Sunday, December 30, 2012

store it yourself.

This house was built in the 1960s and has (had) the aesthetics and storage space to match. I'm pretty sure the alluring salmon-colored exterior siding is original to the house, and the fact that we have two hall closets has led to some creative organizing. So it makes sense that, for the kitchen renovation, updating the overall look and adding storage were our two major goals.

That said, it is just the two of us here. And given my minimalist nature, there isn't a ton of stuff we need to store in the kitchen. Still, if we were going to update the kitchen, might as well look towards future functional needs - which meant adding a pantry.

Prior to the reno, we stored all of our dry goods in two of the base cabinets:

Yep. All our food. Shoved into the two cabinets to the right of sink cabinets.

Besides food, we also were looking for more storage space for small appliances. Again, we don't have very many, but (*first-world problem warning*) it was such a pain in the ass to have to unload an entire cabinet to access the hand mixer or fondue set. (Shut up, I warned you.)

A pantry was definitely the way to go, but where would be the best place to put it? Back in the beginning of all this, I spent lottts of time doodling kitchen floor plans in my journal. Like a lovesick teenager, but with hearts floating over ranges and pantries instead of  CATHY + MICHAEL STIPE 4EVA. In those original kitchen doodles, I thought we would definitely need to reserve space for a kitchen table in the actual kitchen, which wouldn't leave a lot of room for a pantry.

Switching the table into the family room allowed for more pantry placement options, thankfully. (Sorry, future owners of this house...you're just going to have to follow our lead on this one.) The newly-freed-up space made for a great office nook for a while.

Soon, though, we turned an upstairs bedroom closet into our office, which meant we now had two options for the pantry: the wall where the desk had been, or next to where the fridge surround would be. I used our bookshelves to simulate what it might look like in each place...

The one on the left would be the pantry, and
the one on the right would be the fridge surround.

Obviously, the pantry simulation happened a few separate times,
since the bookshelves are unstained in Pic 1 and stained in Pic 2.

For a while, I really thought the pantry belonged next to (attached to) the fridge surround, and that we'd put a little bench or something on the old desk wall. But after standing back and staring at the kitchen (for MONTHS...#SoWhat), I realized that the balance of the whole room would be off if I did that. Spoiler alert - still not sure if I made the right choice, but, um, file under Too Late To Change Now, Sucker!

We also originally planned for J.J.'s dad to help us build a pantry, but by the time he and J.J. had finished the fridge surround, it made more sense - in terms of time frame and general sanity of everyone involved - just to buy one. I had specific dimensions in mind, and the Prepac Elite Storage Collection (which I found on Amazon) had two options that, together, would fit the bill.

It ended up costing almost $350 for these pieces, but at that point, there was still wiggle room in the budget...and not in my sanity stores. It took me about two minutes to grasp that it was totally worth it to purchase instead of DIY these babies. They were delivered in under a week and were super simple to assemble, and we finally had a place to put all the food that had been homeless since March.

This food pile moved around the kitchen about
47 times throughout the course of the renovation.

Installing the pantry pieces was more of a hassle than assembling them was; luckily, J.J. helped. A LOT. Like, he basically did it while I whined about how they wouldn't sit flush against the wall, and then wouldn't sit flush with each other. 

We sawed off a piece of the base so the pantry would,
in theory, sit flush against the wall. FlushER, anyway.

There was also one more issue to work around - the wall outlet. I wanted to preserve it. Yet another fascinating feature of our 1960s-era house is the small overall number of outlets, and especially three-prong outlets, which these are. It just seemed unwise to block off the entire outlet. Plus, I had beautiful visions of storing our Dustbuster on the bottom shelf and using the outlet for recharging. (BEAUTIFUL.)

So, we had to cut a hole for the outlet to peek through. No biggie, right? At this point in the reno, I was well-versed in performing random feats of awesomeness such as this one. I measured - three times, so I'd only have to cut once - and sawed away.

I don't have a picture of the initial result, but here's a picture of the pantry after I had calmed down and corrected my, uh, mistake:

Look closer, my pretties.

Post-replacing the accidental cut-out. DAMMIT.
So. Much. Cursing. And deep breathing. I forgot to reverse the measurements to make up for the fact that the cabinet was lying face-down on the floor when I cut the hole. J.J. thinks we should make the accidental piece into a fairy door. Hasn't happened yet; instead, I employed the age-old trick of covering it up with shit so it's out of sight, out of mind....But I actually think a fairy door would be funny.

Anyway, J.J. finished screwing the cabinets into the wall...

...and I filled the gap between the upper and lower pieces with wood filler...

...and the pantry was nearly ready to go. Buuut, you know, "nearly ready" in this kitchen renovation translated to a few more weeks of painting everything (yes, I painted the white cabinets white; trust me, it was worth it for the matching sheen and shade), adding moulding to the doors and sides, attaching the doors, and caulking the gap between the wall and one side of the pantry. I had to get creative with the gap on the other side.

It was too big to caulk - about a half-inch to an inch from top to bottom. I ended up finding a piece of flat moulding at Lowe's, cutting it to size, and nailing it in.

And - finally -

Finished! Since then, I've added a sneaky organizing solution to the left side, and I'm working on balancing out that bare wall to the right. But at least we finally have somewhere to put our dry goods! And daaamn, check out that Dustbuster on the bottom shelf. How convenient to have an outlet right there. And? Beautiful. Word.

1 comment:

  1. Please come to New York to redo my apartment... or just add moldings to EVERYTHING. The pantry looks great!



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