A Victorian Butler’s Pantry
“Modernized” to circa 1920

We started with this

And ended with this

We couldn’t rehab our butler’s pantry until we got the glass-fronted doors that would complete the cabinetry. Our original doors had been thrown away by the fraternity. Without those doors, the pantry was wide open and sloppy-looking and mostly a dust-catcher.

We’d been looking for suitable doors for years without luck when Dan Gleckler, our neighbor down the street, gave us the doors he’d been saving to complete his own pantry. He decided that he’d never get around to that chore, so he gave his doors to us. Thanks, Dan!

We thought that getting the doors would be the hardest part but, as with so many of our projects, we were wrong. The pantry rehab took months and drew on everything we knew about home repair and remodeling–from electricity to tiling.

Jill is the hardware queen. We needed a whole lot of it for all of the pantry doors — latches and hinges and pulls. Jill collected hundreds of pieces from online auctions and architectural warehouses. Then she stripped them by boiling them in a crockpot overnight. She loves to pick paint off of hardware. You can get hardware cheap if you buy it painted and mucked up. The inset shows you the before/after.

Sophie has to inspect everything we do.
You’ll notice that we have two sinks in the pantry — the original circa 1920’s country sink and the smaller sink directly across from it, with a garbage disposal. You can’t fit disposals onto old sinks because the drain isn’t large enough.

Instead of installing a curtain or shade over the pantry window, which faces a busy street, we installed this great leaded glass window. It gives us privacy and light and really completes the vintage atmosphere. This was Jill’s idea. She talks about it in more detail (with installation tips) in one of her notebook entries.

Hanging old cabinet doors is hard work because, you know, nothing is level, square or straight in an old house.

You’ll notice that we flush-mounted the hardware on the bottom doors. This was how they looked originally. But we might have done it anyway because that’s the easiest way to hang stubborn doors.

Remember, back in the day, only the servants were in places like these. Our pantry stores all of our dishes, just as it would have when it was first built. The bump-out contains our dish washer. We do all of our food prep in the ktichen.