Free Pantry? Yes, please!

Since moving into our fabulous new-to-us-but-really,-really-old house, my biggest complaint about our kitchen was the lack of a pantry. Especially once the cabinets were repainted and the “beadboard” (wallpaper) went up, and the insulation was put in so it wasn’t so blasted cold. By that point, I was really starting to like our kitchen!

But it drove me crazy that we didn’t have a real place to store our food. This is what we were using – a metal storage shelf previously used for basement storage. A few cardboard boxes and a shower curtain helped make it functional and presentable…ish. Oh, I forgot how awful that place looked for awhile!


About the time that the kitchen mini-remodel took place, just before Christmas break, the construction crew that was upgrading our school’s offices was preparing to begin their work. One pod of classrooms was being taken over so the offices could be right at the front of the building – you know, safety and all. So the school had some hallway shelving and cabinets that they were giving away. I was lucky enough to snap up one such cabinet.

I knew this cabinet would make a great pantry, and a big improvement over that wire shelf… especially as winter set in and a little family of mousies discovered how easily they could access our food! (I’m not going to say I like mice, but after our Tortola Rat experience, I feel much more prepared to take down a family of mice. If you missed that part of our Tortola adventure, check out March 2013.)

Anyway, as great as this cabinet was going to be, the look just wasn’t going to work!


To take this cabinet from industrial plastic blah to fabulous, I covered the entire cabinet in paintable wallpaper. It was already a big improvement!


Applying the paper itself was pretty easy, but if I do this kind of project again, I’d definitely do a couple things differently. First, I would sand the cabinet before applying the paper. At the time, I considered sanding, but the idea scared me, so while the paper applied beautifully, it didn’t stay stuck after it dried. I had to use superglue on the edges and caulk on the top, but it seems pretty stuck now. I’d also probably slap on a quick coat of Zinzer primer, just to be safe.

After that it was time to paint, which took a surprisingly long time, and I treated the whole cabinet with stain to give it an antiqued look. The stain also gives the paper a slight sheen, which helps it look more like tin.

The right side had the stain.

Tony built a rough base with a couple shelves for the cabinet to sit on.


So I headed outside to sand, prime, paint, and antique the base. I know, it wasn’t my best look! And yes, I ran out of paint trays, so that’s a cereal box!


As soon as those steps were completed, the new pantry went right to work in the kitchen. We’d evicted the mouse family, and I didn’t want any of their friends to come calling! Of course, living in an old, crooked house, a few shims were necessary to make everything level, but I could start storing food and things inside, so I did.

Unfortunately, the cabinet remained in that 95% finished state for quite some time. Why is it that the last 5% of a project is so difficult to actually finish? Anyway, this is what you saw in a post a few weeks back, but the cabinet is now completely finished, with the curtain applied on the bottom and a trim piece hiding the shims that keep it level! (My goal was better, not perfect!: )

And look at all that space inside!

It’s just the kind of rustic look I was hoping for.


This entry was posted in Cabinets, Furniture, Kitchen and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Free Pantry? Yes, please!

  1. Pam McNicoll says:

    Gorgeous cabinet! Still amazed when I see the before and after in the kitchen!!!
    I love how you and Tony have so quickly made this YOUR home!!
    Love, Mom

  2. Beth and Bob says:

    Unbelievable, it looks beautiful and my goodness, look at the stuff it holds!!! You are so incredibly innovative, I cannot believe how awesome all your projects are.Entire house looks beautiful!

  3. Pingback: Beautifying a Half Bath – Wallpaper, Paint, and Paneling | A Guy, A Girl, and a Really Old House!

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