Tag Archives: cabinet lighting

butler’s pantry: built-in family activity staging area

butler’s pantry: built-in family activity staging area
written by David

“The Cooke’s are an active family”. Good God, if you only knew what an understatement that actually is! Their four children, ranging in age from 6 to 11, are involved in every sport and activity known to kid-hood. It is truly amazing how they manage to schedule every hour of every day with out a catastrophic mishap, yet somehow they do. It is all mom Suzy, like the “Great and Powerful Oz”… “pay no attention to what’s behind the curtain”, working from her uber-organized post in the family’s butler pantry. Her makeshift setup of a waist-high shelf/desk with a curtained front to hide school back-packs, snacks and copious amounts of sports gear was functional but certainly not ideal. What she had in mind was a built-in, very specific and very exacting. A built-in that would utilize every inch of space that a 2 feet deep, 7 feet wide and 8 1/2 feet tall butler’s pantry wall could give. A built-in that could evolve as the children grew.

In the beginning…

the foundation…

As there will be no sitting down in this area, the “desktop” had to be at comfortable height to stand and work. Below the waist-high, two-feet wide desktop Suzy needed four “equally-sized” cubes (I know siblings and you can be sure that they will measure to see if one of the cubes is bigger.) with doors, a storage locker for sports bags, equipment and the like with a door, an open locker; with a file drawer and two open shelves and finally, anchoring one end a tall broom closet with a door and enough room for the vacuum cleaner and of course, brooms. Above it all and, across the entire wall, a cabinet with three doors for storage of bottled water, sports drinks and snacks. With regard to visual aesthetics, their home is a beautifully renovated 1900’s raised cottage-style farm-house so the finish needed to fit the style of the period. Too that end, we decided on Shaker-style cabinet doors with ” union jack” patterned punched tin inserts. The upper cabinets are hinged with three reclaimed, re-styled and very old wood sash windows. The cabinet frames, trim and sash windows are all painted gloss white and the lower cabinet doors are painted in a gloss green to match the existing paint on the walls of the butler’s pantry. The desk top and the work station surround, constructed of re-claimed barn wood, with the work surface finished with a thick coating of 2-part clear epoxy complete the functional yet eclectic look. Task lighting was added under the upper cabinets to illuminate the work surface and the interiors of the upper cabinets were fitted with puck lights that offer either spot- lighting for collectibles and items of interest or can simply be used as ambient lighting.

in the end…

In the end, the finished piece looks just like the sketch all be it with a couple of twists. It truly fits the space and the style of the house to a tee. I am always amazed how elegant and possibly even refined the very rough re-claimed wood can look and feel when paired crisp white trim, complementary paint colors and slick glossy surfaces.