Butler’s Pantry designed by Faiella Design

A small room off the kitchen hidden away from guests to prepare meals is a common request to building designers while a separate computer room, TV room or home cinema has dropped off the list.

Sunshine Coast building designer Trevor Reitsma said opening up older compartmentalised homes was often the priority.

He recently took the 2013 Queensland Building Design Awards for the best residential alterations and additions in the under $150,000 and more than $600,000 categories.

“If Santa Claus could bring something it would be a butler’s pantry,” he said. “The butler’s pantry has its own sink, dedicated space for preparation work, a microwave and other appliances.”

Mr Reitsma said homeowners are a bit more “relaxed” about the walk-in pantry and are happy to have pull-out cupboards and drawers instead.

And in his experience media rooms are on the way out.

“Occasionally we will get a client that has an impressive project and they will throw one in that but that is more the exception than the rule.”

The key was to “maximise use of the space rather than creating a McMansion”.

“It is quality over quantity,” he said.  He said the key to a successful renovation is to not just follow the latest fads and fashions.

“You have to be careful that what is being done today doesn’t become tomorrow’s overused item that the next generation wants to pull out,” he said.  “Look at the bigger picture rather than the here and now.”

Outdoor kitchens are still at the top of many lists although Mr Reitsma said rather than spend thousands, it is possible to create an outdoor kitchen with just a good-quality freestanding barbecue and counter space.

And finally don’t forget storage. “You can never have enough storage,” Mr Reitsma said.

reprinted from HeraldSun.com.au, written by Michelle Collins