Large pantry remodel - WWYD???

celticmoonNovember 2, 2012

In this house 14 plus years. Still content with my 2006 cosmetic gelstain/Marmoleum/Viking update of the 1987 kitchen. But the pantry would truly benefit from refitting.

After too many years, I have finally found a wonderful carpenter/handyman. He is reliable, his work is excellent and very reasonable - but he really had me at "I was cleaning the bathroom last night with my 18 month old son..." OK, you win the perfect man prize. I am happy to employ you.

This pantry narrows into a wedge at the back. Any thoughts on how to deal creatively with the wedge? Moving the entrance would fix the access issue, but that means kitchen cabinets, flooring and massive project creep.

Here's the floor plan

Right now there are 5 too deep (15") shelves plunked in there 18 inches apart. I have a pot rack high on the left as you enter above a hamper storing dog food. Along the long angled right wall there is a rail for hanging table linens, then a hanger holding brooms, mops etc.

The deepest part of the pantry is difficult to access. I do not have a dedicated utility closet. Do you think I could section off the deep corner for that somehow? A reach-in back there?

The space is large - over 26 linear feet of wall space there. But very inefficient as is:

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I'd put really BIG lazy susans in the funky corner like this picture, and shallow shelves behind the desk wall and on the entrance wall.

Then make the shelves along the back adjustable and sturdier - they are sagging.

That would increase the usability a lot.

Here is a link that might be useful: Big lazy susans

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 2:01PM
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We recently re-did our (tiny little reach-in) pantry and one thing I'd do again is half-shelves.

That way you can keep similar items together even if they aren't a similar size, yet you don't waste lots of space above short items.

Now, for the questions you actually asked ...

I like the idea of sectioning off a corner for brooms, step ladder, etc. The shelves leading to that area will have some kind of side support that will form narrow walls that will help you put hooks & stuff in that area so everything stays tidy. Looking at the floor where the big water bottles are, I would probably stop the shelves in between the first & second water bottle we see.

That would give you a sort of trapezoidal area to corral utility closet things, and if you wanted to put up a curtain to hide it that'd give you easy access & screen it from view.

The other advice I have is to take all the stuff you have in there now OUT and look at what you want room for. Like those water bottles - do you like storing them sideways or would you rather store them upright? Do you want a dedicated space for bulk paper towels? A space for the baskets?

It's a great sized pantry, I'm envious :)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 2:03PM
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What do you mean by 'utility closet?' What do you hope to store there, and how? LIke a freestanding vacuum, or something more formally structured?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 2:42PM
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It is a fantastic size pantry. So large the chaos doesn't matter and I procratinate dealing with it. Ha ha, I see ceral boxes in 3 places.

I would love a dedicated cleaning closet: brooms, mop, swiffer, vaccuum, sweeper, cleansers, bucket, sponges,miricle cloths, rags....that stuff is split all over the house. Makes me a little nuts.

I am really liking the tall lazy suzan idea. I could partition off the back section - where the divider is now is 52" from the end. Inside, the front left space could have wall- mounted brooms, etc. The vaccuum could park in the right open space. A narrow swing door maybe? A curtain. Beads? Chain? Just the suggestion of a separation?

Consolidating cleaning things would open up cabinet space in the laundry/mudroom between kitchen and garage.

E-chic, the water bottles were upright until the Marmoleum went in and raised the floor an inch. They could go to basement as they are now just stored for a disaster. Paper towels could be high. Didn't bother tossing up that last pack from Costco.

The main 'front' pantry would still be plenty big - five feet wide. The food storage could be better opragnized and more compact. I have always liked pantries fitted with a deeper counter high shelf and tight shallow uppers along the back. Designed for the stuff.
First I need a footprint or rough layout.

This is helping. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 3:22PM
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Here's my first thought of what I might do.
1. First, notice how much space is wasted above items in most pantry pictures. You NEED to be able to adjust the distance between shelves to fit items.
2. I would definitely use vertical bracket hangers so I could vary the size and depth of the shelves as I wished. Makes it so easy to do what EngineerChic suggested.
3. Your space is also at a premium on each side of the door where it narrows. You can gain a LOT of storage space by removing the wall board on the walls behind the shelves and mounting the bracket hangers on the studs. Then cut the shelves to fit back between and in front of the studs. Here's a pic of what I mean from my pantry.

