The Story of the Pantry

The word pantry is derived from a lovely old French word ‘paneterie’ which literally means ‘the place where bread is kept’ (the French word itself comes from the Latin word ‘panis’, bread).

Classic shaker Kingham kitchen drawers and shelves with country copper pots and baking equipment.

Medieval England saw a whole new way of storing produce with rooms specially dedicated to different foods, such as the buttery for beer & ales and the pantry for breads and conserves. I mean, who wouldn’t want a beer room – or a bread room for that matter!

Elizabeth Ellet, the American writer and poet, wrote in the 1850s “Let there be a place for every article, and when not in use, let every article be in its place”. As you can see, cupboard organisation is not a contemporary obsession – nor was it invented by the lovely Marie Kondo!

As the canning of foods became more popular, particularly due to war, these tins took their place beside the breads and conserves.

Little by little, the separate pantry space merged with the kitchen itself and by the 60s it was replaced by floor to ceiling cabinetry within the kitchen – still a very popular choice today.


As with most trends, we seem to have gone full circle, and one of the most sought-after feature for kitchen projects, you guessed it, is a beautiful walk-in pantry!

Most pantries, old and new, feature rows of open shelves to both display crockery and store cupboard foods like breads, jars, and tins. Some may also include a small sink and work space to prep food before cooking too.

The resurgence of our beautiful pantries is partly due to how much entertaining happens in today’s kitchens, rather than in the living room – which means most hosts like to be able to hide away at least some of the food chaos – and potato peels!

We love to combine bracketed shelves with unique hooks or shaker pegs for hanging pots, pans or tea towels. The farmhouse look is a very popular style with slatted shelving and soft neutrals but we also love a more grand feel with brass finishes and dark hand-painted shelves.

A bespoke classic Kingham shaker pantry with bracketed shelves and slatted tops with frames painted grey.

Lighting is key as many pantries do not have windows. This is just another way to add to the style you are after: from modern spot lights to ornate brass down-lighters, you can have it all!