We spoke to Darren Palmer, much-loved judge of The Block, brand ambassador for innovative storage brand Häfele and a pioneer of thoughtful and beautiful home design. Here, he discusses pantry storage and how you can make the most of your space.
Why is it so important to have a well-organised pantry?
D: The more organised your pantry is, the easier it is to find things when you’re in the swing of cooking. It’s never good to have to disassemble your cupboard to look for that one thing you know is lurking just out of sight. You also can fit more into your pantry if it’s perfectly organised, and the better access you have to things that might be otherwise lost at the back of your pantry, the more effective your food storage and purchasing will be, saving you time and money.
With houses getting smaller and smaller, it’s more important than ever to use pantry space effectively. What are some small actions that can reap huge results for storage?
D: Make sure you get use out of every inch of space available. There’s no point having deep cupboards that relegate things to the back, out of reach and out of sight. You won’t know what’s there and you’ll find it hard to locate what you need. Products tend to go out of date, too, which creates wastage and it’s generally just a wise idea to be able to get the most of your spaces, no matter how big or small.
What are some of the most common mistakes homeowners make with their pantry space and how could these tricky situations be improved?
D: Disorder is the big one. Make sure you have a system for storing your goods, whether it be by type, size, usage or whatever makes most sense to you. Have things in easy-access containers and make sure you know what is inside them with labels or see-through packaging. Don’t have anything in there that’s not going to be used. Don’t duplicate more than you need to. Shop regularly so you don’t need to stockpile, though always leave the space to be able to bulk-buy goods you use a lot of that you can store away for later. Be sure you can access products easily and see inside your pantry easily — whether that be by having pull-out pantries like the Häfele Convoy Premio or utilising lighting on the inside of your cabinets, such as striplighting down the sides of the carcass, or by being able to bring the back of the cupboard forward with products like the Tandem pantry by Häfele.
What is your top tip for soon-to-be pantry organisers?
D: Focus on function first. Look at getting the most use out of the space you have. That could mean using a smaller product, like the half-height Tandem that is a good fit for underneath coffee machines or ovens. Or something like the iMove that helps you reach higher over-bench cabinets that otherwise don’t make it easy to be used as pantry spaces. Also, don’t forget the aesthetics of the internals of your kitchen. If you have the budget, there are so many amazing upgrades to the internal functionality and finish of your pantries. My personal favourite is the Häfele Convoy Premio in Anthracite with Fineline shelving. The dark, matt, metallic charcoal and beautiful oak timber woodgrain elevate the functional to the fantastical.
Are there any products that you would recommend?
D: All the ones mentioned above. The Kesseböhmer CONVOY range of pantries
would be my favourite.
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Originally in Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly, Volume 25 Issue 3