The Latest Functional Kitchen Design Trend is Focused on Hidden Work Centers – The Larder

Kitchen design trends aren’t always about colors and styles, functional trends play a major role too. The latest evolution in functional kitchen design trends is a new focus on hidden work centers or work zones with a primary focus around a counter-height larder cabinet. As homeowners seek more kitchen storage solutions for their kitchens to help keep countertops clutter-free they are also looking for these solutions to provide all of their everyday items close at hand and easy to access. This is where the re-imagined Larder cabinet is swooping in to save the day and change how we use our kitchens.

The cabinets open to reveal 2 Beautiful, hidden workstations using larder cabinets. One cabinet is used as a coffee station and the other as a smoothie station.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry design by Sandra Daubenmeyer of KSI Kitchen & Bath, Macomb, Michigan.

When the cabinet doors are closed the two workstations are completely hidden.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry design by Sandra Daubenmeyer of KSI Kitchen & Bath, Macomb, Michigan.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry’s Baking Center Larder with Roll-Out Shelves in the cabinet below.

The History of the Larder Cabinet:

Where did larders originate and where are they today?

Larders have been used in kitchen design for centuries as a core hub for storage and function. Before the invention of the refrigerator, the Larder was the cool storage space of the home used for storing and preserving foods like milk, butter, or meats.  In fact, the word “Larder” is derived from the word “lard” (also known as “fat”) which was used to coat stored raw meats to help preserve them for longer periods of time.

A salvaged larder cabinet from the early 1900s.

A salvaged larder cabinet from the turn of the 19th century.

The Larder Vs. The Pantry

You may have heard the words “larder” and “pantry” used interchangeably, but historically these were originally two very different kitchen features. A larder would typically feature a stone or slate shelf, to help maintain the cooler temperatures and provide an easy-to-sanitize space for fresh foods, similar to today’s countertops. The storage space had to be very functional and operate like a workstation for preparing and preserving goods. Larders have historically had a reputation as well-organized storage with customized compartments and shelves each designed to optimize the storage and function of each item it contains.

An old-fashioned walk-in Larder room.

An old-fashioned walk-in larder room.

An old-fashioned walk-in pantry room.

An old-fashioned walk-in pantry room. (Photo courtesy of The Buttry and Brokry Blog.)

The word “Pantry” is derived by the French word “pain” meaning “bread” and is an organized cabinet or room for storing dry foods, dishes, canned goods, and more. This was also a storage space for preserving food but not as focused on easily perishable foods, such as meat and dairy. Over time pantries began also featuring a stone shelf for keeping certain goods cooler, integrating the larder functionality and combining both worlds.

The larder cabinet became the ultimate workstation.

During the 1890’s freestanding cabinets began to customize and compact the larders into even harder-working storage centers each with a special focus. These cabinets were packed with all the pantry or larder goods and the house the tools you’d need to get the job done. Whether it was a wet chopping station for preparing fresh foods or a dry work center for baking bread from scratch (like the famous Hoosier cabinet)… the cabinetry from this era stretched the limits of how much a larder cabinet could accomplish and focused on an all-in-one work zone to save time.

A Hoosier Cabinet Ad from the early 1900s.

A restored Hoosier Cabinet Ad from the early 1900s.

The Refrigerator Replaced the Larder

Although the first to use artificial refrigeration was in 1748, by Scottish physician, William Cullen it was not until 1918 when American inventor, William C. Durant started the mass production of affordable home refrigerators. The new technology dramatically changed the world of kitchen design.

At the same time, built-in kitchen cabinets and countertops became easier to afford and manufacture. Although floor plans didn’t get any larger, the kitchen workspace greatly expanded. Freestanding larders quickly became “old-hat” and were tossed aside. As the surge of refrigerators and built-in cabinetry filled homes across America, the larder cabinets were torn out or converted into pantries.

