We finally finished the pantry yesterday!
Unfortunately, I don’t have a great “before” photo, but what our pantry looked like in early 2006 (photo taken while we were putting in the kitchen floor). We didn’t have time to nicely renovate it before we moved in, so my mother and I slapped a coat of pale blue paint on everything so it would at least be clean and usable (and not gross yellow-gold, the most depressing color on Earth). When we started renovating the upstairs bathroom (which is directly above the pantry), though, it quickly became clear that we were going to have to demolish the pantry.
As readers of this blog are aware, that bathroom renovation took over a year. GULP. That’s a long time to go without a pantry, especially when you have no other closets on the main floor of your house.
When we ripped down the old shelving and pipe enclosure, the walls pretty much fell apart. Our choices at that point were to repair the plaster (which, frankly, would have been a nightmare in such a tiny space, given the extent of the damage), cover everything with drywall, or cover the damaged walls with another material. Not being fans of the “perfect”/new look of drywall, we chose option #3. We used inexpensive tongue-and-groove bead board, and built a new pipe enclosure out of planks of wood. The ceiling was also repaired using wood planks, and plain moldings were attached to cover any gaps. I built simple shelves using wood cleats and boards. After caulking well and applying several coats of white paint (BM Simply White, satin finish), I have to say that the pantry truly looks original to the house. That was our goal, so I’m very happy. I dislike “fake old” renovations (like sheets of paneling embossed to resemble bead board, yuck—the real thing isn’t much more expensive, and not very difficult to install), and anything “perfect”/new would look really out of place in our house, so this was a great solution.
I wanted to make the most of the tiny 3×3′ space, so I was very pleased to discover this Elfa Door & Wall Rack. It fits perfectly into the niche between the door jamb and the pipe enclosure. It’s amazing how much it holds, and I have enough space to add two more baskets. I always seem to wind up with 20 bottles of cleansers even though I try to keep things simple, and this beats stuffing them all under the kitchen sink.
We were able to just barely (with the help of a jigsaw!) squeeze this old kitchen cabinet in under the shelving. My friend Patty gave it to me when we bought the house—I think it came from her aunt’s house in Pittsburgh. It’s homemade from scrap lumber, and the old layers of paint are pretty perfect. I don’t like faux “antiqued” finishes, but this is the real thing. Turquoise isn’t a color I would choose on my own, but I love the burst of color it gives the pantry. It’s also just the right size to hold the vacuum cleaner (!) and some ugly things like spare Brita filters and shoe polish.
I feel a little silly for even posting a photo of this, but I have to acknowledge my little folding step stool. The top shelf of the pantry (not shown) is too high for me to reach, but there’s no space to store a stool. I was SO EXCITED (this is my life, folks) to find this tiny, sturdy, foldable step stool. I think I might name it, I love it so much. (p.s. The floor paint color is BM Toucan Black, the same color I used on my stairs and pocket doors.)