In The Pantry

Location played a key role in purchasing my latest house.  A ten minute walk to the local lake outweighed the lack of existing kitchen storage.   You have to give up items on your wish list when house hunting, I know that.   The storage issue almost had me walking away, but I began redesigning the kitchen in my head and thought it could be renovated to my taste.  I’ve designed many kitchens over the years for clients and embraced the idea of making this one mine.   Every house I’ve lived in has had a pantry for food storage whether large or small.   I admit I am obsessed with pantries.  I would rather have a walk-in pantry than a bank of upper cabinets any day.   The house I grew up in, and where my parents still live, has a walk-in pantry with open shelves above base cabinets.  Everything on the shelves can be seen at a glance, ready to be used or prepared.  Kitchen spaces were smaller in the earlier part of the 20th c., primarily kitted out with the basics and a table for preparing food.  The pantry room provided storage for food, tableware, and cookware.  Over the years kitchen spaces grew and with the addition of fitted cabinetry, the pantry shrunk.  My first house had a small closet about 16″ deep and the second house had a pantry unit with pullout shelves.   Both acceptable, more than I have now.   Now I have one upper cabinet for food staples of which I can only access the first two shelves without a step ladder.  I squeeze the rest between the pots and pans in the other cabinets.  Not ideal, especially for someone who likes to cook.

While I work towards designing the ideal kitchen for my current home I needed to come up with a temporary solution for my storage needs.   Last weekend I dragged invited my husband to peruse local antique shops (with the promise of lunch) and found this oak case piece recently arrived from Belgium.  A few of the doors were stuck, and the keys missing, but the proprietor managed to get them open so we could inspect the inside.  The interior shelves were missing and the bottom one is slightly damaged.   The price came down about 40%, so I could justify having to pay a furniture restorer to repair it.  The size is perfect for the kitchen wall.   I really like the unusual base even though the proprietor suggested cutting it off and putting bun feet on it.  I could have it painted, but I like to live with things a bit before changing them up.  For now, it will serve the purpose.


I like the warmth older pieces bring into an interior.  Most of my rooms contain at least two pieces I’ve picked up at antique shops.  Usually, they’re not fine antiques, but older pieces under 100 years old and obtainable.  What I really like is to repurpose an older piece of furniture.  Armoires are great for storage, especially in a kitchen.   In a historic home renovation we used the owner’s armoire as a food pantry.

Not sure what to do with that big honking armoire you inherited?  Jackie Naylor Interiors
Cookery writer Elizabeth David’s kitchen.

Some pantry photos I’m taking inspiration from:

Love this.  Be careful adding too much weight to doors.  Kitchen by Mick De Giulio, kitchen designer extraordinaire
A narrow walk-in, but I’ll take it.  Like the depth of the shelves with everything visible.
Deep shelves make it difficult to see everything easily.  Too much work to move things out of the way.  Pull-outs on the lower three shelves would work better here.
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Oh, the drawers are gorgeous!  Like the shorty door shelving for spices.  Wine storage above is a clever use of space.  Don’t store your wine above the refrigerator it gets hot up there.
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The space between the counter and shelves looks less than 18″.  I’d like to be able to put the stand mixer there.  Otherwise, I’ll take it.  I see they have the brand of san marzano tomatoes I like 🙂
Getting there.  Could use some color on the walls and behind the shelves.
In complete envy over this farmhouse pantry of Barbara Sgroi from Country Home.
What a sweet dog!
So fun!
Love the clean, white efficiency here and the generously sized cubbies.
Another gorgeous Mick De Guilio pantry from his book “KitchenCentric” The photo below shows the kitchen floor plan.  Notice the generous pantry space he designed for his client.
De Guilio kitchen showing the pantry space above.
Another sweet dog!  House Beautiful