With Clients expecting more and more from their kitchens – particularly after a year of at-home cooking – a hideaway space for cleaning and pantry storage overflow is almost always in the brief. In this feature, we’re taking a peek into butlers’ pantries and sculleries, and setting out our top ten considerations for these very important zones.
Butler’s Pantry or Scullery – what’s the difference?
While the names are often interchanged, a professional designer will want to know the difference between a butler’s pantry and a scullery. We’ll start with a step back in time to the Victorian Era, and look at the roles of the namesakes of today’s pantry extensions.
You’ll be greeted by Mr Butler…
The upper-class houses of the Victorian era saw the Butler’s role rise from a simple cupbearer to a highly ranked servant. In his newly established position, the Butler added the more modern wine cellar (‘buttery’ or pantry) to his charge, alongside his dining room duties and front door attendance. In his day-to-day work, the Butler would greet and announce the arrival of guests, wait on the table at mealtimes, and clean and polish the household silver and knives.
His pantry space (the ‘Butler’s Pantry’) was a dedicated area for the cleaning, counting and polishing of the family silver, china sets, serving dishes and so on. The Butler would keep this pantry locked to prevent the theft of the family heirlooms, and would sometimes even sleep in the space for added security!
Image sourced from Victoriana.com. Learn more about the history of the Butler’s Pantry here.
But you won’t meet the Scullery Maid…
At the opposite end of the servant hierarchy was the lowest ranking female servant, the Scullery Maid. Scullery Maids were very young girls employed to assist the cook. They were the first to wake in the morning and the last to go to bed. They rarely saw the outside of the scullery, which was the small kitchen or room at the rear of a house used for washing dishes and other dirty household work.
Image sourced from The Victorian Emporium. Learn more about the history of the scullery here.
ABOVE: We love the hideaway butler’s pantry in this kitchen designed by Melbourne’s Frank Iaria CKD Au (Mint Kitchen Group).
ABOVE: The scullery in this kitchen (designed by Sydney’s Simona Castagna, Minosa) was carefully planned to accommodate the client’s beloved Thermomix. Note the dedicated ceiling cassettes positioned to capture the steam generated by this do-all appliance.
ABOVE: Melbourne’s Mary Maksemos designed this beautiful butler’s pantry. Yes, it has a sink, but it’s more of a ‘cleaning glassware’ variety, and not the dedicated wash up or preparation zone you’d find in a scullery.
If you have a top tip or pet peeve when it comes to these kitchen add-ons, we’d love to hear it. Share your wisdom in the comments below.