Beyond the Kitchen
By Gretchen A. Peck
If you’ve gone through the process of looking for a home to buy, you’re intimately familiar with the idea of developing a “wish list” — the important things you need in a home, like number of bedrooms or proximity to your job or children’s schools. Your wish list might also include things that you’d ideally like to have, budget permitting, like a home office space or an in-ground pool. Pantries probably don’t rank high on many buyers’ wish lists, but their utility can be invaluable.
Pantries come in all shapes and sizes, from modest little nooks to store things like canned goods and trash bags — food pantries — to elaborate, expansive spaces with glass-fronted cabinets and kitchen appliances, otherwise known as a “butler’s pantry.”
Admittedly, the term butler’s pantry may seem pretentious and dated. It’s not often one encounters a professional butler these days; instead, the role has evolved to broader responsibilities and terms like “property manager” or “personal assistant.” Yet, the notion of having a butler’s pantry — a behind-the-scenes space to tuck away cutlery, glassware, serving dishes and even food-pantry items — endures to modern day.
Broker-Owner Steve J. Wollman, who leads Wollman Realty, LLC, in Kensington, is the listing agent for 175 Saybrook Road, Essex. This four-bedroom newly-constructed home is situated on 1.06 acres — waterfront on South Cove — with heated garaging for three cars, a wine cellar, home theater, billiards/game room, home gym and bar. Outside, overlooking the water’s edge, are bluestone terraces, an infinity pool, outdoor kitchen and a private dock.
Among the 6,735-square-feet of interior living space is an eat-in kitchen with front-to-back perspective. It is designed with a 10-foot island that accommodates seating for six, with high-end appliances from Sub-Zero and Wolf.
The property’s developer incorporated a beautiful butler’s pantry into the main-level floor plan, complete with open shelving, cabinets, counter space, a tiled backsplash and room for redundant appliances, including a full-size refrigerator/freezer. 175 Saybrook Rd., Essex, is currently offered to the market for $6.495 million.
For the same reasons homeowners appreciate butler’s pantries, caterers love them, too. Often hidden from view or positioned out of the path of guests’ foot traffic, the pantry can afford extra task space for prepping and staging a dinner or party fare. Equipped with secondary prep sinks and redundant appliances, the butler’s pantry can also play an important role at the end of the occasion, when it’s time for cleanup. In the most elaborate butler’s pantries today, you’ll find secondary dishwashers, beverage and wine refrigerators, built-in warming drawers and extra wall ovens.
Though the purpose of a butler’s pantry is utilitarian and intentionally concealed, homeowners today need not sacrifice design for practicality. In luxury homes, it’s not uncommon to find butler’s pantries that have been designed with the same discerning taste and budget applied to the main kitchen, with custom, illuminated cabinets, high-end appliances, durable counters and complementary hardware.
Scaled down and simplified food pantries can be a nice complement to a kitchen, as well, providing storage for food and bulk items, while allowing the kitchen cabinets to be used entirely for dinnerware and glassware.
Realtor Greg Hanner, who is the broker-owner of Garden Realty in Waterford, has both a professional and personal affinity for pantries of all varieties and sizes. He has a pantry at his own home, and he’s seen a number of them incorporated into new-construction designs when he was a project manager for BROM Builders. As a Realtor, he knows that pantries may not be high on buyers’ “must-have” lists as they search for a home, but it’s a feature they often come to appreciate.
Hanner is the listing broker for 105 Buckley Road in Salem — a four-bedroom 1987-built colonial with an attached two-car garage. The 2,520-square-foot house and an outbuilding barn (with stables) are sited on 1.92 acres.
Inside the home, the kitchen and formal dining room are supported by a butler’s pantry.
“Pantries are a must-have for modern kitchens,” Hanner suggested. “Walk-in or reach-in styles both provide the occupants an immediate and quick read of what they need before they go shopping. Everything has a place in a pantry.”