Pantry missing - seeking suggestions

dreamojeanOctober 14, 2013

Our options are, either 12" deep 4.5 or 5 foot built-in shelves/cabinets along the two nooks on either side of a bump-out that used to be a fireplace, on the far side of our dining room table OR 27" by 27" curved corner cabinets or tall standing unit with doors (built in or freestanding) between our kitchen and pocket doors to the living room, where we have a dead-corner space. If we do the curved (or straight at a triangle type angle) we could have another one on the other side of the pocket doors.

My designer preferred the curved unit on either side of the pocket doors; my carpenter/contractor preferred the long narrow units along the far wall.

For convenience sake, using the corner closer to the kitchen and island makes more sense to me. And as my designer pointed out, our dining room is very long and can take the corner units. But it's not that wide so with built in's along the far wall we eat into the width of the room. But we can't have doors with a lot of depth or we'll cut off flow of traffic to and from the kitchen.

Thoughts, either about a place to source corner closed-door cabinets (or a combo of closed and open shelving) or whether to spring for built-ins and if so whether to do corner or long narrow ones? I'm getting such conflicting advice. Hopefully I've included a picture with what we have now - shelving in both places, stuffed with foodstuff and utility type items, temporarily. The one in the corner is a straight unit currently at an angle to get a sense of the space.

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Your photo shows up sideways for me.

Can you post a photo showing the fireplace bumpout location? would that be right next to the dining table, so it could serve as sideboard?

I don't think I'm crazy about building pantry cabinets on either side of the pocket doors. Your door frame and crown molding are so lovely and nicely balanced - I think building shelves or cabs there would throw off that balance. If you do put something there, paint it the same color as the trim (I think - I am NO expert!)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 7:44PM
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I wouldn't want a curved corner unit. You're gonna have stuff getting shoved into the back corner

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 7:53PM
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Annkh, here is a pic of the fireplace area in case that helps. (This is what an overpacked nyc house looks like mid-renovation - we are so space challenged right now, about to convert a window in the kitchen to a door to the back- this is a parlor floor)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 5:27AM
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In case it is helpful here is a link to more pics of the kitchen - I don't know how to create a bucket yet so please ignore the pics other than the ones with the more finished kitchen and dining room -

Here is a link that might be useful: Renovation

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 5:42AM
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Is there any way you can mock these up further, Jean? So you can get a feel for them? Cover the open shelves by the fireplace bumpout so the eye stops where doors would be?

When I looked at your picture of the ex-fireplace wall, I thought partial-height built-ins could be very attractive and would create a nice display space above. Given your long, narrow room, though, would the horizontal line of the top shelf and filling in those two areas make it feel more so, or would the open depth above negate that?

I can tell you from my own experience that shallow wall storage works very well, and you'd have a nice amount of it.

Would building in partial height only to the left of the fireplace bump (and letting the remaining wall stay open) open give you enough storage, though? It sounds as if you're in an urban area, so perhaps don't need a great deal of food storage for day to day use. (You need enough food stored at home to carry the family at least 2 to 3 weeks if the power goes down, but would there be room elsewhere to tuck a few cases of canned goods?)

I'm not crazy about the idea of a corner cabinet on the right side of the door if it meant a gap on that wall before the bump-out. Would it somehow be extended down the wall to meet the bump? If not, I think I'd only do one to the left and use the other wall for art.

Aside from that, from this side of the screen putting a pair of freestanders or built-ins on each side of the doorway would make sense in terms of the room's proportions. Why does your designer recommend curved fronts? There must be a reason, and I imagine a good one. Would they echo kitchen cabinetry, carrying that look down the wall, or be handsome furniture meant to add ambiance to the dining side? With the bay at the other end, it would seem nice to copy those angles, but your designer is not recommending that. ??

As for built-in or freestanding, not a critical issue in itself, right? What are the recommendations and costs involved? Freestanding could look like pieces of nice furniture and be used to advance the feeling of a dining room, and they could move out if you decided you didn't want them any more, unlikely as that might be, given their intended purpose. Built-ins would never have to be cleaned behind or under. :)

Any way I look at it, there seem to be nothing but pleasant possibilities, and a little irregularity can add interest, instead of just another iteration of the usual. Hope we get to see pictures of whatever you decide to go with.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 7:34AM
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I think it may be nicer to have the built ins. You could put custom cabinetry (which will undoubtably be very pricey) or you could frame it in sheet rock as two closets or a wall of closets.

