Pantry vs Back Kitchen

A (Very) Brief History

Do you remember the traditional kitchen pantry? You’d be hard pushed to find an original one, but some do still exist – in older and untouched period properties. This vital room positioned next to the kitchen, took its name from the French word ‘Pain’ meaning bread.

Pantries, larders and storerooms were used in homes between the 17th to mid-19th century, to utilise the cool environment for food preserving. When mechanical refrigeration was invented in the 1880s, it declared an end to the need for a cold room, which had mid and late 20th century homeowners knocking down walls to enlarge their kitchens.

In 2023, a new iteration of the good old pantry emerged.  Throughout Europe and the UK, kitchen design centres, including our own Chichester and Guildford showrooms, have renamed the pantry the ‘back kitchen’ or the ‘chef’s kitchen’, and today its function goes beyond its original purpose, securing its place and popularity in 2024, for sure.

Back kitchens provide more than the storage of food. If you are doing a kitchen renovation, this space offers an alternative, additional preparation area with worktop and ample cupboard space to accommodate bulky ingredients like baking products, pulses and grains.  It’s also a place where large appliances and modern accessories like coffee machines, bread-makers and Air-Fryers allow for a break-away preparation zone.

Using feedback from our recent installations, we have compiled a Top 10 list of products that have now found their home in one of our back kitchens:

  1. Dry food
  2. Homewares cupboard
  3. Coffee machine
  4. Freezer
  5. Spice collections
  6. Air Fryer
  7. Extra fridge space
  8. Large serving dishes and containers
  9. Long-term bulk items (grains)
  10. Bread Maker

The function of the pantry has evolved further, into a hidden aspect of the contemporary ‘kitchen triangle’ where messy preparation and easy access to mainstay ingredients and equipment makes quick and easy cooking a matter of routine.   Our customers love how mid-recipe or mid-meal preparation mess can be hidden away!

A clutter-free kitchen was a top priority for customers in 2023.  35% of all the kitchen projects Hubble designed had a back kitchen, proving that they are very much a part of modern kitchen design.

Back kitchen pantries no longer serve to preserve food. Today, they preserve the neat, streamlined look of the best in contemporary kitchens!

As people demonstrate an increasing preference for dining and entertaining from home, and with the rise in multi-generation living, our clients are turning to this modern feature to accommodate additional cooling appliances, such as dedicated drinks fridges, wine coolers and secondary freezers. A kitchen design must for 2024 is to consider how to cater for diverse scenarios.

Our team of Hubble designers are experts in achieving the most from these valuable hidden spaces. Our bespoke door systems seamlessly integrate into your bespoke kitchen design ensuring that cool function and contemporary look.

Passage Doors

The advantage of a passage door is that it can remain open when both spaces are being used and gives the illusion of enlarging the home.  This option fits easily into any tall run of kitchen units and, concealing the entrance means it looks like another cabinet when not in use.

Sliding Doors

Sliding doors provide space-saving and money-saving advantages and versatility.   Integrating sliding pocket doors into the new kitchen design or building them in to an existing wall lends an alternative, open feel to the kitchen.  Larger opening widths can also be accommodated of up to 2.4 metres!

For that super-wide run of cabinets hidden behind doors, a sliding-folding system, like those used on patio doors for deck access is worth considering.  The expense of this option is offset by the fact that you eliminate the need to construct walls.  This solution offers real potential for saving money on the overall cost of your renovation project.

Whatever’s on your kitchen wish list for 2024, our designers will be happy to discuss in more detail how a modern pantry might be just what your kitchen needs.