Creating an Antique Kitchen Pantry for Efficient Storage
One of the benefits and charms of living in a vintage home is having an antique kitchen pantry. More than a walk in closet, an old fashioned pantry is large enough to hold everything from food to pots and pans.
The Pantry in History
Pantries have been around for a long time. During the Middle Ages castles had separate rooms to store supplies. Meat was stored in a larder, while breadstuff was stored in the pantry, which comes from the Old French word, paneterie. Panterie comes from the French word for bread, pain.
Pantries didn't change much over the years, being made mostly of storage shelves in a small room. As the middle class grew during the Industrial Revolution, and the houses got bigger, pantries became larger and more distinct. May Victorian homes added a butler's pantry between the kitchen and the dining room. This was usually a long, narrow room which housed the silver as well as china and serving platters. The food was plated and readied for serving in this area.
In some wealthy households the butler slept in an alcove off the butler's pantry to protect the silver from theft. Butler's pantries were a standard part of many homes throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s.
As Victorian and Foursquare style homes were modernized in the post war economy in the 1950s butler's pantries as well as pantries often had walls removed to enlarge kitchen space. Sometimes the pantries were repurposed and became bathrooms and laundry rooms.
Hoosier cabinets are sometimes referred to as antique kitchen pantries. Although they were not pantries in the normal sense Hoosiers, and cabinets like them, were designed to hold baking supplies, utensils, and to provide a work surface for the cook.
Hoosiers were one of the most common types of kitchen furniture prior to built in cabinets coming into common use.
Adding a Pantry for Less
Whether you want to add an old fashioned pantry to your new home or update an existing pantry, it is important to decide on fitting your needs to your budget. A great way to do that is to look for vintage fixtures that you can use.
Make a list of the things that you will definitely want in the pantry. Sometimes all that is needed is a fresh coat of paint and some new flooring. Other homeowners may need to replace walls that have been removed. Keeping an eye on cost, choosing architectural salvage, and making concessions to your checkbook are important ways to get what you need and still save money.
Designing an Antique Kitchen Pantry
Shelving was usually wood however today's pantry shelves can be made of vinyl covered wire. This keeps things much cleaner and helps with ventilation.
Glass apothecary jars, Mason jars, and other glass storage containers allow you to see the contents of the pantry easily and look clean.
Flooring should be something that is easy to care for. Marmoleum or linoleum flooring is a great, authentic and easy care choice.
Most lighting in antique kitchen pantries was nothing more than a bare bulb in a ceiling after electricity was common. Prior to that the pantry might have had a window in a very wealthy home, or would have been light with an oil lamp. The lighting needs to be bright so plan accordingly.
If the area is big enough it is nice to add at least one counter top that you can use as needed. Drawers for linens and utensils are a helpful addition.
Adding a vintage door, available at many architectural salvage companies, can be a whimsical way to celebrate the history of the pantry. Be sure to take accurate measurements.
Benefits of a Pantry
There are many benefits to owning a kitchen pantry. The ability to store items out of the way makes the actual kitchen area more efficient. The size of the pantry allows for a greater amount of storage than in the ordinary kitchen as well. Finally, if you are restoring a historic home an antique kitchen pantry will give it the authentic historic look that you may be trying to achieve.
No matter how much money you have to remodel your pantry you can make improvements and add an efficient, clean space.