Design Notes Archive

Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential

We’ve spent a lot of time in our kitchens over the last year and a half and that’s inevitably led to a taking stock of sorts. Does it function well? Is there enough storage? Turns out, it’s not just the heart of the home that’s captured our attention but those little tucked away rooms coming off it—the pantry, the servery, the scullery. Private spaces by nature, these utilitarian rooms aren’t frequented by guests making them an ideal place to indulge in design whims. Contemplating a richly patterned floor but wary about trying it in the kitchen? A walk-in pantry is just the spot. Fancy triple-lacquered robin’s egg blue cabinetry? It would sing in a butler’s pantry. Always wanted icebox handles and hinges? An apropos detail on cabinets in the scullery.

When assessing the layout of these spaces, storage is of course a key factor. Think about whether you want open shelves or cabinets with transparent or solid doors. Open shelving means you’re never hunting around for things. Especially handy for those with extensive collections as designer Linda Pinto does, whose “dinner service dressing room,” left, boasts numbered drawers and shelves lined with soft blue fabric (try Ultra Suede, it’s stain resistant). Floating shelves are another option—keep it streamlined with painted wood and matching brackets as designer Steven Gambrel did, centre, or try a natural finish paired with more decorative metal brackets. On the cabinetry front, fluted glass gives a hint of what’s behind the door and when you paint the interior a contrasting colour it creates a wonderful sense of depth—as the custom cabinetry in the dining room of this Holland Park home by Todhunter Earle illustrates so well. Alternatively, consider brass mesh inserts which look incredibly sophisticated juxtaposed against stone, like the green Esmeralda quartzite installed in a wet bar by Australian firm Studio Tate, right.

Whichever way you go, clear matching canisters are a must for storing dry goods. They look so much more organised than mismatched packaging with the added bonus that you can see when stock is running low. Trust us, there is nothing more satisfying than spending a rainy weekend purging all the branded boxes from your shelves. Keep on the organisation train and corral all your baskets together in one area, serving pieces in another, and so on. It’s amazing how transformative this simple task can be—putting like with like instantly looks tidier.

If a separate room is not on the cards, there are cabinets that tick the box. We’re particularly fond of Sebastian Cox’s freestanding pantry cupboard for DeVol which comes with solid or glazed doors; the latter lets you put favourites on display, not unlike Gambrel did using a vintage vitrine in this New York townhouse. Or go for a fully kitted out piece of joinery from a company like Lanserring, which has countless bespoke options. Their pickling cabinet is so beautiful it might just inspire you to take up the hobby.

 Photos ©  Ambroise Tézenas; Eric Piasecki; Lillie Thompson