How not to build a pantry

bmorepanicSeptember 24, 2010

First, always have a plan - this was mine.

1. Above all, don't transfer the marks for the studs onto your newly installed drywall. This enables you to make a cool home built tool from a wire coat hanger called a "stuff finder". Cut the straight piece of wire off, bend a triangle on one end leaving a longish piece of straight wire.

2. Take your photos of the framing and try to find something with your stuff finder. You'll use it to poke holes in the drywall to find your stuff in the walls. Try not to worry too much about electricity - after all, if you can't find the studs, the odds are just as good that you won't find the electric lines either.

3. When you find one thing, poke some extra holes to be sure of what you've found.

4. Draw the thing you found on the wall as shown in the photo.

5. Transfer your plan onto the wall and find out it won't fit. Change the plan at the last minute - always good for fun.

6. Do a test assembly of one wall. Haul it upstairs. Be brave and get out some test items - even tho its just put together with a couple of finish nails and not even attached to the wall. This doesn't have all of its parts yet, but you get the idea.

7. Test assemble the other wall and haul it upstairs.

8. Meditate on the differences between ideas and reality when you realize there is no possible way to assemble the two sections to each other. The Tao of two large objects that nest together in a tiny space. Haul it all downstairs.

9. Change the plans in mid-do. Thank the deity of your choice that its just put together with a couple of finish nails while you take it all apart, shorten all the shelves slightly and rip the unseen back corners off the long uprights so they will be able to twist into place.

  1. Change the plans one last time for that one shelf spacing issue that was bugging you. Haul it all back upstairs

  2. Retest the assembly of the two wall shelf units to each other. Haul it all back to the basement.

  3. Take it all apart and screw it all back together.

  4. Add the under shelf support trim and screw to shelves.

  5. Haul it all back into place and make sure it still fits.

  6. Pre drill the supports for the screws that will permanently attach the units to the walls. Haul it all downstairs.

  7. Apply primer and wish you didn't have to now sand it all.

  8. Realize that the piece of 1 x 8 you have left for the tippy top shelf is too short by 1 inch.

  9. Quit for the day.

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I love you, Bmore. Do margaritas do the trick in the fall? Or just a good beer? (I like pumpkin beer...Perfect for a fall Friday)

The problem I see here is that clearly your 'shop' is in the basement...Do like we do and make whatever room you're working in or next to the work area, so the whole house and every belonging in it can be covered in sawdust and, if you're really lucky, sheetrock dust, too...and since it just seems to cycle around, you'll get to enjoy it for a couple of years. But there is none of that running up and down the stairs hauling stuff.

Anyway, the dry run of section 1 looks WONDERFUL. That should be encouraging.

Note to self: Store more things in cool-looking jars.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 6:32PM
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I am laughing so hard tears are rolling down my cheeks! Mostly because I can so identify with you. We are putting shelves in an expanded closet right now but don't have anything so fancy as a stuff finder. DH just uses a finishing nail and makes small holes trying to locate the studs that just "have to be right HERE". Oh the joys of doing projects yourself.
BTW the finished section looks great!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 7:30PM
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you are both too darn funny

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 7:54PM
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note to self - buy a studfinder!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 7:56PM
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Think of it this least you don't have to get on the "stairmaster" today!!!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 8:25PM
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First of all, your plan is WONDERFUL. Secondly, those Jars are just tooooooo OCD gorgeous. (I"M OCD)
Thirdly, I'm saving your plans and pictures to copy. (they aren't copyrighted, yet, are they?)

Fourth, but not last- Can't WAIT for your next post on HOW to build a pantry! I'll be looking to you for sure when planning mine!

Like Rhome said, have a drink, I'll add, sit in a hot tub and just have a laugh. Do you have a wine cellar? Can't wait to see you build one of them! LOL

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:15PM
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Maybe I'm an "end justifies the means" kinda girl, the end result was worth all the craziness that it took to get there. It looks fabulous. I have pantry, storage jar envy ; )


    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 11:31PM
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You did it in fewer than 20 steps. On the sliding scale of effectiveness in the DIY world, that is still solid B+ work.

