Scullery design

Scullery design

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 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.

So how do these historic roles determine what we call our kitchen extensions today?
If your client is looking for a predominantly dry storage space to house the overflow of their pantry ware, they’re likely after a butler’s pantry.  (A small singular sink – like the kind used to wash glassware – is sometimes found in the butler’s pantry.)
If your client wants a heavy duty (but unseen) wash-up area, or will be doing some hefty meal prep in their kitchen extension, you’ll be designing a scullery.
Of course, both areas need good design, and as the ‘work-horses’ behind a show pony kitchen, they need plenty of attention in the planning stage. Following are our top ten considerations for practical pantry and scullery design.
1. Workflow
If your butler’s pantry is the primary point of food storage, you’ll need to consider how traffic will flow to and from the space into the main kitchen area. If your client is a baker, step through the scenario of baking a basic cake – they’ll need to collect their dry goods (flour, baking powder, bi-carb and salt), juggle a couple of eggs and a bottle of vanilla, take some butter out of the fridge and set all ingredients out by a stand or hand mixer. Will this process be smooth and efficient in their new space? 
If you’re designing a scullery, you’ll need to consider the workflow both within the space and to/from the central kitchen. As above, determine the types of activities your client will carry out in the scullery and do a dry-run. If the scullery will be the primary (or only) clean up zone, assess the trip between the dining table and the dishwasher – with a stack of dirty dishes in arms, will they make it without a pit stop?
2. Ventilation
A well-vented pantry space will avoid the spoiling of food and cross-contamination of odours. If the pantry or scullery does not have an openable window, discuss mechanical air extraction with your clients. Keep in mind that it’s not only ovens that generate heat: in a confined space, the refrigerator or dishwasher could contribute some hot air, too.
3. Lighting 
Don’t overlook the lighting – a single luminaire in the centre of the room may not be sufficient. Directional or task lighting will make the small space much more user friendly.
4. Ergonomics
Not all budgets will accommodate banks of drawers in this out-of-sight space, and open shelves are often desirable. If the pantry will house bulk food stores (e.g. 5kg flour sacks for the keen bread maker), or heavy cast-iron Dutch ovens for the casserole kings and queens, you’ll need to plan out your shelving heights accordingly. 
5. Cleanliness
While on the topic of open shelves, consider the potential for dust collection. And if the room will house an often-used kettle or toaster, assess the space between these benchtop appliances and any shelving above. Will steam residue cause a potential mould issue down the track?
6. Power outlets
Make a list of the small appliances that will be used (a) on a regular basis and (b) at any one time and ensure you position power outlets in the most suitable places.
7. Plumbing
If the scullery is a full-service space, you may need to allow for more than just a kitchen sink. Will the dishwasher be located in this room? Is a water filter necessary? Would a multipurpose tap be more appropriate and practical? Will the ice-making fridge need plumbing? Ensure you’re leaving no stone unturned when mapping out the plumbing requirements, and keep your client wary of the budget implications.
8. Setdown spaces
As you would in the main kitchen area, consider the set down areas either side of your sink and to the opening side of a microwave oven. Think about the landing areas for bags of groceries, too – where will your client unload their shopping stash?
9. Refrigerator openings
If you’re cramming a large appliance like a refrigerator into a relatively small space, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the fridge door opening. Can the door be opened beyond 90º for the removal of crispers? And have you allowed the recommended ventilation space to the sides, rear and top of the unit?
10. Waste
Could this be the number one oversight in a scullery? If this space is designed to be the meal prep area, or if it’s a genuine cleanup zone, ensure you’ve allowed for landfill, recycling and compost disposal. 
Kitchen designed by Frank Iaria CKD Au (Mint Kitchen Group)

ABOVE: We love the hideaway butler’s pantry in this kitchen designed by Melbourne’s Frank Iaria CKD Au (Mint Kitchen Group).

Kitchen designed by Simona Castagna (Minosa)

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.

Kitchen designed by Mary Maksemos (Mary Maksemos Design)

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.

Achromatic masterpieces

Achromatic masterpieces

The adjective ‘achromatic’ is taken directly from the French word ‘achromatique’, which in turn comes from the Greeks’ ‘a-‘ (without) and ‘khrōmatikos’ (deriving from ‘khrōma’, meaning colour). Put simply, achromatic means ‘without colour’.

And while a coloured scheme can cause all kind of headaches, a colour-free interior isn’t always black and white (haha). Pulling off a successful achromatic space takes talent and restraint, and we’ve found five fantastic examples where designers have nailed the greys.

