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Kitchen Pantry Design 101

Kitchen Pantry Design 101: Every home has a pantry, which is a room that is either seldom or never utilised. I’m ready to guess that if you thought about your own pantry (mine is in the “don’t care at all” category), you’d be able to tell straight immediately how it’s doing. I’ll also venture a guess and assume that the square footage or market worth of your property have nothing to do with which of these two groups your pantry falls into. Why? Because pantries are often installed in underutilised rooms next to kitchens, little concern is given to whether the space is just a closet with shelves or, even more startlingly, a walk-in closet with shelves.

This is no longer essential. We’ve endeavoured in the past several homes I’ve designed to make the pantry not just functional but also enjoyable to use. The room was inspired by the necessity to overcome challenges that arise in today’s open and extremely visible kitchens. There are several drawbacks to having the kitchen and the rest of the home exposed to each other. Although I dislike sliding tambour doors and “appliance garage” cabinets, I believe most kitchen designers want to avoid having lines from appliances on the countertop. So, in an increasing number of the kitchens I’ve designed, I’ve included a supplementary mini-kitchen of some form. This second kitchen’s area was not expanded on. It was instead removed from the main kitchen.

Kitchen Pantry Design 101

Let me begin with a basic example from a previous project of mine:

This large kitchen with a large island was designed by Dallas architect Bob Borson.

Because of the volume of people that pass through here, the kitchen must constantly be spotless. Because this is the first thing people see when they go into the kitchen, it makes sense to relocate all of the items we use often to a nearby location. In the image above, you can see a door between the main kitchen and the banquette breakfast nook (which are also very popular additions). Behind this door lies the “Butler’s Pantry,” despite the fact that neither the customers nor their butler need a pantry.

In case you’re wondering, a “Butler’s Pantry” is a multi-purpose space that’s usually positioned between the kitchen and the dining area.


Bob Borson, a Dallas architect, designed this clean and contemporary kitchen.

When seen from a different perspective, the same kitchen shows how nicely it blends in with the rest of the home. The pantry entrance is immediately off to the left. This is my all-time favourite kitchen. I may have mentioned it earlier on this site. Because the room faces north and south, it only receives morning sunlight. A large overhang, officially the second storey, blocks the late afternoon West sun. Because the property boundary and fence are just around five feet from the building’s edge, there is plenty of light. That’s a 16-foot-long island, which is wonderful not just for the amount of useful work space it provides, but also for making way for lower cabinets. This was particularly useful since we wanted to keep the number of upper cabinets along the window wall to a minimum.

Whatever the situation may be, it has nothing to do with a story about pantries.


Butler’s Pantry was expanded by Dallas architect Bob Borson.

Here’s a floor diagram to help you visualise the area, as well as a breakdown of how much room is dedicated to the public kitchen and how much to the private pantry… This is an excellent pantry since it can also be used for food preparation.


Dallas architect Bob Borson photographed the Pantry’s millwork while it was being constructed.

I had to go through old hard drives to obtain photos of this pantry. At my last employment, we never got around to taking decent “after” shots of offices like this (and laundry rooms, powder baths, etc.). Even though I don’t have any images of the completed job, I do have some of the cabinets being installed, which should aid those of you who aren’t accustomed to reading construction designs for a living. I’ve also used the following tags to assist describe what’s going on:


This is an ideal location away from the main kitchen for a microwave and wine refrigerator in the service area. Warming leftovers, melting butter, and warming beverages are the most popular use.

A warming drawer isn’t as common as it once was, but it might come in handy if you host a lot of parties and need to keep food warm while setting the table.

There was a large ice maker and a second dishwasher. One is in the centre of the room, while the other is out to the side. This is useful if caterers are required to be busy, or if you’re hosting a small party and just want to run the dishwasher without interruption.

Because there were no cabinets over the sink, I felt the area was odd. This was designed with caterers’ requirements in mind, holding chafing dishes on supports with sterno heaters below. Getting rid of the cabinets above this table simplified things and allowed the servers to utilise the whole length of the tables.

  • I probably didn’t need to bring up the sink, but better safe than sorry.
  • Let’s take a look at a second pantry I built for a cabin I mentioned here.


Kitchen Cabin 01: Dallas architect Bob Borson

This is the cabin’s semi-open kitchen, which is visible from the whole loft. Again, we created a pantry by partitioning a section of the main kitchen and adding a pocketing door for privacy or convenience. My wife and I recently returned from a four-day excursion to the mountains where we purposefully avoided talking to anybody.


Dallas architect Bob Borson creates an open floor layout for a contemporary kitchen.

Before we get to the plans and elevation drawings, I thought a few photos, such as the first kitchen/pantry I showed you, would help you get a feel of the area. This photograph was shot some years ago, just before the client moved in. Landon Williams, an employee, and I were the only ones at the site at the time, finishing off the final few items on the punch list and bringing the project to a close.


Dallas architect Bob Borson takes a peek inside a cabin’s pantry.

But first, I’d want to return to the pantry, which you can see in the photo above. It’s worth noting that this pantry is neither little nor large. It’s somewhat larger than the walk-in pantries that are popular in houses of this size. We altered three aspects of the pantry’s design to make it as functional as possible:

In the pantry, we utilised the same high-quality components as we used in the main kitchen. This prevents you from seeing a line between the two rooms, giving the impression that they are all one large space.

To create place for a window, we relocated the pantry to an exterior wall. The new window overlooks a lovely region that has special value for the homeowner.

Everything is exactly aligned, from the bottom cabinets to the top cabinets to the next wall. If you exclude the pocketing door, this is the kitchen.


Bob Borson, a Dallas architect, designed the rustic cabin’s kitchen and pantry.

Maybe you can grasp the strategy a lot better now that you’ve seen the photographs. The essential issue is that the kitchen isn’t very large, which, depending on your perspective, either makes the pantry tiny in contrast or makes the kitchen more practical.

Kitchen Pantry Design 101

Dallas architect Bob Borson created elevations for a pantry and a kitchen.

This composite elevation drawing is supplied so you can see how the pantry millwork links to the kitchen. There is a gap between them, hence there is a wall between them. Any pantry supplies may be moved into the kitchen with the same ease as they would into a regular pantry.

I should also mention that there is both closed and open storage in the pantry. The base cabinets provide open storage. Most pantries have shelves that extend all the way to the ceiling, but I’m not convinced it’s the greatest use of space. Large items and a lot of storage are frequently stored on the floor. Bags of pet food and large containers of beverages, for example, are often seen there. The countertop that links the base cabinet to the higher shelves makes both of the pantries. I showed you today function. The countertop transforms the space into a workspace and storage area.

I’m sure the cabin’s customer is having a heart attack since I showed them the pantry. Which wasn’t completely clean and set up for the photo. (not to give her a heart attack, but to show how the pantry currently functions). Because the majority of individuals who use the pantry are tourists, it makes little sense to stock up on basics. You can obtain certain basics, but single portions of jello or pudding are not available. The majority of these items were either forgotten or left behind by previous visitors.


Photos of the kitchen pantry shot on several days.

The last image I’ll show you is the view from the pantry window, which may be crucial. Adding a window to a pantry may improve it more than any other design choice you might make. The pantry is more than a dark, concealed place deep inside the home. It’s a completely functioning space with plenty of natural light. That can serve as a pantry as much or as little as required.

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