Some day I'll tell you about the beautiful plywood reinforcement we installed between the studs to allow for the mounting of the new range hood. Sheet rock went in, was finished, and painted. Backsplash was installed. Now, how high was that reinforcement supposed to be? Yeah.

Excellent result, by the way.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:13AM
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Very nice indeed. I have wired shelves and they do not look nice like yours.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:41AM
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Oh, PHEW!! I've been too timid to open this thread. This is a happy story! Do you know how much people where I live pay to have people come to the house and make them carry heavy things up and down the stairs and twist and wrestle other big heavy things? Personal trainers cost something like $150/hr.

And your jars look beautiful!!!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 2:39AM
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Thanks to all.

A neighbor stopped by while the jars were up and asked why there were two different fonts and handwriting on the labels. It's a tuff crowd here. The design police show up for the least thing.

So, I'll take that b+ and run. I felt particularly stupid for not doing a sanding sealer before the water-based primer.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:13AM
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pickle2 I'm laughing hysterically (only because I've been there so I feel your pain). And it must be some serious glutes-and-quads pain from all that hoisting up and down stairs.

On the plus side, your pantry looks gorgeous!!! I love those glass jars (ptooey on your neighbor). I have serious pantry envy. (Mine is currently a beat-up plastic bookcase.)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:37AM
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Ask the neighbor if he/she missed that 'matchy-matchy' is OUT! Reeediculous. But a little funny.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:51PM
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Thanks for the laugh. Different fonts? Your neighbor has way too much free time.

It's turning out beautifully, those jars are great.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 3:03PM
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Your pantry is great! Where'd ya get the matchy-matchy jars? I want ones like them.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 3:11PM
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TWO DIFFERENT FONTS!!! Oh the horrors...I didn't see that in the pictures...what ever were you thinking...LOL.

You're making me feel like the ultimate slob, I must get my pantries organized. Your jars are absolutely awesome. I love it!!!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 3:21PM
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My kitchen is done. I didn't get a pantry. I want yours. Obviously it would come out of there. It went in. I have an inside wall...that doesn't have anything in/on it.... I keep looking at it thinking it could be opened up and I'd have floor to ceiling shelves.....and it would only make a little mess in the next room where I'd steal the space from...But it would be SO WORTH IT! I'm almost done clearing out evidence of the kitchen AND bath remodel and I haven't shampooed the carpet yet.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 4:03PM
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Alrighty. Fine. Whatevs.

I see it is time for my daily meltdown...


    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 7:10PM
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Thank you so much for the laughs. I really needed some today.

I wish I could see what was in my pantry. Amazing job.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 8:32PM
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When your pantry is small, its easy to be organized. It's not so easy being pretty, so I'm happy that's working out.

The jars come from Walmart, Target and grocery stores in the surrounding county. Anchor Hocking cracker jars and plain Ball caning jars. Very inexpensive.

The labels are 3M Removable and they come off if I want to put the jars in the dw. The label can be reapplied afterward.

The official stud finder didn't much care for the foil coating on the outermost insulation. It believes the entire wall is studs.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:21PM
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Did she just say she had a STUD in the that tops it!!! I must wade through the outdated cr_p in my pantries and see if I have one hiding in there. :-)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:47PM
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I believe she said STUDS--plural. So there are enough for EVERYONE!! :^D

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 10:18PM
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OMG! This thread is just too much. I have seen all kinds of building plans and stories and this just makes my sides hurt. My DH doesn't really believe in "plans". He will ask me what I want and I tell him. I kind of have to leave him to it until he has a problem, then I can give my $.02, but I know to keep it flattering or it will never get done at all!

