Jun 01 2015

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From disaster to functional

pantry-before-after-webLike a lot of homes built these days, all of the closets (and pantry) in my house have those plastic-coated wire shelving installed. Yuck! I can’t stand that stuff. They’re so annoying. They sag. Things fall through the slits, or don’t sit on the shelf evenly. If something spills, it gets on everything stored below it in the pantry. And they’re 16” deep, which is too deep for a pantry if you want to be able to see what you actually have on hand. How many times have I bought something I already had because I didn’t see it hiding in the back of the shelf? Too many!

After living here for a few years now, it has finally stomped on my last nerve. A pantry makeover was in order. A necessity, even.

I began by emptying everything from the pantry. Then I removed all those nasty shelves. Of course all the anchors had to come out too, which meant I had to repair a bunch of holes in the wall as a result. No problem. I got this. It’s not like I haven’t repaired drywall before.pantry-empty-before-web

The pantry is over six feet wide and not deep enough to walk into with shelving 16” deep. It just wasn’t gonna happen. There was quite a bit of unused space in there though, which became apparent when it was empty. I always knew there was wasted space but didn’t realize how much until I started this project.

There’s some duct work for a return vent that takes up some space in the pantry. The builder, or previous owner of the house, had loooong shelving extending the entire width of the pantry. Nevermind that you couldn’t use much of it. Even if one did have incredibly long arms to reach back there, I don’t see how they could have brought anything to the front without knocking other stuff over that was in the way. Totally non-functional.

Off to the home improvement store I went! The most exciting thing was picking out a new paint color for the pantry. I eventually want to renovate my kitchen so I wanted something on the neutral side. I chose a light/medium gray color (“Cold Steel”) for the walls and white for the cleats and shelves. Classic.


I was planning to follow along with Ana White’s tutorial, Easiest Pantry or Closet Shelving, but the length of my pantry needed a more creative solution. Her shelves were only 4’ wide. Since mine was over 6’, it needed more support. I followed her basic idea with a few tweaks and eventually got some shelving brackets, which worked wonderfully and made for much stronger shelves. Happy, happy!pantry-nook-web

It took waaay longer than I expected it to take, but it is finally finished and I love it! I am also a soapmaker so I made sure my 50-lb pails of a couple of oils and my lye would fit under the bottom shelf. I really hated having those to the side of one of my counters but needed them to stay in the kitchen. Moving them into the pantry was a great solution. They’re out of the way, but still easily accessible.

I also used a scrap of wood (painted white) and a couple of glass knobs (looks like crystal!) to make something pretty to hang my aprons on. (Photo later.)

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