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Designing the perfect kitchen pantry

The pantry has become a true statement piece in a kitchen. With its rich heritage and distinctly British feel, a pantry provides the perfect solution for a wide range of storage conundrums.

Pantry or larder? Potato, potarto

Before we begin, just a quick note on the uses of the terms ‘pantry’ and ‘larder’.

Historically, a larder was a cool area, cupboard, or small room for the storage of perishable goods, whereas the pantry, originated from the French word paneterie (pain meaning bread), and was a storage area for groceries or products that did not need chilling.

As an increasing number of households started to afford a fridge and freezer, the original use of the two terms has largely been forgotten, so in today’s modern vernacular, ‘pantry’ and ‘larder’ have become interchangeable – both synonymous with a storage space in or near the kitchen.

Therefore, any homeowner wanting to design a storage area in their kitchen should be quite specific about its potential use, and any kitchen designer worth their (Himalayan pink sea) salt, will ask questions to ensure you’re both working towards the same end goal.

Freestanding, built-in, or a room in its own right

The first consideration is whether you’re going to opt for freestanding cabinetry, a built-in unit or whether you can section off an area or have a small room to dedicate to a new pantry.

The benefit of a freestanding unit is that it appears to be more of an individual piece of furniture and can be designed to contrast with other cabinetry in the kitchen – which could appeal to those who prefer a more personalised, eclectic mix of styles in their kitchen. Being freestanding means that it can also be moved around easily and relocated to a different space, which may be important to homeowners who like to change things up.

A built-in pantry unit will work seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen and it will not necessarily be obvious to the non-discerning eye that it conceals a huge array of kitchen clutter that the homeowner prefers not to have on show.

An additional benefit of the built-in pantry unit is that is can house electric sockets or even a preparation sink and tap, all neatly hidden away.

The decision to have a specific area or whole room approach to a pantry is typically guided by a property’s floor plan and the available space. Whilst they are an absolute god-send in terms of space, they actually don’t require as much forward planning as perhaps a smaller pantry, where space is at a premium. They tend to be treated like an extension of the main kitchen with identical materials and finishes (or similar – depending on budgets) being used. Due to the fact that there is plenty of room for storage, the homeowner doesn’t need to be quite as specific about what will go where.

List time

Before embarking on the journey of designing a dream pantry, homeowners must consider exactly how they are going to use this versatile space. If the intention is to store food, then it would be wise to review current food buying habits and make a rough list of how many cans, boxes of cereal, bags of pasta etc. will need to be accommodated. 

When food storage is the main consideration, many homeowners like to include a stone shelf made from marble or granite to act as a centre point to the pantry. Not only is this an aesthetic choice but using stone will also help keep the space cool.

However, if the intention is to store appliances or general items such as tea towels, Tupperware or a toaster, then a pantry should be designed with those specific needs in mind, as the internal solution will be quite different.  

We recommend homeowners start by making a checklist of everything they intend to store in their pantry to help their designer plan must-have features. Just like designing a bespoke kitchen, it’s important to make sure everything is included, no matter how large or small. 

Boxing clever

A freestanding or built-in pantry is essentially an empty shell that can be adapted to house whatever the homeowner’s lifestyle requires but with the right kitchen designer on hand, it can also incorporate a number of really clever additions to maximise use and enjoyment.

  • Making use of the space on the back of the doors is not only very practical (most often used to store herbs, spices and condiments) but it also gives a certain wow factor when the pantry doors are opened to reveal a veritable treasure chest of ingredients.
  • Some homeowners prefer to store their jars and tins in a specially designed drawer as they can be easily accessed and nothing gets hidden and therefore dusty on the back shelf.
  • A removable butchers block or substantial chopping board can be built in to the interior space so that it is neatly stored away when not in use.
  • The addition of a small pegboard can help display small household items like string, scissors, tongs, or measuring spoons.
  • Chalkboards are still popular but if the homeowner would prefer their to-do list to be out of public view, then this can be added to the internal space within a pantry too.

A good kitchen designer will make suggestions about these small additions that can make a really big difference.

Think outside the box

Many homeowners will instal a pantry for ‘traditional’ purposes but that shouldn’t stop creative minds using a pantry in other ways.

A pantry can quite easily be converted into an ‘alchemy’ drinks cabinet. With distressed mirrors, glass shelves and appropriate lighting it can become a feature in its own right.

Similarly, we’ve also seen homeowners putting their children’s needs first and using the pantry as a breakfast workstation concealing creative play materials, laptops/tablets, books and toys.

Another really popular solution is a one-stop baking cupboard full of ingredients and appliances to make whipping up the perfect Victoria sponge, a complete doddle.

And a really sensible, but still eye-catching approach, is a beverage store. By installing a boiling water tap, the pantry can be a one-stop-shop for any variety of tea, coffee and other hot drinks.

Working with a bespoke kitchen designer will enable homeowners to blend all of the features they know they need with many unique ideas that will make their pantry a thing of joy.

If adding a bespoke pantry to your home is something that you have been considering then get in touch with Davonport today to find out how our design team can incorporate a pantry into your kitchen – existing or new.

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