1930 General Electric Ad

1930 General Electric Ad for a Home Refrigerator

The Larder Cabinet Trend Today

In recent years, homeowners have been pulling the dusty larders out of hiding and refurbishing them into stunning kitchen workstations and beautiful pantries. This restoration trend has been helping a new generation rediscover how handy these forgotten kitchen workstations really are.

An antique larder cabinet that was refurbished into a pantry.

An antique larder cabinet that was refurbished into a pantry.

Our modern-day kitchens have also been overpopulated and cluttered with small kitchen appliances. Over the past 70 years, a multitude of handy appliances were invented elevating and streamlining our work in the kitchen. These now must-have tools are taking over our countertops along with all the pantry items and tools needed to operate them. Homeowners have adapted these handy gadgets into their everyday routines but our kitchens are not exactly designed to accommodate them. Our kitchens are calling for a workstation once more!

Today, kitchens are being redesigned to have 1, 2, or even 3 workstation areas. inspired by larder cabinets of the past, these new work zones often use wall cabinetry that meets the countertop creating a contained work area for an everyday small appliance and all the goodies that go with with cabinetry doors that can quickly and beautifully hide the entire workspace and all its clutter.

A baking center larder cabinet with a trendy working pantry in a dark green paint.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry’s Baking Center Larder “C”.

How Does a Modern Larder Cabinet Work?

Create Your Own Custom Larder Cabinet

When there is an everyday used appliance, it needs a more permanent home or it will “set up camp” and take over your countertop space for years. For example, a coffee maker placed on the counter quickly becomes a cluttered zone with coffee grinders, sugar packets, tea bags, stir sticks, coffee grounds, creamers, k-cups, and more. If the coffee maker is used everyday, it will rarely be put away or become a challenging chore to keep neat and stashed away. With a larder cabinet, the coffee maker can be stored and powered inside the cabinet at counter-height along with all the tools, cups, and supplies used to make coffee. Having an all-in-one zone for coffee making saves time be decreasing trips around the kitchen. It also takes one quick motion to close the doors and hide the clutter saving additional time and keeping the kitchen neat.

A tall and thin larder cabinet with pocket doors created to be a hidden coffee station.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry with a Coffee Station Larder designed by Splendid Home Design LLC of Stuart, Florida.

A beverage center larder cabinet with customized internal storage accessories including apothecary drawers, a flat roll-out shelf for a coffee maker or blender, and additional customized shelving.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry’s Beverage Center Larder Cabinet “B”.

At Dura Supreme Cabinetry, we offer an easy-to-design Larder Cabinet Program as well as countless options for custom-creating larder storage or appliance garages of your own imagination. Use a larder cabinet to create a breakfast center, coffee & beverage station, hidden home bar, baking center, smoothie station, serveware hub, and more.

A full wall home bar and larder cabinet for a hidden beverage making work station.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry design by Holzman Interiors of Stamford, Connecticut.

Inspiring Customized Larder Cabinets

Check out the gallery below by clicking the side arrows to see several customized larder cabinets from Dura Supreme Cabinetry. What kind of larder cabinet workstation does your kitchen need?

Mandi Juskiewicz the Senior Design & Marketing Specialist for Dura Supreme Cabinetry. A content developer and blog author for the company.

Mandi Juskiewicz is the Sr. Design & Marketing Specialist for Dura Supreme Cabinetry with 20 years of experience in graphic design, web design, multi-media communications, photography, online trends, and social media technology along with 10 years of experience with Dura Supreme Cabinetry.  Her accolades include the distinction of being named “Kitchen Cabinetry Marketing Specialist of the Year 2019″ in the 2019 Content Creator Awards held by Corporate Vision Magazine (CV Magazine) and achiever of the Houzz Influencer Award.

Her role at Dura Supreme allows her to curate the “best of the best” designs, cutting-edge products, and fabulously functional Dura Supreme kitchens across the country and feature them here for inspiration and design ideas!

If you’re an authorized Dura Supreme Dealer, login here to view and save your favorites.