{renovate} maximizing pantry space

Friends, let's talk about food storage today. Also known as .... the kitchen pantry. We finally have one! Let me preface this whole post with a renovation warning: we didn't quite think this through before we started. We KNEW we were going to lose some storage and we talked in the abstract about making better use of our hall closet, but it wasn't until we wanted to move all the food out of the living room (ahem) that we realized we had no where to put it. Cue confused frowny faces.

First, let's take a look at what we started with. On the left was our previous pantry. It was technically a built-in-turned-pantry, but it worked well. I cleaned it up and painted it a couple years ago. On the right is that same space now. That new wall? It's the back of our built-in oven. I think we'll still put small (tiny!) shelves back in for books, but for the most part this space is unusable -- well except for storing coconut water, popcorn and crackers. You know, the essentials :).

Next let's take a look at the most poorly used space in our entire house. You know how when you read articles/blog posts about small spaces the main piece of advice is to MAXIMIZE your space? Well friends, we live in a small space and the above photos are a prime example of NOT maximizing our space. A generously-sized hall closet - directly across from our old pantry - that was mostly used as paper bag and vacuum storage. (Oh and this space is the most awkward space in the house to photograph -- sorry for the weird angles throughout the post!)

And mop and aprons. :) Clearly, there is a reason that this space hasn't been featured here before! But we knew it was the perfect space for a new pantry. Since Chris was really busy with kitchen stuff I couldn't really help with - like, wiring - so I thought I'd "help" by clearing out the closet, painting it and getting it ready to add shelves.

Except THIS mess was what I came across when I cleared it all out. Old, crumbly lath and plaster.
Want to see a close up of that hot mess?

Boom. Chris had some choice words about my "helping," when I broke it to him that I actually needed his help :). Because we had three choices: 1. patch (ugh). 2. demo and sheetrock (ugh). 3. cover up that big ugly mess (hmmm).

Choice 3 won! So, we covered thethaff with beadboard, painted and hung new shelves. I went with the same white/cream as all our house trim (Miller Paint: Whip). It looks a tiny bit yellow in these photos, but that's because I had construction lights blaring at it. Because the closet doesn't actually have a light, so I wanted the space to be as light and bright as possible. The closet floor was painted the same color as the kitchen floor. The shelves are a closet kit from Lowe's. It was so easy -- we brought in our measurements and they cut the shelving to length on site.

And friends, it's like a whole new world! Those people who say you should maximize your space in a small house weren't kidding -- it makes such a difference!

All our food fits, with room to spare (!).

All our small appliances! Our vacuum and mop were moved downstairs with our other cleaning supplies. Our paper bags still have a home in the new space :).

While I was painting the whole thing (by the way, I still have paint in my hair -- a week later!), I decided to add a chalkboard to the inside of the door. I had some chalkboard paint on hand already and it'll be a great spot to make a note when we run out of something.

The whole process was so quick. It took us about 6 hours to remove everything, hang beadboard and hang the shelves. So you know, quick in the grande scheme of the whole kitchen remodel! And, it allowed me to take back my living room! YAH! It's the little things.

Friends, have any of you retrofitted a badly organized closet? Any fun pantry makeovers? Are any of you not maximizing your small spaces?? :)


  1. What a change!! You did a great work!! I really love it and I want this blackboard door ;D!!!


  2. Fun and so functional and I love a "quick" 6 hour renovation project! Nice job Jenn (& Chris)!

  3. That is a great pantry- just the perfect size for a bottle of wine! Love the chalkboard!

  4. Great job on the pantry! I love the space and especially the chalkboard.

  5. Using bead board is brilliant! We have a pantry that looks similar with crumbling sheet rock. I think bead board might just be the answer. Thanks! :)

  6. Looks fantastic for such a fast project. Like you spent weeks on it!

  7. What a transformation, Jenn!! Amazing! And I'm super jealous...we have no pantry at all...just one cabinet to fit all our food in:( Love the chalkboard, that was genius!!

  8. Your pantry turned out great, so organized! So cool the space now fits your small appliances

  9. Fun!! I painted my pantry door with chalkboard paint to!

  10. JENN! This is GREAT! And congratulations on reclaiming your living room! How exciting! Just in time for Christmas...party... :)

  11. The bead board is genius! Looks great too.


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