The Rise of the Butler’s Pantry

What was once literally used as the butler’s working quarters – part of the house that owners would rarely enter or use – has now become a luxury modern design trend. Although most of us may not have a butler anymore, the butler’s pantry has creeped its way into new builds and renovations over the past few years and adds both functionality and a new aesthetic layer to the household.

Not only have houses and blocks of land become smaller and smaller, but the love for open-plan living has also grown in recent times. With this, interior design approaches have had to be reborn to allow for practical and appealing storage methods and workspaces. The butler’s pantry can be configured in many different ways to suit the modern family – with some needing an entirely separate kitchen area fitted with its own cooktop, sink and dishwasher, whilst some only need the extra bench space for food preparation and appliance and food storage.

The clientele for the butler’s pantry will differ entirely. We see frequent entertainers who prefer to have a secret space to keep their dirty dishes and food scraps, as well as the busy or large family who simply need the extra space for all their appliances and pantry items. Some people will choose to have no sink, dishwasher, or appliances in their main kitchen at all and instead will reposition them into their butler’s pantry – keeping their main kitchen area as a major design feature of the household instead. Fortunately, there are many uses for this space and different budgets to go with these uses. However, not everybody will qualify for this addition to the home as although the name holds the word pantry, it really is a mini kitchen, and it needs the space allowance to be one. You should be able to, at minimum, easily fit a benchtop and some storage and comfortably stand in the space.

Design wise, people will put almost as much thought, consideration, and money into the styling of their butler’s pantry as they do to their main kitchen. This space can be fitted beautifully and practically with stone benchtops and a matching stone splashback to allow for a durable workspace that will likely see more frequent and less cautious use than the main area. For example, while some may choose to use a more porous and aesthetic stone such as marble for their main kitchen area, they may then decide on a complimentary engineered stone for their butler’s pantry as the non-porous and more durable selection for this high traffic and high use area.