Why do Old Homes have a small kitchen and large pantry?

The heart of a home is the kitchen. It’s the heart of the home and is where cooking, entertaining and creating memories happen. You might be wondering why the kitchen, which is the most important room of the house, is so small while the pantry is large enough to make it a guest bedroom. This unusual design made sense long ago.

What does a butler’s kitchen look like?

Older houses had often a small kitchen and a large pantry to house the staff. It was also known as the butler’s pantry. This pantry was used to store food, silverware, and other items. To allow household staff to work from home, the butler’s pantry has additional counter space and a sink. It protected the family and guests against any unwanted or distracting smells, sounds or sights while they were cooking or cleaning up after meals.

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The butler’s pantry was a place where you could find heating drawers or heating lamps to keep food warm, as well as refrigerators for wine chilling and salad storage. Sometimes, the butler would actually sleep in the pantry in Europe to protect valuables such as crystal and silver.

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The history of the butler’s pantry can be traced back to 18th century England when the professional class was able to afford luxuries such as a butler. A butler’s pantry was an indicator of social class. It allowed the head of the household staff to complete their work. The idea was quickly adopted by wealthy Americans, so even modest homes could have a separate pantry by the 1940s.

How to make the most of an old butler’s pantry

Many homeowners ask their architect or remodeling contractor to take down an existing butler’s kitchen in order to create a larger dining area. However, some homeowners have restored the pantry and given it new, more modern uses.

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Carlene Anderson, an Oakland kitchen designer, has replaced the butler’s cupboard in Carolyn and Jim Squeri’s 1920s home with a cozy corner. A half-wall and counter were installed between the kitchen and pantry to integrate it with the kitchen. A small bay window, window seat, and bookshelves completed the space.

Some people decide to remove the doors and transform the pantry space with a dish-storage cupboard or shelves that showcase their wine collection.

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An old butler’s pantry can be transformed into a storage area for bulk items. It may not look as glamorous but it is certainly functional. You may be stocked up on necessities for months by making frequent trips to Costco, but where are you going to store that box of bottled water? Your butler’s pantry can have doors so you can store large items away from sight but still easily reachable.

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