High-end Pantries, A second kitchen
Posted February 14, 2021 in Special Features
Watch any HGTV show and it won’t be long before someone announces, “Let’s take out that wall and open this up.” Indeed, open-concept floorplans offer things homeowners love: long vistas, options for spacious entertaining and unlimited togetherness for the whole gang. What they don’t like, however, are panoramic vistas of the “messy kitchen.”
The solution? High-end pantries. A behind-the-scenes second kitchen to accommodate all those blenders, coffee makers, mixers, workstations, gift wrapping areas and more. Like a mini-kitchen, these zones can incorporate shelving or cabinetry, countertops and even additional dishwashers and refrigerators.
Trending are pantries double the size of a typical pantry that run the full width of the kitchen. Plug-ins, shelving, and even a counter are hidden behind a door.
While building her new home in Felida, Judi had to make a thousand decisions. But one thing she knew from the beginning was that she wanted a large pantry so she wouldn’t have to store food in her kitchen cabinets.
“I want to be able to look around the pantry and see what I have instead of opening a million cabinets in the kitchen,” she said. “I don’t want to go the supermarket to buy something and then come home and find I already had it.”
No longer just a linen closet for keeping extra jars of peanut butter and maybe a garbage can, today’s desirable pantry has morphed into a luxe room that serves almost as a second, secret kitchen. Search #pantry on Pinterest or Instagram and you’ll get an unending scroll of photos of extravagantly designed pantries, with dry goods and pastas displayed like museum art and boxes of food categorized by kind, size and/or color. You’ll see wine refrigerators, microwaves and smaller appliances, all banished from the kitchen, standing ready to make coffee, toast bread or mix drinks. There are spaces set aside for crafting or gift wrapping, second refrigerators, even wet bars.
And the larger the home, the bigger the pantry. Experts say that in a home with a price tag between $550,000 and $800,000, for example, pantries average 5 feet wide and 8 feet deep, while in the $800,000 to $2 million price range, they’ll be about 6 feet wide and 12 to 15 feet deep.
One of the trends in pantry doors is to make them look like cabinet fronts, so they blend into a cabinet wall. Homeowners enjoy how they elicit gasps of surprise from guests when the doors are opened open to reveal a secret pantry.
Also trendy are barns doors that slide along a top rail. Homeowners often leave these barn doors open to show off their Insta-ready pantries. People love their stuff and want it to be on display, of course that’s a big commitment in having to keep it neat and tidy. Other door options include pocket doors, which require less space than swinging doors, or no doors at all.
One area of disagreement about pantries is whether the shelving should be adjustable or fixed. With fixed shelving you have a lot of unused vertical space, so you end up buying can risers to make the most of that space.
On the other hand, fixed shelving is more common in the high-end homes. Once you’ve got the shelving set, you rarely go in and change it.
Other popular pantry features include:
Motion sensors that turn on lights when the pantry door is opened. No more fumbling around in the dark for a light switch.
Library ladders that run along rails to reach items on upper shelves more easily. One drawback, however, is that these ladders take up floor space.
Movable shelving units that, like in a murder mystery movie, can be opened to reveal, say, a panic room or a safe for valuables.
Wild designs. Like the powder room, a kitchen pantry is small enough to give you the freedom to wow — both yourself and guests you invite in. Make a splash with colorful wallpaper, vivid paint, or a complementary color.