Butler’s pantry in the attic


A butler’s pantry that sounds as if I am living in a huge house! The opposite. In the kitchen and dining room I don’t have enough space to store everything I like and need. Because one of my hobby’s is cooking for friends and family and I want to keep a lot of items I was looking for an alternative. The place has to be dry so I found the ultimate location on the attic. There I have built my butler’s pantry. As a result:  I can still collect al kinds of china, glasses etc and now I know where to find it and I don’t have to open different cardboard boxes before I can use things.

A bit of history

In the days of Downton Abbey in a butler’s pantry silver, glass, table-linen and setts of china were kept. The butler had a key of the room to protect all these items. The room was also used for counting and polishing the silver. Nowadays the pantry is located just next to the kitchen or dining room, mainly to store table-ware. For me, I have to take two stairs but it works.

6 steps to the ideal pantry


Inventory, what do you have, glass ware, table-linen, cutlery, appliances all the things you want to keep but is not used on a daily base (unless you have the pantry next to your kitchen). Don’t forget the specials like a pasta maker, ice machine, the electric wok. Do you know there are lists of the least used appliances, usually they take up a lot of storage space before you put them away or donate it to charity. This is the time to say goodbye.


Choose the way of shelving of course it is great if it is a flexible system, maybe with drawers but sometimes you have no choice. Maybe you have already a built in closet you can use, a cabinet with doors of glass or a space which you can hide behind sliding doors. I have chosen the Ikea Vittsjo serie in white, because of

    • the glass shelves. On an attic it’s quite dark so I wanted the shelving to be as transparant as possible;
    • the hight op the shelf units, that made it possible to use a high and a low unit so it could fit under the sloping roof;
    • the pricing, you know Ikea! never a price shock or it is a positive one;
    • and I always like to put something together myself! Yes I know a lot of people hate to do everything themselves but I am always surprised about the ingenious solutions Ikea comes up with and I love the feeling “did it”.

Use the space

To make efficient use of the space think of kitchen organizers, like glass food containers, bamboo utensil trays, wooden wine racks and have a look at the paper and media section for boxes (Kuggis from Ikea is made from recycled plastic, so more sustainable than a lot of products) and pegboards. If your dining room is on the same floor, you can think of a trolley. If you have a dinner with friends or family you can put everything you need on the trolley and bring it to the dining table. Lett’s make live easy.


Sort everything China with China, glass with glass, heavier items at the bottom, lighter stuff on top. This to be able to find what you need and to make it look attractive. I tried to make it look  even more attractive by adding some green glass to the shelf with clear glass and an old Coffee set got its own shelf. Just add some pops of color of your favorite color. For most of the time these are the products you want to grab first.


Choose your colors, you want it not only to be functional but also to look beautiful. I used clear glass, fresh white, tough black, bamboo for some warmth (straw baskets have the same effect) and of course a touch of green.

I learned that food looks at its best on a white or off white plate but all neutral colors are perfect for any kind of setting and can be mixed and matched with all kind of other colors. Soft green in spring, yellow in summer, rusty purple in autumn and grey in winter (and what about Christmas Red and Green).

For my basics I use modern Iittala products and traditional Wedgwood (after 30 years still the same plates available). For the pops of color Ikea, Zara and H&M home and souvenirs.

Tidying up

Last step was to wake up the tidying expert Mary Kondo in me, so everything that didn’t spark joy, had to go (read The live changing magic of tidying up).

Last week we had a virtual baby shower and I needed champagne glasses (not for the mother to be of course) and -yes two stairs to go- but there they were.

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