the pantry.

In last Wednesday’s post you saw the door to our pantry.

Despite the signage, that door doesn’t really lead to any public phones.  I got that sign at Junk Bonanza many years ago and it’s been on the pantry door ever since.

It also doesn’t really lead to a pantry.  Instead it opens onto the stairs to our basement.  But there is a 12″ or so ledge around two sides that we’ve taken advantage of by adding some built in shelving and calling it a pantry.

Once again, let’s start at the beginning though.

Oh boy, right?

Yep, this is where we started.  How embarrassing is that?

At that point we had a solid door.  It could be closed so that no one could see this awful mess.  Closing the door is also a good thing because in the winter it blocks the radiator when open.

But as you can see, we have a window in this space.  And closing the door resulted in shutting out the light it allowed in as well.  So we decided we needed a door with a window to allow the light into the kitchen, and that also meant we needed to make this space presentable.  It would no longer be out of sight, out of mind.

I found the door on Craigslist.  It had to be cut down just a tad to fit our opening.

We then embarked on the big clean-out.

It was still looking pretty shabby once everything was removed.  That’s when we hired our friend Ben (Ben also did all of our sheet rock/archway building work in the kitchen … oh, and he has also painted our exterior as well, and he removed all of our popcorn ceilings on the main floor) to skim coat the walls and ceiling.

Once they were skim coated, I repainted.

It was already looking so much better.

Next I shopped around for more attractive shelving for the space.  I was limited to the 12″ depth of the ledge though and I just couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere.  Enter our favorite handyman/neighbor Ken.  He custom built shelving to fit the space and to suit our needs.

Now, here’s the thing.  As you move into the pantry, you’re also going down the stairs into the basement.  So we can’t actually reach the things on the top of the shelving unit under the window, or the things on the top right shelf or very top of the taller units.  They are just for looks.

Well, let’s be honest, there might be a few more items in here that are really ‘just for looks’.  This is the perfect spot for displaying a few of my non-collections like the bluebird china, vintage scales and flour sifters …

and don’t forget the vintage tablecloths.

Uh, that’s a lot of non-collections, right?  I guess denial is not just a river in Egypt.

But I also like to use awesome vintage (or maybe not so vintage) containers to store mundane, but more practical things.  The taller breadbox holds the cat food, the smaller breadbox holds Keurig coffee pods.  The other vintage breadboxes hold Kleenex.  The enamelware bucket holds cleaning rags.

Vintage locker baskets hold paper towels and toilet paper.

The wall opposite the shelves, which I practically have to do contortions to photograph, is painted in black chalkboard paint and contains a message that I try to live by.

That wall also houses the light fixture.  I swapped out the plain glass shade that was on it originally for this fabulous vintage one that I found at a garage sale.

The pantry was the absolute last space in our house that we tackled.  We’d redone every other room, and some twice, but we didn’t get to this one until we’d been in our house nearly 20 years.  It was so easy to just shut the door and ignore it.  But now that it’s pretty, it’s one of my favorite spots.  Especially in the evening when the sun starts going down and it floods the pantry, and now the kitchen, with light.

Do you have a space like this in your house?  You know, that one area that you’ve been neglecting for a really long time?  Please tell me that we’re not the only ones who took 20 years to get something done!

30 thoughts on “the pantry.

  1. I LOVE that “pantry”! We added a pantry off our utility room in our quirky little cottage when we moved in. The utility is also entry (not my choice. Just fact). I’ve worked on the utility and made it a farmhouse/pretty room and I adore it. It’s probably my favorite room in the house now.

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  2. Love your pantry! You have inspired me to work on my utility/pantry/dish room. My problem is narrowing down what I need (want) in there! I am really enjoying your home tour. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. Love your pantry, a beautiful display area and practical too. We have a project that we will finally tackle, this fall, after living in the house for 28 years. Our third bathroom has served as a storage closet for way too long and hopefully will soon be a functioning 3/4 bathroom. We are DIY kind of people and this will be a challenge.

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  4. I love the door to the pantry. As you look through the door from the kitchen everything looks so inviting. It is a great use of space and creativity. 😊

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  5. I feel like a stuck record player but this is absolutely charming. How could you not be happy with a pantry like this one? It makes me smile just looking at it. And I’m seriously wondering why you didn’t fill up that empty jar with green knobby cookie cutters.😉

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  6. I’ve always loved your bright and cheery pantry! I have been in my house 33 years and now that I’m retiring next week, I will FINALLY have time to redo my laundry room (a great big mess!). See, sometimes you don’t get to something for a long long time.

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  7. Dramatic before and after! I would be a little afraid of placing things on the upper shelves that could break but looks like most of what is up there is fairly unbreakable. I just would have loved a visual of how you placed them up there. It’s just unbelievably gorgeous and makes an amazing statement when you can glipse it through the pantry/stairs door. I love every thing in there especially since it’s turquoise, the best color in the world. Thanks for sharing this small but special place in your home.

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    1. Hmmm. I totally should have shared how I do that. You can kind of get an idea by looking at the photo of the painting in progress (5th photo down). I put a long piece of scaffolding across from the doorway to the ledge opposite. Then I’m able to just walk out there and easily reach those top shelves.

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  8. This looks great! After 17 years of storing and stashing in a large closet under my stairway with excess paper, etc. I finally had a custom “mailroom” installed. I stood in that doorway for many years envisioning an organized space. I love it! No more mail on the kitchen counter allowed!

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  9. Whaddaya whaddaya………there’s no floor? That just might become your recurring “bad dream”! Throwing open the pantry door and reaching for the high shelf and falling back into a black void….noooooooooooooo! Ha ha ha ha ha! But seriously, it looks great and cozy and effortlessly curated……Bingo!

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    1. I think it’s actually safer because there is no false sense of security, like with a railing by the stairs.
      As soon as I go for something in the pantry, I’m under no illusions…I’m working without a net! 😉

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  10. We have been in our house 25 years now and it all definitely needs an overhaul, even though it kind of HAS been overhauled a few times. The pantry is gorgeous and I love everything in it. All your “non-collections” are some of my favorite items as well. I need a next door handyman, then I can get some things accomplished, namely a wall of book shelves. Does Ken travel, specifically to Indiana 😉

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  11. Love the pantry! It reminds me of my Grandmother’s house! There was an opening in the kitchen floor like your opening. Hers had a door over the opening. She kept a rug over it. When I was 5-7 years old I stayed with her all night as much as possible. I was never a allowed to go down the stairs to see what was in the cellar, but that door on the floor fascinated me. She would not allow me to walk on top of the door, from fear the door would be weak and I would end up falling down into the cellar. That didn’t stop me from walking and jumping on it. She finally told me there was a monster that lived down there and that was why I should stay away from the door. That worked, I stayed off it after she told me that, but she then had to put up with me sleeping in her bed, instead of the guest room, because I didn’t want the monster to get me!!!! Apparently my safely was so important to her and she had to scare me to get me to mind! You could always add a door to yours, but some of the shelves might have to go to allow it to open.

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    1. We thought about adding a flip down sort of door like that, but we know ourselves well enough to know that it would be up 99.9% of the time. So it wouldn’t be worth the expense for us. Fortunately we don’t currently have any monsters living in the basement, but down the road you never know 😉

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