Kitchen Pantry Remodel

Totally remodeling our kitchen pantry happened on a whim. The idea for our pantry also went through many iterations before we landed on the DIY I am about to share with you. 

Originally, I had thought it would be nice to just do away with our entire pantry, or at least it's current set up. By removing at least two of our pantry walls, we'd have enough space to slide our fridge into its old space. With the fridge moved over, we could then expand our countertop space right next to the stove, which would create a more logical and convenient space for prepping meals.

Above our new countertops, we could install open shelves to match the other side of our kitchen. While below the countertops there would be ample space to store our pantry items! I went so far as to digitally draw out those ideas to see if they might work for our space. 

Before...

After?

Looks pretty good, right? The only thing with going forward with this plan is that it would take a good bit of work, probably a headache or two, and we'd be struggling without a kitchen for an indefinite period of time. Plus, would those lower cabinet shelves really be enough for our pantry items?

Instead of tackling such a massive project (especially since we had just finished the pond and the other half of our kitchen AND our outdoor garden shed), I figured it'd be better to keep it simple. Maybe change out the door of our pantry and cover the wire shelves with a bit of plywood. 

We kind of fell somewhere in the middle. 

To start, we took off our pantry door. Originally, a friend of mine had suggested maybe putting in a French door, which I loved. However, they are expensive especially for such an oddly sized door, and I figured if we would be able to see inside of our pantry through the window panes of the French door, what would be the harm in simply not having a door at all?

Off the door came (went?). 

 Apologies in advance for the terrible lighting in these images. This pantry is literally in a corner where no natural light seems to ever hit it. 

Looking better already!

Next, I thought that we could maybe just cover our wire rack shelves with a DIY plywood covering, sort of like this: 

 Image via justagirlandherblog.com

But that actually felt like it would be more work than simply removing the wire shelves and replacing them with the same wood that we had used for our open shelving. So I opted for that instead. 

First step: Remove all the items from our shelves, the the shelves themselves. 

Next step: Cover all the larger holes made from removing the shelves using leftover drywall tape. Then, patch the large and small holes with drywall plaster. 

While I waited for the plaster to dry enough for me to sand it smooth, I asked Arlen how he felt about potentially removing the door frame that once held our door. It would likely give us more room / make the pantry feel a bit more open. We tested how we felt by removing the one side that was already a bit loose. And then we just wound up removing the entire thing. 

This part of the project was by far the most unplanned part. And took this project into a multi-day affair. We had to purchase a few corner brackets and additional drywall compound (different from the plaster) and then attach the brackets to the wall around the front corners. Once those were attached, we used the drywall compound to layer. And layer. And Layer until the entire wall looked line one smooth piece instead of a rough edge of drywall attached to a 2x4 (which is what it looked like immediately after removing the door frame. 

Once we had all our layers dried, we could then sand the compound so that it was flush with the wall. This part was a lot of fun but also SO messy with all the fine dust particles flying everywhere. I made sure to cover all of our food and wear a mask prior to sanding. I did not want to inhale or digest any of this stuff. Which reminds me... if you know of something more human-friendly than drywall compound, let me know in the comments! 

While we waited for the compound to dry, I went ahead and started the inner shelf assembly. To hold the shelves in place, I opted to cut furring strips and attach them to either side of the pantry walls. That way, the wooden shelves could simply sit on top of the strips. 

I drove my screws in at an angle into the corners since this was the only area that had studs.  

Then, I began my favorite part: Painting. 

It looks like a hot mess, doesn't it?

This was the paint I purchased from the "whoops" section of Home Depot. I got 1 gallon of VOC-free paint in the prettiest sage color for $9! And because this is a rather dark closet area, I only needed one coat of paint for the entire project plus a few touchups! The rest of this paint would go on to coat our outdoor shed along with one studio wall and the stairs leading up to my studio. And even though it's the same paint throughout all those projects, because of where each is located, the color changes with each respective light situation!

Moving on...

With the pantry painted, it was time to add the shelves. Because I opted for 1"x 2" furring strips, there wasn't enough space to secure the shelves with screws. Instead, we secured the shelves with wood glue we had on hand and it worked! We really just wanted to keep the shelves from sliding from front to back, so wood glue was the perfect solution. 

 

With the shelves in place, the final thing we needed to do was to paint the outer walls of the pantry where we had added drywall compound. 

Et Voila! We were officially finished with our super impromptu pantry remodel! Since finishing up the pantry, we have added an additional bottom shelf to hold rectangular baskets for potatoes, onions, recycling center items, and a small baggie for trash. 

We still need to repaint our baseboards where we replaced them after the door frame came out. 

Our drywall compound didn't turn out 100% perfect, but that's ok! You can only really see the imperfections in certain light (like when you raise the ISO on your camera to 6400 to capture a dark pantry corner)

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