October 3rd, 2020 in

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Butler’s pantry: Why and what to add for the best use of the space

While homeowners are moving towards open plan kitchen design, butler’s pantry also is considered by many. But not all have the same taste and space to have it. So, this article is all about what and why’s of a butler pantry and should you have one.

Butler’s pantry is gaining popularity after decades not without a reason. It has many reasons other than serving as a butler’s food prepping area which we will see in detail.

We know most of our homes do not have butlers and the kitchen is your personal space. Still, a butler’s pantry could make a lot of sense in this age and time both functionally and aesthetically.

 

What is a butler’s pantry?

Butler’s pantry traditionally is a transition space between the kitchen and the dining area. It houses cabinets and shelves for storage and countertops to lay out food and decorate.

The butler’s pantry is usually a narrow walk-in space with shelves and counters on two sides, located as part of or adjacent to the kitchen. It is one of the recent trends that is retrieved from the pasta and modernised for the present.

Back in those days when butlers where common and kitchens were a separate room hidden from the vicinity, butler’s pantry was a very essential space in most houses. The current housing scenario has taken a fresh approach to the design and functionality of the Butler’s pantry.

So, what all functions can it take? Come let’s discuss

 

Why do you need a butler’s pantry?

After all, the kitchen is the most custom-made space in any home. It is catered to the needs and convenience of the homemaker from start to finish. Same goes with the Butler’s pantry. It is customizable to a good extent.

Below are some of the noticeable reasons homeowners tend to include a butler’s pantry in their home.

Hide the mess of the kitchen

One of the motives of moving towards open kitchens is showing of the kitchen. But you don’t want to show everything to your guests, particularly the mess that is created during bulk cooking. Some even set up a stove in the butler’s pantry making it their second kitchen.

Storage

Storage is the biggest issue of open kitchens. Adding a wall of storage is a nice way to keep everything in one place, well organized and easy to reach. You can store all of your exquisite china, silver and cutlery in the butler’s pantry.

Preparatory space

When you are hosting guests, it is nice to surprise them with a variety of dishes. But the open kitchen easily gives away on it. Having a backup kitchen allows for suspense and hype up until the big reveal.

An additional place to stock food and drinks

While the party is on, you can set up a drinks counter in the butler’s space. You can also place extra dishes for a refill or a dessert counter there. Not just that, the kitchen pantry is an apt place for the excess groceries too.

Additional cooking appliances

Sometimes you have a lot of cooking appliances like a slow cooker, toaster, air fryer which are not used regularly. It might make a clutter in the main kitchen. You can have it in the butler pantry countertop plugged and ready to go without bothering about the mess.

 

Types of butler pantry implementation

Butler pantry can be a walk-in cabinet, a single wall shelf or a complete expanse of space to store all your fancy dinner sets. Let’s see some of the common implementations of the butler pantry and their functionalities.

The extravagant pantry

Your ultimate pantry requirement with all the storage space and working area. Usually requires a lot of space so not ideal to add during a renovation.

The partitioned pantry space

The wall containing the kitchen cooking counter hides the pantry space from the vicinity. You either get storage space on both walls or just one depending on the availability of space. Most often void of doors, it is like walk-in storage with a countertop and a sink in it.

 

The hidden pantry

This implementation takes the aesthetic aspect to a whole new level. The doors to the butler’s pantry are fitted flush like a cabinet in the kitchen. Your guests won’t notice there is storage space inside until you open it. Though it might be difficult or unusable if you have sink and kitchen equipment in it.

 

The simple kitchen pantry

A modest pantry with minimal open shelves and a basic counter.

The wall-mounted butler’s pantry

A simple wall shelf near the dining area to help with serving and storage. It is more like a side table but also doubles as a butler pantry during house parties.

 

Butler’s Pantry Combo

Not all of us have the requirement to have a full-fledged pantry. Likely, not all have space to add a butler’s pantry into our house plan. So then is when laundry can double as a pantry for you. It has some difficulties like being distant from the kitchen. However, it is a good alternate storage space to have the rarely used.

