Friday, October 5, 2012

Ripped from the Archives - Pantry Edition

You see, there used to be another blog. An awesome blog, full of hilarity and mostly ducks. But then grassbags were grassbags and the ducks had to move and, although we could still easily get ducks for art and photo purposes, I would rather not have the government show up at the door again demanding that I explain my blog. Not that the government wasn't nice about it, it's just that apparently grassbags know how to use both the internet and the county's anonymous zoning tip line.

But I digress. These posts were some of my favorite projects we've ever done, and I want to share them again with the VERY CLEAR DISCLAIMER THAT ALL DUCK INVOLVEMENT IS PAST TENSE. We no longer have ducks living here and we are in compliance with all county codes and regulations. And also, if you're the sort of person who had a problem with ducks in the first place, you are a world class disk golfer. YES, YOU!


Our pantry was fine. Perfectly fine. Uber functional in design, and visually it was as if one of the old masters had constructed it from pieces of heaven that had the mis-fortune of falling from the sky. It was a bit art deco with hints of Victorian flourishes and just a dash of federalist finishes all at once.
I'm not sure I want to go to heaven anymore...

Alright, fine! It was wire shelving. Horrible wire shelving that you normally find in closets and Matisse paintings. The setup itself was straight up mind boggling (again, much like a Matisse painting).
Now if you own a pantry and odds are you might, it's normally a place where you store stuff. Big stuff, normal size stuff, small stuff. But not in this pantry. No ma'am. Any smallish container or packet would slowly tumble out of sight only to be found 3 months later during spring cleaning. The shelving was also only four feet long despite the fact that the pantry itself was six feet long. Why? No one knows. It was a riddle. And not one of those fun riddles that makes some semblance of sense once solved. More like an annoying riddle, such as why Carson Daly is still on the air.

Yet as bad as it seemed the pantry had grown on me. It was becoming part of the family. The fun little support struts that you couldn't put anything under. The fact that the shelving was only 10 inches deep when the space itself was twice that. It had character, panache, a certain "je ne sais quoi". The pantry was single handedly making me re-learn French and because of this I didn't want to see the old gal go.

Nothing beats having your stuff piled up on all your other stuff. 

Anyway, we started where all pantry planning should start. With a wishlist.
The rough draft only had one line, "Not to suck"

With these things in mind and the measurements of the pantry space, we set right to work to draw up some fantastic new pantry plans!

The tea and bags must be kept separate for obvious reasons.

We knew what we wanted but we weren't too sure how far we wanted to go. The original plan was to buy some plywood sheets from Lowes, have them cut it into strips and then go to town (much like the platform bed). But then we started second guessing ourselves because we didn't want to live without a pantry for a week (one of those nightmare worse case scenario). We began considering a series of cheap bookcases from Walmart and even the largest Expedit from Ikea which turned out to be *just* 3/4 of an inch too long (that was probably for the best). Of course then it dawned on us that we were just being lazy and that by going down any of those routes would still leave in the same situation. Using something that wasn't built for being a pantry.

So plywood it was. We did decide to kick it up a notch with birch front plywood.

That's right Dan Quayle, P-O-T-A-T-O-E-S.

The other problem was that we didn't actually have that many nice / useful storage containers. I mean honestly, when you're working with wire shelving it's not as if stainless steel canisters are going to save the day. Not that we would go in that direction, mainly because we're cheap.

No, we were in the market for something "cost efficient", something sleek looking, something you could picture James Caan using in a futuristic movie about a sport that evolved out of roller derby. Something like say, this.

Exhaust vents not pictured.

Finally we were able to come to terms with a plan. Something that would meet our needs and "wouldn't cause a disturbance in the force" as this seemed rather important to Edie.  Immediately we set to work and took the shelving down. Suddenly the pantry looked about one hundred percent to two hundred percent better.


After that we got super paranoid and began writing on the walls. Nothing as cool as in "A Beautiful Mind", basically it was helpful stuff. Like where wood was gonna go. Because stuff like that is important.

Then came the truly fun part of the project. Even though the pantry was six feet long there was exactly one stud within that six feet. And while yes, this is up to code, it seems completely dickish. If you build a closet / pantry type of structure that's six feet long, put a second damn stud in it, s'ok?

