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Where We Started…It’s SO UGLY

Pantry Before

I look at this picture and I cringe. How did we live with this disorganized and cluttered pantry for 17 years? I made it work but just looking at it now makes me feel overwhelmed. We prioritized other spaces over this one but FINALLY it was time to make our pantry more functional and beautiful for around $1000. How did we do it? We researched budget friendly resources, demoed and built it ourselves and used a lot of products we already had in our home. We can’t wait to teach you how to do it below.

Get Your Kids Involved

Honestly, getting our kids involved saves us money and time (usually although sometimes it takes longer to teach them or they do it wrong, blah, blah, blah) and they typically enjoy it. They are like us; they like learning new things. So, first we had to remove the outdated wire shelving. Why did EVERYONE install this ugly shelving in the 80’s? It’s UGLY and a PAIN to remove. However, our 11 year old son enjoyed it so he helped me remove all of the brackets and screws (our daughter started out strong but gave up after awhile). We used a small crowbar, screwdriver and a hammer to remove all the screws.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to cover up all the holes and smooth out the drywall because we were covering up the walls with the shiplap panels.

My New Favorite Cabinet Shop

I could not believe my eyes when I saw beautiful upper white shaker cabinet doors with plywood boxes for only $99 and $119. Where? At my new favorite local resource for budget cabinets, Williams Kitchen and Bath Outlet in Grand Rapids. You can shop their website here. They have a variety of cabinets available year long at a discounted price. The quality is AMAZING and you can’t beat the price even at big box stores. This is an example of when it pays big to shop local.

We chose upper cabinets because our pantry is narrow and small. Lower cabinets would have been too big and we wanted to fit 4 cabinets. Mitch built a base out of 3/4″ birch plywood to raise the cabinets to be the same height as our kitchen cabinets.

The Magical Shiplap Panel

I cannot take credit for this find. Originally, I found out about this project on Instagram. We bought two shiplap panels at Home Depot and used 1 and 1/4 of the panels in the project. Each panel costs only $36 and is much easier to install than real shiplap (which is one board at a time) and is linked here. Mitch cut each panel and installed them from the top of the cabinets all the way to the ceiling. He caulked the seams to give it a finished look and used small boards to as supports to hang the shelves which I then painted to match.

Then it was my turn to paint. I had a leftover gallon of paint from a former project which meant that this part cost us nothing. I painted the walls, ceiling and the shiplap Benjmain Moore White Dove in a satin finish. I used a brush to paint in all the groves and a small roller to brush the panels.

Building Custom White Oak Shelves

My inspo for the white oak shelves were $700 per shelf. That was NOT in the budget so Mitch did some research and went to our favorite local lumberyard, De Leeuw Lumber in our hometown. They have done some amazing work for us in the past (they built our mudroom bench and our fireplace mantel) so Mitch had them custom glue an 8 inch board and a 4 inch board together to make solid white oak 12 inch deep board. Mitch then cut these to size with his De Walt miter saw linked here and attached the joints with pegs. He glued them together and clamped them in place.

To protect the finish, I used a sponge and applied 3 coats of General Finishes Flat out Flat Topcoat linked here. I sanded lightly with 320 grit sandpaper in between coats.

Butcher Block-The Final Touch

The final piece to this project is the butcher block countertop. Mitch looked at a few different stores and finally bought one he liked at Menards. It was $249 which felt expensive but Mitch cut it to size and it fit perfectly. He made it slightly deeper than the shelves at 13″ deep to go slightly over the depth of the cabinets. Here is a similar product available at Home Depot linked here.

Originally, I wanted to keep the butcher block a similar shade to the white oak but it pulled a reddish tint. We tried 5 different stains but decided to go darker and use the same stain we have predominantly through our home which is Early American by Minwax in an oil based stain linked here. First, we used an oil pre-conditioner and then Mitch did two coats of stain and 3 coats of polyurethane.

Product Sources and Prices:  

Shiplap panels:  Home Depot ($36 each) $45 total used

Cabinets (uppers):  William Kitchen and Bath Outlet $486

Butcher Block: Menards $249

White Oak for shelves:  DeLeeuw Lumber $429

Top Coat for Shelves: General Finishes Top Coat Flatout Flat (FREE-already had)

Stain and Polyurethane: Minwax (FREE-already had)

Paint: Benjamin Moore White Dove (FREE-already had)

Pantry Storage: Target and Amazon (mostly I already had these but bought a few here)

Total Cost: $1,209

The Final Pantry Revealed!

I absolutely LOVE our new updated and refreshed pantry. Not only is it beautiful, but it is also organized and feels WAY bigger than how it felt before. We did not increase the size but we utilized the space more effectively. This is key when renovating a space without moving any walls.

High quality cabinetry hides most of our canned goods. I used baskets to hide and organize chips, root vegetables and baking goods. Finally, I stored dry goods in glass jar containers which make those seem like pieces of home decor and some vintage jars to add some character. You can find reels and the entire process on my Instagram feed here.

Overall, I wish we would have done this years ago, but maybe that makes me even more grateful for what I have right now. Sometimes we have to wait awhile before a space in our home gets renovated but the waiting is worth it. What’s the next project you want to tackle in your home?

1980’s Pantry Makeover on a Budget

Pantry Makeover

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Functional, beautiful DIY design on a budget. Interested in a design consultation?