Reclaiming the Pantry

We’ve known from day one that we needed to fix the pantry, but we hadn’t really planned to work on it any time soon. But for some reason on Friday night I suddenly couldn’t stand it any more, so we threw our other house plans out of the window and instead crafted a master plan to fix the pantry.

Here’s the problem. One of the past owners of this house installed an extra-deep media cabinet in the living room, complete with a little switch board.


(It used to have some weird-looking trim around the outside that we took off when we painted the walls.) I think it would have been really slick to put our media stuff there if we had decided to mount the TV over the fireplace. But since the TV is on a different wall, and especially since this is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door, setting up a lot of sound equipment there didn’t make much sense. We were just storing random stuff there in the meantime. What was really killing me though, was the amount of space it took up in the pantry. Since that wall is the back of the pantry, the fact that the media cabinet was over a foot deep meant that it claimed more than half of the actual pantry depth. And the existing shelves in the pantry made the extra space underneath the media cabinet largely inaccessible.

So bright and early on Saturday we started ripping stuff out. Since everything was bolted together, it was easier to remove the media cabinet first. It was a tight fit: the most effective method ended up being Dave bracing himself against the counter and launching side kicks at it. That thing is built like a rock! i think we’ll paint it and turn it into some sort of shelving for the office. šŸ™‚


That’s the new window from the living room to the kitchen. We found some secret speaker wire hanging down from the attic, plus some loose insulation from who-knows-where. Here’s the view from the kitchen to the living room, once we removed the pantry shelves:

Please excuse the perpetual mess that is our living room.

We had already decided that we wanted to still have some built-in shelves to fill that hole in the wall, we just didn’t want them so deep. But pretty much as soon as we removed the existing cabinet we realized that it wouldn’t make sense to try to disassemble it, cut it down, and reassemble. So off to the hardware store we went to collect our building supplies.

That’s right, 8-ft boards fit in our little car… barely. Anyway, cutting and assembling went fairly quickly, though we were wishing for something besides a little hand-held circular saw, and we definitely need to use a flatter surface for assembly in the future.

I did help, by the way. I’m just not going to be able to be in the pictures if I’m the one taking them. šŸ™‚ Anyway, after much frowning at the wall and glaring suspiciously at our level, we ended up with this:


And then we went to the hardware store and got a bunch of shims and did it over, but you get the idea. While we were out, we found some trim that matched the existing trim on our doors. Annnd we picked up some paint. Sadly we ran out of time this weekend since we also needed to put the pantry back together, but here is how the shelves look today:

We still need to attach trim to the front of the actual shelves, and then we just need to touch them up and paint them white. But this is a decent stopping point for the time being, and they’re already looking pretty darn cool.

Meanwhile, our food and paper products were forlornly waiting for a new and improved home…

We definitely wanted adjustable shelves, so after a little price comparison we settled on the “classic” metal track thingies:

Then we just cut some 1×12 boards down to size and loaded them up!


The best part is that’s only one side of the pantry. here’s the other side:

Finally! A space for the vacuum and broom. I’m probably going to add hanging baskets on the walls that are currently blank. We might even get around to painting the back “wall” (aka the back of the new living room shelves, only peeking out a tiny bit) eventually. I was originally planning to paint the pantry shelves, but they look fine the way they are for now… And the spices are moving somewhere closer to the stove once we get around to figuring out a better storage solution for them. Once that happens, maybe we’ll replace the pantry door with a bi-fold or something, because that door is just constantly in the way as it is right now.

All in all, I think it ended up being a pretty awesome Memorial Day weekend.

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Posted on May 30, 2011, in home improvement and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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