A Hidden Surprise in Kitchen Design
The pantry has been around for centuries. In the Medieval Great Halls, there were several rooms outside of the kitchen which were dedicated to food storage and preparation. Dishes were washed in the scullery and stored in the pantry. Meat was stored in the larder, grains in the granary, and so forth. As time passed, the pantry became one room, both as a food storage and preparation space, and most homes had one.
The Pantry – a Key Part of the Kitchen
Kitchens in the late 19th and early 20th centuries did not have many cabinets and almost no counter space. The stove would take up a sizeable amount of the room. The sink would have a small section of counter next to it to dry the dishes, and the kitchen table, in the center of the room, would be used for food preparation as well as the family meals. The pantry evolved into a small room off the kitchen – frequently without a door – which provided cabinets and shelves for food and dish storage along with counter space for food preparation.
Post-War Home Design Changed
By the 1950s, home layouts had changed. The kitchen became more private with a door that separated it from the rest of the house. Entertaining shifted to the living room and the dining room. Cabinets and countertops were added to the kitchen, and the pantry disappeared. For over fifty years the pantry was a relic of a past era; a quaint feature in an older home but no longer a vital part of kitchen design.
A 21st Century Revival
Open-concept home design began to dominate architecture over the last couple of decades. That meant the kitchen was out in the open and when entertaining, guests ended up in the kitchen – often in the host’s way – while the meal was being prepared. And so, the pantry revival began. The modern pantry may contain as little or as much as the homeowner desires: a simple place to store dry goods or a room that takes the mess and function of the kitchen out of sight. The new pantry can include cabinets, counter space, an extra sink, a second dishwasher, a washer and dryer, room for small appliances, or any combination of these things that a homeowner wants.
Hidden in Plain Sight
The size of the pantry varies but the average pantry in the US is approximately 50 square feet. It can be hidden or open. The choice depends on the needs and desires of the homeowner. An open pantry works well for some, while others are embracing the idea of a hidden pantry. A hidden pantry is tucked out of sight behind a door; sometimes it is completely disguised with a door that matches the kitchen cabinets and camouflages the pantry behind it making for a spectacular reveal when the door opens to an entire room.
The work that goes on behind that door is concealed from guests and allows the kitchen to be used for serving guests, keeping the preparation out of sight. For those who enjoy entertaining, this option is a great solution to keep guests out of the work area.
If you are planning a kitchen renovation, we invite you to visit one of our showrooms in Haverhill or West Bridgewater, MA to explore the beautiful natural stone, quartz and porcelain options for your kitchen and pantry countertop surfaces.
We look forward to seeing you.