Growing up, my mom stuffed all the good stuff she didn’t want me to find in the pantry. Pudding cups, those cute little bags of Doritos, the giant stash of candy she’d always buy on sale the day after Halloween, and even the occasional tin of chocolate covered holiday pretzels. Back then, the pantry was a mysterious black hole full of everything I wanted but knew I couldn’t have.
Today, the pantry is so much more. Okay, yes. I still hide my favorite treats on a shelf I can’t reach. But we won’t go there. I’m talking about the beautifully designed, multi-functional “super pantries” that are blowing up my Pinterest feed and making headlines in home design magazines.
If you’ve daydreamed about having a souped-up pantry of your own, you’re not alone. A recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders showed that 85 percent of hopeful homeowners put a walk-in kitchen pantry on their “most wanted” list. If you think about it, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the term “open floor plan” is tossed around just about as freely as your favorite cashmere throw (if you don’t own one, you should.) The kitchen has firmly established itself as the home’s main entertainment hub, and random clutter isn’t invited to the party.
So, what’s so life changing about a walk-in pantry? I’m glad you asked, because it can function in so many different ways. Install a workstation and you have a place to sort your mail and pay your bills. Invest in a table with a few drawers and you have a designated spot for gift-wrapping. Add a sink, a knife block, and a pullout cutting board and you have a food prep area. A walk-in pantry takes the tasks that clutter up your kitchen table and countertops and tucks them away in a hidden, yet accessible area reserved for your eyes only.
Okay, so you’re sold on the idea of making room for a walk-in pantry. Excellent. Now, what’s the best way to distribute your remodeling dollars? Consider a few of our favorite walk-in pantry trends:
1) Pocket doors: When you’re hosting a party, you don’t necessarily want your cube mate, Connie, to see how much you’re paying for HBO each month. Installing pocket doors on your walk-in pantry allows you to close off the clutter in a matter of seconds. Your bills will be out of sight and out of mind (for the night, at least).
2) Rolling ladder: Take advantage of the vertical space in your walk-in pantry by installing a rolling ladder. You know, like the vintage ones you sometimes see in libraries and bookstores. We promise not to judge you if you take a running start and hop on for a quick ride. That actually sounds like a lot of fun.
3) Grocery gateway: If your walk-in pantry shares a wall with the garage, carve out some space for a tiny pass through. You’ll be able to unload groceries from the car straight into your house. Think of it as a doggie door for your produce.
4) Hidden entry: For those who want to trick your friends and family into thinking you’ve got the tidiest kitchen on the block, disguise the entry to your walk-in pantry as another cabinet. Saying “Open Sesame” every time you walk into the wall is totally optional, but highly recommended.