There was a time when most upscale homes had sculleries. That’s where all the messy meal prep work and pot and pan scrubbing took place. All that makes me think of Downton Abbey. How about you? Of course sculleries were more popular in Britain than the average American home and some commercial kitchens still have an area designated as a scullery. A scullery is a real work area as opposed to a butlers’ pantry. We still see the later in today’s homes but their main purpose is to assist in serving meals, some limited clean up and storing china. They are not the stuff of hard work.
Waypoint's style 650F in Oak Tawny
While the concept of modern-day sculleries was raised a few years ago in the design community (and frankly I’d love to have a small one adjacent to my kitchen) they just don’t seem to fit in even upscale homes today. Occasionally, a catering kitchen is just right for large homes when the homeowners do major amounts of entertaining. In their own way, they have a lot in common.
In the charming photo above a large catering kitchen is shown. With all the counter space and warming appliances needed to pull off a large party, the space is a dream. The room is wide enough for people to work back to back and plenty of open shelving makes it easy to grab serving pieces. The wine storage works for ready to serve wines and the large window at the end makes it a cheerful place to work. And it just might make a great scullery too.
With the holiday season upon us, I got to thinking about preparing and serving all those family and friends and it made me wish for a butler’s pantry. Oh, and a butler to go with it.
Butler’s pantries were popular in the grand houses at the turn of the 19th century. Picture glass-door cabinets to the ceiling filled with fine china, silver, a myriad of serving pieces and a big sink for flower arranging.
The pantry at The Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC. The home opened on Christmas Eve in 1895. Photo compliments of The Biltmore Estate.
The most elaborate version can be found in the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. There, the kitchen is in the basement (I am glad that changed) and food was taken upstairs to the butler’s pantry on one of two dumb waiters. I’ve been lucky enough to visit America’s largest home twice and both at the holiday time. Believe me, it is worth the trip.
Today, butler’s pantries still exist in larger homes and are located between the kitchen and the dining room. They may be smaller and not have a butler on duty to guard the silver but they too house china and serving pieces and, to me, they are the perfect place to have an extra sink and dishwasher if a lot of entertaining is done in the home.
Here a butler’s pantry in a beautiful traditional home in Florida features glass door cabinets with glass shelves and interior lighting to show off the contents. Open shelves in the middle are for displaying platters and other pretty items. The room is given a modern touch with the use of Medium Bar Pulls in Satin Nickel. The style is Waypoint’s 612D in Cherry Java.