Raise your hand if you want more pantry storage.
Or just "better" pantry storage.
I hear ya.
After seven (seven!) long years, we finally got around to turning our pantry/utility room into a room we aren't ashamed to show off!
A lovely, organized pantry that looks so clean. And has plenty of (smarter) storage!
But I can't wait. I am ready to share what we have gotten done so far, along with our hilarious adventures in DIY'ing.
For two people who are learning as we go, I don't think we screwed up too badly.
And if you aren't convinced, check out how the last people left this room! Here are "before photos"...
We always meant to go back and redo it, but other stuff kept taking top priority. So, we simply closed the annoying bifold doors and pretended this room didn't really exist...
What you see there is a plywood floor. A plywood floor that had already been water damaged when we moved in. It was...well. Ugly, impossible to clean, and prone to stabbing your bare feet with splinters.
It was also unlevel as heck.
The left side was supposed to be the pantry, and the shelves over the washer and dryer were for laundry/cleaning/tools. But the laundry shelves were deep and impossible for 5' 3" me to reach easily.
They became cluttered fast. Even though I tried to tidy them once a month, they became a collection place for whatever odds and ends. So did the top of the dryer. And eventually laundry supplies and cleaning supplies ended up on the food shelves.
But the biggest problem was that it was hard to clean, and that stressed me out to the point of tears, one too many times.
So...we got to work.
We had planned to have this done in about two weeks. But three things happened that were definitely not expected.
1. The day we meant to start work, my father-in-law passed away. I was ready to put the project on hold as long as needed, but after a week, my husband asked if we could start so he could stay busy and occupy his mind.
2. We had a person lined up to help us with a couple of things we weren't sure how to do. When we called to see if he was ready, we found out he had been tossed in jail.
3. My husband was in a car accident.
May was not a good month for us. But...we persevered. Here is what it looked like the day we decided to just go for it.
"We've made a terrible mistake...this is impossible."
We found out that the the little linoleum pad under the appliances hid a sinister secret. The previous owners had water leaks. Quite often, from the looks of things.
The next step was to pull up the floor.
And then the next floor.
And then the...wth??? The NEXT floor...
And then laugh hysterically when we found floor number 4.
Yes. there were four layers of flooring.
The first floor was the painted plywood floor seen above. Then a layer of particle board. Then another chipboard. And under that was the original floor.
That part of the house was added on later, possibly by boxing in a back porch. The floor boards were ANCIENT. They also had about a half inch or more space between each one.
Pulling the floor took three days. They used all the nails and screws. All of them. In the world, I think.
Under the final floor boards we found that some of the supports were in bad shape too. So we literally fixed this room from the ground up. (which added a LOT of time to our optimistic two week estimate).
I was definitely still wondering if we had made a mistake. Maybe we should have just been thankful for what we had. This feeling got worse when we took the paneling down.
That was not part of the plan at first either. We thought we could simply attach the current paneling correctly and paint.
Nah. Too easy. It had water damage too, and was crumbling as we worked around it.
This was about the point I started panicking about the budget. Luckily, we had some sheets of paneling in storage and it was exactly enough to do the whole room. Whew!
We decided to tile before building the shelves. My husband went for the tile. Calls a little while later to say he had a "small car wreck".
My mother took this photo to show what a "small car wreck" looks like. He was rear ended and flipped into a storm drain, but luckily walked off with just some whiplash and pulled muscles. (The other driver was okay too, thank goodness.) The car was not okay.
After he healed for awhile, we got back to work on the pantry. By now it was getting a little inconvenient, as our food and cleaning supplies were all piled in my office.
Here is what the whole room looked like after the first coat of paint:
On the right side of the room, on the far side of the washer, there is a shelf built in that is JUST for utility supplies. Stuff like our tool box, sanders, flash lights, light bulbs, etc. Also has a place for the dog food bin. (All that ugly stuff hidden by the washer. Yay!)
On this side of the washer we built the "fake wall" so the washer wasn't in your face every time you glance that way. The wall will be used for the calendar, memo board etc. (so I can clean off my fridge!) The other side of the wall has the rack for the brooms and mops so I don't have to look at them either.
The shelf on this side of the washer is the laundry and basic household cleaning supplies. Shallow shelves. So no room for clutter!
And of course, the left side of the room is the pantry!
You know what they don't tell you about twin four year olds? The eat a LOT of food!
The best part is we have a custom spot for the sodas and the recycling can, and four "cubes" that are specifically designed for shelving canned goods. No more tumblin' tin cans when the girls decide to help make dinner!
Here is a better look at the pantry side.
We still have to finish the utility side, add some trim, change the light fixture and a few other little things, but so far, it is working great. And it looks so clean! I'm in love!
Next, (after we find a new car and recover from the surprise costs of this room) we will be doing a complete DIY overhaul of our kitchen.
Fingers crossed it goes a lot more smoothly!