I have to say, I love your pantry. All of the "extra"-size was well worth it. It turned out gorgeous. I love the jar thing. I have some old 1/2 gallon mason jars that I was wondering what to do with. Thanks for the idea! I love the idea of the removable labels.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 10:18PM
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Great. Good to know, that there are studs in your pantries (and I do not make spelling mistakes) hiding behind stuff and such. After all we wouldn't want studs to be visible all the time. We have to rest our eyeballs.

The iterative build process described in bmorepanic's OP is a typical illustration explaining why many contractors won't agree in advance to do custom work. They make it a separate deal or they make sure it gets contracted to someone else.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 4:34PM
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Bmore you are hysterical. I still have the giggles- especially about the personification of the "official" stud finder. Ours thinks the whole wall is a stud too!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 4:48PM
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I'm more a fan of hunky pool boys than studs... Turning slightly red...

I'm thinking the humor is a group thing :)

Many thanks for everyone's comments. We might be able to finish the pantry this week.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 10:28PM
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Well, hunky pool boys are decorative, but the kind of seedy ones with the paunch and stringy hair tend to do a better job on the pool... Or were you thinking cabaña boys? The ones who bring you iced drinks and towels, and rub on sun lotion?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:08PM
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I've been creating a drawing for our pantry that is similar (showing all spaces, width of shelves, etc.). DH thinks I'm "overthinking" it. I am going to show him this so he realizes there are people in this world that consider me normal (they just don't live with me!).

That said...get a label maker. It will complete the OCD.

What is IN all those jars? Do you remove everything from packing and put it in jars? Buy everything in bulk? Just wondering.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:24PM
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Absolutely hilarious bmorepanic! Good on you for hanging in there! Your original plan looked fantastic though. That's why I believe in the power of plans drawn on post-it notes, they always change anyway....

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:49PM
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Beans, flours, grains, chocolates, sugars, herbs, pasta, teabags, popcorn, hot cereals, some actual crackers and french fried onions.

I tried to pick containers based on the size we buy stuff in - a 5 lb bag of flour fits in a gallon jar as does a large bag of rice. A 1 pound bag of dried beans fits in a quart with enough space left over for another half-pound.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:08AM
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Found this in a google search for 'pantry' (duh). So DANG funny that I thought it deserved to be seen by all the newbies/mediumbies and not just me.

Any recent pics Bmore?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 5:57AM
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Thanks for this, deedles, I hadn't seen it before. The pantry is impressive and the thread is hilarious.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 9:41AM
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This is why I just used Elfa. I wouldn't have gotten as far as you did!

I do need to correct everyone here as I've tried to explain this to my husband.

FIREMEN are hunky.

The pool boy is muscular, tan and maybe just a little too young...........maybe.......

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 10:01AM
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All you need is a picture with a measuring tape across the studs showing to locate them studs after closing the walls.

Knowing they are on 16 inch centers also helps 9once you get away from corners tat may not be on centers but shorter).

Drilling small holes (1/16 inch) above the bottom plate but below baseboard height finds them even in old houses.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 10:41AM
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hilarious! I love it. And your pantry is gorgeous. The ends justify all your hard work, frustration, swearing etc.....


    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 10:44AM
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That sounds like any one of my projects. I love your pantry. I'm going to join shelayne

I want a pantry with neato freeto jars!size>

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:32PM
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'DH just uses a finishing nail and makes small holes trying to locate the studs that just "have to be right HERE" '

This must have stuck in my mind - because that is what I did (used a screw and my drill tho). After 10 + holes, I bought the stud finder. Mine was a smarter one tho - I think. It didn't think the whole wall was a stud. On some walls it didn't think there were ANY studs!

If I were to get matching jars for all of my dry goods, I'd probably max out at about a dozen and they'd be 8 cup size. Or less.

and finally - dang, it's hard to believe I've been on this forum for 2yrs or more. I've learned a lot, just haven't DONE a lot - except changing my mind on most everything. many times.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Thanks for laughing.

