Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Before and After: Custom Built Pantry

There was evidence of a past pantry off of the kitchen in our house. An improperly repaired floor showed us where a wall used to be, and the worn floorboards next to it evoked years of walking back and forth to retrieve dry goods from storage. But when we bought the house, those old footsteps led...straight into a wall.
Behind this door is a wall, where a doorway used to be. 

So, I did my favorite thing--exploratory demo. What I found was a shoddily covered doorway, filled with a piece of sheet rock. In fact, the frame was still exposed, just painted to match the wall. We decided to rebuild the old pantry a little differently than the original. Rather than a long, skinny wall that would have blocked off a south-facing window, we made a smaller closet. 

The pantry-to-be.
Once we got to this stage, I panicked. My vision of a beautiful walk-in pantry with counter tops seemed impossible--it was so much smaller a space than I imagined. We spent a couple of days hemming and hawing, measuring and drawing, and eventually, inspiration struck. 

Don't worry, it's just the lens. We may be amateur builders, but we're not THAT bad with a square.
We used salvaged bookshelves that we got in bulk from the local EcoBuilding bargains, which required an enormous amount of sanding and cutting, but they look great and saved us a bundle.

We measured everything we anticipated would go in the pantry. We made single-wide shelves just big enough for pint or quart mason jars, put in a counter-top outlet for the bread maker, crock pot, and various other appliances and an under-counter outlet for our large dehydrator. The space beneath the lowest shelf is high enough to accommodate the dehydrator and a carboy of beer with a water lock. The top shelf is big enough to hold larger counter top appliances that we don't use as frequently, like the stand mixer.

The result is a pantry that's the perfect size to store all our dry goods and some of our preserves (the extras will go in storage in the basement). It's also a functional prep space, especially good for fermentation projects that need a dark corner to sit in and do their thing. It's done wonders to keep ongoing projects from cluttering our precious kitchen counter space.

I love working in tiny spaces; it's such a challenge to make the most of an area with design constraints. I supposed that's why we focused in on this tiny pantry when we have a whole big house to renovate. Once you're used to building tiny, it's hard to go back.


Jay Dedman said...

This pantry looks great. Nothing better than a bunch of shelves to store food.

Unknown said...

That pantry turned out beautifully! Well done. I am enjoying your adventures via your blog!