Today’s Modern Butler Pantry
Dating back to the 18th century, the finest homes were built with a separate room in which the domestic staff could prep food and store items used for entertaining. Sometimes referred to as the scullery, these dedicated spaces were generally a natural extension of the kitchen and served as a transitional space to the dining area.
Not only was it a place for prepping to serve, it also served as a storage area for the family’s fine china, silver, and large serving platters. Before each meal, the staff would polish the silver, and afterwards, it was to be meticulously counted before storing away. Because it was where the fine silver and china were stored, the butler’s pantry was often kept under lock and key by the butler. Some even slept there to ensure the family’s heirlooms remained safely guarded.
While not many households today employ a dedicated butler and serving staff, the addition of the traditional butler’s pantry has grown in popularity once again.
Today, it can still serve as a space to store fine dinnerware, glassware, and linens generally reserved for entertaining. Many of these spaces utilize a display hutch, open shelving, or glass-front cabinetry (some even with interior lights) to display such items and keepsakes.
Some butler’s pantries are outfitted with a small sink, mini refrigeration, an ice maker, a small dishwasher, and even warming drawers to hold plated dishes until ready to serve.
Perhaps you’re not one for entertaining or you don’t have collectible dinnerware and stemware to store. Many families use this functional space in alternative ways. It can be a dedicated bar area, or even a place for kids to grab a quick drink and snack and to store their arts and crafts supplies. The area can also be devoted as a space for pets. Food, medications, toys, leashes, and beds can fit nicely and are in a hidden yet accessible area rather than in the kitchen.