A gorgeous Tundra Grey marble takes centre stage in this kitchen designed by Kia Howat (GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens). The Melbourne designer paired the stunning stone with Dulux Terrace White 2 pack cabinetry, and added contrast with a feature tower in Empire Oak Woodmatt. Sitting on French Oak floors, the kitchen is an excellent example of achromatic style.

New South Wales designer, Catherine Young, teamed with The Renovation Broker to create this clever kitchen space. Abundant natural light allowed the designer to play with a deeply toned achromatic palette: the flat matt Nero porcelain benchtops make a striking statement and work well with the charcoal cabinetry. Nordic Oak Woodmatt panels add warmth and contrast, while small hex mosaics inject texture and a bit of bling.

Backlit New York Marble is the highlight of this dynamic kitchen by Sydney’s Matt Michel (Matt Michel Design). Alpine Matte benchtops and a dark and moody Hamilton Plains veneer allow the heavily patterned stone to sing, and make the kitchen both balanced and beautiful.

Melbourne’s Alicia Jeffries (Mint Kitchen Group) made a major statement with this natural granite (Super White) island. The island top and waterfall ends wrap around Dulux Domino panels, creating a well-balanced feature in a remarkable space.

Essastone Luna Concrete is the centrepiece of this elegant kitchen designed by Tasmania’s Lydia Maskiell (Lydia Maskiell Interiors). Prime Oak Woodmatt detailing injects warmth and texture into the achromatic space, and white satin cabinets and panels reflect the glorious natural light spilling into the kitchen.

Have a favourite out of the five kitchens above? Share your feedback below.

Finding the right fridge

Finding the right fridge

Kitchen designers and clients will both have a long list of qualifiers when it comes to talking refrigerators. The size of the kitchen, the number of householders, the cooking styles and entertaining habits of clients will all influence their end decision. But we were interested to know – generally speaking – the kinds of refrigerators KBDi members are most often catering for in their designs, and the results of our survey follow.

French door (bottom mount freezer with a two-door fridge)

French door fridges are by far and away the most-often specified unit in the KBDi community, taking 63% of votes in our recent survey. Like all refrigerators, the French Door variety has pros and cons, including: 


  • Great accessibility – with the most-often accessed refrigeration zone sitting at eye-level, and lower level freezer storage housed in pull-out drawers, the French door fridge offers easily accessible storage.
  • Good storage capacity – a French door unit will offer between 360 litres and 480 litres of refrigeration storage, and anywhere from 150 litres to 230 litres in the freezer section.
  • Platter storage – the generous width of the overall unit means large platters, pizza boxes etc. can be easily accommodated. 
  • Additional features – ice and water dispensers and variable temperature zones are impressive options.


  • The necessity to have to open two doors rather than one irks some designers and clients.
  • The overall size of the unit can be excessive for a smaller kitchen space.
  • A French door fridge won’t fit into everyone’s budget – they can get a little pricey depending on their features list. 

Kitchen designed by Wayne Havenaar (Wood Marble & White)

Bottom-mount (freezer beneath refrigerator)

The bottom-mount fridge (with the freezer down below) is the second most specified by KBDi designers. Pros and cons of this configuration include:


  • Practical accessibility – like the French door fridge, the refrigeration section of a bottom-mount unit is mounted at eye level.
  • Freezer storage is often provided with handy slide-out baskets/drawers.


  • The bottom-mount is marginally more expensive to run that its top-mount mate.
  • The unit can be slower to chill, particularly in the freezer section.

Kitchen designed by Garret Hebden & Matthew James (Better Bathrooms & Kitchens)

Side-by-side (fridge next to freezer in a single unit)

Side-by-side solutions (not to be confused with pigeon pairs) took third place in the KBDi member survey. Again, they have positive and negative traits, such as:


  • Space planning problem solver – with their slimmer door widths, the side-by-side fridges are great for galley kitchens or thoroughfares where a big, swinging door would be problematic.
  • Good accessibility – side-by-side fridges offer the best accessibility for wheelchair users.
  • Good storage – large families and/or frequent entertainers will get sufficient storage space from a side-by-side unit.


  • Ice makers and water chillers can eat up significant freezer space.
  • Large platters and pizza boxes will be a tight fit in the narrow-width fridge.
  • The large physical from of the fridge can rule it out in tight spaces.
    Temperatures may be inconsistent between the top and bottom of the unit.

Kitchen designed by Dean Welsh (ThinkDzine)

Top-mount (freezer on top)

The trusty top-mount freezer ticks all the boxes of price, range and efficiency, but isn’t seen so often in all-new kitchen renos.


  • The top-mount unit is generally the least expensive to purchase and run.
  • The storage space in both fridge and freezer compartments are fuss-free (no drawers or pull-outs) and usable.


