Photo Friday: Butler’s Pantry

Here is my “butler’s pantry,” really just a wall of custom cabinets across from my kitchen. The color I chose was “Open Seas,” a Sherwin-Williams blue shade that I knew was perfect as soon as I saw it. I’ve even used it since then for a bathroom vanity and the inside of my front door. And I’ve always wanted drawers with cup pulls!

No, it’s not really a butler’s pantry, but that’s how I think of it. This cabinetry fills a wall across from my kitchen. Having it designed and built was one of my first home-improvement projects after we moved into the house in 2019.

When we first looked at the house, it was clear that there was not enough cabinet space for us. I knew that someday, I’d want to completely redo the original kitchen and put in new cabinets in place of the outdated 1950s ones. In the meantime, this empty wall across from the kitchen seemed like the ideal place to add some storage.

Originally I planned to buy cabinets at a home-improvement store. But non-standard measurements and a plumbing access panel that couldn’t be blocked complicated the issue. So I brought in Iain, maestro of carpentry, to design and build custom cabinets for this wall. (The plumbing access panel can now be reached through one of the cabinets.)

Inside the lower cabinets are pull-out drawer shelves — Iain’s idea — which are handy. He initially fought me on the wine rack, which is the narrow band over the cookbook shelf. He wanted to leave room for larger upper cabinets instead. But I insisted, and in the end he was on board. The countertop is Cambria quartz; it’s mostly white, gray, and cream, but it has a bit of sparkle to it, and specks in the same fabulous blue as the cabinets.

Speaking of the color, I originally wanted to have the built-ins done in a beautiful mahogany- or cherry-stained wood, but I couldn’t afford it. Next, Iain suggested a prefinished light stained wood, but the very light color wasn’t what I was after. I thought about using paint-grade wood and painting it white to match the rest of our cabinets, but that seemed boring. And then my mother said, “Why don’t you paint it a color?” I immediately knew she was right. She’s not into blue, so this is probably not what she had in mind, but I love it.

I have since hired Iain for built-ins in several other rooms of the house, and he always does beautiful work.

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