There are a multitude of practical purposes for the historic “butlers” pantry. Evolved from an age of formal dining, this was an area where excess china and serving ware, warming and cooling storage and even some food arrangement and home management all took place away from the bustling food prep happening in the kitchen. This transition area served as a connection between the cooking center and the formal dining room. As everyday lifestyles adjusted to the more informal, family-centric homemaker vs being staffed, the pantry was combined into the kitchen for better efficiency for the single cook and food service adjacent to the kitchen, however, as lifestyles continue to evolve, the need for bulk storage, entertaining in the home again and the desire to have an always-insta-ready space have led to the revolution of the kitchen pantry.
The Working Kitchen Pantry
Primarily seen in luxury homes, the covert kitchen or working kitchen is a fully dressed second food prep space that takes on multiple functions. Anything from additional refrigeration, baking and washing up to household management and pet stations are located in this newly imagined space. This keeps the clutter and mess out of site of the primary kitchen where design and aesthetic play a huge part in the overall impression of the living space which is now fully merged with most modern kitchens.
The Built-in Kitchen Pantry
A more mainstream solution is simply the built-in pantry. Not necessarily as all-inclusive as the covert kitchen, but the built-in pantry is making a come back. The primary solution for food storage in the majority of homes is still a pantry cabinet, but renovations and new construction alike are opting to carve out a space to include an enhanced version of a food pantry and elevate their lifestyle with a multi-functioning organization center for food, small appliances, work and even crafts and laundry as some of these spaces opt to include windows making them ideal for any life phase.
Open floor plans are a big debate coming out of 2020. Will they last or won’t they, and if the home continues to evolve, what will the next design evolution be? One thing is for sure, trends around versatility, flexibility and transitional spaces that can change and grow with the homeowner are the ones with staying power. So look for more on this emerging trend and the evolution of the covert kitchen, a messy work space that can stay behind closed doors while you entertain in your primary kitchen-living space.