food scraps and spills from your dinner party. Simply close the doors of the butler’s pantry and enjoy your meal without having the mess of your cooking on display for everyone to see.
- Additional storage space
- Hides mess from guests when entertaining
- Luxury factor
- Better organisation of utensils and glassware
- Additional cost
- Extra planning required
Considerations for your butler’s pantry
Consider the purpose of your butler’s pantry when planning and designing the layout, features and storage needs.
Consider the amount of space you can allocate to your butler’s pantry and how you will use it. An L-shaped room and a minimum surface area of 1.6m x 2.2m maximises your pantry’s potential.
A butler’s pantry is typically tucked away out of sight, so you can save money by choosing inexpensive construction materials such as laminate benchtops.
Organise content by frequency of use
Position frequently used items such as glassware and linen in a spot that is easily reached.
Install dedicated task lighting. Your food preparation benchtop should be well-illuminated.
Recommendations for different uses
To maximise storage space, consider the following features for your preparation area:
- Interior cabinet lights to highlight dishware
- Deep drawers for organising large plates
- Plate racks that offer greater accessibility
Consider creating a work space in your butler’s pantry that functions as a self-serve drinks area. You may want to include features such as:
- Wine coolers or racks to hold bottles in place
- Convenient bar sinks that take up minimal bench space
- Built-in coffee makers or juicers that allow you to prepare drinks for your guests
- Sliding doors for easy access and seclusion
A butler’s pantry requires durable appliances and materials to facilitate the cleanup process, such as:
- Dishwasher drawers, which are ideal for small and frequent loads
- Integrated sinks that allow for easy cleaning
- Durable surfaces made of laminate, stone, quartz or even concrete.