The Butler’s Pantry.
I’m not really a huge fan of The Block – all of the histrionics take away from what I find to be the interesting part of the show; the finished rooms. Despite not being a regular viewer I do always make an effort to watch the kitchen reveal episode. Out of necessity. I can guarantee that for the next 6 months my clients will be telling me that they want the same colours as Will & Karlie’s kitchen or the same lights as Julia & Sasha.
This year the kitchens really were all about the Butler’s pantry. Every apartment had one and the judges were loving it. The continual rise of the Butler’s pantry is something that has been baffling me for a few years now. Just last month I worked on a job where the Butler’s pantry was bigger than my entire kitchen. I’m willing to bet it was probably bigger than yours too.
So why is the Butler’s pantry now so popular? If I’m completely honest I’m going to say that I think it is because we have become a society that is obsessed with image and perception. The idea that ‘more’ and ‘bigger’ is better. It’s like a return to history when your house wasn’t just a home but a symbol of your wealth and status. Funnily enough, the Butler’s pantry originates in history, during the Victorian era when, you guessed it, people actually had Butler’s.
Among other things the Butler’s pantry stored china, napkins & linen and served as a preparation area, a cellar and indeed as the Butler’s ‘office’. When your Butler’s pantry comes replete with a Butler it is a fabulous idea. But without the Butler, I’m not so sure how long this trend will carry on.
Photo by James Traynor Custom Homes
Modern home design has evolved to incorporate the kitchen into our living zones. It is no longer just a food preparation area. The kitchen is the true heart of the home and is used equally as a space for social interaction and family time as it is for cooking. This evolution occurred naturally. Slowly we came to realise that entertaining is far more enjoyable if you can actually speak to your guests while preparing and cooking a meal for them.
But somewhere along the line we started to get carried away with the idea of our kitchens needing to look perfect & tidy all of the time. Now that we can no longer simply close the door to the kitchen we have the problem of keeping it looking neat whilst still needing to cook in it. And so the Butler’s pantry was revived. First it was just a walk-in pantry with a sink & dishwasher so that you could hide the dirty dishes away. No problem. But slowly, slowly… the Butler’s pantry has grown to epic proportions. Now you can find ovens, microwaves, cooktops, refrigerators all tucked away in the ‘Butler’s Pantry’.
But here’s the thing. Most of us don’t have a Butler, so we don’t really have a Butler’s pantry at all. We simply have a kitchen within a kitchen. Two kitchens! A small kitchen that you go into to do all of your food prep & cooking to make sure that your actual kitchen remains clean and beautiful for all of your guests.
Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like my idea of entertaining. I’m all for a walk-in pantry with plenty of storage and bench space for your favourite appliances, but let’s keep the cooking where it belongs – in the kitchen!!