Pantry Update: Roadblock

Wellllll, I was hoping to have a finished space to show you by now, but we are a bit hung up. Things were going SO well, ahead of schedule, we were killing it! Now? Notsomuch.

Ah, such fools we are. I would think we’d have become bitter and jaded after the number of snags and bumps we have hit over the years of renovating together, but we get this blinding surge of optimism and excitement that a new project inevitably brings….such that makes the memory of all previous disappointments somehow fade away into the land of the forgotten. Deep down, we KNOW there will be a problem, but it doesn’t deter our giddy renovation fueled endorphin rush.

The latest version of said rush was in full swing last weekend when I posted our progress on Instagram…

pantry progress

Cabinets up, with some cardboard thrown on for countertops to hold a few light tools. SO CLOSE. We need the matching quartz counter, some filler strips and a backsplash. Easy, right?

WRONG. Both the quartz (Silestone Blanco Maple) and the backsplash, Porcelanosa Stick Wenge have been discontinued. We thought we had enough tiles left for the backsplash, but we don’t.

This is what you get for procrastinating 4 years to finish your kitchen. We are now searching ebay and stone dealers for offcuts and leftovers. When we demoed the original kitchen, we saved the white Corian countertop to use down in the workshop. For the moment, that will be our counter, so thankfully, we are able to use this space while we search,  but our completion date is now in limbo.

kitchen temporary counter

The Corian and the cabinets are very different tones of white, so it can’t stay, but we need to formulate a plan B in case we can’t find our matches. Dark stained butcher block is emerging as a logical second material, but we’ll see. Learn from us people, and don’t procrastinate if you plan to match materials, because even the safest, most popular style can disappear on you while you blink.

We’ve had house guests for the past week, continuing through this week, so we are grateful just to have it functioning and the messy chaos gone. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more!

Pantry Update

I know this has been incredibly slow going, but the un-fun prep stuff takes awhile with little to nothing to show for it. BUT, that said, starting this weekend, things should start moving a little more quickly. We can’t install cabinets until the wall is up to code, with an outlet for every 4 feet of counter space. Plus outlets for under cabinet lighting…oh, and we have a switch hanging from the ceiling that needs to be dealt with.

We decided after taking out the wall last weekend that it was worth the splurge to get an electrician in. The CC is pretty good with electrics, but he’s one guy with a day job, and for what we need done, a team of 2 guys is going to get us ready to roll in about 4-6 hours. They come early Friday morning, which means Friday night, we can start busting out some progress. We have one lot of cabinets sitting in the garage waiting for assembly. I’ll probably drive to Atlanta sometime next week to get the second lot and the other bits like handles etc…

As a reminder of what we had on this wall of the kitchen…this is as it was the day we looked at the house….

fridge pantry before

…and this is how we’ve been living with it.

pantry wall

We eliminated all the wasted space behind those tiny bi-fold doors, but never quite finished.

pantry wall coming down


It’s a project, so that means only one thing….OTTOBOMB.

kitchen/pantry ottobomb

This is our highly scientific way of showing the electrician where we generally want the outlets.

kitchen/pantry electric sketch

kitchen/pantry hanging electrical

pantry cabinets

More later….I HOPE!


Yes. I have an unfinished kitchen. Only looongtime readers will remember my first admission of this problem. I’ll summarize for the rest of you.

We gutted and redid the kitchen ourselves. For a detailed before and after of the kitchen, click here and here. We moved in just as the new hardwoods had been laid throughout the main areas, replacing carpet, linoleum and parquet. It was the the second week of new schools, in a new city for the kids, and we moved into a kitchen-less house. I could see the look of concern on the teachers faces as I picked up the kids.

“So, (Thing Two) tells me you don’t have a kitchen right now! How’s it going?”

“Yes, that’s right, we’re managing, but I think it unsettles him a bit, (he was only 4) we’re just trying to sell it as an adventure!”

They stopped asking after a month. We really did manage pretty well out of the dining room, with camping tables set up as counters and a microwave, toaster and electric kettle. It was late summer so we had the grill as well. Without a downstairs bathtub, the washing up was much more difficult than the preparation of meals.

