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It’s been a while since I posted anything about progress on the pantry, but I’m happy to say it’s now finished!


The pic shows the shallow shelves right of the door (full of canning), and the 15″ deep shelves on the back wall. There are more shelves on the left wall. Shelves are all painted BRIGHT RED, just for fun, though we regretted it when the red paint we had turned out to be semi-translucent and it took 3 coats over top of the primer to get anything close to a consistent finish. 

Now that all the stored food is gathered together in one place (instead of under the bed, in the clothes closet, and in the linen closet) it’s easy to see that we don’t need to buy any more cranberry juice or tinned tomatoes for a LONG time!



Here’s a new book specifically on pantry design and use, available for the Amazon Kindle. 

The Modern Kitchen Pantry: How to Design, Create and Use Your Pantry 

From the Amazon description:

If you’ve ever wanted a pantry for your home kitchen – or to make better use of the one you have – this booklet is for you. Immensely practical, with the help of author and DIY remodeler Kev Williams you’ll discover:

* the different types of pantry and how to choose the one that will suit you

* how to squeeze a pantry into your home, even if your kitchen is small

* how to choose pantry shelving and other fittings

* how to stock and organize your pantry to make best use of it

* how to get rid of pantry pests like flour moths

* and much more!

Pantries are a popular trend in kitchen design and a very useful kitchen feature. Whether you cook from scratch and preserve your own food, use largely convenience foods and rely on the microwave, or anything in between, this how-to guide can help you save money and time by storing and organizing your food stocks more efficiently.

42 pages, 11,500 words


1001 Ideas for Kitchen Organization

I got this book out on Inter-Library Loan recently, and it’s pretty good. So many “kitchen design” books are mostly pretty pictures, devoted to the style and looks side of design. This one is very practical and covers the many creative ways to store more in your kitchen, with hundreds of example pictures. The author, Joseph Provey, also goes beyond the manufacturers promo pictures though, and includes sections on culling the stuff you don’t use, working out where to store each type of thing, alternatives for storing each type of thing, and building your own storage accessories. He even talks about why we should recycle and compost as well as giving many options for how to do so.

I do find the book has a bit of a split personality in paces, such as where a super-duper pulldown interior fitting for upper wall cabinets (which costs an arm and a leg) is pictured right next to a plastic-coated wire “extra shelf” that fits inside a wall cabinet and costs about $4. The DIY projects are quite basic too, compared to many of the elaborate interior fittings shown in the cabinet pictures. There are also a few downright silly pictures, where the objects stored in the door rack will stop the door from closing, for example, but they are in the minority.

Overall this is a very good book to get ideas from as you plan a kitchen remodel or a new kitchen, and also to give you good ideas about how to reorganize and refit your existing kitchen. It should come near the beginning of the design process though, not be relegated to the back end after the cabinets have been chosen and laid out.

The Tool pantry is empty!

A few posts ago I showed you my tool pantry. Well, the tool pantry is now empty and the tools have gone elsewhere, so now we can start turning this into a real food pantry.

Empty Unpainted Pantry

Empty Unpainted Pantry

It’s pretty sad looking at the moment: the original builders were very fond of the waferboard stuff that’s on the inside walls, and varnished it instead of painting it not just here, but in the stair well and the attic bedroom closet as well. The sloping back wall is because this pantry is built out over the basement stairs.

Empty pantry - left side

Empty pantry - left side

Next job is to put in a vertical back wall, finish some unfinished areas, caulk all the gaps to keep insects out, and paint the whole lot white inside. After that there are all kinds of pantry ideas floating about but we will probably go with as much pantry shelving as we can squeeze in, no fancy fittings.

One of the problems with a small pantry is making the best use of the floor space. If you have the kind of pantry like ours, where you step through the door and you’re as far in as you can go (a “step-in” pantry), there isn’t much scope for storing large objects on the floor – you need it to stand on to reach the shelves!.   Pantry designs for step in pantries sometimes solve this by getting  a storage cart (maybe of the type used as kitchen island carts) which is the right size to fit through the door and fill the floor space. Then you have an extra chunk of storage you can use for large bags, bins and crates, which can be rolled out of the way in one swift movement to get into the pantry and reach everything else.


There’s a good picture of this technique here:

Kev Williams has sent you a link to a blog:

Really beautiful butler's pantry here: gorgeous cabinets including beveled glass doors, big marble pastry rolling area, appliance storage, AND a mini-office – what more could you want!

Blog: Willow Decor
Post: My New Butler's Pantry – Before and After!

The best kitchen cabinets may be the ones you already have… especially if you’re on a tight budget!


While you may need to buy some new cabinets to make layout changes or to fill gaps (like we will), maybe you can keep most of your kitchen cabinets and re-use them. It used to be that all the cabinets in a kitchen were supposed to match, so it was pretty difficult to blend old and new. At best, you probably needed to buy new doors for the old cabs to match the new ones.


Nowadays there’s a strong trend for multiple cabinet finishes in the same kitchen, though: different colors (or wood finishes) on wall and base cabinets, or on perimeter cabinets and the island. I’ve even seen pics of kitchens with three different cabinet door finishes AS WELL AS some glass doors!


You can take advantage of this trend to keep your old cabinets where it makes sense, add new ones where you need to, and finish them differently in a way that looks intentional instead of a hodge-podge.


The most promising strategy from my point of view is to pick a door style (not finish) that I can copy relatively easily on my existing cabs, such as a flat slab or a shaker-style frame with flat panel. Then I can buy new cabs in that style in one finish, and use a contrasting finish on my newly-styled old doors. That will disguise any slight style differences which might show too much if I tried to duplicate the new-door finish on the old doors.


Of course, you still have the option of buying new cabinets from a company which can make custom doors to match (like Scherr’s) and getting them to make matching doors for your old cabs, or buying cabinet boxes only and making doors yourself to match your old ones.


Visiting a friends house yesterday evening (for our first Toastmasters meeting of the new season and a potluck, yum!) I noticed that his standard-issue bottom freezer fridge is set back level with the standard depth cabinets.


Well, the back of the fridge projects back through the wall into the pantry, where it has free airflow and access for cleaning. It does reduce the available pantry storage space a bit, but that’s not an issue for him and his wife, and it certainly makes for a more spacious feel in the kitchen and a better traffic flow.

Joy’s pantry design

As well as the pantry, we’re working out what to do about the kitchen cabinets.

The existing cabinets on the N side of the kitchen, while basic and rather old, are still sturdy and do the job, so we will repaint and fancy up the doors and call them good. One of them has already had its insides painted white and it’s a huge improvement over the previous varnished plywood.

On the S side though, we have moved the fridge and removed a stupid and useless desk, leaving about 8 feet of wall devoid of base cabinets, with one and a half wall cabinets above! So now we are looking for the best kitchen cabinets to fill that gap. I would love to have all drawers (I got my 80-year-old Mum in the UK to buy those in her ancient kitchen last year, and she loves them) and that would mean buying new, probably from IKEA. But I’ll also look around locally and see what we can find used: you never know who is throwing out entire almost-new kitchens these days. Nuts, but it happens. I’m waiting for granite and Corian counters to start showing up at the used building materials stores, or even the Salvation Army thrift stores 🙂