Today’s homeowners view walk-in pantries as a big plus and thus a new trend is emerging—the pantry is becoming more luxurious and more integral to kitchen design. Designers are reporting that clients are requesting a separate but visible open pantry space adjoining the kitchen.
Sometimes these pantry spaces include high-end appliances such as beverage centers, icemakers, and refrigerators. Floor to ceiling cabinetry matches that of the kitchen, and countertops are installed to house counter-type appliances.
Another trend is the rebirth of the butler’s pantry to house smaller appliances, store glassware, and China, or to organize other kitchen essentials.
Depending upon the space available, the kitchen may house only a fresh food refrigerator, while the freezer is located inside the pantry since frozen items are not needed as often if the cook prepares most meals from every day fresh non-frozen ingredients.
The popularity of sliding barn doors and pocket doors—which are easier to open and close than traditional doors— has joined the trend toward separate pantries, and are often used to close off the kitchen’s storage space.
Walk-in pantries and pocket doors are just two of many universal design features becoming more desired and even edging into the mainstream.
According to Tammy McKinney of Superior Home & Remodeling, two of the company’s recent remodels included renovating the pantry to be functional with a well-planned use of space.
“With roll-out drawers, roll-out baskets, and a range of shelf heights to accommodate everything from cereal to soup, our clients can completely customize their pantries,” McKinney says. “We installed an ice machine in a pantry, that also had a countertop surface for utilizing small appliances. Additionally, the pantry incorporates design elements such as quartz tops, floating shelves, beadboard, and under cabinet lighting. We are also seeing clients put small appliances inside the pantry, with a designated area for using them. Such appliances include toasters, blenders, coffee makers and ice machines.”
“There are definitely trends that support the need for more function out of a pantry,” says Stephanie Pierce of MasterBrand Cabinets. “As the kitchen becomes more multi-functional, room for entertaining, living, working and of course still cooking, all have to be taken into consideration. No one wants to make sacrifices on key functions for that area of the home, so it only makes sense that some, typically kitchen items, are finding their way into a more operable pantry.”
Pierce adds that wine coolers, separate ice makers, double ovens, and minimal wall cabinets for aesthetic reasons are all lifestyle trends that drive a need for a much larger kitchen.
“The addition of appliances means the removal of cabinets or increased square footage as you may not want to lose that storage. In the event that you don’t want the kitchen to be half the size of your home, a highly functional pantry makes the perfect sense,” Pierce says.
Noting that in new construction or remodeling, the type and function of the pantry is still highly dependent on lifestyle. “I think the majority of homeowners would agree that a large, walk-in pantry affords them the ability to be more decorative and add personality to their kitchen design,” says Pierce, “if they are confident that an organized pantry will assume some of the responsibility that cabinets within the kitchen used to house.”
This means the pantry is more than just a closet space but requires thoughtful planning and organization. If additional appliances are planned for that space, proper plumbing or electrical must be considered. If space is for storage alone, accessibility should also be taken into consideration because many pullout units require room for door swing and to perform at their best.
Pierce concludes, “It’s always beneficial to have additional prep space. Most aspects of entertaining that take place in the kitchen also focus on the food preparation. I believe the typical butler’s pantry is a thing of the past, but a new evolution of a prep pantry can be the perfect solution for entertainment messes that can be put out of sight to allow the fun to continue without anyone worrying about clean up.”
There are a number of sources for pantries in the Greater Nashville area including:
Closet Company, The
Closets by Design
Decorating Den Interiors
French’s Cabinet Gallery
Hermitage Lighting Gallery