Building the Pantry

My kitchen has never had quite enough space. Originally, it had a bank of cabinets across the top of the peninsula like most good 70s ranch-style houses had. However, a previous owner got rid of those and the cabinet that went over the refrigerator.

You can even see where the old cabinets were attached because the owner didn’t replace the missing facing on that lone cabinet there to the left of the window.

This person clearly didn’t do a lot of grocery shopping or cooking or they would know the conundrum they created by getting rid of a whole bank of cabinets. Not that I would have wanted them back. I grew up in a 70s ranch with that bank of cabinets and it was always a hassle looking under them to talk to someone in the family room or to watch Rockford Files. I was quite a bit shorter as a tyke too so I can imagine having them today would be even more annoying.

This has meant that the cabinets I did have were chock-a-block full of stuff. There was always overflow on the counter and top of the refrigerator.

When my washer seized up and I knew I would have to get a new one, I decided to take advantage of this and get a stackable set. There is plenty of room in the laundry nook. I could make half of the nook a pantry. I worried a little bit about storing food stuff next to a machine that could keep the nook warm but it’s never been an issue before. The doors don’t seal (they are just little bi-folding doors) and I tend to keep them open when I am running the machines so I’m going for it.

Nook before…

During the demo of the kitchen, I tore out the shelf and hanging bar, patched up the walls and painted the walls with the kitchen. I’m thinking about painting the bi-folding doors gray too so they blend in with the walls. I don’t think they really need to be featured, do they? I might like to put a little trim around the nook and paint that white, but actually, just letting the nook fade into the background might be nice.

I’m going to build corner shelves to take advantage of the depth of the nook. I researched the width of washing machines and found the larger ones are 27″ wide. Even if I don’t get one that big, I’ll leave the space for that size for future homeowners. You’re welcome future homeowners.

I left a 5″ cushion between the alloted appliance space and the edge of the shelves. This makes the back shelves 30″ wide and the shelves on the side 34″.

I had some trouble locating studs. My stud finder said it found studs but when I did the nail test, I found the stud finder had been a dirty, rotten liar. There are very few studs in these walls. I shouldn’t be too shocked. This was an inexpensive tract home in the late 70s, early 80s when they were throwing homes up. A lot of material that was used in the house was clearly left over from other projects. Someday we’ll look at the shower door that is too tall.

Looking for a fella stud! (points if you get the reference)

So I did my best and marked the studs I could find. I have good brackets for the shelves but I would have preferred using the studs. These shelves won’t be long (one side will be 30″ and the other side will be 34″) so I’m hoping brackets on the end will be enough. Any engineers that see the flaw in my plan let me know! I really don’t want to get this all up and have it crash after filling a shelf with cans of soup.

This project is all about using what I have so looking at the materials I had sitting around the garage, I found some pieces for the support.

These are pieces of MDF and the panels from my kitchen cabinets. I had to rip a larger board down to get all the narrow pieces. I had some wood planks hanging around from a bookcase project I had planned. There was *just* enough for this project, maintaining the rule of only using what I have.

I needed brackets for the ends. I did have some brackets on hand that did not get used in the living room shelving project. I also had the two shelves that came off the wall so I repurposed those brackets.

With the pieces assembled, the painting could begin. I wanted everything to be white. Of course I had that inspiration pantry in my head but when you are only using what you have, it probably won’t work exactly to plan. I have plenty of white trim paint on hand for the boards so those got a coat of white. These brackets clearly needed to be sprayed though and I didn’t have any white spray paint. What I did have wasn’t too bad though. This antique nickel is pretty and paired with the gray walls should still look nice and maybe a little modern?

If you are wondering how paint adheres to the laminate finish, let me assure you, it does not. After a coat and 24 hours to dry, I picked up the boards and the paint just slides right off. I thought it might not work perfectly but really was impressed with how impervious it is to paint. It makes me wonder why I killed myself painting the kitchen before the cabinets went up. Anything that would accidentally get on the cabinets should rub right off when it is dry. I’m not going to test that theory by the way. These cabinets were too hard-won.

A sanding session and another painting session and the paint is adhering fine. Everything is dry and I pre-drilled holes based on the stud placement. I’m piecing it together this week. You would think the hard work is done and I could assemble this in an evening but it is incredibly fiddly. Drill a hole, change the bit to the screwdriver, drill in the screw, level check, change the bit to the drill, drill a hole, change the bit to the screwdriver, etc. I should have a wrap up this weekend.

In the meantime, I finish unpacking and wondering why one woman has so many coffee mugs. Seriously, who do I think is going to come over for coffee all at the same time? I could have 30 of you over for coffee. Hmm. Any coffee lovers out there know how to build a pantry?

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5 Responses to Building the Pantry

  1. Sue says:

    There is lots to comment on but I’m hung upp on the extra coffee cups. I too have that issue. It’s the souvenir and commoerative cups that get in the way. You can’t throw them out because they mean something. But in 5 years, when they are a staple in your cupboard, you wish they had a little “accident” in that farm sink of yours.

    • LoveThisSpace says:

      Toss ’em! I’m going to have to weed through mine. The challenge is that some people like wee little cups but I’m a mug person so I feel like I have to keep a couple of wee cups for others. I’m really committing heresy in my family by getting rid of the tiny juice glasses. My grandparents feel like they are a necessity. I hate having glasses only good for one thing. I keep saying, you can use a regular glass and just put in a small amount but they look at me like I’m suggesting they fly.

  2. Scaloot says:

    I personally like my coffee cups – rebuilding my stash from a mistaken downsizing a few years ago. Moved stuff I don’t like and gave away some mugs I miss but are still in my mind.
    I know you are only using what you have but if you can scrape together about $20 a gallon of zinsmaster 123 primer is a godsend. Makes paint stick. Dries with a bit of sheen – With a total rebuild going on, finishing paint colors are down the list (I want to move into this house after over 18 months) This primer gives a fresh if very white finish. I am just finishing up a gallon and it has done tons of stuff. I got lucky and got it on 1/2 price sale so bought 2 gallons
    Oh and any chance you can beg or borrow a second drill? makes jobs like the pantry brackets go much faster! and yes I collect drills lol

    • LoveThisSpace says:

      Actually, I might have that primer from when I painted the kitchen walls! I’ll go dig around. Thanks for the tip!

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