There was a lot of hate. It's the only emotion that can get you through installing 45 wall anchors. Sure we didn't have to install wall anchors but when we put items on the shelves, we kind of wanted to make sure the cleats would *stay* in the wall and not crash onto the floor with the shelves and said items.

And if you've never installed more than three wall anchors at a time, I really can't do it justice. It just seems to take *forever*. Once the wall anchors are in you then have to drill the cleats into them and hopefully, just hopefully, everything is level. If not well, you just do the whole operation over again normally at various uncomfortable heights because that's just how life works.

How this task didn't end up on All American Handyman is completely beyond us. You're slipping Mike Holmes.

It's up to code!

As stated, the main point of these wall anchors was so we could install some cleats which the shelves would be placed on top of as well as inbetween. Something like this.

We level everything, but only for entertainment purposes.

Then because we were tired of seemingly not making progress, we dry fitted all the boards we were planning on using. Frankly there's just not a lot of "glory" in wall anchors and cleats.

If this is Glory, where's Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman? 

Of course by the end of day two, it was getting *pretty* late. Which meant it was time to drink.

I love it when it's Drinky o'clock.

And of course if you've got time to drink, you've got time to paint.

BAM! Look at that abstraction!

Sometimes you paint with the colors you got, not with the colors you want. We may have had a gallon or two of "Abstract White" sitting around from a previous project. It's a harmless enough color except when it gets all abstract and is like, "Pablo Picasso was a sellout after the rose period!" Which is crazy since we all know that pieces from said period were not, despite their great popularity, much more than pendants to late 19th century Symbolism.

But hey, we didn't have to pay for the paint at least.

Of course if you *still* have time to drink, you got time to stain.

You ever walk through one of the stain sections in a home improvement store? You ever linger too long at the "one stop stain and poly" section? You think to yourself, one coat and BAM all my troubles will be solved! And you buy it despite the fact last time you needed stain you thought the same exact thing and that project didn't turn out exactly as you wanted it to, mostly because that stain sucks.

Well, we fell for it again but after staining one side of one board, we bailed on it. Smart play because again, that stain tends to suck. Of course we'll probably fall for it next time we need to stain because that pitcher of booze did not last through the two coats of stain and two coats of poly we put on everything. And it's upsetting to have to stop staining and the like to make more booze. Because we drink booze when we stain, or poly... or breathe.

Expectations are high!

So with the cleats installed, the inside of the pantry painted, all the wood stain it was *finally* time to do something fun. Like build a bloody pantry. Notice the pencil sharpener and candle on the on the table in the above picture, I have no idea why they're there but I know in my heart they played an integral role in getting us to this stage.

WonderTwin powers activate! Form of... a pantry! 

Nothing really fancy at this phase, just praying the stain and the poly didn't throw off all the calculations we made during the dry fitting. Of course we still had to cut down some pieces just right because again, that's just how life works. But at long last, we were done. Kinda like this post should have been eight pictures ago.


Look at that pantry. Just drink it in. Shelving that's not made up of wires. Shelving that goes all the way across. Shelving that is 16 inches deep. Shelving that looks, you know, good. And it suits our needs. And it wasn't overly expensive. And I no longer feel the need to learn French or make Matisse jokes.

Of course one of those is probably a lie.




I was kinda shocked looking back at those "after" pictures! Even though we took down the doors long before this project, I'd had a curtain covering everything and planned on doing the same after the reno. Well, we rather liked the open shelving, so we decided that something had to be done to make it look more cohesive with the rest of the kitchen. Well *I* decided that, anyway. Neal thought it was fine. Neal thought it was silly to go to IKEA just for glass jars. Neal thought it was ridiculous to go BACK to IKEA again because we didn't get enough glass jars the first time. Neal got really quiet and went out to spend some time with ducks when I told him I was going to paint the plastic bins. But now, it's DONE! I guess. I mean, it's been this way for the better part of a year now, so it's probably done. We just need like three more trips to IKEA tops.

I painted the walls the same color as the kitchen and sprayed the white baskets with Krylon. I think it looks much fancier that way! So, just to recap:

1 comment:

  1. This post made me a lot happier than I should have been, (reading about a pantry that is not mine) but it did! Perhaps it's because I should be that organized and I am not!

    I am going to chalk it up to being hungover on a Sunday morning and am easily amused. :)