Kitchen Pantry Scullery
It is time for us to start tackling the back of the house. The back of the house was the servants area. It is divided into kitchen, pantry and scullery. Three rooms when we just want one, a kitchen dining room.
Our first thought was to knock through all of the rooms to create one large room (see floor plan below), however this would create a long narrow room, 11.43m (36ft) by 4.35m (14’3″) narrowing to 3.18m (10’5″) which is a strange shape. Also, as we have lived in the house and learned more about it, we have grown hesitant about knocking it about so much.
The reason you buy an old house is because of its quirks, its details, its character so you probably shouldn’t rush to destroy them, you may destroy its charm. The Victorian Society and SPAB would both argue that there is no need to knock the rooms together and that this is only a modern fashion and should be resisted. Maybe there is a sense to keeping different areas divided? high on people’s wish list is a separate pantry, a utility room, and a kitchen dining room maybe we could achieve this with our rooms.
Can we live with it?
How did the Victorians use a Kitchen, Pantry, Scullery?
This is the largest room, 5m x 4.35 (16’7 x 14’3 if you prefer imperial) it was for preparing food and cooking food. There would be a large range to cook on, heat the water boiler for the house and keep the kitchen warm. Plates would be stored in the large cupboards in the room, there would not have been a sink or water. The servants would have eaten in this room, and it would have a large kitchen table as well as a dresser. Here it is today as we start the long process of stripping back:
This is the small middle room 2.87m(9’5”) x 1.93m(6’4”). It was for storing food it would have had a meat cupboard and cold room and was on the north side of the house to keep it cool. This room was cool and dark. Presently this room is used as a utility room, and dumping ground
At the back of the house with access to the outside courtyard is the Scullery. This was for washing and cleaning. Laundry would be washed, the plates would be cleaned and dirty food would be prepared (muddy vegetables scrubbed, fish gutted and descaled, birds plucked). This area was all about water and the ability to sluice down. We use this area as the kitchen, it was installed in the late 70’s early 80’s and has locks on the cupboard doors as it was a staffroom. It is of a medium size 3.56m(11’8”) x 3.18m(10’5”)
We also have a housemaids pantry where the brooms, buckets, and cleaning tools would be kept and a Coal bunker where the coal would be delivered, but these are not on the plan.
We want to change the use of these rooms for modern use, we no longer have coal delivered, we have fridges to keep food cool, we don’t pluck chickens or gut fish and washing machines and dishwashers do all the cleaning. We want to eat in the same area as we cook in as it is not fun carrying hot plates through several doors and then taking dirty plates back.
So how can we make the current layout work? A good test of a kitchen is the cup of tea test. This is the most common activity in a kitchen so is it easy to make a cup of tea?
What are kitchen zones?
Zones in a kitchen are the separate work sites within a layout, each intended for different tasks and activities. The primary zones are those for preparing food, cooking and washing up.
What’s in the prep zone?
The kitchen prep zone is really important, as this is where we spend around 70% of our time when using our kitchens. It should include ample work surface for completing everyday tasks, including chopping, peeling, mixing, making a sandwich and more.
Preferably, your storage units and fridge should be in close range of the prep worktop, allowing easy access to ingredients, utensils, pots and pans. Similarly, the kitchen bin should be located within the prep zone, so you can easily dispose of peelings and packaging without having to cross a kitchen.
What’s in the wash zone?
The wash zone typically includes your sink, dishwasher and washing machine. Around 20% of our time in the kitchen is spent clearing up after ourselves, yet there’s no fun in this, letting you finish quickly and get back to relaxing.
Ideally, the wash zone should be separated from the prep and cook zone, although having your bin within reach of the sink and dishwasher makes it easy to scrape, rinse and load plates. Crockery storage should be near by making unloading a dishwasher full of mugs, plates and glassware an easy task.
What’s in the cook zone?
The kitchen cook zone typically contains the oven, hob, extractor, warming drawer(s) and any other cooking-related appliances. Ideally, the cook zone should sit adjacent to the prep zone, or else opposite it, but not in a separate room!.
You should easily be able to lift newly prepared food into a pan or the oven from your prep work surface. Importantly, this will mean there will be less distance for hot food to travel back to the worktop from the oven or hob.
Will a cook zone work in separate rooms?
This is not the most efficient arrangement, it’s also not safe; when turning from hob to sink to drain your piping-hot rice or vegetables, should anyone else enter the kitchen, it heightens the likelihood of accidents and burns.
This gave us some ideas but maybe we should look at professional kitchens for further help.
How To Design The Professional Kitchen
Preparation – Position main preparation between bulk storage and the cooking process, to ensure the correct flow pattern. In addition, consider adequate refrigerated storage for prepared food.
Provide adequate prep sinks, separate pot-wash sinks and hand-wash facilities.
Wow three sinks!Sounds like a scullery.
Cooking – Workflows and safety should be the prime drivers in the layout of a professional kitchen. Simple things include ensuring there’s a set-down space next to deep-fat fryers.
Ensure the flow of the cooking suite suits the style of service, with fast-cook equipment such as fryers, grills and griddles nearest to the point of service and bulk cooking kit such as convection ovens and boiling pans further away.
Maybe we could turn the pantry into this space,
Food Service Area – The space requirement for service is often underestimated, particularly by architects. Consider adequate space for hot and cold holding of prepared food ready for service. Where possible, locate the service point close to the final cooking process to avoid double handling.
Wash-up – The dishwashing operation is key to the success of any catering establishment. Remember to allow sufficient space for the storage of clean items and the disposal of rubbish, ensuring the two are segregated to avoid cross-contamination.
Location is paramount to the efficient management of the space. Ideally it should be close to both the dining and service area to avoid double handling.
So this space could go in the scullery too with the bulk items, and prep area.
Still unclear where I would put the fridge, probably still in the scullery also not sure where I will put the tea and coffee making area , maybe in the dining room? and what about drinks? I do like a dry martini or a well made gin and tonic. When we have had parties before it is great to have the drinks area NOT in the kitchen.
So thoughts at the moment are…
bulk storage (pantry), bins, dishwashing, crockery storage, prep area, freezer with fridge, food mixer, food processor
cooking area with oven, hob, microwave, meat slicer and service area to plate up (imagine a giant hollowed out island or a bar area). This room has windows cut through on both sides to give view through whole space….and usable works surfaces built into the ‘windows’ to allow easy transfer of food and crockery backwards and forwards through the kitchen.