walk-in pantry entry to right of ovens

Storage is the second of the seven task centers in the proximity kitchen system philosophy

“Storage” refers to placement of foodstuffs or equipment within a typical pks sequential configuration, or as most people call it, the pantry.  In many cases there is a large “walk-in” pantry which will also be used to store large pots, mixers and the like if there isn’t room on a counter or in cabinetry for these items.  The storage specific to each of the task centers (Wet Prep, Hot Prep and Scullery) will be addressed in future writing which will cover them.  In our approach these task centers provide space for equipment specific to their needs.

When moving through the Supply-oriented areas of the home (garage, mudroom, etc.), we’ve seen the need for a counter (even a small one) on which to set one’s daily purchases, briefcase, purse, wallet, cellphone, etc.  In addition, there is a need for a coat closet, a place for outdoor footwear, pet feeding and so on.  Once we’ve moved into the kitchen with the days acquisitions, Storage is obviously the next thing on which we focus.


Cooking surface between freezer & refrigerator

There are two types of storage:  perishable and non-perishable.  The proximity to Supply (before) and Wet Prep (after) of both of these types is an important consideration in the reduction of paces between task centers.

Non-perishable food storage should, if possible, be immediately adjacent to the fridge, but further from Wet Prep.  A separate freezer would be one step further away.  This places the storage of the various foodstuffs in their proper hierarchical relationships:  the fridge is placed closest to the Wet Prep task center so that the appropriate direct relationship between the two is created. Non-perishable food is one step further away, as the access to these foodstuffs is, again, less critical.  Frozen foods are one step less important than non-perishables in terms of how, and how often, they are used.

Walk-in pantry left & step-in pantry right

There are some who prefer what is commonly called a “walk-in” pantry.  As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to the walk-in configuration.  They represent a much less efficient use of space, except in situations where configurations are just right in an existing space, and the renovation budget is tight.  In this case the walk-in pantry works well.  It also works well in larger spaces where the space can be easily afforded, and a block of space formed by the footprint of the pantry can be used to provide appropriately smaller spaces for the main kitchen area. The shelving inside a walk-in can be relatively inexpensive, and once the space necessary for human traffic is allowed for the volume of storage can be impressive.

Care must be taken to ensure access to the pantry is placed thoughtfully in relation to the fridge.

Sometimes a less expensive “plain white box” freezer can be placed inside the walk-in, saving money on the appliance and configuring the kitchen perfectly as a result.  If this strategy is implemented, care must be taken to ensure plenty of ventilation: things like chocolate and other similar foods suffer from excess heat which the freezer (or indeed, any refrigeration appliance) will cause in a small space.

An alternative to the walk-in pantry which might be called a “step-in”, for lack of a better term.  This type of pantry involves a framed (2×4 and drywall) closet, whose overall depth is 26″, or whatever depth is appropriate to match the faces of the cabinetry or appliances on either side of it.  The interior depth of such a pantry is 18″ or 19″, depending on its overall depth.  Inexpensive carpenter-built shelves, not more than 12″ deep, line the interior on the rear and side walls; wire shelving is mounted on the back face of the door(s). This configuration is one of the least expensive and most efficient storage solutions available.  It works best placed between tall appliances on the “cross of the T” in a typical T-shaped pks kitchen layout.  There will be more on the typical configurations and their features and benefits, advantages and disadvantages after we finish discussion of the seven task centers.

Mr. Walker is a nationally recognized professional  and has created functional and aesthetic modern living environments for more than 400 clients, in addition to having designed over 3000 kitchens in 33 years of professional practice.
He continues to develop the proximity | kitchensystem.   Pete is happy to take questions, comments and critique.  You can reach Pete through his email address: pete@proximitykitchen.com, or visit the website at www.proximitykitchen.com