If you’re a neat, clean-as-you-go cook, you may not need a dedicated space for meal prep and staging, but for the rest of us, a working pantry could just be the perfect solution for keeping the mess at bay. No longer tucked away from the action, cooks and their kitchens are now front and center in living and entertainment spaces.
No walls separate them from family members and guests as they enjoy their meals in a less formal dining area. That’s a big upside for the homeowner. The downside is that the kitchen—and any mess one might make–is visible to everyone at the table.
Ranging from a walk-in room with abundant shelving to a decked out “messy kitchen” or prep space which includes additional appliances, these rooms provide the amenities to move unsightly kitchen tasks out of eyesight. Countertops and electrical outlets provide the working space to accommodate small appliances, such as mixers, toasters, blenders and coffee makers.
Amped up pantries might include a second refrigerator, oven, microwave or dishwasher. While entertaining, homeowners can clear the table and place the dishes in the pantry and move on to dessert with a clean backdrop. (If they’ve played their cards right, they could have one of their teenagers load the dishwasher out of sight while guests enjoy an after-dinner drink.) These pantries also work beautifully as a staging area or catering kitchen for parties.
While it may sound like a splurge, incorporating a working pantry when building a new home or remodeling a kitchen might actually allow homeowners to cut a few corners. Since these areas are meant to be out of sight, owners can opt for more affordable options such as metal shelving and laminate countertops. And when small appliances and entertaining supplies—such as serving platters, barware and the “good” china—are housed in the pantry, the kitchen may not need as much cabinetry and countertop space, says Michelle Moran, partner at J&K Custom Homes.
CLEVER KITCHEN STORAGE
Within the main kitchen there are plenty of clever ideas for taking full advantage of every square inch of this valuable real estate. For example:
Even if these rooms don’t include a lot of bells and whistles, the additional counter space alone comes in incredibly handy while hosting gatherings. If you want to take the party prep up a notch, this is a great spot for a including a wine rack or a wine fridge and possibly an ice maker which is an increasingly popular appliance for homeowners who entertain frequently.