Once our kitchen was pretty much done, we started to realize just how irritating our existing pantry situation was. And not in a nit-picky, I-only-live-in-perfect-houses sort of way. In a my-husband-will-lose-it-if-the-garage-door-keeps-slamming-into-the-pantry-door sort of way.
When our house was built, it was gifted with an abundance of doors in a very teeny space. There was one standard pantry, with wire shelves and a full-sized door. Then just a few inches away, there was another pantry-esque closet with a few wobbly wooden shelves. To complete the space, the door to the garage opened into the pantry area, slamming into whichever door or doors were left open. All was well when no one tried to come in from the garage while someone was looking for dinner food. But in the event that you cook dinner often and your husband likes to use the garage, this was a no-go.
You can kind of see the problem here: if you open the door on the right, it’ll be covering up the door to the garage.
Here are the twin pantries (with different depths, I might add), and just out of view on the right is the garage. At the time this picture was taken, we had given up and taken off the doors.
It was time to tear into it. But, since we thought the area may contain something load-bearing, we checked with an architect.
We were right. It was load-bearing, so we hired some help and put in a beam.
Then not too long after it looked like this:
We had some extra cabinets in the garage from our kitchen renovation that were just dying to not be given back to ReStore, and when we couldn’t find cheap, used uppers that matched, we borrowed this massive shelf-cabinet to be the uppers. Regular people would say it didn’t fit, but since we are not regular people, we cut out some drywall and crammed the cabinet in there anyway.
Eventually, it looked like this:
The pantry needed to become the new home of the microwave for a couple reasons. One, we had a built-in microwave before we replaced the 30″ range with a 36″ Wolf gas stovetop. Built-in microwaves are 30″, and we thought the chances combining the two sizes without it looking stupid were next to none.
Two, we are low on counter space in general, so the microwave would’ve either hogged most of it or defiled the beautiful vintage mercantile store fixture on the other side of the kitchen.
So we were left with the pantry as our best option. We originally just installed an outlet in the existing pantry and set the microwave on the shelf in there. But it needs air circulation, so if someone happens to close the pantry door while you’re defrosting something, the microwave will self-destruct.
True story. Thankfully this happened while Dave was home or I would’ve thought the house’s wiring was on fire rather than just the inside of the microwave. So we lost a microwave but it did save the Franklin Fire Department a trip.
We added a sink and a countertop, rather than just make floor-to-ceiling shelving or cabinets, as you probably noticed. This was for two reasons. One, we found a really cool brass sink at ReStore for $40 and it included the faucet. Two, if your microwave is across the kitchen from the sink, and you heat up and stir your coffee 14 times a day, you have to figure out what to do with your wet spoon. At least it needs a counter, but if you’re really lucky and find a cool brass sink for cheap, it needs a sink, too. Later, it also became the home of our instant hot water spigot, which is a glorious little convenience item, once you train your kids not to wash their hands with it.
And then finally, the night before the magazine photo shoot, this.
Here is was up close:
It’s pretty, right? But I know what you’re thinking…WHERE IS YOUR FOOD??
That’s a good question. Just when we were organizing everything and figuring out how to have it hold food and still look okay, the magazine said they’d like to photograph it. So I put baking ingredients in glass jars and tea bags in canisters and bread in the breadbox. The drawers have canned things, which is actually really convenient. The cabinets have dry noodles and lots of other things organized in neat little rows, and under the sink there are wire baskets that hold tall bottles like oils and stuff.
The upper shelves are more of a challenge. The idea is to have them look pretty but be useful. I can’t reach the top ones. The kids use a stool to get to things they can’t reach, and don’t seem to mind. The top ones will probably be dishes we don’t get to as much, and the other ones will just be organized with regular food. Also, we keep cereal and fruit on the mercantile store fixture and on the shelf above it, like this:
The turkey isn’t usually on the shelf. That was for the magazine. And, we don’t usually have brioche cut ever-so-nicely sitting out. That was for the magazine, too. But you get the idea. The basket on the shelf with the scones in it usually has bags of crackers with clothespins on the tops. The rest of it is how we actually use it, though.
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