Today I have my plans for the Butler’s Pantry/Laundry I’ve been lusting after for years! Oh, I’ve pinned me some AMAZING butler’s pantries.
And I’ve pinned me some AWESOME laundry rooms that would take the pain out of the chore.
But trying to find inspiration for a combination of the two that actually looked good — now that was just about impossible to find!
While I ADORE single-purpose pantries from the 18th, 19th, and turn of the last centuries, (Each era has its own style. Awesome articles on the evolution of pantries and historically-inspired ideas for modern pantries from Old House Journal here, here, and here.) I knew that there was no way in square-footage-hell that I could do that for my own. I’m going to have to settle for something that looks a bit like a butler’s pantry, and functions like a multi-purpose, jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none laborer.
The Challenge: A Multi-Functional Space in 6.5′
Good design isn’t just about the “pretty.” It’s not just about style. Good design makes you feel more comfortable and AT HOME in your home. And to accomplish that primary goal, form MUST follow function.
The difficulty here was that our renovation project basically shrunk our kitchen by half in order to carve out the “converted porch” seating area overlooking the pond.
When was the last time you ever heard of anyone making her kitchen smaller?!?!?!?!?
Furthermore, our mud room is really just a small entry that will be mostly unfitted. I want to call it a “boot room,” but the Handsome Husband thinks that title goes a little too far with my obsession with Scotland and into the realm of being a poser.
Meh, what do I care what he thinks? 😉 It will be a boot room if I call it a boot room! But more on that in another post.
Because of these space issues, the pantry/laundry was by far the hardest room to design. I had a style in my head alright, but this tiny space had to accomplish 5 disparate goals and look good at the same time. In no order of importance:
- Make up for overflow storage from our kitchen.
- Be our coffee and cocktails mixology area.
- Be our entire laundry & cleaning supplies area (but not look like it!)
- Serve as additional seasonal storage for lake gear and ski gear.
- House our family command station.
And the space available is only 6.5′ wide.
To remind you, this is what the space looked like “before.” It’s off the side of our kitchen and bumps into what was the old barn. There is no natural light. It is bound on one side by the stairs leading up to our barn room (i.e. family room) and a very small bay in the garage. (Our garage basically has 1.75 bays — room for a normal car and room for a Jeep, or a mini, if you’re a Millenial.)
My thought was to, if it could fit, put a front-loader washer and dryer under the stairs, so that only 12″ or so would protrude. Surround them in cabinetry and put a skirt in front, with seasonal storage on one side. This move would enable me to have a pretty “butler’s pantry” wall on the opposite side, with full-depth base cabinets and the ability to have a small broom closet for the vacuum and ironing board, a sink, and some display storage to pretend that I have a butler who is polishing the crystal during his spare time.
Bear with me for some drawings/elevations to illustrate.
The top of the above image shows how the washer/dryer will be partially sunk beneath the stairs. One cupboard above the dryer will also be 24″ deep under the stairs, to allow me to store laundry baskets there.
Sinking the washer/dryer under the stairs was the ONLY way to allow for full depth base cabinets on the opposite side to store small appliance overflow from the kitchen, have a sink, and still allow for the absolute minimum of 3′ of walking space.
3′ of passage space is not really something you see in today’s new builds, but this house is 225 years old. It’s full of cozy, weird spaces.
The Pretty: Historically-Inspired Ideas to be Incorporated
Ok, as far as the look in my head goes, I knew I wanted to incorporate some of the following elements:
1. Green: As I wrote in this post about keeping rooms, I have always wanted an apple green pantry. The color I’ve chosen isn’t quite as electric as the below pantry, but it’s close! I’ve been slowly incorporating green into my overall house palette (like in this powder room), and I’ll probably talk about adding a new color to your home at some point.
2. Soapstone: Soapstone is a natural product that has been used for sinks, counters, and stoves beginning more than 150 years ago. The facts that it’s non-porous and incredibly heat resistant make it a wonderful material for kitchen counters, though it has its cons, too, which I’m not going to go into here. If I hadn’t fallen in love with marble, I would have used it in the main kitchen. This guide to using soapstone in old houses is fantastic.
3. Under Counter Skirt: Kay, one of the commenters on my historically-inspired kitchen plans, recommended using a skirt under the kitchen sink to break up the long wall of cabinetry and add more charm. Well, Kay, here is where I plan to use the skirt! I want to use it to cover the washer & dryer.
HUGE TIP: Sorry for the red font, but this is a biggie. I’ve never read this tip anywhere, and it’s totally thanks to my GC, the awesome Jim Duval. If you’re planning on skirting your washer, make sure that the ROD FOR THE FABRIC SKIRT IS ABOVE the DETERGENT DISPENSER. So many dispensers are in that upper left corner. You may have to raise the height of the counter over your front loader washer & dryer to do this.
4. Wire Mesh Cabinet Fronts: I’ve loved this look forever. I have very little space for decorative display in this pantry, but for not too much $, I feel that wire mesh brings huge returns on the butler’s pantry look!
5. Wall-Mount Faucet with Soap Dish: Ok, this is totally more laundry-room look, or potting-shed look, or mud-room look than butler’s pantry. But I don’t care. I want it in my pantry/laundry.
Our pantry/laundry plans & design board below. Thanks again to LKM Design for bringing these ideas to life!
Above is the “butler’s pantry” wall, complete with a broom closet to hide the cleaning supplies.
And above you have an image of the laundry/seasonal storage side. There’s a small folding spot above the washer, and I’ll be putting a skirt in front of the washer/dryer combo. To the right is a 24″ deep cupboard on the lower third where we’ll store our laundry baskets.
Week 5 of renovation claustrophobia is over. The drywall has been hung and the plaster has been set on the walls. More details to come!
See more posts from my Remodeling a Remuddle project.
Now, Friday night is done. To bed!