Forget about the breakfast nook … and roll out the welcome mat for the walk-in pantry, the forgotten gem of kitchen storage. Squeezed out by modern kitchen fixtures and built-ins, the walk-in pantry – once an essential in older homes – is making a very fashionable return in kitchen design.
If you’re remodeling your home, buying a new one, or renovating your kitchen to fill in the empty space in the corner, consider adding a walk-in pantry. While the built-in cabinets and drawers in the kitchen provide storage room, there’s nothing like having a dedicated space for extra groceries, ingredients, snacks, cookbooks, pots and pans, and even appliances. Just think how an organized space can save you time in the kitchen and make your life and cooking easier and smoother.
So go for a walk-in pantry, and enjoy these great benefits.
1. Unbeatable Convenience, Visibility, and Accessibility
A walk-in pantry right off the kitchen or an adjacent hallway gives you a clear view of stored items – and allows you easy access to staples and other stuff necessary for meal preparation. All you have to do is open the door, step into that room, and grab all your ingredients and utensils without a sweat.
Space galore for storage! Imagine what you can stock in this walk-in kitchen pantry of a 4-bedroom, 2-bath European style home plan (House Plan #142-1160).
2. More Storage Room
Space, space, and more space – what every homeowner craves and hopes for in the kitchen. After all, can a home in general have too much storage? With floor-to-ceiling shelves, you can store more than just groceries. You can arrange baking goods and accessories, other non-perishable items, small utensils, and other things you need access to regularly – but don’t necessarily want to display in open kitchen shelves.
Slide that door and check out the items – groceries, a small stepladder, and small appliances – stored in this spacious walk-in pantry of a 1-story, 2-bedroom luxury style home plan (House Plan #161-1072).
3.Better Organization and Structure
You may not go so far as alphabetizing or color coding the stuff that goes on your shelves, but if you want structure, a walk-in pantry gives you that option and lets you be bit creative in organizing grocery items. For example, you can apportion sections for non-refrigerated fruits and vegetables, snacks, cooking oils, spices/condiments, sodas and juices, baking needs, place mats, and trays. This is especially true for homeowners who considers themselves serious cooks – or just have a keen interest in cooking – and take pride in the great kitchens they have designed for their homes.
What a sight for sore eyes! All the items in this walk-in pantry are very neatly organized and sorted – and well lighted!.
4. Flexibility in Storing Bigger Appliances
Some small appliances and utensils can fit in cabinet and pull-out pantries. But a walk-in pantry gives you the space to comfortably store bigger appliances like toaster ovens, a second microwave, slow cookers, even secondary refrigerators and freezers. In addition to keeping these appliances within reach when you need them, you also free up counter space in the kitchen prep areas.
Here’s a walk-in pantry large enough to fit bigger appliances, including a refrigerator.
5. Cost Efficiency
How many times have you gone to the grocery or a neighborhood market for supplies that you already have “hiding” in a kitchen cabinet at home? You can save time and money with a walk-in pantry, where everything is in its place and in plain sight. The organized space helps you track what you need and what you have – and use them before they expire.
With easy access from the kitchen island, one can take a look inside this walk-in pantry of a 2-story, 4-bedroom Shingle style home plan and check supplies before rushing out for more (House Plan #161-1038).
6. Worth a Second Look – The Pantry’s Proud Heritage
Long before kitchen islands and eat-in nooks, there was the pantry – derived from the Latin word for bread, panis. It was also known as a wet or dry larder, or buttery. In Medieval times, a cold pantry or wet larder was used to store vegetables and meats. Grains, dried fruits, and bread were kept in a dry larder.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, small rooms adjacent to kitchens were used for food storage and were called the buttery. Throughout different eras, these rooms evolved into more organized spaces for storing food, china, and silverware.
A section of the buttery (shown here with some shelves, counter space, and muffin pans) in the Theron Boyd Homestead in Hartford, Vermont – built in 1786 – may be the country’s oldest intact walk-in pantry.
With the invention of the Hoosier Cabinet in Indiana in the 1900s, the pantry became an icon in American kitchens. But in the 1920s and ‘30s, the breakfast nook and built-in kitchen cabinets displaced the pantry; and with better refrigerators and freezers in the 1950s, the pantry disappeared from the kitchen scene.
This is a modern version – in the Shaker style – of a Hoosier cabinet. The idea of the cabinet is to have a standalone unit of upper and lower kitchen cabinets. Variations over the years included the addition of built-in flour sifters, organizational aids, swing-pout shelves, extending tabletops, and more.
Some things of worth are missed when they’re gone, however. Such is the case with the walk-in pantry. By the 2000s the pantry revival had started, and the walk-in pantry has since become one of the most requested features in new home construction.
So now that you know what you’re missing and don’t have to live without one, remember to design a simple and organized walk-in pantry – regardless of size – that gives you the storage you need and makes life and cooking easier for you.