The Return of the Scullery

Love your kitchen, but hate the mess? During these times when more people are cooking from home, and much of life is centered in the kitchen, having a space that keeps the dirty work contained can be a lifesaver. It’s the return of the scullery – and we’re not talking about Downton Abbey! In fact, right here in Arlington, VA, I’ve seen many of my clients purchase homes and immediately make some changes to get this very functional type of space set up right away.

A scullery can go by many names – super-pantry, butler’s pantry, kitchen annex, etc. – but its purpose is the same: Provide a space next to the kitchen for meal prep, counter-cluttering appliances, dirty dishes, and anything else that is best left behind the scenes.

New home design and construction in the luxury real estate market are seeing more and more of these space-saving, clutter-busting rooms with everyone embracing the concept from busy moms hosting book club to enthusiastic entertainers in pursuit of party-planning perfection.

How to create a scullery or pantry

If you have space adjacent to the kitchen that can be repurposed, such as a utility closet, unused dining room, or side porch, it’s the easiest place to start. Often it’s as easy as removing a small portion of wall and some simple electrical and plumbing work to create a space you’ll use much more.

If you’re buying a home, planning to remodel, or even designing a new home from scratch, there are often extra spaces near kitchens that remodeling experts and architects can transform to create the “extra” kitchen of your dreams.

What a modern scullery is used for

Food and party prep are one of the most popular uses for these types of large pantries. Opening wine, plating appetizers, mixing cocktails, and arranging flowers can all be done in private, then presented in all its Pinterest-worthy perfection to family or party guests. Most sculleries provide the basics such as a sink, cabinets for storage, space for large counter-top appliances such as microwaves or stand mixers, and possibly a small refrigerator.

Elegant entertainers with a goal to impress without all the mess usually want to have items such as an under-cabinet ice maker, wine refrigerator and second dishwasher. Busy parents who value family togetherness but crave a little breathing space, ask for areas that give them storage, counter space and an easy space for kids to grab-and-go on their way to school, sports and activities. Add-ons might include microwaves for midnight popcorn making, refrigerator drawers for after-school snacks, and a place to put smoothie blenders, juicers and coffee machine.

They might be an old-fashion idea, but sculleries are experiencing a new era of popularity as homeowners discover how practical, functional and fun they can be. If you are buying a new home in Arlington, VA or the surrounding area and want to learn more about finding the perfect place with all the space and functionality you need – including a scullery! – I can help. Give me a call at 703-593-6320 or email