A Butler's Pantry: Out of Sight, Top of Mind - 405 Magazine

A Butler’s Pantry: Out of Sight, Top of Mind

Extra storage for the kitchen and low clutter: A butler’s pantry puts utility off center stage.

Butlers Pantry | Designs by Amber McCullough & Adams Kirby

While having a “Downton Abbey”-style butler taking care of a household is no longer common, especially in Oklahoma, butler’s pantries remain useful in modern-day homes. Owners use these rooms off the kitchen for extra storage, to keep clutter off the countertops or for entertaining. 

“The butler’s pantry is just a nice way to keep your kitchen where it can look presentable,” said [OKC resident?] Kiley Gauthier, who has enjoyed having one to keep key appliances out of sight in the kitchen. “No one wants to see your toaster and your air fryer and all of that.” 

Gauthier and her husband also use the extra space to store a kegerator so they can enjoy cold beer on tap without wasting bottles and cans. They included a butler’s pantry when they built their house in 2020. 

Gauthier, a DIY enthusiast who has an eye for design, had fun styling the pantry as well. She said she had fun with the colors in the extra kitchen room — painting it in the malted milk color from Benjamin Moore, then hanging a peel-and-stick wallpaper that’s a green-blue grasscloth and including old needlepoints that she collects. 

“It’s kind of quirky-looking, I would say, but that’s how I like it. I like things to have a little personality,” Gauthier said. 

Originally, she said the family planned to combine the laundry room with the butler’s pantry until they realized a standalone laundry room would be a better place for their dog when they needed to leave their pet at home. She advises people to work with what they have and not to give up kitchen square footage to create a butler’s pantry, but if you have the room, go for it. 

“It was fun to do it and design it, and it’s very practical for my family,” Gauthier said.

Amber McCullough designs by Adams Kirby
Butlers Pantry | Designs by Amber McCullough & Adams Kirby

Flexibility and Form

A new Adams Kirby Homes-built home that was part of the Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association’s Parade of Homes included a butler’s pantry, and the home’s designer Amber McCullough turned it into a beautiful space that’s a combination of function and form. 

McCullough, whose design firm bears her name, notes that butler’s pantries have become much more common in new kitchens as a flex space that can act in different ways.

For the Parade of Homes home, she included floating shelves to display servingware; a porcelain tile floor with tiles that look a little like bricks laid out in a herringbone pattern; and a backsplash featuring tiles hung vertically. The space is also set up to be used for entertaining — McCullough envisions serving from back there buffet-style or getting creative, such as by setting up a counter full of colorful candy for dessert, depending on the theme of the party. 

“Not only do you want it to function well, but you also want it to be beautiful … An older-style butler’s pantry is something you didn’t want people to see. This is really an extension of your kitchen,” McCullough said. “It’s such a bonus space to the heart of the home.”