What is a Butler's Pantry?

As the name suggests, butler's pantries or sculleries were once just for people with staff out the back doing all the work. 

Now with the rise in popularity of open plan living and kitchens, they're appearing in regular New Zealand homes more often. 

But are sculleries any use? Or are they an unnecessary addition?

What is a Scullery?

A scullery is a work area separate from - but adjacent to - the main kitchen.

"Modern kitchens have become more open," says kitchen designer Toni Roberts, from Kitchen Architecture. 

"They are connected with dining and living areas where we have family activities and entertain friends. We are happy and relaxed to be creating meals while guests and family linger in conversation nearby." 

With all this openness, sculleries provide "a visual block" to hide the mess. 

Kitchen designer Annika Rowson says that in her experience people use them mainly used to store extra food items, crockery, and kitchen appliances that look better when tucked away. 

"They are also handy when entertaining as food can be prepared and dishes placed out of sight." 

What goes in a Scullery?

If the primary purpose of your scullery is to hide clutter, you will need storage space such as cupboards, drawers, and open shelves. If you'll be working in there you'll need bench space for food prep, and a sink and tap for things like washing up or filling the jug.

Rowson, who designs award-winning high-end kitchens, has plenty of other gadgets that she likes to include.  

"When designing a scullery I would allow for a sink, dish drawer, a cool drawer, recycling bins, and drawers for additional crockery and cutlery if the scullery is being used to prep meals.

"Ample benching and storage above the bench is important, and when space allows a single oven for baking and a beverage fridge. 

She also recommends an 'all-in-one' tap which eliminates the need for a kettle, Soda Stream, and water dispenser on the fridge.

When planning a scullery, the key is to consider how exactly you'll use the space, which in turn will dictate how big it has to be and what will go in it. 

But always allow for a natural light source such as a window or a skylight, to reduce the feeling of being tucked away in a dark room. 

How popular are they?

While lots of new builds and renovations are still including sculleries, their popularity might now be on the wane. Rowson has seen demand decrease as homes are being designed "smarter and smaller". Now she often prefers to design working pantries that sit within the main kitchen that can be opened up or closed off when not in use. 

In the last five years, Roberts has also noticed the trend for the scullery area being incorporated into the main kitchen design, so that all the cabinetry is more accessible and people aren't disconnected from family. 

When designing these new generation sculleries that sit within the main kitchen, Rowson has a few must-haves. 

"I always include a sink, dish drawer, drawer storage, and shelving above for either crockery or food items stored tidily in jars so when the unit is open it is aesthetically pleasing, with the same kitchen cabinetry/benching & splashbacks for a cohesive look." 

 butlers pantry getty 1120

*Written by Katie Newton for Newshub