AKJ Architects LLC

Walk-In Pantry 2021 – The New High Traffic Home Area

As life has transitioned over the last year, so many perspective changes have settled in to create our new norm. This has definitely been a factor in our work here at AKJA, as we support our clients in creating the homes that serve their evolving needs. Today we’re taking a look at a new focus for many homeowners, the current changes regarding for food storage and utilizing the walk-in pantry.

More Time at Home = More Food at Home

Spending so much more time in our homes than we used to, along with a lot less dining out, means the ability to stock ample food supplies is evolving right along with all the other changes going on in the world. Walk-in pantries ensure a family’s food storage needs can be met conveniently, comfortably and sustainably. Depending on your home and lifestyle, your needs may lean in the direction of the Dry Pantry, the Butler’s Pantry or Cold Storage. We’ll take a look at each of these options so you can determine what works best for your project.

Single people and couples working from home are now prepping three meals a day and entertaining within their small bubbles of close friends and family. Many families have kids who are home most all the time and are now managing the entire family menu Du Jour like never before. Some families have even consolidated themselves – bringing in grandparents and other family members, live-in assistants, nannies, etc., so there are even more people in the home creating lots of traffic in the kitchen. We’re putting lots of thought into our recipes and nutritional needs, breads and home brews, so demands on kitchens are at an all-time high. With so much family social time happening in kitchens, this, by association, will include the need for efficient access to the pantry.

What We Store & How We Store It

Below we’re sharing some examples of three types of pantries and how they’re used. Our wish is that you’ll get clarity on how to create the exact right pantry for what’s going on in your home – now and in years to come.

Dry Pantry

This is probably the most common type of pantry in home use. Your dry pantry may be a small room off the kitchen where you store canned foods and dry goods, such as boxes of crackers and cereals, and flats of mason jars. Those big shopping trips to the warehouse store with bulk spices, drinks, and baking supplies populate dry pantries. Dry pantries are also perfect for storing bread makers, crock pots, and other infrequently used small appliances that you prefer not to store on your kitchen countertops. Fancy chocolates, dainty cookies and herbal teas you love to serve when unexpected guests pop by all have a home in the dry pantry. They’re also the perfect place for the cat food and doggie treats for your beloved furry friends.

Designing a dry pantry can include the use of stone countertops and backsplashes for food prep, glass cabinets to see what kind of chocolate you have for brownies and finishes to match drawers, cabinets and lighting in the kitchen – creating a consciously-connected extension to the kitchen. Shelving depths of 12-15” keep items visible and easily accessible so you aren’t losing things in the back of deep drawers. Custom step ladders or step stools in dry pantry spaces may be brought in to help reach items on higher shelves. It’s also important to understand that dry pantries don’t necessarily need to be heated. They may include an exhaust fan for clean air exchange, but heat and refrigeration aren’t always necessary.

Butler’s Pantry

The butler’s pantry is typically a transitional space between a kitchen and a dining room. It can be a room that you walk through or a built-in addition to an unused wall space. Also known as a scullery, this charming and pretty space is often used for food prep, food storage, and for staging catering. It’s the perfect location for extra tableware and cutlery, and provides a way to display collectables behind glazed doors.

With much of the design considerations being similar to that of the dry pantry such as cabinets, shelving, and food supplies, a butler’s pantry can be more complex. A butler’s pantry may include a second dishwasher, a big sink, a second range, and/or its own refrigerator, requiring additional electric, plumbing, air conditioning, and air venting elements.

Cold Storage

We humans have been utilizing the cool underground as root cellars, wine cellars, and cold storage ever since we started building permanent structures to live in. Today, cold storage can be used minimally for bottled water, wine, and emergency food preparedness or more extensively as with wine cellars or food storage pantries. Cold storage rooms can be as simple or complex as necessary including shelving, cabinets, drawers, countertops, etc., with materials that fit the style of your home.

The cold storage room is an excellent green alternative for food storage due to the naturally cooler temperatures of basements and underground rooms so common in the homes of the Pacific Northwest. Due to this natural cooling feature, a cold storage room has less need for refrigeration systems, which over time require maintenance and ongoing energy expenditure. A great way to work with nature while conserving finances and energy resources.

Time to Stock Your Space

Once you’ve determined what type of pantry is best for your home and lifestyle, you’ll need to stock and provision your space. Are you a natural organizer who absolutely loves putting all the essentials in just the right place? If so, stocking your pantry will be great fun! If this step isn’t your thing, hiring a professional organizing service is a great way to ensure things are placed and organized for optimum efficiency. A professional organizer can help ensure you’re able to reach the most commonly used items easily, make finding spices a breeze, locate cooking essentials and baking supplies conveniently, and utilize bins and labels to make it clear where things go. They’ll even find the best place to hang extra aprons for when grandma comes over to teach the kids how to bake her signature brownie recipe. Yum!

Closing the Cabinet Door on Pantries

Creating a beautiful, functional space for food storage, small appliances, and cooking essentials in your home is a growing necessity. Freeing up space and opening up your kitchen will make cooking with your friends and family a fun-filled, bonding and social time for all.

As always, if you’re ready to explore the concept of a walk-in pantry or have any questions about options and what it would take to plan this type of project for your home, reach out! We’re happy to talk!

Stacey Lara

Stacey Lara has a wide range of experience specializing in efficiency and human wellness. She's a transformational coach with an administrative background in the medical, engineering, landscape architecture and architecture industries.

Arlene Kisiel-Jermann

Arlene brings over twenty-five years of design experience to her company. As a professional who strives to provide exceptional customer service, creative design skills, and an eye for detail, AKJA has the experience and training to lead your residential project from concept through completion.

Arlene received her Master in Architecture Degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her Master in Science in Interior Design from the University of Massachusetts and her Bachelor degree from Skidmore College with a major in Art & minor in Spanish. Arlene's combination of creative degrees in Architecture, Interior Design and Fine Art give her a holistic approach to residential design and enable her to quickly comprehend and efficiently collaborate with other professionals. At MIT, she coupled her studies with graduate courses at the MIT Center for Real Estate where she studied business. Since a young age, Arlene has had numerous academic opportunities to travel throughout America, Europe and Asia and learn about art and culture throughout the world.

Since 1987, Arlene has been privileged and trusted to work on residential and commercial projects with multi-million dollar budgets. She has managed all phases of residential design, architecture, and construction for well-established Seattle architecture firms such as Sullivan Conard Architects, NBBJ, and General Contractor Toth Construction, a Seattle based custom residential builder. Arlene launched her own firm in 2007 to design new and renovated homes, cabins and condominiums ranging in size from 500sf to 10,000sf. She brings passion, creativity, a commitment to succeed, and a powerful blend of skills, education and experience to every residential architecture project.

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