Measuring only works sometimes and only in newer houses (post 1940's) that haven't had "things" done to the exterior walls. Our 1925 house is partly balloon framed and partly platform framed. A stud finder doesn't seem to work well here - it seems to get confused by the foil facing on part of the insulation.

Every single stud is at a different location in that wall of the house and they do include the ones at the 45 degree angle where we patched in new exterior plywood to the original solid board sheathing. The stud spacing in that wall ran from 24" to 0". Even the 10 foot section we reframed was done in 12" spacing because of some reason it pleased the permit people that I can't remember.

The back wall (pictured) is made up of two story high actual 2x4's. The second floor joists are supported on a 5/4" let in board on both side walls but not the back wall. The joists aren't connected to anything except the second floor flooring. They just sit on the let in board and on top of a carry beam in the center of the house. So - the ENTIRE back wall isn't structural. You should have seen the look on my face.

Dh had measured the location of every stud and I had a drawing of those and our new framing. The measurements didn't exactly line up to reality - but with the pictures of the open walls and using the measurements as estimates, it went pretty fast.

Which was good because having two people and three photos, a ladder, measuring tape, pencils, magic stud tool in a tiny closet creates both humor and tension. Add my guilt from forgetting to transfer the stud pattern onto the front and his guilt from blowing the measurements and it set the stage for a first class fight - but it didn't happen. So, its a good memory - even tho everything went wrong. I have a good sense of disaster humor.

I sincerely regret not lining it with plywood instead of drywall and would recommend that to anyone.

I love that pantry everyday. I have since bought it a label maker. I love my onions and potatoes in the baskets; that the dust falls through lower slat shelves onto the floor where I vacuum it up. I REALLY like having a small flat area to put down a grocery bag full of pantry stuff. Storing in clear containers makes grocery shopping easy.

We are more than 90% done. We took a break from finishing the kitchen to finish the rest of the house for a few months. Then, we've taken a long break from finishing anything except curtains. My latest project was to hack an ikea apron, now it has pockets! Look out Betty Crocker.

At one time, I thought Rhome and I were in a race to see who was slowest posting finished pictures. Because I had to start the kitchen over, she's now in front by 3 years - so I figure I'm doing good.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Bmore: Why did you have to start your kitchen over?? I was starting to get the feeling I missed something (a move, a change in plans) and now see that is true!

Can't wait to see the curtains!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 2:27PM
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I will have to hunt for the eye candy aka studs In my pantry!
Label makers rock - especially for the ocd's of the world!
BTW- I am pretty good at finding studs with finger percussion.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Bmore, pantry pictures please !!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Yes, more pantry pictures, especially of neeto-freeto jars with properly corrected labels-of-a-single-font. ;)

Goes to show where my mind is these days: when I read "pool boys", I thought you meant the Olympic studs. I have a swimming daughter and have to *time* for these studly children at meets. I sometimes think the mothers should be banned from such assignments.... wow. There's an adorable - but really silly/stupid -- video out right now by the USA swim kids-boys/girls. They may be amazing star athletes, but they're still just our "pool boys/girls".

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 3:44PM
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I think they may have pulled the above video; probably copyright issues. But it's all over the web now...

Here is a link that might be useful: Pool boys&girls

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 4:22PM
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I love this, mostly because I have the exact same working order! No matter how much I plan and ask questions, there are always at least 2 extra trips to Lowes and 3-5 "tech support" calls to my parents. DH is greatly amused by my projects, as long as he doesn't have to be involved or be home when they occur.

Glad it ended up the way you wanted it. I agree some finished pics would be nice...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Your pantry is SO nice, you envisioned it beautifully! As for the execution, I can relate completely! Especially this part:

"Meditate on the differences between ideas and reality when you realize there is no possible way to assemble the two sections to each other."

That's my kind of design, I do it on every project. I've done the schlepping up and downstairs ten times for every little table saw cut. But I'm with Rhome, any mobile tool comes up to the room I'm working in, and stays long after the project is done. Not that any projects are ever actually finished....

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 5:20PM
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