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building a better pantry

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

It's spending money, but it's all in an effort to save money, right??


I know I should call a contractor and ask for an estimate, but that always makes me wary like i'm letting the guy down if I just want to know how much to expect and what to save towards, yk??


here is a photo album with 4 existing (albiet some rather old) pics of my kitchen




Its basically setup in two areas, the main kitchen with sink/stove/fridge and a tiny table that doesn't fit well all centered around the oh-so open concept to my main living area. ex refused to consider anything that wasn't 1980s brass and oak open concept HELL. me I like vintage arts and crafts and doors diving stuff up. LOL.


the other half is kinda a butler's pantry? there are upper and lower cabinets directly across from the laundry area. there is probably a 18+ inch gap between the W/D, and a door that leads to what I assume is supposed to be a formal dining something room. it's really long and oddly shaped and has white carpet for crying out loud. its the kids playroom with all the toys, a lovesaq chair and the old 32" tv. hey, there are 2 kids and only one adult!


I also have a upright freezer now that is basically against those existing upper/lower cabs and directly across from my tiny pantry that evidently had a small door (bifold? might have been accordian like laundry area had) at one point.


What I envision is removing the door to the front playroom (right now I have a piece of furniture against it anyway) and drywalling up the hole. Then tearing out the upper and lower cabs since while I LOOK like I have a ton of space they are really poorly designed and all the shelves are odd heights and blah. I barely fit more than my old kitchen that had like 4 cabinets total. doh.


Sliding the W/D over to one side (they are already) and building a wall that runs where the cabinets end currently over towards the W/D area (minus a door)

then building floor to celing, U shaped shelves that will go on the newly built wall, across where the cabinets are now, and across that back wall where the door is, and all the way into the laundry area (also some poorly thought out cabinets above the laundry that are nearly useless) above the W/D


This would make a fairly substantial pantry with plenty of room for food and things like TP and cleaning supplies.

I'd also like somewhere (possibly just a pole running across the room) to hang clothes periodcially. I have a few things that I won't tumble dry, but wouldn't be very often.


I'd like to remove the existing pantry shelves and (hopefully!) be able to put my freezer where the pantry is currently next to the fridge.

That'll give me an actual wall to put my kitchen table against and I can store my crazy tupperware canister collection (that was my nesting with #2...teehee) on shelves above the table area on the "new wall"


I actually HATE my home, it's not at all what I wanted but after looking at in excess of 150 houses (I wish I was joking) my ex finally said "this one isn't bad" so we took it. it's the polar opposite of my style and we are REALLY upside down on mortgage and ex couldn't afford it so he moved back in with mommy and daddy and left me to deal as per usual.

We lived in the house jointly for 36m EXACTALLY, and i've just paid my 1st mortgage payment of my 6th year now paying alone. whoo.


we got one offer for nearly half of what we OWED on the house when I had it up for sale, and i'm planning on saving and possibly renting this home out in say 3-4 years when I have enough saved to buy a new and cover both homes repair and mortgages incase of emergencies.


So I am partly torn, it really would make me feel better about the home, help me towards stocking and cooking vs takeout that we got used to when I was traveling all the darn time. And I think it would help sell or rent the home when the time comes.


I'm just curious how much a reno like that would cost me. EEP!

if it wasn't TOO bad, I could see doing it for sure.


Anyone have any exp with this sort of thing?

I sure don't :(

post #2 of 9

could you do any of it yourself? maybe you can do the framing if there's not going to be any electric run? that's something to consider though. i know in MD they had to have an electric outlet every 8 ft on new construction. i would assume it's the same for renovations. you may want to check your area for that kind of law. alternatively, maybe you can find someone to frame and hang the drywall, but leave it rough so that you can do the finish work. it would at least shave some time off of the contractor's bill if he doesn't have someone there doing mud for half a day.

post #3 of 9

It sounds like a great plan to me, although I wonder if later on renters/buyers will want direct access from the kitchen to the playroom to use it as a dining room.  (Personally, I would much rather have a large, functional pantry.)  Since you mentioned that you don't really like the open plan kitchen, another idea might be to put the pantry on the other side of the kitchen, as a "pod of space" (as architect Sarah Susanka calls it, which would be something like a freestanding walled pantry in this case) between the kitchen and whatever is there that the kitchen is too open to.  But you would still probably want to rework the butler's pantry area anyway, since it just doesn't work well for you.


I am fairly handy, and have lots of time, so if it were me, I would be doing all or most of the work myself.  My main concerns would be lighting for the new pantry, and whether or not new wiring would be needed to put the freezer next to the fridge.  Also consider whether different lighting for the new table location will be needed.