The brackets are 6'', the narrowest I could find. Because my space here was so narrow, I mounted a 2 x 2 beside each stud and attached the hangers to that. That meant I could use shelves that extended 4'' past the studs, 6'' past the hanger, and, for most of the run, were 8'' deep. The skillet you see sticking out past the shelf is a 10'' skillet.
All of the stuff you see here is stored in what would have been a 4'' deep area if I had not removed the wallboard over the studs.

3. You can also hang the door to open outward and use the space on the back of the door for 4'' shelves where you can store small canned goods and other frequently accessed items. Again, here's a pic of mine:

In the above picture, you can see the way the shelves taper back towards the door.

Finally, here is a first attempt to design the inside of your pantry. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. I would design a cleaning closet section, probably, as shown with a folding door, but maybe without any door. The back triangular space is tricky, but I can't see a susan working there. Draw in circles and see what you think. I think I would just use fairly shallow shelving there for bottled and boxed cleaning supplies.
2. Then I would decide on the minimum space I needed at the entrance of the pantry between shelves on both sides. For me, 22'' is plenty. I would design the shelves on each side to allow that.
If you use adjustable shelving, you can easily cut the shelves to any taper you want. (In my first picture above, you can't really see it, but the shelves begin to taper at the nearest bracket and end about 4'' wide at the door. This taper is also visible in the last picture where the shelf is only about 2'' wide at the stud.)

I drew the shelves at about 15'' depth. If you remove the wallboard and gain that 4'', they could easily protrude less into the space, especially near the door where space is so tight.

It was fun to play with this. Nice that you have plenty of time to refine details.
And remember, you gain about super valuable storage space on each wall if you remove the wallboard!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:29AM
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I realized there is a better way of doing the corner and the susan. Like this:

This plan is drawn with 15'' shelves and a 24'' inch susan. I posted a link below to a thread I started on retrofitted susans in a corner of 15'' upper cabs. It might be worth your skimming it to see how incredibly much can fit on 24'' susans.

Only the shelves that will support the susans need to meet in a continuous line around the corner. You will not need vertical supports if you use large sturdy brackets.
Other shelves can be at different heights and of different widths as desired.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:32PM
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Celticmoon, I was talked out of building the floor plan I wanted, which just incidentally would have had a pantry just like that. Sigh... I want your triangular pantry. :)

If it were mine, if I couldn't walk right back to that narrow corner or if I didn't just make it a broom closet, I'd wall it off at whatever distance worked for me. I'm not fond of housework in any case, and especially not when keeping it organized and clean was extra bother I could engineer out of existence.

As for a broom closet, just for instance: I once had one 24" wide by only 12" deep that held 5 full-length pole+ items hanging from hooks on wires that allowed them to rotate sideways when the door closed. Fly swatter and something else hung on the back wall. There were little shelves on each side wall that held little stuff in full view, like boxes of matches, flashlights, etc. On the door hung a 4 or 5" deep x 18" wide x 3' tall shelving unit that held virtually all fairly frequently used supplies in a super-convenient location (and caused the hanging items to rotate when closing).

This part of the wall cabinet only came up about 5 feet, so above that was cabinet to the ceiling with 3 shelves that held dangerous chemicals, emergency supplies, etc.

I just described that to illustrate what little space a GREAT kitchen broom closet needs. At 12" it didn't hold a vacuum, of course, so that went closer to where I used it anyway, but I loved it and would copy it somewhere else at the drop of a hat.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 5:16PM
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measure the height of what you need to store on the shelves. What's the tallest cereal box you buy? The tallest 'jar' item?

Organize them by shelves of paper products, dry goods (cereals, crackers, pastas, mixes), bottle/jar items, canned items, non food items (small appliance, larger pots, large serving dishes).

shorten the height of some of the shelves - and maybe even the depth in of them. My shelves are 18" deep - many don't need to be that deep and a shallow shelf can run over a deeper one and hold smaller canned goods like soups, tomato paste etc. That makes it easier to see those below it and in the back if needed to check your supply.

put the paper products up higher. they're easier to lift up and if they fall on you while taking them down you aren't likely to be hurt. You can usually 'grab' them with those pincher gizmos used to get things that are out of reach. My sister gave me one of those and I love it!

