HOUSE: Newburgh

Kitchen pantry!

We finally finished the pantry yesterday!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a great “before” photo, but what our pantry looked like in early 2006 (photo taken while we were putting in the kitchen floor). We didn’t have time to nicely renovate it before we moved in, so my mother and I slapped a coat of pale blue paint on everything so it would at least be clean and usable (and not gross yellow-gold, the most depressing color on Earth). When we started renovating the upstairs bathroom (which is directly above the pantry), though, it quickly became clear that we were going to have to demolish the pantry.

As readers of this blog are aware, that bathroom renovation took over a year. GULP. That’s a long time to go without a pantry, especially when you have no other closets on the main floor of your house.

When we ripped down the old shelving and pipe enclosure, the walls pretty much fell apart. Our choices at that point were to repair the plaster (which, frankly, would have been a nightmare in such a tiny space, given the extent of the damage), cover everything with drywall, or cover the damaged walls with another material. Not being fans of the “perfect”/new look of drywall, we chose option #3. We used inexpensive tongue-and-groove bead board, and built a new pipe enclosure out of planks of wood. The ceiling was also repaired using wood planks, and plain moldings were attached to cover any gaps. I built simple shelves using wood cleats and boards. After caulking well and applying several coats of white paint (BM Simply White, satin finish), I have to say that the pantry truly looks original to the house. That was our goal, so I’m very happy. I dislike “fake old” renovations (like sheets of paneling embossed to resemble bead board, yuck—the real thing isn’t much more expensive, and not very difficult to install), and anything “perfect”/new would look really out of place in our house, so this was a great solution.

I covered the bottom and sides of the shelves with Bindweed wallpaper from Ferm Living that I had leftover from the bathroom renovation. I lined the top of the shelves with cork.

I wanted to make the most of the tiny 3×3′ space, so I was very pleased to discover this Elfa Door & Wall Rack. It fits perfectly into the niche between the door jamb and the pipe enclosure. It’s amazing how much it holds, and I have enough space to add two more baskets. I always seem to wind up with 20 bottles of cleansers even though I try to keep things simple, and this beats stuffing them all under the kitchen sink.

We were able to just barely (with the help of a jigsaw!) squeeze this old kitchen cabinet in under the shelving. My friend Patty gave it to me when we bought the house—I think it came from her aunt’s house in Pittsburgh. It’s homemade from scrap lumber, and the old layers of paint are pretty perfect. I don’t like faux “antiqued” finishes, but this is the real thing. Turquoise isn’t a color I would choose on my own, but I love the burst of color it gives the pantry. It’s also just the right size to hold the vacuum cleaner (!) and some ugly things like spare Brita filters and shoe polish.

I feel a little silly for even posting a photo of this, but I have to acknowledge my little folding step stool. The top shelf of the pantry (not shown) is too high for me to reach, but there’s no space to store a stool. I was SO EXCITED (this is my life, folks) to find this tiny, sturdy, foldable step stool. I think I might name it, I love it so much. (p.s. The floor paint color is BM Toucan Black, the same color I used on my stairs and pocket doors.)


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  • Reply erika October 13, 2008 at 10:44 am

    beautiful! i love that stool but i need it to be just a little taller. awesome details and storage.

  • Reply Anna at D16 October 13, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Erika, there is a slightly taller version available!

  • Reply Ana October 13, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Lovely pictures! 🙂 Unfortunaly “my” house is a little bit messy 🙁 and won’t look good and photographs!

  • Reply Jennifer October 13, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Oh no! No room for the microwave? Maybe no outlet? I know you were thinking about putting it in there.

  • Reply Anna at D16 October 13, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I still might put the microwave in there, we’ll see. It depends on how much space I’m left with after putting the rest of my things (presently in storage) in place.

  • Reply Deleilan October 13, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Yay, at last! So, was it worth the wait? 😉

    Your new pantry looks beautiful, and the wallpaper makes it really stylish. Well done!

  • Reply Daisy Steiner October 13, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    I love those little elfa shelves.
    Great work, looks fab.

  • Reply heather October 13, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    So pretty – sigh! I love the use of cork, so practical and clean. And that blue cabinet is great – I love that color! I’m admiring your neatness. I would do that and then it would be a total mess by the end of the week!

  • Reply Beth October 13, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Your house could not be more beautiful. I am always amazed at how perfectly all your things fit together (proportionally) and look *amazing* together. The little stool is a good example. I would end up with an ugly metal one sitting there! What is your secret?? I wish you would help me re-do my house. This is off-topic but I would also love to hear your story (sometime) of how you lost so much weight. I know you are busy right now, but I need to hear your story. You are welcome to email me.

  • Reply April in CT October 13, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I think I just realized I have an infatuation with organized pantries. With cleaners all in their place, neatly organized shelves, stainless steel spray bottles (please tell me where these came from!) and the container (I think) of dog food. Gorgeous!

    I constantly fight with my narrow pantry and maybe one day I’ll figure out an easier arrangement.

  • Reply kristin October 13, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    oh that looks so great! congrats on finally getting your pantry back. I would be equally excited about the folding stool and the wall shelves too.

  • Reply Tasha October 13, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    So I feel silly getting excited about a pantry, but the whole thing (especially the turquoise cabinet) is pretty perfect — and that doorknob is _amazing_.