I'd recommend measuring and then making some detailed drawings and even framing/construction plans (what it's going to be built out of, and how the pieces are going to be connected to each other).  Possibly even go so far as building a full-size pantry prototype out of cardboard, and see how it changes the feel and flow of the space.  Then, go to a home improvement store and price out the materials...so much for lumber, so much for nails and screws, so much for drywall and mud and paint and flooring and tools and whatever.  Then you'll have a better idea about whether you want to do things yourself, or hire them out, and you'll have a better idea of what a good contractor estimate would be.  (The contractor's labor and profit will cost more than the materials do.)

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have money and I totally see dad's logic in the statement "my time is more than I pay this person to do XXX" now :)


Plus, my time and materials I won't get back. whenever the house is eventually divided all home improvements are positives on my side of the table so having a writtent statement of work and a bill actually is more beneficial for me.

there is a HUUUUGE 2 panel god awful neon lighting fixture over butler's pantry area/laundry, one where the table would go, and a 4 panel one above the rest of the kitchen.

I would probably see if I can't improve on that, but lighting is there.

I think i'd need to add an outlet for freezer and/or modify existing wall there to fit it. so that would be extra work.


just curious how much something like this might run since i've never hired a contractor and I feel guilty asking for estimate just to know roughly what it might cost!

post #5 of 9

Just guessing, I would say roughly $400-$800 for materials, depending on how elaborate you get with the shelves, and a contractor price in the range of $1200-$2400.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

See, that could be do-able for me.

I need to call a contractor out to my house either way. Was discussing this with mom and she was all "you really need to fix the sliding door and kitchen window FIRST dummy" and she's right. LOL.

Maybe I can get a price on both seperate and together and see if workable.


I REALLY don't want to pour more cash into a house I loathe and is worth half of what is owed, but at the same time as the window/door guy said I could easily replace all the windows/doors on my house right now (6 total windows. weird! seems like it ought to be more) and leave a door open and my a/c bills would STILL be lower...thats how bad my current windows and door is.


Plus there is the whole roach issue. texas has "palmetto bugs" or "wood roaches" or whatever cute name you want to call them. They are just GIANT EFFING ROACHES. uggghhh! I can handle most bugs and i'm becoming adepts at dealing with these guys, but ick. I could go a whole lifetime and never see another and be a happy woman.

my patio doors are so bad not only do I have giant colony of spiders living all the way around them, but I can stick my fingers between the stationary and sliding doors. thats secure!

whenever the weather changes the roaches look for more pleasant surroundings and like to walk right in and visit. *throws up in mouth a little*


I called out orkin when they were bad one year (I'd spotted and hosed down with raid and put cup over to wait for death on errr....6-7 in a matter of weeks. ew) and he examined my 2 cupped roaches and was like "well, the good news is they are outdoor roaches"


I'm like "how is that GOOD news??!?! they are INSIDE!!" LOL.

post #7 of 9

Do you have an IKEA store in your area? I know you were asking about the structural level, walls and stuff. But if it were me, I would want to maximize the use of the space, and store efficiently. And as a tenant/buyer, that would be impressive. There are lots of options, like deep, sliding drawer/shelves, cupboards with racks attached, all manners of counters and cupboards and shelves. I am not necessarily suggesting buying at IKEA, but it would be a place to get ideas, and perhaps prices, of the details, finishing touches.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I do indeed, and I love me some ikea. I say if I ever won the lottery i'd create a "donate ikea to the needy" project because I love building the stuff so much. It's like LEGO! for adults! hahaha...


The "front room" that is the weirdly shaped dining room I guess (its a very odd shape) that has become the kids playroom has a long wall that is right inside that door. the kids drawers of toys are there but they *could* be moved and shelving can be installed.


Problem with that is I worry about the kids getting into stuff, knocking stuff over, etc. and it's a little more out of sight out of mind, plus one of the two windows is RIGHT near that wall (like shelves would be level with window) and the windows here are nearly floor to celing. I keep them closed 24-7 anyway, so I could potentially get some reflective insulation type stuff and cover that window for both heating/cooling as well as light.


The problem with removing existing cabs and installing shelving units there (like from ikea) is I really do need a wall. the kitchen table is in a odd spot right now and I hate floating furniture. Probably contributes to my dislike of the house....the fact I have to float my main living room area couch. I have no idea why this bothers me like it does, but it DOES. lol

post #9 of 9

You may found Ikea kitchen cabinets cheaper than the rest but as far as durability is concerned it falls weaker.

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