Stop right there if you thought the pantry was an American phenomenon. It actually comes from the old French word ‘paneterie’ meaning ‘pain’ – the French word for bread. In Medieval England, the pantry was the working partner of the larder and the scullery – butter and bread were stored in the pantry, meats in the larder and ‘dirty’ household chores undertaken in the scullery.
The widespread use of fridge-freezers, the evolution of fitted kitchen cabinetry and the introduction of integrated appliances conspired to almost kill off the pantry, but this storage nook has made a massive comeback of late.
Celebs have made us covet pantry perfection
Early seeds were sown when the TV cook Nigella Lawson delivered monologues about ingredients from her walk-in pantry, flanked by shelves groaning with jars, tins and packets. Later, it was home expert Kirstie Allsopp who revealed her room of open shelves and overflowing countertops, and who also claimed that a pantry or larder room could add value to a property.
If a quick snapshot across social media channels Pinterest and Instagram are to go by, Kirstie isn’t wrong. There are hundreds of thousands of posts capturing pantries in all their organised glory. Search #pantryinspo, #pantrydesign #pantrylabels #storageideas and even #pantryporn to see what kitchen aficionados are up to. Even the Kardashians give tours of their pantry organisation and storage solutions.
Benefits of a pantry
- The open shelves and increased storage space prevents you from forgetting items that usually lurk at the back of the cupboard
- You can check ‘stock’ levels and use-by dates quickly, saving wastage due to spoiling
- The visually appealing aspect encourages the use of a wide variety of ingredients
- Decanting dry goods encourages recycling, refilling and more mindful food purchases
3 pantry types
- The walk-in pantry: a separate but small room that is lined with shelves and open storage units so everything can be seen at a glance. Although not always kept cold, it’s not the ideal place for a tumble dryer or any other heat sources.
Great if you…..can convert a utility room, have a huge cupboard or can take space from a big kitchen to create a pantry from scratch.
- The breakfast pantry: a built-in cabinet that features shelves, an area of work surface with drawers underneath, a plug socket and breakfast items, such as a kettle, toaster, cereal boxes, mugs, bowls and preserves/spreads. Doors shut over the configuration, hiding any mess and keeping the kitchen streamlined.
Great if you…..are short on space, as the breakfast pantry can be a single unit width of 600m.
- The freestanding pantry: an independent item of furniture available from department stores and furniture specialists. Usually a tall unit, this pantry commonly blends drawers, shelves, bottle holders and spice racks, hidden behind doors and with the ability to be positioned where most suitable.
Great if you…..aren’t planning to change your kitchen units any time soon as the freestanding pantry doesn’t have to form part of an existing kitchen.
It’s all about the storage containers
The best looking pantries are those where the dry goods are decanted into new but uniform containers. While Tupperware has its place, glass jars are the most Instagram-worthy. Not only does this lend aesthetic appeal, it also allows people to see how much pasta or rice, for instance, is left without opening a packet.
And don’t forget the labels
Labels are big business in the pantry world. Although you can buy pre-labelled storage canisters, there is a thriving label-printing industry. You can order any ingredient/product name to be printed in a myriad of fonts and colours, with the lettering applied to self-adhesive transparent film. Other options include chalkboard labels, slate or ceramic tags and personalised stickers.
If your kitchen is the reason you are planning to move home – perhaps you need more storage or would like a bigger area to work with – contact us today for available properties.
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