Is the butler’s pantry a must-have or just pretentious?

Sep 23, 2019 | Building Industry

Last night saw the all -important kitchen reveals on The Block and the butler’s pantry became a talking point on Twitter. Dee Madigan, Creative Director of Campaign Edge, posted about her loathing of butler’s pantries, asking “why have a kitchen if you don’t want to cook and prep in it”.

Many agreed with her (590 people to be exact at last count). It seems that many people view them as luxuries for the rich and pretentious. The butler’s pantry was referred to by others as just a status symbol, a total waste of space, another first world indulgence, an example of unnecessary waste, faddish, ostentatious extravagance and the ultimate look at me.

Ouch! I have a butler’s pantry but I don’t consider myself wealthy or pretentious. I sure hope my butler’s pantry doesn’t give off that vibe either! I am lucky to own one, but many people nowadays are inclined to factor one into their plans if they have the space. Perhaps, as one Twitter user observed, the increasing trend for a butler’s pantry in new homes is proof of the failure of open plan living?

I probably wouldn’t go so far as to say open plan living is a failure, but can definitely see how it creates a privacy void. We also live in an age where we have many electrical gadgets that we don’t necessarily want on display or taking up precious bench space in our kitchens.

History

This discussion prompted me to look up the history of butler’s pantries.  The word pantry originates from the Old French word paneterie which translates to pain or bread in modern language.

Butler’s pantries have kind of come full circle in terms of use, although today they are not restricted to the homes of the wealthy. Between 1850 and 1920 they were popular in large stately homes in America and England and were basically situated between the kitchen and dining areas. They were used not only for meal preparation and service of food but to store crockery and silverware. An actual butler managed the room, having a desk in there to manage the household duties of food stock and meals – and some even had a bed in there so they could guard the good china and stop it from being stolen! I can only dream of a butler to go with my pantry!

After World War II, the butler’s pantry slowly became obsolete and by the 1960’s it was simply a full length cupboard in the kitchen.

Today, it seems to have had a resurgence. Located just off the kitchen people use it to store food and other cooking items either on open shelves or in cupboards. Most have bench space for food preparation and often a second sink or dishwasher.

Those in favour of butler’s pantries in the Twitter discussion saw them as a handy way to store eye-sore appliances and other items, as well as a space to contain mess that could be closed off and kept from the view of guests.

Personally, I love my butler’s pantry. I designed it myself to suit my own family’s needs. I have my main sink in there (with a smaller sink in main kitchen), my one and only dishwasher in there along with a second fridge/freezer and plenty of bench space and storage/open shelves. Sometimes it becomes a mess, but so does my kitchen where I actually cook. To me it’s a valuable kitchen work and storage space – and definitely not a “look at me” room – if it were, I’d be giving guests a tour of it!

What do you think of the butler’s pantry trend? Do you own one? Would you include one in your house design if you could?

Main image: The Block 2018 (Kerrie and Spence) found at Homes to Love.

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Get your Instagram on

After Kate’s earlier mentioned money talk, the conference closed with the effervescent Jade Warner from Small Business Growth Club talking all things Instagram. Jade’s presentation was a great reminder that transformation and story telling is still a social media honeypot. People love to see how other people, products, places and just about anything have changed. I particularly loved Jade’s advice about the more Instagram surfaces (feeds, stories, reels, lives, DMs) we appear on, the further our reach.

Let’s get physical

Kate Toon provided a conference experience unlike many others. Coffee cart, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, after conference finger food and drinks, beanbags and massages. But even with all of that, she realised her speakers were giving us a lot of information and that our brains had a lot to process. So in the afternoon she surprised us a with a special guest – Lizzie Williamson from Two Minute Moves. Lizzie told us her story and demonstrated that even for those of us who hate exercise (not mentioning any names), two minutes of movement a day can be a game changer for our mental health. She had us up moving and dancing to Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical and it definitely helped our mindset. We were refreshed and able to concentrate for the last of the afternoon sessions.

Gifts and prizes

Attendees were also spoiled with a whole range of gifts donated by businesses in DMC. I was lucky enough to win two gorgeous prizes – a mini hamper from Bundles of Luxe thanks to Natasha Sutton from First Impressions Media, and a linen table runner and soap from Sue McGary of French Affair.

I also went home with gifts from Nick’s Digital and event sponsor True Green. And if that wasn’t enough, Kate also gave us Masterminders a box of Digital Marketing Collective goodies.

Award winners

It’s amazing to think that Kate Toon also organised awards around this conference. They’re a lot of work and many generous people gave up their time to read and judge entries. Thank you to head judge Erin Huckle and everyone else who participated.

I was a finalist in the Service Based Business of the Year Award (how cool is that?) but I couldn’t be disappointed in missing out when I saw the calibre of the other finalists. Well done to all finalists. A big congratulations to Beck Confrancesco from Marketing Goodness for being runner up and Nerissa Bentley from The Melbourne Health Writer for winning. Woo hoo! So well deserved. Both these women have always been extremely generous, sharing their knowledge and helping me be better in business. So I was thrilled to see both these first time award entrants get rewarded for their hard work and success.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in the E-commerce Business of the Year awards as well. Was thrilled to see Nikki Filia from BeBangles, whose beautiful bracelets I was wearing, awarded runner up. And congratulations to Sue McGary from French Affair for taking out the win. What gorgeous products.

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Digital Marketing Collective

This blog post is merely a recap of two very value-packed days at the Digital Marketing Collective Conference 2023. The overwhelming feeling at the end was not only that we got so much useful and practical information to help our businesses grow, but that we had met so many amazing humans.

Kate Toon has an uncanny ability to gather together the best of people. The Digital Marketing Collective is made up of a diverse range of service based and e-commerce business owners. Imagine having a safe space to learn, grow, make mistakes and be supported. Come join us. Full disclosure – the link below is an affiliate link but I would never recommend a group that I wasn’t myself paying to be a part of.

Join Digital Marketing Collective

P.S. If you want to see more photos and videos from the Mastermind and Conference, head over to my Instagram highlights after you join DMC.

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I love the building industry as much as I love writing. You can learn more about me here.

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