Special Note: We are now living in on our new home. This post and future posts on “Building a Dream Home” will sometimes contain both current information and a look back during the building process.
A place for everything and everything in it place…
Pantries have been around for centuries…
Brief History of Pantries
The word pantry comes from an old French term “panterie” (meaning from “pain”), the French word for bread. In America, pantries evolved during colonial times. Colonists started building a small room in their homes called butteries (more commonly referred to as “butt’ry”). These rooms were built for food storage and were located near the kitchen in a cold, north corner of their homes.
In the 1950’s, pantries started disappearing in American households. Some of the main reasons this occurred was due to the food shortage during World War II, people started getting everything they needed at the local market, and more food was being processed.
However since the 1990’s, walk-in pantries started making a comeback and are now one of the most requested features in American homes today. Homeowners now expect more from their pantries also. It can be a storeroom or even a large cabinet for many things including canned goods, cookbooks, dishes, and small appliances. It no longer needs to be located near the kitchen. Pantries are now often located in basements.
If you would like to read much more on the history of pantries, I would highly recommend reading the book, “The Pantry Its History and Modern Uses” by Catherine Seiberling Pond.
My Pantry Madness Begins
Several years ago during the process of searching for a home, we looked at an existing home that was for sale. There was not much we liked about the house, but I fell in love with the door for the walk-in pantry in the house and thus began “my madness”. The door appeared to be quite old and was made of solid wood with carvings in it. Since then, I became obsessed with having a unique pantry door. (Regrettably, I never took a photo of the door.)
Fortunately for me, the building plans for our new home included a walk-in pantry and it needed a door.
When it came time in our building process to look for “my unique pantry door”, Lucia (my designer) and I started our search at a local salvage dealer, Adkins Architectural Antiques. Adkins has an extraordinary selection of older house and garden items including windows, mantels, drawer hardware, garden furniture, bathtubs, and, of course, doors. They have lots of old doors which are usually stacked up by general size.
It definitely takes time and effort to look through them all…
I wanted a door like this one with charm to it. We actually saw one door with a mailbox in it which I absolutely loved. (I do not have a photo of it.)
By this time in the building process, the door frame for the pantry had already been framed out, and none of the doors we really liked at Adkins met the needed specifications. Most of the doors (since they were old) were too short. Lucia and I did discuss possibly bringing the door frame down or adding a transom but decided it would make the pantry feel too small. More months passed…no door…more looking…more brainstorming…
We finally decided the best solution would be to “build our own door”. The first thing we did was to make a list of what I loved about other doors I had seen and what to incorporate into a new one. I planned on the actual pantry being a “pretty pantry” and not just a “storeroom”. So the first things on my wish list was the upper half of the door would be open (glass, wire, etc.?) and the door would be made of wood. Other items that got added to my list were it would have “carvings”, a mailbox, and I wanted it to “look old”. I also loved the idea of having a doorknob in the middle of the door, but we eventually eliminated this idea due to the mailbox and practicality. Lucia did a preliminary sketch of the door.
Next, Lucia and I went to a shop to select the onlays (applique millwork) for the door. We decided on using heavy chicken wire in the upper half. I searched the internet and found an antique mailbox slot I loved. Now that we had the specific sizes of the actual items that would be used on the door, Lucia was able to sketch out the door to scale.
Photos of Our Pantry Door During the Building Process
A look back at the pantry cabinets going in. This is “pretty side” to my pantry – built-in drawers and cabinets including 2 large center glass cabinets
A photo of the upper half of the door – you can see one of the onlays selected, the upper opening awaiting the wire, the pretty shape we designed around the wire opening, and a glimpse into the shelving part of the pantry. One of my goals is to (still) line the shelves with some pretty liner paper.
A photo of the bottom half of the door with the other onlays (appliques).
A photo of the entire door at this point in our building process. You can also see a glimpse into the “pretty side” of the pantry. The cabinets are painted a soft green color. The cabinets were eventually distressed for effect.
The mailbox slot before it was installed on the door
My Madness Ends…A Look at my Finished Pantry Door
My finished door: wood stain applied, mailbox affixed, and a beautiful silver doorknob added
The bottom half of the pantry door
Hopefully, you can see some of the distressing that was added to the door to make it “look old”.
A photo of the cabinets inside our pantry
A Look at Other Door Styles for Walk-in Pantries
A door style often used: obscure glass with “Pantry” etched into the glass
Chalkboard front pantry door
Cool-looking rolling doors for the pantry
A pantry door in “Texas-style” – very unique
Antique wood door with wrought iron & glass
A set of bright red glass doors
Are You Designing a Pantry Now or in the Future? – Here Are Some Things You May Want to Consider…
What types of items do you want to store in it? How accessible is the location to your kitchen?
Open (adjustable) shelving? Leave the bottom 3 feet or so without shelving for cases of water or soda?
Do you want to line the shelves with pretty paper?
Is display of your items important to you?
Use of baskets – Pro: Keeps items hidden & neat looking ; Cons: You have to remember what is in the baskets and they also can limit the size of items that are put into the baskets
Do you want drawers for items such as silverware or linens?
Do you want cabinets – they can hide unsightly items not used often or hide small appliances?
Beautiful Pantry Inspiration
Pretty and organized…
Large sliding drawers…
Pull-out drawers and wire baskets…
Just waiting for someone like you to fill up this fantastic pantry…
How about this idea? A pantry-laundry room combo! Love it…
A very well-organized pantry complete with a wine rack…
Ok, this one is “To Die For”…
The Butler’s Pantry
Historically, the butler’s pantry was used for the storage of serving pieces and the washing, polishing, and counting of silver. European butlers often slept in the pantry since it was part of their job to guard the silver and liquor. During Victorian times, the butler’s pantry was a buffer between the service area of a kitchen and the dining room where a dinner party was taking place.
Nowadays, a butler’s pantry is mainly used to store serving items rather than food items. It is usually located between the kitchen and the dining room. It typically has a countertop, and maybe a small sink, to prepare and/or serve food or serving pieces that will be used for entertaining.
Butler’s Pantry Inspiration
Just imagine all the great dinner parties and luncheons one could give with all those beautiful dishes and silver pieces…
Beautiful vintage-looking pantry…
I have a major “pantry crush” on this one…
The silver-leafing on the ceiling and the walls gives this butler’s pantry a “jewel-box” effect to showcase the homeowner’s collection of items – Exquisite…
Gorgeous butler’s – love the ceiling treatment, the light fixture, and the black & white flooring…