Unless used very often, I'd keep the cleaning stuff in the back corner - or in the mudroom.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 5:21PM
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Sandra/Bellsmom, very innovative to take out the wallboard to gain the depth between studs, Did that with SIL's very narrow kitchen. But here, the space is plentiful. I think there is enough acreage as is. The neeed is for refitting.

Agree with all that the current shelving is, well, dumb. Too deep, too uniform in height/depth - and poorly supported. Oh, and cr*ppy fibreboard that has suffered water damage. Other than that...LOL.

I am still liking a susan, but would place it in the far narrow corner. There will be a bit of dead space beyond,
but the rotation bringing items forward from that crevice would be a great improvement. I've been drawing it different ways trying to make space for the vacuum, broom, sweeper, etc.

Or....I could relocate contents of a hall linen closet and make that my dream cleaning closet. It is in a primo location, smack center of the house, yet I only open that closet when I need to make up guest beds. Actually, I should just get rid of much of what is in that linen closet. Or vacuum shrink pack it.

....hmmmm. Maybe those linens should live deep in the pantry crevice.....? Man, I would LOVE a cleaning/utility closet that organizes and corrals cleaning stuff. And light bulbs. And flashlights. And batteries. Oh yeah.

I do totally agree that the current pantry shelving would work much better redesigned. Rehanging the door and backing it with shelving would make more storage space, but what is there is enough. Just needs reworking.

Thanks for the ideas. This has me thinking. I see major reorganizing in my future.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:40AM
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" I would LOVE a cleaning/utility closet that organizes and corrals cleaning stuff. And light bulbs. And flashlights. And batteries. Oh yeah."

that is an awesome idea! having seldom used linens in prime RE isn't good usage! having the cleaning supplies centrally located is a good idea.

you could keep the linens in a shrink bag under a bed or a very high shelf even in the pantry - where you don't need to access it often. Wouldn't need to have much height to it either. Bag things together as would be used - like the 2 sheets and pillowcases and a blanket in one. some bags of just the sheets/cases needed to change a bed. Label the front edge of the shelf - Full S & C or Q S & C...

I'm having a shelf put in my closets OVER the regular shelf that is in a closet. I still have lots of space up there. One of them will be used for my extra comforters, blankets and pillows. I'll have to use my step stool to reach it - but those are light weight items. It also isn't something I'll need to get down but maybe every yr or 2 anyway.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:13AM
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I ran across this pic in my 'house things' folder so thought I'd post it for you as an example of some shallow shelf usage.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:28AM
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I love the idea of extremely shallow shelving. But I would use it for things you only have one of. Not to line like items up in a row. In the pic above, I would move the Pam, ketchup and other things that there are one each of (on the tiered shelves) over to the shallow shelves on the left. Then take all those cans of beans on the bottom 2 shelves and move them to where the tiered shelves were with the cans behind each other like a grocery store so they have only one shelf front space. Same thing for the next 2 shelves above the beans. Where the tiered shelves were, I would put another shelf in there so there would not be dead air space above the beans. Two shelves in the space of one that was spaced too far apart !!

The shelf front is the prime real estate. In my pantry I do not want *anything* behind another thing that is different than the item it is behind. All the tomatoes are lined up behind each other, next to them is tomato sauce behind each other, next to them is tomato paste, next to them is dark kidney beans, then light kidney beans, etc.

Also on the deeper shelves will be boxed items. Turn boxed items to lay on the thin side/edge so the box top faces out. Usually the sides have nutritional info and only a small logo of what the box contains, if any. The tops facing out give you a big easy to read logo of what the item is. See Bellsmom's 2nd pic with the Stove Top on it's side edge & box top facing out right above the Bush's baked beans. If you had all similarly sized boxed items on their side edge on one shelf, they take up less vertical space so you can fit another shelf closer down above them.

