Welcome to the pantry… or as our friend, Tim, calls it “Narnia.” I can see where he’s going with that nickname. This super functional, neatly hidden closet is definitely a dream space, but it was borne out of sheer necessity.
- We needed to pack as much storage into the kitchen as possible… and we didn’t want upper cabinets.
- We were looking for a permanent home for our upright deep freezer.
- We needed to push the sides of the kitchen and former dining space together to give the finished room a cohesive feel.
A hidden pantry met all of these requirements. We planned to remove the built-ins on the outer wall and box in the space.
Post demo, wall building and drywall hanging, we were left with a blank slate.
You probably noticed that we went a little wild with the color in this space. While we joke about painting everything white and often stick to black and gray as the other primary elements of our palette, we have a huge love for jewel tones. Evidence includes our blue couch, the emerald green captain’s suite at the firehouse, our blue master bedroom and the emerald green accent around the windows in our dining room. Keeping most things white/black/gray makes those shots of color even more impactful.
For the pantry, we wanted a big pop, which meant we needed something that would contrast the black cabinets. Yellow felt a bit too bee-like and you can guess why we scratched orange of any sort. Moving along the color wheel something in the red category was the next most obvious option. Black, white and hot pink are a classic combo in my opinion. (long standing IRL friends and family members may remember that those were the colors from our wedding.)Just to make sure we weren’t overlooking an option, we pinned some palettes and grabbed all the jewel tone swatches from Home Depot. Glidden’s Bright Black Raspberry won us over.
Enough suspense, let’s dive into the space.
We packed a lot of utility to the right side of the pantry. A countertop of Absolute Black honed granite is the perfect home for the small appliances that get used frequently but that we don’t want to stare at (or put away) every day. Both coffee makers, the toaster and the Soda Stream live here permanently. Below we nestled the microwave and a drawer that’s perfect for storage bags, foil and plastic wrap. Hiding the microwave in here kept the kitchen U looking seamless. Aaron built a shelf to complete the space next to the cabinet, making it perfect for all of our extra large items, like a massive cutting board and marshmallow toasting forks. You know, the essentials in life.
Up top, the cabinet hides all of the coffee paraphenalia – cups, coffee and filters. Custom shelves to the right of the cabinet house cookbooks. And you might notice that we opted for a motion sensing switch in here. It has made me feel like the lights should just turn on anytime I enter a room in this house. So basically I’m spoiled by it. I also love that it snaps the lights off after a few minutes.
You might also noticed that the entry to the space was not exactly “done” when I took these photos. It has since been trimmed and painted a matte black. We also corralled the undercabinet lighting wires under some trim that was painted hot pink. Basically I took these photos before everything was done…
Flipping around you get a view of ALL THE SHELVES. The long wall holds 6 shelves that are 7″ deep and 5′ long. They are perfect for things like spices and canned goods. The back wall shelves are 16″ deep and 39 1/2″ wide. This area holds larger items like baking essentials and snacks.
Did you notice that our deep freeze didn’t make it in here? While working on the configuration, we realized that we were building a pantry that would house the freezer and then some thin shelves (just the ones on the long wall). Aaron decided to take one for the team and keep the freezer in the workshop space. I was convinced that we could make it work either way… but I’m very happy that he convinced me take advantage of the extra shelves at the back of the space.
Ikea’s Algot system was the perfect option for a customizable and economical storage system. At a few bucks per upright and bracket, the components are wildly affordable. They got a coat of Bright Black Raspberry to make them fade into the background.
For the shelves, Aaron insisted on hardwood. He opted for hard maple due to the relatively economical cost and the beautiful grain. Each shelf required this rigorous process
- Cut to size
- Plane for smoothness
- A pass through the drum sander
- Hand sanding (heavy and medium grit)
- Wet the boards to raise the grain, then wet sand with medium grit sandpaper
- Sand again (medium and fine grit)
- Two floods of dark walnut Danish Oil
- Wax all edges
In may have been a bit of overkill for pantry shelves, but they definitely look and feel very luxe. This pantry is fancy AF.
In related news, Aaron is not using hard maple anywhere else in this house.
A few other Ikea items make this space super functional. A step stool is a must because short girl problems. The Bekvam step stool was sold out in black, so we grabbed the birch option and discovered it was unfinished. Aaron stained it with Old Masters Dark Walnut Gel stain. It matches the shelves and looks like it belongs to this space. We strategically place the lower shelf high enough to allow the stool to slide underneath.
We snagged a few Algot mesh baskets that clip right to the upright, making them perfect for onions and potatoes.
While I love the look of pantries that have all their items sorted into matching containers, I knew that was too much effort for me. (Legitimate question – how do you know how to cook things if you chuck the packaging?) Ikea’s Variera boxes are much more my speed. They come in a few sizes and make everything from pasta to Aaron’s sour candy collection feel organized in a flash. I used these boxes throughout the kitchen and they may be the best $2.79 you can spend at Ikea.
That rounds out the kitchen renovation. I’m still spending an embarrassing amount of time looking at the before/after shots. So don’t feel bad if you’re doing the same 😉