Tall pantry cabinet: alternative suggestions?

SparklingWaterFebruary 20, 2013

I'm hoping you might be able to offer design suggestions to the current 36" w x 84" h x 12" d pantry cabinet for our modest kitchen remodel. Our kitchen proper is 12' by 8' with one west door and houses the refrigerator, range and dishwasher with cabinets/counter. Through an open 48" framed doorway is an adjacent 11' x 7' eat in room with east window and two doors (north and south) allowing bypass of the kitchen proper.

The utility of the 36" pantry cabinet in the eat in room cannot be understated as it sits separate on its own wall across from a 72" long beverage cabinet run of uppers and lowers. The pantry cabinet houses dry and canned food and is convenient to kitchen by three steps or so.

The ceiling is 102" from floor which translates into a 96" tall future pantry cabinet purchase, either 36" w or 30" wide with 6" crown moulding. That is one formidable pantry cabinet! It is incredibly tall, and more of a furniture piece than the current pantry. It's not sitting well with me as I find its height imposing.

I am seeking alternatives from you to this pantry. Could I break the 96" pantry cabinet into an upper with crown (planing 42" uppers with crown going to ceiling elsewhere) and lower 36" cabinet with 18" between? Has anyone utilized just a lower 36" wide x 34.5 utility base cabinet with counter for pantry storage (can goods, dry goods, accouterments, cereals etc)? I imagine a piece of art or wide mirror above a lower pantry cabinet. The kitchen itself will have some wall storage available for similar goods but not as much as needed. Base drawers will be filled with cooking equipment , etc. The design warrants a pantry cabinet in the eat in room.

Here is a picture of current 84" pantry. Imagine taking that to 96" and crown. I love cabinetry to the ceiling but this is too tall, too imposing for me. Please help by recommending some functional food pantry alternatives in the same space. Thank you very much for your help.

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 22:18

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I like your idea of splitting it into a base and uppers, though you would lose a lot of usable storage space in that 18" gap. You can get it back and more by making it 18 or 21" deep.

Your other option is to get a beautiful piece of custom furniture built, but you said it's a modest remodel and this would probably cost thousands of dollars.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:51PM
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davidahn, I have a lovely tall antique armoire currently unused which I have often thought of for this space. If I recall correctly, it is 24" deep with mirrored doors which I would remove: that might take it down to 21" depth. I think it's too deep, but will check tomorrow as I've long wondered about it in that space. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:06PM
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What a great idea! A piece of furniture would look great there. Although, the space only looks 14" deep, max, so may not work with your armoire. As a sort of compromise between base + uppers + 18"space in between, what about a base that is as deep as the wall to the door trim (say, 14" or so), with a 12" upper stacked on top, with the first 18" of it being a garage with a lift-up door on piano hinges? That way you could have mail, boxes of snacks or small appliances on the countertop of the base, but close it up if you didn't want to see it. You could either take the uppers to the ceiling for more storage (my preference) or keep it 6-10" lower with space above to look more like a stand-alone piece of furniture. (I'm not a fan of space above, because I have dust allergies. I'm allergic to dusting.)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:32PM
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You're correct Mizinformation. The current tall cabinet depth is 13" with matching soffit depth that then extends another 14" in height to ceiling. The soffit is coming down.

I could see a wider pantry 36" utility base coming out to match the 18" deep tall chase (on right in picture) and a modified multi use stacked upper: as you suggest, lower center cab hinged on lower (for coverage for kids/moms mess or such) with stacked cabs then crown above (provided weight can be supported).

One mention, there is a six foot beverage pantry directly across, which is a lot of cabinetry too. I don't want to "close in" the room with too much cabinetry. I'm hoping to build a banquette under the window where a table is now. Perhaps the upper pantry area as you suggest could be designed for kids school and tech gadgets and the remaining be a combination of open shelves for books and display projects. Excellent wall anchoring of this area is going to be essential.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:31AM
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I'm toying with this option, much smaller but seems to hold a ton. $979 plus need cabinet and doors. I also love the idea of an armoire.