I also like the idea of shrink wrapping the linens to put in the pantry crevice and reappropriating the current linen closet to be a supply/cleaning closet. I don't see the big lazy susans working there as there would still be a big dead space behind the Susans. You wouldn't be able to push them far enough back into the corner. The smaller the Susan that you use, the further you could push it back into the corner.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:19AM
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OK, you have plenty of space and don't need to maximize every inch. Just close off that back triangle (you do NOT want to reach through a susan to find things feet away in a blind corner).
Because of the angled wall, you need a really big susan in that corner if you have any storage on the adjacent walls. So what if you put in a 36'' stack of susans on the left, a 24'' stack on the right, a broom closet between them with doors, and shelving on the right and left walls.
Be sure to have ample access to the big susan. Perhaps a minimum of 15''?
You could put linens on some of the big susans. That stack would hold an unbelievable lot of ''stuff''.
That might look really interesting and be super practical as well! Interesting how much of the open area is now used.

I did just notice that doors as I drew them on the broom closet wouldn't have good clearance for opening. Ooops.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:26AM
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Ok. Some shuffling things here and voila! A cleaning closet

Again a quick fix for a trial basis. Shelves could be better. I might cut down the lowest one so it is easier to reach the mops, swiffer, sweeper, etc tucked to the front right and left. Tacked up a bag for miracle clothes and another one below for rags. Batteries, bulbs - it's all there.

Corralling that stuff from various places freed up cabinet space in the laundry room that is a little blocked by a laundry drying pole (You have to slide the hanging clothes & hangers to the center to clear the upper cabinet door swing. Terrible place for cleaning supplies, rags, light bulbs, etc. Much better to have extra cloth napkins, picnic stuff, etc there. Stuff I rarely use.

Me like. Very much.

Back at the pantry, I tidied up a bit, grouping stuff etc. It is already better with the cleaning stuff out of there.

Along the main wall I am imagining a deep high shelf like what is there for paper goods. Then tighter shallower shelving below for canned goods. Then deeper at counter height, maybe 18"to 20" deep. MW on that. Then tighter deep shelving below for the chargers, extra fry pans & casseroles, Costco cases etc.

For the very deep and useless corner, I am imagining a larger sturdier version of those those old fashioned, wall mounted kitchen towel holders with arms that swing out. Kind of like this thing I found at a yard sale, only bigger and anchored to the wall

Hang tablecloths and maybe even the extra bed linens there. Seems a good use of the deep triangle area to slide the linens onto arms.....? That would clear the right wall where the tablecloths are now jammed onto that one rail.

Definite progress.

Now I gotta sort through all the bed linens I dumped out the of the hall closet. I'm keeping just enough to make up the guest beds. There is way too much. I see a Goodwill run in my future.

Thnaks again or the ideas and support.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 3:02PM
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celticmoon - if you search 'over the door racks' on amazon there are a number of racks that might work for your tablecloths. If you wouldn't want to hang it on the back of the pantry door you might be able to figure a way to hang it on a wall. Like a board the depth of a door put up on the wall - with space on the back of it routed/chiseled out to slide the door 'hooks' into.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:23PM
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Desertsteph, I'll check that out. So far my best bet is coming up on horse stable accessories. This one is a swing out blanket holder. Meaty at 39" long by 5" tall. Couple of these at $10 would do it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:20PM
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I have the same space off my kitchen which leads to the garage. We bought metal shelving from Home Depot and put it together yesterday. Got some great ideas reading this thread.

I haven't organized it yet, just threw some things on the shelves to see how much room I have. The door opens in, and thanks to the advice given here, maybe I can have it swing out.

Where I have the large ironing board, in the corner, I'm thinking I could put mops, brooms and buckets.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:09AM
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Here's another shot looking in from the kitchen.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:12AM
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Here it is straight on. I need to paint the space before stocking the shelves. The shelves are very strong and heavy. Easy to put together and only cost $80.00. Not the prettiest, but I am thrilled to have the extra space.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:14AM
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Looking better already !! Wow you were productive. Makes me motivated to reorganize my laundry that I have been looking at for a while now.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:07AM
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I hang linens in a large walk in closet. Table cloths and matching napkins hang together. I cannot see that a triangular area would work. On the hangers, mine are as wide at one end as at the other. They really need a rectangular area in which to hang. Mine pretty well pack an area about 18 x 24'' by maybe 36'' high.

FWIW: Off season bed linens and guest room linens are stored where they are used, either in a drawer or closet or, as someone else suggested, in plastic bins that roll under the beds.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:54AM
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Found another one that might work.

It is meant for saddle pads so a tablecloth weight shouldn't be a problem. 4' high, arms are 24". Here it is loaded

Bellsmom, so you can't see this working in that corner? I/m thinking if I mounted it forward a few inches the arms would splay nicely.

