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Rebirth of the Butler Lift

Rebirth of the Butler Lift

The Butler lift or ‘dumbwaiter’ has always been an essential assistant in the catering and entertaining industry, usually associated with busy restaurants or grand houses with banquet halls and a hidden catering team.

In 1974, when we installed our inaugural Stannah Butler lift, this was almost exclusively the market that we served.

Yet times are changing.

Dumbwaiters, or Butler lifts as they are also known, are rapidly rising in popularity and emerging as the latest desirable piece of in-home technology. Indeed, over the last five years, we have experienced a 44% uplift in sales.

Once the preserve of the catering world, domestic dumbwaiters offer their owners the utmost in convenient, contemporary living and are emerging as the must-have home accessory in townhouses.

Indeed, we have observed that many owners are using them to transport a whole variety of objects, from clothes to toys, throughout the home. 

What’s more, when they are used in kitchens, we’ve noticed that Butler lifts aren’t just an assistant, but an architectural enabler.

In an age where individuals want to adapt, tailor or fully renovate their homes to meet their exact needs, whether for mobility or lifestyle reasons, we are seeing increasing diversity in architectural design.

Typically, a kitchen is installed on the ground floor or basement of a house – allowing easy access for transporting groceries indoors and other goods required for running a home.

But with increased space restrictions in houses across the UK, these kitchen areas are often doubling up as entertainment spaces.

It also appears that many people want to move away from the ground-floor convention, and locate their kitchen on a different level of the house to benefit from better light or better views.

And that’s where the age-old problem of carrying up food or drinks from the fridge downstairs comes to a head.

This is exactly the situation that the Dyson family faced with the restoration of their 17th century Spitalfields home – a project that included relocating the kitchen to the roof!

The lift was hailed as a “necessary innovation” for the design of the house, allowing the family to adapt their home to their own exact needs.

As living trends change, these are exactly the kind of situations we are increasingly being asked to help with as the Butler lift enjoys a well-deserved rebirth.