From 1st paragraph:

What every grocer knows is that it's not how deep the shelves are that's important, it's the amount of usable "facing". This sturdy and clever system packs the equivalent of over 44' of shelf facing into a cabinet 34" wide, 20" deep, and just over 6' high ��" using 42 height-adjustable shelves. Best of all, it can be used in a free-standing cabinet in existing kitchens, or as a built-in for new kitchens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley Pantry

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:15AM
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robo (z6a)

I think part of the problem is that ultra tall door. Actually I think that's most of the problem. Changing to more and smaller doors will really help you out.

2 thoughts:

1. glass hutch with glass that really obscures the contents:

2. Add just a hunt of drywall on the left, paint it to match the walls, then the cabinet will look built in and less imposing.

3 bonus thought: I'd do 2 sets of doors stacked on top, then a thin drawer or two, then 2 doors on bottom. All those doors will make it a lot less monolithic. (Personally I like monolithic)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:52AM
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What wonderful ideas are coming forth.

oldbat2be-incredible amount of space in the LV pantry. Thank you for showing it to me; I peaked on their site and they also have a nice blind corner solution. Btw, I love your kitchen.

robotropolis-your suggestions fit in perfectly with the architectural design of this colonial, particularly the adjacent dining room. I really like the idea of lessening the monolithic effect by a patch of dry wall painted room color for built in look. In fact that is already present on a plastered kitchen wall so would again fit well. I'm saving the glass for the full height beverage center directly across from the pantry cab.

Thank you all very much. It's great to design alternatives to what has been proposed.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:19AM
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I agree with robotropolis. I think a hutch with glass upper cabinets would be beautiful. It sounds like you don't want to do glass doors in this location so maybe you could modifiy this idea by using two sets of solid doors on the upper portion to break it up.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:18AM
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If you are trying to avoid closing in a small space with a lot of tall cabinetry on both sides, look at putting in a 12" pantry tower that would open by pulling out towards what I think would be your kitchen (in the direction of the two small pictures. That could go to the edge and you would have a small space behind it for a small cabinet -- bookshelves, charging station, secret space behind a picture, mirror, chalkboard or other message center and the cabinet could house pens, pencils, tape, stapler, paper clips, rubber bandsm charging cords -- those things that tend to clutter a "junk drawer" (like a medicine cabinet -- could even use a medicine cabinet, but think of message center/charging purposes). The whole wall could be dry walled and give you a space for art, etc. or a wall your table could be placed against if you want to change up the traffic flow and give more room by the other wall of cabinets.

Not seeing the whole space, you description of a small space with tall cabinets on either side and a table in the middle seems a bit uncomfortable to me. I'd try to think outside the box or look at putting some of that storage elsewhere, combining it with something else or seeing if I really needed that much stored all the time. If you do, try to get creative.

I do like the hutch and glass cabinet ideas, but I also like the idea of something on one wall and leaving one wall more open. Maybe you could combine those ideas?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:13PM
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Thank you both for your suggestions. A pantry hutch broken into two would break the height, I agree. Style is traditional, and the eating space is at the end of the 11' room, under a window.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Here is my kitchen. On the one wall, we have floor to ceiling cabinets - 108 inch high (9 feet), 12" deep. You can see in one set we did full closed cabinets for food storage, while closer to the entrance to the dining room we split it into upper and lower with a section of counter. The upper is full glass.

The two sets of cabinets are separate as there is a chimney on that wall, so the split units with the glass uppers sit against the chimney.

If hadn't had the chimney, I might have done a full wall of floor to ceiling pantry cabinets, but I'm glad we had to split it up - worked well.

You can see we did 'furniture' style toe-kicks on these standalone sections of cabinets. A small inexpensive detail that might work well in your situation.

Our kitchen is 10 x 14. All our cabinets go to the ceiling and it makes the room feel much bigger, not imposing.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Why can't you simply make it shorter and not go to the ceiling there. I have 72" of tall pantry cabinets (8ft tall) in my kitchen against a far wall behind a peninsula. They are flanked by 2 bookcases. which do not go to the ceiling (I wanted more of a furniture look in my kitchen). It is 18" deep and holds a ton. I need to use a chair to get to the back of the top shelf but we don't keep everyday items on that shelf.

You could make your cabinet shorter than your ceiling height and put crown moulding on it, and think of it as a piece of furniture. Splitting it would work to...but I sometimes find the counter space in a short cabinet like that turns into a "hole" and gets cluttered. You won't be able to store pantry items there. From Kitchen

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:08PM
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