Hmm. I probably wouldn't use the lowest arms on that multi one. It is $80. I may be better off with several of the more heavy duty 36" $10 one I posted last night... The longer 39" arms should make for OK clearance near the mount since I can hang cloths further out. Seems like it will make good use of the corner without having to enter the corner. Maybe 5 or 6 of them.

You think?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:31AM
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I like the idea and think it would make good use of the triangle corner. Otherwise, that corner is not very useful. Plus it would clear up the wall where you currently have them for other items. I think the longer one would prob work better. Also in the corner you could have space for your water bottles on their sides if you had a couple low down shelves there. I picture them sticking out from the corner, not parallel to either of the walls. What other things could go in the corner ?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I drew the linen hanging options out and the longer length of 39" arm is pretty long. I looked at my linens and it seems I keep them folded pretty narrow, maybe 15". So the 24" would work fine and fits better.

Also I remembered at my 'storage deprived' last home I mounted a heavy wire grid horozontally on a wall. Incredibly useful storage. That would be an excellent use of the long space past the door edge. (BTW, changing the pantry door to swing out would not work here because open it would block the main passageway into the house. The basement door already swings into that space and it is annoying enough. Don't need two doors doing that...)

So here is my proposed floorplan:

And here is what the back wall would be like:

There is over 75 sq ft shelving shown there. All adjustable, a mix of 9" and 18" (or 21" or whatever). If I keep the high shelf deep, the mix is 75% shallow - seems about right. The pantry shelving as is now has 53 sf, all deep, and a good part of that is not easily accessible in the corner. With the linen rack & wall grid, this plan probably doubles the functional storage.

Much better, yes?

18" or 21" for the deep 48 wide section? I should probably explore materials availability/pricing before deciding as a range of depths could work.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Awesome size for a pantry. Lots of potential. I have a similar shaped pantry that I am also trying to refurb and am collecting ideas.

Some ideas I have for you.

I love pegboard. So useful in so many ways. It can be a lot more attractive than this picture. I would have your guy put pegboard on the entire wall behind your door. You will get a ton of storage on the pegboard. I would have a shelf or a couple of shelves built at the top of the pegboard to the ceiling.

I would use a couple of these drawers in the lower area of your pantry for your linens. Rev a shelf makes some heavy duty ones, then you could use the corner of the pegboard (maybe even pegboard both sides of the corner) for small or flat items.

I would go all the way to the floor with the shelving. The pantry I am working on now has lots of open floor space and it's always a mess. That is one of the things I want to eliminate. I am talking about something like this. I would also consider some slots for trays, platters, etc.

I think you have some great ideas and a wonderful space to work with. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:51PM
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red lover - remarkable that you have a pantry with that same deep tight corner!!!!!!!!!!!

That pegboard picture is quite like the grid storage idea. Only bigger - way bigger potentially. Like 11 feet long bigger. Yowza. Some serious storage potential there. I have a pegboard run over my workbench in the garage. They are very versatile.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:51PM
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I think your new drawings look great! the pegboard idea would be great for the flat wall too!

the 18 vs 21" deep shelves depend on what you want to store there.

this is the type of thing I saw on Amazon. fairly close to your 'tower' that splays out. But it doesn't 'splay' out.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:53PM
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I, too, am in love with those Lazy Susans. I've seen that picture before and have even investigated the source and price. Alas and alack, I don't have a "dead corner" in which they'd be useful -- but, if I did, I'd be all over them and would consider them a worthwhile splurge.

I like the picture someone else drew of two Lazy Susan towers, the 36" one designed to take up the odd narrow corner. However, 36" is awfully big -- get out your yard stick and imagine that being a turn table. Yeah. BIG. Would it be functional? Or would it warp over time? I'd ask the carpenter's opinion. He'd know better than we would. I'm sure of this: If you build giant Lazy Susans, do not skimp on the quality of your materials.

Another compeltely different idea: What's on the other side of that odd narrow corner? Could you wall off that portion of pantry and open another door to that space? It'd be expensive . . . but so are those Lazy Susans.

I love the pantry with the half-shelves and whole-shelves. So practical for a variety of sizes.

So much space.
I'm sure you're going to have a great area when you're done.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:26PM
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