The Walk-In Kitchen Pantry Is the New Designer Shoe Closet

When Tara Jenson began planning a $1.5 million home in Gilbert, Ariz., with her husband, Kendall Jenson, there was one dream amenity she wouldn’t compromise on: a walk-in pantry. And not just any pantry, but one with multilevel shelves arrayed with custom-labeled clear canisters for snacks and airtight bins of decanted Froot Loops and bran flakes. A pantry, in other words, that would make Costco bulk goods look as glamorous as a row of Christian Louboutins in a designer shoe closet.

“My husband wanted to do straight rows of shelving, all the same height, all the way across. I was crying. I said, ‘I can’t do it, that’s not what I envisioned,’ ” recalled Ms. Jenson, 37, who shares four children and one stepdaughter with Mr. Jenson, 48, a dermatology physician assistant. “If you have straight shelving all the way across, how do you organize it?”

Before the family moved into the 6,000-square-foot home last year, Ms. Jenson spent an extra $900 for custom pantry shelving that was inspired by the Instagram posts of the reality-television star Khloé Kardashian. Then she hired Shalae Price, a professional organizer, to create a Dewey Decimal-style system within the 8-by-11-foot pantry, sectioning the dry goods into zones and displaying them in a battalion of whitewashed rattan bins, clear canisters and turntable caddies. The total cost was about $5,000.

“People say, ‘Oh my gosh, Tara, your pantry!’ ” said Ms. Jenson, who elicited gasps from her friends when she went in to grab a Snickers bar during a group FaceTime call. “They all ended up saying, ‘Send me pictures.’ ”

The home pantry is in the spotlight. As the coronavirus pandemic surges and more school-age children and working adults are stuck at home, food-hoarding has become something of a national pastime. Pictures of aspirational larders with cork-topped calligraphy spice bottles and apothecary jars of dog treats are rampant on Instagram, with hashtags like #pantryinspo and #pantrygoals.

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