Ideas for an ideal butler’s pantry

Let me say it again, all of us won’t like the same kitchen design. Same goes for the butler’s pantry too. Instead of giving you images of completed pantry spaces let’s take a different approach.

We will be covering aspects of a butler pantry that will make it more functional. You can choose what you want and forward it to your designer for a very functional and personalized butler’s pantry of yours.

Shelves

Well, it doesn’t make a butler’s pantry if it doesn’t have shelves. But how do you have them is the topic of discussion for now. Open shelves are the most sought after as butler’s pantry is more about convenience and less about flaunting the finishes. You can go a step ahead and include modular shelves so that you can change the space between shelves to fit all of your kitchen needs. Include draws for cutlery and other smaller objects.

Sink

The sink is an essential part of any countertop. You will need a sink for cleaning when using it as preparatory space.

Choice of finishes

Butler’s pantry is a hidden space where most of your guests won’t make it. So you are well off choosing a less priced and more durable material.

Countertop

Your countertop should be spacious enough to place all the plates, decorate them and also house the occasionally used kitchen appliances like an Air fryer, Food steamer, etc.

Power Sockets

You can’t miss on power sockets. It is very essential for kitchen appliances. You don’t wanna change plugs when you are serving a large group of audience. Make sure there are enough wall sockets in the right places.

Other ideas

Some even have a proper cooking setup for the maids to work when the guests are around. In that case, you will need to have a chimney. It is common to have storage until the top row. So, having a ladder is advisable.

Check out Pinterest for more Butler’s Pantry Ideas.

 

Should you build a butler’s pantry?

Now getting to the most crucial part – do you need it? It’s time to find yay or nay. I have seen people setting up a full-fledged kitchen pantry area and later regretting not having proper use to it. On the contrary, many of us would are in need of some extra space to store and prep the party dinners.

So what type are you? Most of us are somewhere between the extremes. To understand yourself better find the answer to the following questions.

  • Do you engage a lot of guests? If you are frequently hosting house parties you will have many china and silverware and you could make use of the additional space too.
  • Do you have a lot of kitchenware and appliances to store? You always have additional kitchenware for the special occasion. Having it in a butler’s pantry is easy for access and use.
  • Do you have the space for a butler’s pantry?  The main deciding factor is the availability of space. If you have enough space for hidden pantry space, that’s well and good. or go with a wall-mounted minimal pantry.

You can even add a butler’s pantry when you are renovating. Enrol with me for a free live session to explore the possibilities of placing a butler’s pantry in your home.

 

Signing off:

Butler’s pantry is a conventional form of adding space for storage, meal preparation and decoration. The above-mentioned types and ideas are just the most popular ones.

Like any other kitchen design, the possibilities are endless. You can add anything that will make your workflow easier. And do not forget to keep in mind the practicality of the place.

 

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July 13th, 2020 in

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Paint laminate benchtop and save thousands: DIY renovation hack

Laminate benchtops are moisture resistant and long standing. It is the best option for kitchens done economically. What if, there exists a snag? it happens when the food permanently stains on the benchtops and yellowing process starts over time.

Many a time it may cause inconvenience and it won’t fit your style. This, in turn, leads to disinterest doing stuff in the kitchen over 20 years in a row.

Get the better of laminate benchtops! Give your laminate benchtops A second life!

There are so many alternatives to renovate a benchtop but that might be over the odd. Painting the laminate benchtops is the easiest and cost efficient of the bunch. And the best part is, you can do it yourself with a budget of $200.

 

Can you paint on Laminate?

I know many of you have the question in your mind – ‘Can you paint on the laminate surface?’. Yes, laminate can be painted but not with regular paints. You will require special paints that can stick to the shiny surface of the laminate and a lengthy preparatory process.

