Monday, November 3, 2014

How to redesign a kitchen pantry

We're rehabilitating our new home. Here's how we redesigned our kitchen pantry.
Before: dirty and unusable, lots of wasted space.

Problem 1. The shelves were few (3) and too deep (24 and 36 inch)

In a situation like a pantry, instead of a small number of deep shelves, you want many shallow shelves to reduce situations where one object hides behind another.
The deep shelves also cause dark shadows at the back of the pantry, making it even less usable.
To fix this situation, we'll increase the number of shelves from 3 to 5 and reduce the depth from 24 and 36 inches to 12 inches.
To ensure that we use our available storage space efficiently, we're creating L-shaped shelves which increases the linear shelf space by more than 50%.

Problem 2. The interior was coated with flat paint. 

Anyplace where you want clean or disinfected, you need to use a semgloss or high gloss paint.  Unlike flat paint, glossy surface coatings are water resistant, cleanable and resist sticky substances (like food spills).  Additionally, flat paint soaks up light, making the pantry seem dark and dingy, not attributes I want where we store our food.
To maximize visibility and cleanliness, we used a low-voc white semigloss paint.

Problem 3. Shelves were held up with 2x4s.

Using a 2x4 in your food pantry to hold a shelf is not only overkill, it looks clunky, wastes space, and when working on a closet for a few hours, I'd rather not deal with material that bulky or heavy. We decided to go with pre-primed 1x2 for the long shelves along the rear of the closet and twin-track standards for the short shelves along the right side.

Design goals:

  • Maximize storage space without making things hard to see or reach
  • Solid shelves instead of wire shelves - wire shelves are bad for small objects and useless during spills
  • Sometimes food gets messy: make everything easy to clean
  • As always, re-use as much material as possible

Let's get started!