The function is key for today’s homeowners when designing the perfect pantry. When remodeling or building, the focus is often on the most highly trafficked room in the house: the kitchen.
Due to the open floor plans that remain so popular, it is more important than ever to keep the kitchen neat and tidy. And thus, pantries are quickly becoming a necessity for homeowners for not only storing food and supplies but for organizing appliances and preparing some food for family and guests.
Not simply a utilitarian space where homeowners store canned goods and hide untidy collections from guests, pantries have been coming out of the proverbial closet for years. The wish for a multipurpose space is moving homeowners to extend, renovate, and add-on to homes to achieve a space that best suits their specific lifestyle.
Sandra Sokol of Closets by Design says, “Where pantries used to be small, recessed spaces in the corner of the kitchen, they are now rooms that are being taken into consideration when planning the kitchen’s layout. Pantries are not only for food storage, but also for wine storage, work areas, serving and beverage stations, and much more.”
As with most designed spaces, the goal is to make space work for those who live in it. Charlie Rose points out that homeowners want “solutions that help to make life simpler and cater to their lifestyles.” Regardless of lifestyle, experts agree pantries are an extension of the kitchen that is designed to be both functional and beautiful.
A pantry’s ability to serve multiple functions is of utmost importance. The spaces often work as a catch-all space for organizing all kinds of household supplies from food and vitamins to bulk item storage and a place for small appliances that homeowners don’t want cluttering kitchen counters.
Pantries include space for appliances such as toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, mixers, juicers, food processors, waffle irons, a mini-fridge, a wine bar, and/or a coffee/espresso station.
Storing—and sometimes using—these appliances in the pantry necessitates something that is easily overlooked. Whether remodeling or designing a new home, it is important to remember outlets in the space. According to Tammy McKinney of Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling, homeowners are beginning to request outlets for appliance use within the pantry.
When designing a pantry, the lifestyle of the homeowners plays into the balance between substance and style. Kate Fudim of Beth Haley Design points out, “Home cooks today have the more sophisticated equipment and more of it.” Removing small appliances such as the microwave, mixer, and coffeemaker from the more public kitchen area is essential to keep the space free of clutter. Storage, sometimes of the hidden variety, is essential to maintain the sleek and clean kitchen area.
Although the pantry is a storage/transitional space for groceries and little-used gadgets and serving pieces, homeowners still want the space to be attractive as well as functional. Customizing pantry space achieves both of these desires.
Frequently, the pantry door is given emphasis and allowed to serve as a specific design feature. Depending on the size and design of the space, experts agree that pantry doors range from decorative sliding doors, pocket doors, barn-style doors, doors featuring etched glass, or even “write-on doors to help family members leave messages and important to-do’s or reminders,” according to Kurt Schusterman of California Closets of Nashville.
Trey Pettis of Pettis Builders extends the discussion by reporting that his clients have also asked for doors that “look like part of the kitchen cabinetry.” This can be achieved by incorporating a wall of custom cabinetry featuring large doors and/or pull-out storage.
Customization features can include glide out shelving, countertops for food prep, glass-front cabinets to show off attractive housewares, vertical storage for bulk items, adjustable shelves, small appliance corrals, dedicated narrow shelving for spices and oils, trash/recycling containers, and specific zones for things such as a baking center, a snack zone for the kids, and a special place for pet supplies.
Mindy Bledsoe of Tailored Living says, “when designing a new pantry, you want to be sure that it serves to close the gap on any deficiencies you might have in your kitchen cabinetry.” For a lot of homeowners, countertop space in the pantry is essential.
Bledsoe adds, “Having a countertop in the pantry allows a place to store and use small appliances. This space is also a great landing zone for placing grocery bags for unpacking and organizing food items.”
Homeowners may find a pantry is the perfect space for careful thought about not only how space will be used, but also about the items that will be kept in the space. Designing a pantry for how a homeowner lives with space is of the utmost importance.
Charlie Rose of ShelfGenie notes, “Everyone wants solutions catered to how they use their space, not how a builder thinks it should be used—rarely are they one and the same.” ShelfGenie’s pull-out drawers offer the solution of convenience and can be used to retrofit any kitchen.
“A large walk-in pantry is a great luxury!” says Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors, addressing the value of the organization. “We all have stuff, and where to put that stuff is a priority when choosing kitchen features,”
Ultimately, the goal of the pantry is to give a family a space that can be used to declutter the kitchen while creating organized, stylish, and functional storage.
A pantry can be so much more than a space for storage, but also one that allows room for making coffee, cooking biscuits, or eating a snack after school. And achieving those things while also keeping the kitchen itself free of clutter is something homeowners can appreciate. Liz Jenkins of A Fresh Space exclaims, “I’m thrilled that pantries are getting the attention they deserve!”
There are a number of sources in the Nashville area for pantries including:
A Fresh Space
Beth Haley Design
California Closets of Tennessee
Closets by Design
Ft. Mitchell, KY
French’s Cabinet Gallery
Hermitage Lighting Gallery
Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling