Monday, May 23, 2016

Kitchen Rescue Finished

I am finally completely finished with my pantry project. The new shelves were finished weeks ago, but what I didn't anticipate was that the old, existing shelving unit would need a serious overhaul. These shelves had been added by the previous owners, taking advantage of a setback in the wall created by the HVAC system they also installed. The shelves were a thoughtful touch, but over the sixteen years that we've lived in this house, they had become indescribably shabby, especially when compared to the new shelves I'd just built. I cleaned them periodically but they hadn't been painted since 1990, when the previous owners built them.

So I emptied the unit and scrubbed it and painted it. When we bought the house, the kitchen had red and yellow floral curtains and the back wall of the shelves was covered with a piece of the same fabric. One of the first things I did when we moved in was get rid of the fabric. Now, I felt that the plain white backing wasn't doing much for me. I tacked fabric scraps to the back of the shelves, but didn't achieve the Brunschwig & Fils look I was going for and I realized that fabric would just get greasy and gross over time. I had paint samples from when we painted the front hall, and after auditioning these on the back of the shelves, I chose Sherwin Williams' Copen Blue.

The cupboard at the bottom was under-utilized and messy. Jon added a shelf to maximize the space.

Cupboard before

Cupboard after - finally a place to store dog treats.
We used to have to stack the canned dog food on the floor.

Pantry wall before - the cookbook shelf was such a disaster

Pantry wall after.
I am determined to prevent clutter from collecting on the bottom shelf where the cookbooks used to be.

Close up of the re-painted shelves

Close up of the shelves I built

The final touch was new cabinet knobs. I disliked the featureless white knobs that came with the shelves. I browsed etsy for about fifteen minutes and selected these vintage blue glass knobs. Are they perfect? No, but they cost $6. If I find something perfect, I'll buy it then, but life is too short to spend hours dithering over cabinet knobs.

I realize this isn't an aspirational pinterest kitchen. My house is humble, but then I've never desired grandeur. Still, I am really happy with how this turned out. I love having all my baking supplies in one place and especially love having separate canisters for each type of flour. I also love my newly-organized cookbook shelf. The canned goods on the top shelf are a bit random, but I'm only putting frequently-used staples up there.

I made good use of the label maker my kids gave me for Christmas

These little celluloid dolls are my pantry gods.
They were my mother's. I am responsible for their painted shoes and eyeballs.
The sharpie outfit and mustache are an unfortunate addition from one of my kids.
I can't be too mad, I remember being outraged at my inability to dress these dolls.

In case anyone is interested, below are linked the earlier posts about this.


  1. Well done! It looks fantastic.

  2. Wow, this looks wonderful! You did a great job.

  3. Well? Are you chalkboard people now? Do tell!

    1. Not quite. We have things like "mom @ gym" and a constantly-refreshed list of "Seamus' requests" on our board. No enthusiastic notes about picnics or trips to Paris.

  4. VERY nice! I love that paint color and the knobs.

    Excellent use of the label maker. Maybe if I promised to reorganize my kitchen I would get a label maker for Christmas.

    1. I love my label maker. I'm probably not using it its full potential. You can choose different fonts, and there are all kinds of features I haven't tried yet.

  5. It's so fresh and tidy and useful-looking! Great work. That shelf was a genius move, and I know what you mean about striving to keep decluttered space cleared off. Enjoy! I bet you feel pride every time you look at it.