  • With the freezer taking prime position at the top of the unit, you’ll need to bend a bit to access the refrigerator section – not always the best ergonomic option.

Kitchen designed by Patricia La Torre CKD Au (OUTSIDEINSIDE Building Elements)

Pigeon pair (separate but matching upright fridge and freezer)

Pigeon pairs are the least encountered by KBDi members, but they do offer positive attributes for some.


  • The units offer great storage capacity for bulk-buying families.
  • If required, units can be separated, with the less-used freezer being housed in a nearby laundry or garage.



  • If sitting side-by-side, the fridge and freezer combination can take up considerable space.

Kitchen designed by Shelley Fynn (Kitchen Capital WA Pty Ltd)

Have we missed a pro or con in the above list? Share your top tips below.

And if you want to learn all there is to know about integrated fridges, make sure you register for our upcoming videoconference here.

Curvy kitchen creations

Curvy kitchen creations

Curved cabinetry and detailing can certainly present construction challenges, but the extra care and calculations are always well rewarded. We loved the curvaceous creations in this year’s KBDi Designer Awards program, and are sharing five of our favourite curvy kitchens here.

This 50s vintage-styled kitchen is full of fabulous curves. Adelaide designer, Nathan Wundersitz CKD Au (Space Craft Joinery) softened the edges of the rangehood shroud and cabinetry with curves well reminiscent of the era.

There’s so much to love about this teal delight designed by Sydney’s Cate Liedtke (Catherine de Meur Interiors). From the gorgeous colour palette to the brushed gold details and the carefully layered textures, the kitchen oozes glitz and glamour. The curved detailing is the finishing touch in this all-class space.

Queensland’s Ashley Maddison (AM Interior Studio) went to town with this inner-city kitchen creation. The designer made the most of the curving capabilities of her selected materials: trowel-finished concrete and Staron Solid Surface combine seamlessly in this structural masterpiece.

Victoria’s Noni Edmunds highlighted the curved corner window in this lovely family home with a gently flowing open shelving unit. The detailing softens the otherwise hard-angled space and makes for a beautifully balanced kitchen.

The rounded profile of this peninsular bench is practical and pretty (and pug-friendly). We love the way Melbourne’s Kia Howat (GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens) detailed this curved corner with grooved panelling.

Have a favourite out of the five fabulous kitchens above? Share your comments below.

PD Thursday | The ins & outs of integrated fridges

PD Thursday | The ins & outs of integrated fridges

We regret to advise that this PD Thursday session has been cancelled.

Thursday | 12 November 2020 | 4pm ADST

Finding a fridge that fulfills a client’s practical needs without compromising the kitchen aesthetic can be challenging. Integrated refrigerators are often the best solution, but it’s important to know the ins and outs of integrated units before you start planning your pitch. In this session, E & S Trading’s Rob Sinclair will take you through the most popular integrated fridges of 2020, and outline what all good designers should consider when specifying integrated units.

Places are limited (with priority allocation going to KBDi Designer Members). Register TODAY and we’ll confirm your spot via email.



This event has been cancelled.

*Note: Australian Daylight Saving Time (ADST) applies to NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and ACT only. In Queensland, this session will commence at 3pm (AEST), and WA should clock in at 1pm (AWST). SA guests should note a 3.30pm (ACDT) start.

Beauty of natural stone with performance benefits of solid surface

Beauty of natural stone with performance benefits of solid surface

A message from our Corporate Partner, Austaron

The design criteria for this kitchen space was for it to be a contemporary, clean design while also having warmth and being easy to live and cook in. Using a selection of materials to create the design, the owners wanted a benchtop and splashback material that would perform well but also have a beautiful aesthetic. Staron® Solid Surfaces in colour Supreme Cotton White was selected as it provided an inviting feel to the kitchen and eliminated the need for any open joins due to the joining properties of the material. With soft veining emulating the look of a natural stone, while providing the non-porous and stain resistant performance benefits of a solid surface. The non-toxic, silica free, Greenguard and Greenguard Gold certification also make Staron® Solid Surfaces a safe and hygienic surface solution for endless applications throughout the home. The crisp white surface complements the warm colours of the cabinetry materials and the industrial polished concrete flooring. The overall result is a stunning kitchen space that has a minimalist design with interesting character and a functional design.

Designer: Charles Maccora, CM Design
Fabrication: Newgrove Benchtops
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Staron® colour & application: Supreme Cotton White benchtop and splashback

STYLING: Emma Omeara BUILDER: Signature Homes Geelong
KITCHEN COMPANY: Windsor Kitchens