Both laminate and paint repel kitchen spills and moisture. So, the paint won’t stick to the glossy laminate surface, readily. The laminated benchtop surface needs to be prepared in prior for the paint to hold on for a longer time.

It is the same with painting over any smooth surface like polished wood, cabinets, furniture, tiles etc. It might be fascinating for many to consider painting as an option to renovate your existing wooden and stone surfaces. That too with a budget as small as few hundred dollars.

Read our special on Tile painting to get a clearer idea on its application and durability.

 

Benefits of painted benchtops:

  • Replacing the laminate benchtops with stone benchtops or going for the other options cost significantly higher. So, going with the affordable option of painting laminate benchtop is like getting big things done in a smaller package.
  • Painted Laminate benchtop with proper finishing withstands moisture better than laminate benchtops.
  • Innovative designs are possible as there are colour options. You can even draw patterns over the benchtop which is not possible otherwise.
  • Painted laminates with gloss coating are more resistant towards stains.
  • Attractive than the laminated benchtops.
  • Easy to do even for beginner DIY enthusiasts.

Limitations of painted benchtops:

  • The quality of benchtops depends on the durability of paints, so choosing the paint is more important. So, choose your paint right.
  • Paint might wear off sooner if exposed to excessive heat. Use stands when placing hot vessels on the painted kitchen top to extend the life of it.
  • Sharp objects like knife cut might affect the paint. A simple alternative is using a cutting board.
  • Shorter life span than getting new benchtops or other alternatives.
  • If DIY is not perfect, the paint might peel off from the surface sooner than expected.

 

How much does it cost to paint a laminate benchtop?

The cost-effective method of painting the laminate benchtop is not gonna cost you more than $300 for a normal-sized kitchen tabletop. The price might change with the surface area of the laminate to be painted.

The cost of tools is lesser, the major cost is going to be paint and the finishing coat. Still, the total expense is estimated to be at least 4x lesser than getting a new laminate benchtop or any stone options.

A new laminate benchtop starts at $150 per square metre. There are a lot of options like timber, natural stone, processed stone that costs up to $3000 per square metre.

 

Transformation kit:

Transforming the laminated benchtops requires good quality material to ensure long life. So, choose the required materials without quality compromise.

  • Laminate paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Drop sheets
  • Laminate cleanser or Sugar soap
  • Painter tape
  • Disposable gloves
  • Rags
  • Roller brush
  • Stirrer
  • Tray
  • Respirator
  • Gloss and Activator

Laminate benchtop transformation kit

Painting kitchen Benchtop:

Painting laminate isn’t a tedious process. Despite it is an easy task but it requires a dwell time spent on it. The selection of paint for kitchen benchtops is a tedious and important process.

Some of our recommended paint brands are Giani granite paints, White Knight’s Laminate paint which are formulated to bond the difficult substrates that include Laminate. More on the types of paint and what to choose in the latter part of the article.

Get everything ready. Let’s begin the DIY process of painting Laminate Benchtop in 5 simple steps.

Wipe off:

Before starting the DIY Kitchen benchtop, measure the benchtop Length*Width to know the area of the benchtop. It really helps to find how much paint to buy. Wear disposable gloves and respirator for safety right from step 1.

With years of usage causing spills and cuts, the benchtop desperately needs a clean-up. Use a laminate cleanser or sugar soap which contain materials that degrease the stains and tarry spills. Make use of the rag and pat to dry the laminate benchtops.

 

Prepare the Laminate for paints:

Laminates, as you know, are smooth and water repellent. To make it suitable for paints, the upper layer of glazing needs to be removed. It can be done by sanding the exposed are of the Laminate benchtop.

Begin the sanding process. Use medium or low grit sandpaper and sand the entire surface of the laminate benchtop to remove the glossy surface so that the paint can adhere properly.

Do sand the corners of the benchtop for a neat finish. Clean up the surface with rags and ensure the benchtop is dust-free.