Wall of cabinetry:

Traditional Kitchen by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Amber Ranzau

Or it wouldn't have to be pantries per se. Nice storage for dining area:

Traditional Kitchen by Millbrook Architects & Designers Crisp Architects

Or how about closed pantries on each side of a nice looking cabinet in the middle:

Contemporary Living Room

Traditional Kitchen by Princeton Design-Build Firms Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction

Or how about havong a little bench to use on one side of your dining table?

Traditional Kitchen by Thornhill Interior Designers & Decorators Avalon Interiors

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Dilly, I can't put anything in front of the fireplace - as it is, we will be happy if the dining room table and chairs plus island stools all fit nicely without claustrophobic situations. So my choices are just 12" built in on one or both sides of the fireplace or perhaps a built in and banquette in front of the bay windows opposite the pocket doors (which solves some storage issues but probably not all), see pic of that area, or the corner unit option nearer the pocket doors.

I'm starting to agree that corner units near the pocket doors could mess up the beauty of the trim and that is the issue near the bay windows too.

Thanks for all your great suggestions dilly! I wish I could use more of them.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:26AM
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Thanks, Jean - the additional pictures - especially the schematic - were very helpful!

Seeing the FP wall and layout, I especially like the idea of building on that wall, either to table height (for my sideboard idea), or higher, as long as it doesn't get too massive for the space. I agree with Rosie that you can get a lot of storage out of a 12" space (that's your standard upper cabinet depth). I see a lovely piece of artwork on the bumpout.

I don't think you need to get fancy with the storage either - of course drawers would be nice, but not mandatory. As always, it depends on what you plan to put there.

I have a large china cabinet in my dining room - glass doors above, drawers and solid doors below. Before my kitchen reno, I kept my mixer and crock pot there. It was inconvenient to dig them out for use, but it freed up cabinet space for things I used more.

I would recommend cardboard mockups, but I can see that isn't at all practical for you right now!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:04AM
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I'd definitely do the built-ins on either side of the fireplace bump-out; the space seems to be crying out for them. The banquette idea is nice for looks but not for routinely accessed storage.

Although.. how deep IS your fireplace bump-out? 12" deep pantry units won't stand proud of it, will it? I'd want them to be even with or preferably less deep than the bump-out. You'd be surprised how much even 8" can hold... or, perhaps you can get into the studs for extra depth if you decide you need it (probably not - NYC - but maybe).

I'd want the bump-out to be treated somehow - perhaps a colorful, graphic wallpaper or stencil. I'd also be very tempted to put a fireplace BACK into/onto that bump-out, even if it were a very slim/shallow electric model.

Here is a link that might be useful: cindyandmocha's finished kitchen w/ 7

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:14AM
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So I've decided to definitely do corner built-in's, not long narrow built-ins - we have so much trouble getting in and out of the dining chairs that we really need the bumpout for breakaway space and I'm glad I've lived in the space a few months to learn our patterns.

Tracie Erin, to answer your question, the fireplace bumpout is about 10 to 11", and right now we have a small couch in one of the bumpouts and it's nice but temporary. I like the photo of the banquette with 3 chairs around it, but since we want to be able to have people on all 4 sides of our table, that's a reason to go corner not length-wise built-ins, plus the opposite walls are bay windows and the edges are rounded, so corner cabinets would nicely mirror the other side of the dining room.

I found some built-in corner cabinet pictures on Houzz and they are mostly floor to ceiling, with doors on the bottom part, a little serving area at counter height then glass the rest of the way up - very nice, and we would use the bottom areas for food items and then use a kitchen cabinet for the rest. I think it is do-able but I'm not rushing to do it as I've found the more functional time I have in a place, the more I know what works best. (Plus we're mostly out of cash and I need to take a break on all these improvements for sanity purposes)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 9:37AM
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