Forget kitchen islands, thanks to Instagram now it’s all about the pantry. Discover some of our favourites, along with practical tips from designers. By Jessica Jonzen
THIS STYLISH PLAIN ENGLISH PANTRY DESIGNED BY INTERIOR DESIGNER NICOLA HARDING INCORPORATES BOLD COLOUR AND ART TO CREATE A SPACE WHICH IS AS BEAUTIFUL AS IT IS PRACTICAL. IMAGE: COURTESY OF NICOLA HARDING & CO
Call it nostalgia, or blame it on Instagram, but I’ve become rather obsessed with the idea of having a pantry. I’m not the only one lusting after this once workaday kitchen necessity which was put into retirement by the advent of the fridge. Instagram has nearly 500,000 posts about pantries and Pinterest is filled with images of these shrines to kitchen organisation.
“Two years ago, we weren’t ever really asked about pantries. However, within the last 12 months there has definitely been a big spike in walk-in pantries,” says William Durrant, founder and director of Herringbone Kitchens. “The pantry is the new utility room. It’s a desirable badge of honour. Something that not everyone has yet so many lust over via the squares of social media. We saw a rise in the demand for pantries long before lockdown.”
Indeed, when I interviewed the interior designer Mark Lewis at his home in 2019, one of my favourite elements of his open plan kitchen was a neat little glazed pantry. Perfectly stocked with jars of Bonne Maman, Sicilian lemons and neat fronds of chicory (it had been styled for a photoshoot, after all) it was a thing of beauty and made me long to lovingly cook something wholesome from scratch. “I’ve always thought there’s something romantic about a pantry,” Mark told me.
(LEFT) A PANTRY DESIGNED BY MARK LEWIS INTERIOR DESIGN. IMAGE: BETH DAVIS. (RIGHT) THE PANTRY MARK LEWIS DESIGNED FOR HIS OWN HOME. IMAGE: RORY GARDINER
Romance aside, what makes a pantry a practical solution for a modern kitchen? “The pantry offers much lower maintenance than open shelving in the kitchen itself,” says William. “There’s less judgement on dust levels and it’s ok to have your IKEA plates that you actually use in easy reach in the pantry, rather than feeling like you’ve got to have your best dinner set at the ready on a Tuesday night.”
“As open-plan kitchens become more desired, simultaneously doubling-up as spaces in which to entertain, relax and even work in, the need for a practical room in which to store household goods is a must,” says Adrian Bergman, Senior Designer at British Standard by Plain English. “A larder or pantry enables the kitchen to function as a living area that is as considered and aesthetically pleasing as any other room in the house.”
So, what are the golden rules for creating a pantry which will work in your home? “Our clients often come to us with extension plans and some have already incorporated enough room for a pantry whereas others turn to us to design them in,” says William. “On the pantry wish list are desires for open shelving, tongue and groove on the walls and in essence, anything that makes the space look more utilitarian, with a free-standing appearance. Some of our clients do buy into the history of the pantry – they don’t like it to be insulated and situate it on an outside wall and sometimes even have a window in the space to support further cooling. Cold shelves are lusted after, but in reality, who doesn’t put cheese in the fridge anymore? Especially a stinky blue one!”
“Having shallow shelves higher up is good idea, otherwise things get lost or buried behind each other,” says interior designer Nicola Harding. “And a curtain is good at lower level as it hides the detritus associated with appliances and takes up less space and is much cheaper than doors.”
And what if you don’t have the space for a walk-in pantry? “If you’re living in a small space definitely opt for a larder,” says William Durrant from Herringbone Kitchens, which defines a larder as a large storage cupboard. “It’s vital to remember a pantry is another room and that’s a lot of your kitchen being eaten into.”
THE LARDER CUPBOARD BY BRITISH STANDARD BY PLAIN ENGLISH. IMAGE: BRITISH STANDARD
To that end, they have designed a ‘Breakfast Cupboard’, while British Standard similarly responded to the growing demand for pantries even in smaller kitchens by creating a modular larder cupboard which can be bought as a standalone piece. Like all British Standard cupboards it is fully customisable with paint, worktops, racks and ironmongery. “It is such a versatile cupboard, lots of our clients use it to hide small appliances like coffee machines and microwaves,” says its designer Adrian Bergman.
And finally, to make sure your pantry is practical as well as pretty, remember the words of Mrs Beeton: “there should be a place for everything, and everything in its place.”
Stylish Pantry Designs We Love
(TOP) THE CLASSIC ENGLISH KITCHEN BY deVOL. (BOTTOM LEFT) CABINET FROM THE REAL SHAKER KITCHEN BY deVOL. (BOTTOM RIGHT) CABINET FROM THE HABERDASHER’S KITCHEN RANGE BY deVOL. IMAGES: deVOL
(LEFT) A STUNNING BESPOKE PANTRY DESIGNED AND BUILT BY HILL FARM FURNITURE. IMAGE: HILL FARM FURNITURE. (RIGHT) A PANTRY DESIGNED BY MARIE FLANIGAN INTERIORS. IMAGE: JULIE SOEFER COURTESY OF MARIE FLANIGAN INTERIORS
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