 

Apply paint primer:

You need to be precautions with laminate paints as they easily stick to any surface. Cover up anything like adjoining tiles, taps, and sink with the painters’ tape to avoid the paint spilling over it.

Choose the primer that has good adhesion to paints and laminates. Primer ensures the better adhesion of paint to the surface and increases the durability. Lay down a drop sheet on the floor tiles or cover the objects to protect from paint.

Use a fine bristle paintbrush to apply primer at the corners and short nap roller to apply all over the surface for the best finish. Let the primer surface remain undisturbed for an hour allowing the surface to dry.

 

Paint the Laminate:

Let’s get to the main process of painting over the laminate benchtop. Dry clean the benchtops before you start painting. Remember choosing the right paint contributes to 50% of successful completion of the DIY laminate painting process.

Use the roller brush to have a perfect finish. Paint laminate using up and down strokes to apply a paint coat on the flat surface. Apply another coat after 1 hour, if needed. Allow the surface to dry for 2 more hours.

 

Give it the perfect finish:

You are not done yet. Though the paint has a natural shine to it, applying gloss and activator is recommended. Applying Gloss activator gives a mirror-like smooth finish and improves moisture resistance. You can even find ‘Benchtop protective coater’ that covers on the protection and aesthetic front.

Mix and stir the gloss and activator for 2mins. Cover the entire surface by applying the gloss activator evenly. Let it stand alone and dry for 2 hours.

 

Kitchen Benchtop after painting

Choosing the right paints to use for laminate benchtops:

Primer:

It is used as the base coat that provides a neutral surface and ensures adhesion for paints and laminates. It is used on the instant surface that may be a rough texture and contain pours.

This smoothens the surface by drawing into the pores and acts as a bonding intermediate between the surface and the paint. Primer being a neutral colour help hide existing stains to an extent.

Primer is a necessary part of any painting process. Choose the paint first and pick the primer that suits it to get the best output.

Latex paints:

Latex paint, also known as acrylic paints is good to protect the surface with unlimited colour options. This type of paint is available in various price ranges. Latex paint is a water-based paint with some significant advantages over the solvent-based alternatives.

Alkyd paints:

Alkyds are modified polymers which are known for high resistance to wear and tear. Alkyd paints are used for a second coat, it forms a thick texture that will be hard on the surface.

It resists towards the water; therefore, it can’t be washed away easily. Alkyd paints are good for high use surfaces like Bathroom and kitchen. This kind of paint takes more time to dry.

Laminate paints:

Laminate paints are the most preferred, as this paint is formulated specifically to smoother surfaces like laminate and tiles. This type of paint holds to the glossy surface to the maximum extend.

Laminate paints are mostly oil-based. You can also find water-based Laminate paints in the market. Either way, choose a primer of the same kind to get the best results.

Amongst the three main options that you can choose from, I personally recommend Laminate paints. You can still choose the other one and do a perfect tabletop renovation based on your need.

There are modernized kits to get an even better outcome designed for benchtops. Try out Rust-Olem’s Benchtop Transformation kit for that offers custom finishes like that of granite.

 

Signing off:

Painting the laminate top or any smooth surface for that matter is a very cost-efficient way of renewing an existing part of your house. With this process, you can renovate many parts of the kitchen like doors, windows, cabinets, tiles and benchtops. That’s almost 50% of the aesthetic changes you are gonna do on a kitchen or bathroom renovation.

A usual kitchen or bathroom renovation will cost upwards of $20,000. If you choose to DIY paint benchtops and cabinets, you can easily save a large chunk of it and direct your budget elsewhere. Here is our latest article that will give you more insights into the costs of home renovation.

Keep in mind painting can get you any design and colour but the durability will not be as good as a new laminate benchtop or stone benchtop. On the contrary, you can paint at least thrice with the cost of replacing a benchtop.

If you are into DIY, the laminate painting will surely open new doors of possibilities for your home improvement.

Check out our blog section for more DIY help, or book a free one-to-one training session with me where I will help you with the process.


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