In today’s kitchen renovations and new builds, the butler’s kitchen, also known as a scullery, has become a much-needed and highly sought-after inclusion for homeowners who have the space. Once you have a butler’s kitchen, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one – no modern kitchen is complete without it, and they have the potential to make our busy lives organised and much easier if properly designed and used. In short – they really are a kitchen necessity in today’s homes.
Out of sight, out of mind
Now that most of us have embraced open-plan living, a butler’s kitchen adjacent to the kitchen keeps the main kitchen clutter free and aesthetically pleasing. Never-ending kitchen mess is hidden away, especially if a sliding or bi-fold door has been incorporated.
Basically, a small kitchen within a kitchen, and larger than a walk-in pantry, a butler’s kitchen is a saviour during a dinner party – it’s the perfect area to do meal preparation and then hide dirty dishes and saucepans. It also accommodates the functional everyday elements of a kitchen, such as a microwave, coffee machine, dishwasher, toasted sandwich maker, blender, Kitchenaid, toaster and kettle. These items can all be hidden away while still being easily accessible when not in use.
It’s also an ideal space for morning preparation – the chaos associated with making multiple breakfasts and school lunches is all kept contained in the one spot. Another great idea for families is to create a designated space in the butler’s kitchen that’s just for kids, filled with healthy snacks such as cereals, fruit, protein balls and crackers (plus a few treats, of course), and their own bowls, plates and cups – all within easy reach.
The butler’s kitchen is also for bulk food storage such as cereals and pasta in glass jars or stackable labelled containers, and you can even hide your just-delivered groceries in here until you have time to pack them away.
How to organise your butler’s kitchen
You don’t need a huge space to have a butler’s kitchen, but your kitchen designer will ensure that the space you have is used well and that it’s fit for purpose, so you need to communicate with them early about what you want your butler’s kitchen to be used for. After all, everyone uses their kitchen, and their butler’s kitchen, differently and for different reasons.
Butler’s kitchen designs can be as simple as having extra shelving and storage baskets, up to an area with a second sink, an instant chilled/boiling water tap, dishwasher, and a wine fridge.
There’s no such thing as too much storage in a butler’s kitchen, and using open shelves at least 300mm deep instead of cupboards maximises valuable storage space. Open shelving also opens up the space visually. Floor-to-ceiling shelves provide considerable storage, as do drawers. Those items that are frequently used should, however, be easily accessible.
Those who love to entertain know all of the essentials required to host a great event, so will need a designated area in their butler’s kitchen to keep items such as large platters and glassware organised.
Behind-the-scenes design elements
Lighting, ventilation and sufficient bench space are essential if you’re going to prepare food in your butler’s kitchen. Ask your kitchen designer if a window is possible, and if not, opt for LED strip or task lighting. Also, there needs to be plenty of power points for appliances, so that they are ready to be used.
Employing the same finishes in the butler’s kitchen as the main kitchen ensures continuity and a seamless aesthetic. However, if budget is a concern, you can ask your designer if it’s possible to use less expensive materials in the butler’s kitchen, for example, Laminex benchtops rather than Caesarstone.
The minimum floorspace for a butler’s kitchen is 1.6m x 2.2m, but if you have limited space, one tip is to have a 400mm- to 500mm-deep benchtop in the butler’s kitchen, rather than the traditional 600mm- to 700mm-deep in the main kitchen.
So, if you’re contemplating a butler’s kitchen, the answer is yes, you really do need one!