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The butler’s pantry is at your service


Do you love your kitchen but find that even in an open floor plan, it can seem congested? The butler’s pantry is at your service to solve that problem.

A butler’s pantry is a nook that usually connects the kitchen to the formal dining room. The primary function was to store tableware, serving utensils and table linens. When a butler was part of the household staff, he could use this space to make it quicker to serve the family’s meals and clean up the table afterwards.

That was then. Today, the butler’s pantry serves many purposes, none of which require having a butler! It’s often referred to now as a “service kitchen”, mainly because butlers are a thing of the distant past (at least, for many households).

Today’s homes often feature an open floor plan. It’s desirable to get rid of the walls that separate the kitchen, living room, and dining room. For entertaining or to prevent feeling penned in, the open design presents a nice way to lay out a floor plan. When you’re entertaining, however, it can be frustrating to go back and forth between the kitchen and dining room because you forgot a serving spoon or didn’t do an accurate headcount when setting the table.

This space can add real value to your home. Here are some uses for a butler’s pantry.

Kitchen overflow receptacle

Are you one of those people who has accumulated an excess of small kitchen appliances and gadgets? If you currently own a slow cooker, Instant Pot, air fryer, bread machine, pasta maker, food processor, stand mixer, juicer, waffle maker, electric griddle, or any combination of these items, you would love a service kitchen or butler’s pantry!

How many times a month do you use your small kitchen appliances? Where do you currently store them? My guess is they are occupying valuable cabinet, pantry, or counter space. The cabinets and shelves in your butler’s pantry would give you a convenient place to keep your small kitchen appliances and gadgets out of the way but easily within reach when you need them.

You can also store other kitchen items you don’t use on a regular basis, like your special occasion china or serving pieces. 

Beverage station

How many times are you and your family tripping over one another in the kitchen while one person is making coffee or grabbing a quick drink? Use your service kitchen as a beverage station. Set up your coffee maker and supplies. Install an under-the-counter refrigerator for cold drinks and creamers. Keep a set of mugs, cups, and glasses handy and you eliminate a significant amount of kitchen traffic! You might also think about including a sink in your butler’s pantry to keep dirty glasses and mugs out of the kitchen.

Wine cellar or pub

Wine connoisseurs can seize the butler’s pantry to store their wines, glasses, and accoutrements. Include a wine rack, wine refrigerator, and a variety of glasses. Having it next to the formal dining room is ideal for those special occasions when you’re bringing out your fine wines for guests.

If your libation leans toward beer, incorporate a kegerator and a place to store your brews and glassware. Maybe stash some snacks in the cabinets to go with what “ales” you.

Snack bar

How much foot traffic comes through your kitchen in search of snacks? Give them a target by turning your butler’s pantry or service kitchen into a snack bar. Create a cabinet for after-school snacks, put water, juice, and other drinks in the small fridge in the butler’s pantry. You might want to add a water dispenser and a microwave. Add some plates and utensils to the cabinets and drawers, and you’re in business.

Prep and landing zone

When preparing a large meal or getting ready to entertain, it’s easy to run out of space. Use the service kitchen for exactly what the name implies. Get your serving dishes ready for the food to come. Set aside anything that is ready to go and just needs to be out of your way while you finish your other prep work.

After entertaining, use the service kitchen as a landing space for all the dirty dishes. If you think you’ll utilize the space in this way, plumb it for a sink and/or dishwasher. This feature eliminates the need to move the stacks of dirty dishes to the kitchen sink when it’s time to dive into washing.

Make your kitchen bigger and better.

If you have a butler’s pantry or service kitchen, have you delegated it to serve a specific purpose? Maybe you can rethink the space to make it more functional.

For those of you weighing whether or not your current home suits your lifestyle, well, if you have to ask, the answer is “no.”

Kettler Forlines Homes has been building beautifully appointed homes in the DC Metro area for more than 40 years. Many of our floor plans include a service kitchen/butler’s pantry, and we are willing to make adjustments to allow for this popular feature. When you’re looking for a homebuilder who welcomes your ideas and has the integrity, knowledge, and experience to build your dream home, please reach out to Kettler Forlines Homes.