  • Reply erin@designcrisis October 13, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I am in awe of your resourcefulness, perseverance, and tidiness.


  • Reply Emily October 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I can’t believe how much bigger you pantry now looks!!! It is so organised too. I love the way you have wallpapered the shelves. It adds a little happy surprise when you are reaching for mundane things like cleaning supplies. Oh and I understand your excitement over the stem stool. At 5’2″ step stools are my life. Well that or climbing the shelves.

  • Reply kay* October 13, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    what a lovely pantry! all of the little details (wallpaper, perfect antique storage) make it absolutely beautiful. great job – but then again i wouldn’t expect anything less! love the door knob – is that the anthropolgie? i have my eye on it and can’t wait to stop in at anthro on my next visit to NY.

  • Reply Cupcakes and Cashmere October 13, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    should i be embarrassed/jealous that your pantry is more chic than my entire bedroom? i love the wallpaper…i need to do something like this!

  • Reply Rachel October 13, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Wow, it looks FABULOUS! I’m totally jealous!

  • Reply suzanne October 13, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    good work! it is beautiful.

  • Reply Alicia October 13, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I am so jealous and in awe of the work you’ve done, especially that you’ve done it yourself. It looks so great. I have the same step stool, but in white, and it is fabulous, but since I am so short it never gets put away and is always out in my tiny, 4×6 kitchen!

  • Reply Thessa October 13, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Love it!

  • Reply Adam October 13, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    WOW! I’m totally blown away and so impressed! Your pantry looks stunning and you are so right- it looks so original to the house! I love the cupboard you got from Patty, the finish is so beautiful! I will forever be impressed by your organizational skills!

  • Reply euni October 13, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I love the pantry. I scrolled through your renovations and I am sooo impressed. My husband and I just moved into our 90 year old house in Beacon and I’m very inspired… and undeniably a bit intimidated. Just take it slow, right?

  • Reply Barb F (Australia) October 13, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    This looks fantastic Anna, anyone would think it was the original pantry. You must feel very happy to have the space back, and all so organised!

    So when do we get to see the lovely Bindweed wallpaper on the bathroom wall? I’m actually thinking of using it in my bedroom and would love to see how your bathroom turned out.

  • Reply Vicki October 13, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Do you mind my asking what kind of vacuum you have?

  • Reply ambika October 13, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    There is so much to love here. It makes me smile o see the Meyers products–I love the stuff.

  • Reply Benita October 14, 2008 at 2:05 am

    This is so inspiring. We have a similar storage space which we use for dishes. When we moved in ten years ago I painted it in a weird grey blue shade, leftover paint, and I’ve been meaning to redo it all but have been pushing it forward. This decided it. It will be my next project. I want mine to look as great as yours 🙂 Great idea with the cork!

  • Reply Jemma October 14, 2008 at 7:02 am

    You should write a home DIY/decorating book. I would buy it!

  • Reply panyizsuzsi October 14, 2008 at 7:30 am

    I love it! I truly love it. PLease tell me ne thing how come you have so little stuff int the pantry, mine has loads of stuff in it!

  • Reply lesley October 14, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Lovely as always! Thanks for giving a little shout-out to the stepstool–as a vertically-challenged person I am always longing for a stepstool that’s not pig-dog ugly!

  • Reply Catherine October 14, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I’m a sucker for organizing tips, so your pantry post spoke to me. It looks great. And like someone above said, it’s a little punch of happy where least expected. Which, I suspect, was your plan all along.

  • Reply Anna at D16 October 14, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Beth: There’s not much of a story, really! I just started eating the right amount of the right things. No diet, I just eat differently now. There’s no secret to losing weight (and, more importantly, maintaining a healthy weight in the long term) other than being realistic and honest with yourself. Most people know the right way to eat, they just don’t do it — or they convince themselves that they’re incapable of losing weight or eating differently. Lies! I know, because I did it for a long time.

    April in CT: The spray bottles (which are GREAT) come from the Container Store.

    Kay*: Yes, the doorknob is from Anthropologie. I bought it a few years ago, though — I’m not sure if they still sell it.

    Vicki: I have an Electrolux Oxygen3 canister vaccum. It’s great, but if I could have any vacuum in the world, I’d have chosen a Miele Luna.

  • Reply paula October 14, 2008 at 11:14 am

    my pantry is so jealous of your pantry.

  • Reply Julia October 17, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Lovely job!! I really like the wallpaper and that doorknob is fantastic. It’s the little things in life. 🙂

  • Reply Jessica October 20, 2008 at 8:17 am

    What a lovely pantry! This makes me want to redo every cabinet in our house.

  • Reply Lisa Y October 25, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I absolutely adore the wallpaper. It matches perfectly with everything else. Aha, I’m glad I’m not the only one in need of a stool. Heh.

  • Reply anne November 25, 2008 at 10:23 am

    That wallpaper is so cool. The pantry looks awesome! You are so neat and organized!

  • Reply Petra from the Netherlands December 16, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Hi Anna,

    not sure if you will read this, since the post is already a few weeks old… I was directed to it when reading all “organizing” posts at Benita’s blog.
    Your pantry is VERY neat! It reminds me of the paper I used to cover the shelves inside a built-in closet in our living room, the paper actually being a paper tablecloth I got at Ikea.
    Love those baskets! And I spotted a Mrs. Meyer cleaner in there, my latest favourite!

    Will check out more of your blog soon.

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