No More Wire Shelves! How To Change Up A Standard Pantry – Before & After


What if we used our pantry for something other than just food?

Standard Builder’s Walk-In Pantry

In the late 1980’s builders decided to market a “walk-in pantry”.  For decades now, we have all fought with the wire shelving customary in these larger alcoves with doors.  Few items sit level on a wire shelf.  Things fall thru these shelves and gunk gets stuck all over the plastic coated material.  That is, if the units actually stay on the wall and don’t come crashing down from too much weight.  Anything sounding familiar?  Below is a “before”  photo that could be in any pantry.

There is a graveyard somewhere for all the wire shelving taken out of homes!


The concept no doubt spawned from a very old idea of a separate area called a “butler’s pantry.  However, somehow the notion that these walk-in closets should house food became the norm.   But why?  Food items are small, intended to be consumable and not very pretty to look at.  Even a very well organized pantry can drive us nuts if everyone does not follow the system.

Simply Put…Pantries Can Be Stress Points


So let’s hop back to the idea of long ago when a butler (if only the pantry indeed came with a staff now!) used a “small service and storage room between a kitchen and a dining room”.  That’s the definition of a butler’s pantry and one area we are asked to help our clients achieve in many of our kitchen designs.  No matter the size, or shape, of a pantry we consider it fair game to be updated to be as interesting as it can be.

Step One – Use An Interesting Door

Why have a solid door on the pantry when it can be such an asset to the decor?

Last year we posted Living Large in Under 2000′ and gave a glimpse of this pantry makeover.  Since then, we have had several emails asking us more details about this pantry.  Because this is my personal home, I can honestly answer any question you want to throw out (leave a comment below).  To begin, we changed the standard 6 panel masonite door to a Lowe’s full view wood door and painted the frame black.

Step Two – Use Laminate Cabinets and Counter Tops




What?!  Did I just say the word no TV interior designer ever utters…laminate?  Yes.  Laminate is one of the most versatile, economical ways to achieve a high end custom design.  This pantry is a 5’x5′ space with the corner cut off.  It is only about 13.5 sq feet of counter space.  Yet, this small space offers counter space for a one-butt coffee station, snack cupboard, bake and service ware, plus pot and pan storage!

Step Three – Use Open Shelves

You can see above that we only have one center section covered with doors.  This is where the snack food is.  Snack food is messy, hard to corral but never lasts long so this space does not need to be large.  All the other areas are open shelves and not used for food storage.  Instead, we use these narrowly spaced shelves for all the things we’d normally strain to get to in lower deep cabinets.




Step Four – Be Creative In The Pantry


Small areas can be a bit quirky and get away with it.  Above we used copper pipe and flanges as the support for stained rough cedar shelves.


How about a simple expandable chrome rack to house stainless pots and pans.  Easy to access and a really efficient use of a 12″ x 24″ space.  Art, aprons and a tack board finish off this multi function work space.

The Not So Ordinary Pantry


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Medium Dresses - Courtney 6.14.17

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