Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Butler's Pantry

Who doesn't love the look of a traditional Butler's Pantry? The Butler's Pantry is making a comeback in American and English homes as part of a resurgence of nesting and homekeeping since the late 1990s. It is one of the most requested features in American homes today, despite larger kitchen sizes than ever before. There is a charm and nostalgia to the pantry, as well as a practical, utilitarian purpose.

Here are some pictures of my favorites:
House Beautiful
This lovely pantry is in Washington, DC. I adore the way the upper cabinets sit directly on the marble countertop. I love the use of the traditional marble and bin pulls with the contemporary chandelier.

House Beautiful
In America, pantries evolved from Early American "butteries", built in a cold north corner of a Colonial home, more commonly referred to and spelled as "butt'ry", into a variety of pantries in self-sufficient farmsteads. Butler's pantries, or china pantries, were built between the dining room and kitchen of a middle class English or American home, especially in the latter part of the 19th into the early 20th centuries.

The pantry above has drawer fronts which conceal cabinets and appliances. The designer liked the sleek look of all drawers so he had false drawers made to give the pantry an old world feel. Notice also the use of different "period tiles" including hexagon on the floor and subway tiles on the walls. All this topped off with beadboard, veined soapstone and upper sliding cabinet doors.

Here are some other examples:

MLS
This is a bit too formal for my taste, but I included it because I think it is interesting to note the wonderful use of lighting in this space. Notice the under cabinet and inside cabinet lighting; the chandelier, sconces and recessed ceiling lights. Very good lighting design that gives this pantry a special jewel box feeling.
House Beautiful
I love the use of latches versus knobs or pulls and the mahogany top.

House Beautiful
MLS
Again, the use of subway tiles, beadboard , glass doors - are you starting to see a trend?

I live in a classic 1930's Royal Barry Wills Colonial. I have a 7 foot by 8 foot butler's pantry that I am renovating back to its original splendor over the summer. I have had the help of a very talented cabinet maker that shares my vision. Together we have created a very special space. Now you have seen my inspiration photos. Gorgeous cabinetry, latches, bin pulls, glass doors and marble. I am so excited to see it come to fruition. I will share my pictures when it is complete!

10 comments:

  1. Thanks so much, Joni! I love your blog so that means a lot to me!

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  2. just georgeous,lovely and fantastic posts

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  3. Wonderful examples, especially the second and the second from the bottom. Just lovely.

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  4. so many great ideas! False-drawer doors, sliding upper cab doors in narrow space...keep 'em coming!

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  5. I love your style! Your kitchen, great room, dining room, conservatory, etc. are just gorgeous. I am about to do a mini renovation to my kitchen. Do you have any suggestions for how to achieve the Christopher Peacock look but sticking with existing brown granite counters (there's very little variation in the granite, so almost as warm in color as teak counters - but all over, not just on the island). I can't figure out what paint color for the cabinets and what color tile for the back splash.
    Gingermstickel@aol.com

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  6. Lovely. Do you know the type of soapstone used in the third photo from the top? Where did you find the soapstone for your kitchen, and what type did you select? Thanks for such helpful posts --

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  7. When remodeling my tiny 1920's tudor cottage, I wanted a butlers pantry. Alas, no room. So, I make-shifted the breakfast nook into a pseudo butler's pantry, since only two of us live in our house, there was no need for a family sized breakfast nook. I had some custom shelves made for storing crystal, china, and formal serving pieces. I also found a great round kitchen island where two counter stools fit comfortably in the small space. This revision not only helped expand my tiny kitchen, it also is an area where some of my guests like to gather with appetizers while waiting to go into the formal dining room. I've had loads of compliments on this remodel, some even saying my pseudo butler's pantry is their favorite part of the remodel.

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  8. Beautiful work... absolutely beautiful!

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  9. Great post with lots of really good information!

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