For most of us, the perfect pantry is elusive. Many of today’s houses are built with more living square footage, but with much less pantry space. The dream of super-organized shelves, pull out bins for produce, and lovely glass jars with neat labels is frankly not a reality for the majority of us. In this post, we’ll show you how a relatively small remodel will spell out HUGE new possibilities!
We have a large family (5 kids, mom and dad, and grandma), and our house is above-average size at 4,000 square feet. Our pantry was laughable at best – 50" wide by 27" deep with only 5 shelves! We were having to utilize garage space in order to store excess food, which just doesn’t work. Since a huge remodel is completely out of the budget, we tried to think of ways to do a mini remodel at an affordable cost – we were shooting for $300 or less. The best thing we could think of was moving our refrigerator to the opposite wall, and making the pantry wider by almost twice.
After removing the door and existing shelves, the first thing we had to do was remove the current pantry walls. The new width of the pantry will be 90′′ (inside), so the door will have to be relocated. Our plan was to buy another of these doors, and make them open like French doors. This will give us a wide access point for all our new shelving! Taking down both walls to the left gave us a completely open space to work with. We were VERY careful to preserve as many studs as we could, as well as the sides of the door frame to be reused in the new design.It’s always interesting to see what you find when you open a wall...this time we found a roll of toilet paper. A friend of ours found a gallon jug of yellow liquid (don’t even WANT to guess what it was!), and in our last house we found a beer bottle in the frame of our jetted tub! I always wonder if it’s a running joke with these guys, or what.
The one thing we didn’t bargain on was the depth of the back wall being different. We have support column for the second level behind the pantry, so there was no way (at least for us amateurs!) to adjust the framing along the back. We decided to just leave this the way it was, which means that the old part of the pantry will be 3.5" deeper than the rest.
It looks kinda weird now, but this got me to brainstorming about a solution. I have always wanted pull out drawers for my potatoes and onions, so the best thing I could think of was to build a “tower” in the center that would cover up the depth difference. My husband and I both are carpenters, so building a unit like this is a piece of cake! By Making the right side 3.5" deeper than the left, and making the back piece straight across, no one will ever really know the depth difference!
Anyway, once the new walls were up, my husband framed in the expanded header and moved the door frame to the left about 10". This allowed us to center the two doors, with relatively little fuss. Since we were using the old door, we didn’t have the luxury of buying a pre-hung door. We had to make sure the doors would hang properly before adding drywall to the new sides. My husband is pretty much my hero, so he was able to use the old side frames, a couple of shims, and a new .5" top frame and voila – French doors!!
After ensuring the doors would work well, it was now time to move on to adding drywall to the new sides and header. Now that the drywall was complete, it was time to add the fancy corner rounder piece, and add the tape and joint compound. Any home improvement project requires planning, and I am definitely a planner. With any woodworking project I do, I often make design plans and cut lists.
For this project, I wanted to make sure to utilize as much space as I could, while also covering the different depth issue. As you can see, my plans are pretty extensive! In a project like this, I like to have a front view and a view from the top. By planning things out this way, we were able to make changes on paper without making costly mistakes. I had desperately wanted a divider for my cookie sheets and such, but by looking at the design on paper, we were able to see that the header would be in the way. Boo.
Need assistance with functional yet beautiful decorating? Call or text Ann Schamberger at 713-703-8258. We would be thrilled to create your new space with style and function.