All that to say, when we finally got the kitchen fully functioning around 6-7 weeks later, we were exhausted and we looked over at the pantry wall and said..we’ll get to it in the Spring. Little did we know that actually meant in the Spring FOUR YEARS LATER.

pantry wall

We don’t have the cabinets, and the wall between the fridge and the shelving/makeshift pantry has to come out. It was a horrible realization that we have to undo some previous work. We had opened up this wall and reinforced it/shortened it because we had thought it was load bearing at the time. It used to extend further into the room and we brought it back flush with the fridge….we had it halfway down already! Arrrrgghhh!!!! We all make mistakes in these kinds of endeavors now and then, but it doesn’t make them sting any less.

wall to come out in kitchen

As much as we would LOVE to tackle the master bath, it is a much bigger job labor-wise and with the dog out of his crate the last few months, we figure it’s only a matter of time before he decides to get curious about the contents of these shelves while we’re out.

Also, I absolutely CRINGE having these open shelves for our pantry. Especially when people come over, it feels so exposed. Maybe not as bad as having an open medicine cabinet, but I have struggled with it and threatened to hang curtains over it and all sorts ever since it went up.

Ikea finally got with it and enabled the kitchen planner for Macs, which was not the case when we first did the kitchen, so we got to planning, and this is what we’ll have in its most basic form.

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 8.39.01 AM

The visuals on the new planner aren’t as good as the old ones! It’s really hard to tell what you’re looking at here. The bottom cabs are pull-out recycling and drawers. The space on the end is open because we have 2 cabinets already for those spaces that didn’t work in the main kitchen.

Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 10.54.16 AM

The microwave will move out of the main kitchen to this area of upper cabinets as will the wine rack from above my desk. The fridge will move over to the left a bit to be surrounded by floor to ceiling cabinets.You don’t see handles either since we have several already, so it makes it hard to see the full picture as we cobble together leftovers.

Now to get our schedules sorted for a trip to Ikea…we think we can just do a day trip this time without spending the night in Atlanta. We haven’t measured the car yet, but I think our tallest cabinet will be just a few inches too tall to fit in the SUV and we’ll have to rent a truck or van. The shipping cost with Modernash will be too expensive.

We’ll have to move some electrics as well, so we’ll have to get that started before we install anything. Sheetrock dust and chaos, here we come.

Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen has finally reached a semi-photographable milestone.  There’s still trim to lay, painting and some minor finishing touches – but it’s basically done.

To give a bit of background, we recently purchased a 1977 modern home that hadn’t seen a lot of love in the past 35 years.  The kitchen had to be gutted -  the sink had been leaking for years, and the use of space made the kitchen feel a lot smaller than it really was.  We closed on a Friday and started the kitchen demo that night.  We knew it would be tough to live kitchen-less with kids, so we hoped to minimize down time.

I haven’t added up every last Lowe’s receipt, but, to put a number to it, we completed this job for $16k.  While not cheap, (we had hoped to keep it well under $15k), it’s not too bad for a full gut and redo with ALL new appliances.

We did everything ourselves except the flooring and the backsplash tiling – I know – why not?  The flooring was a continuation from the adjacent rooms, that were getting an upgrade from green shag, and the tiling was a simple combination of exhaustion and a need for precision with the tiles we chose.  We gave in!  Additional info on the tile we chose has been covered in this post.

Although we live more than 3 hours from an Ikea, Pricing cabinets made it very obvious that with truck rental and hotel costs, we were still saving immensely by doing an Ikea Kitchen.  To illustrate this point, we were quoted $14k for ONLY the base cabinets of Kraft Maid Venecia from Home Depot/Expo.  All of our cabinets, including uppers, and the desk area not shown here, cost $7k. The counter top material is quartz ordered/installed through the now defunct Expo-just in time!

We removed the soffits and 2 small walls that crowded the pass through area between the ovens and the fridge.  We also made the tough decision to install only one oven in order to maximize the open feeling and gain counter space.  We enjoy cooking together, so that’s why we placed the oven offset from the cooktop.  While one person cooks at the stove, the other can access the oven without anyone having to step out of the way – a decision I still stand by as it works great for us.

Utby feet from Ikea seemed like a good idea to show off the new floors rather than using toe kick plates.  As I clean under there and chase rolling grapes, I’m not so sure it was that practical, but I still love the look.

The Original Kitchen
Before with Soffits
Before Fridge Area
Rotten Floor at Sink
Demo in Progress
Finished Floor
Typical Renovation Mess
Finally Usable
Breakfast Bar
Backsplash at Sink
As of Yesterday