Building a Pantry

Adam DIY 11 Comments

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If you remember our kitchen remodel, the previous owners spent a good chunk of time and money creating a beautiful gathering space. We simply hated the paint and fixed that.

The one great flaw was that for some reason there is not a pantry. I’m betting this is largely due to the fact there just isn’t a convenient nook for one. On one side of the kitchen “L” is the garage door and on the other is the back door. The opposite wall just separates the kitchen from living room. There isn’t a natural corner to build in to, but regardless it’s a huge flaw and a real pain.

We really needed some space, so we solved the problem by re-purposing a piece of furniture as a pantry. I didn’t want to build one from scratch, and there are so many old entertainment centers build for large, deep tv’s that they’re really cheap.

Step 1 was to hit up my long-time favorite – Craigslist. I’ve discussed how we use Craigslist before, so I won’t get in to that here, but let’s just say it took a month or 2 of patience to find what we wanted, but it was worth the wait!

I managed to score a custom built, TEAK, solid wood entertainment center for only $100. As you can see in the picture, this included 3 drawers at the bottom, a really large main space, plus a glass side cabinet that we’ve turned in to our liquor cabinet.

We did have to make a few modifications in order for the entertainment center to work as a pantry.

The first change was to the doors. The original design had them swing outward but then slide in to the entertainment center and sit flush inside. This was a problem for us because we needed to add internal shelving in order to stack everything. I spent about $10 at the hardware store and switched out the internal swing mechanism for some basic hinges.

As you can see from the photo, I did crack the wood. The location of the hinge is really thin and the wood split when the screws were about halfway in. It looks pretty terrible in this photo, but if you scroll up you probably won’t  notice it in the main image. It works the same way in person. You almost have to point out the crack in order to notice it from more than 6 inches away.

I was pretty bummed that it happened though. I’m not really sure how I could have prevented it, but I was pretty upset at the time. Now I don’t really notice.

Here you can see the pantry empty. I forgot to take a photo before I did any drilling, so there are already a couple of holes. As you can see it’s just a totally empty space.

This was actually a pretty easy job because I bought the right tools. I purchased the Kreg Shelf Pin Drilling Jig from Amazon to use in concert with my Kreg Jig 5. The shelf pin jig makes it a breeze to just line up where you want the pins to go and just work your way up.

All I did was start with a spare piece of board, line the jig up on top of that and along the back wall, and drill right up the holes.

I followed that process all the way up the walls on both sides in 4 rows. The reason for the 4 rows is that I wasn’t positive how deep I wanted each shelf, so I drilled it in a way that I could add a single 12 inch wide board across the back pins and if I wanted, I could add a second board (or a wider board) across the second set of pins, increasing the depth.

The end result, turned out quite well ( I think). We now have a living room pantry that appears to be a very nice and expensive piece of furniture, and I managed to add enough shelving to add quite a bit of square footage to our storage space, plus a liquor cabinet.

In the future I plan to add some small spice racks on the door in order to maximize the space even further.

I hope you enjoyed another DIY post from the Chudy household. Just goes to show what you can do for a $150, a bit of handyman skills, and a vision for what you want.

I’m still not working on the level of Mr. 1500 or MMM, (or likely even the Frugalwoods) but I am proud of the projects we’ve managed to put together, like our kitchen redo, chalkboard wall and the garden build. Hopefully the skill set continues to compound.

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Comments 11

    1. Post

      I actually put a stain on there that I thought was pretty close, but it ended up really light in comparison.

      I’ll have to take another shot.

  1. Vawt

    well done. I need to get a pin drilling jig, too. I keep thinking I will upgrade our master bedroom closet and that tool would help immensely.

    1. Post

      I’m not the handiest. I’m a bit intimidated by tearing up walls and redoing a whole room, but I’ve been working my way up, project by project. Having said that, the jig and pin jig make things way easier than I anticipated for building things. Only hard part was making sure all 4 rows of holes lined up. They’re not perfect, but pretty dang close.

  2. Kyle

    Hey Adam, wanted to check out your blog after reading about it on 1500days.

    Love the frugal Ingenuity. Looks like it’s worth a lot more than $100. I guess most people don’t know what to do with it now that big flat screens are in. I may copy and build that someday. I could stash clean beer glasses and beer equipment in it next to my kegerator.

    To avoid cracking wood like that, especially when you’re close to the edge, I always pre-drill the hole with a smaller size bit. This should stop your next wood project from cracking like that. Just make sure the hole is small enough so the threads of your screw will still grab tight.
    You should be able to make the crack less noticeable if you take the door off now, glue the crack, drill the hole then put the door back on if it bugs you that much.

    If you did not varnish/polyurethane yet, you can do another coat of stain to get another level darker that may match the rest of the piece.

    1. Post

      Definitely should have pre-drilled, but ya live ya learn.

      At this point I don’t notice enough for all that work. I do plan to put additional stain on the shelves at some point.

      It’s amazing what you can grab off of Craigslist. Teak wood is incredibly expensive and I think piece of furniture looks great. Old tv stands are incredibly cheap on there since nobody buys that size/shape now. It would probably actually be a good business if somebody had a specific, repeatable way to repurpose them for something. I do see people turn them in to changing stations for babies sometimes.

  3. David (thegoblinchief)

    +1 to pre-drilling the holes, especially if the crack is when 1/2 way threaded. Some screws (flat/flush) benefit from a counter-sinking bit, or carefully using a larger bit to drill just deep enough for the head to flush up.

    Neat idea. My house is tiny, so I usually try to do tall, skinny storage. Perhaps I should look around CL some more before building things from scratch.

    1. Post

      Thanks for the suggestion. I definitely should have pre-drilled. I didn’t realize how thin the wood was until after it was too late.

      I’m just starting to build things from scratch and we needed something now (not when I finally managed to finish a project) so I tried to start with something pre-built. I was really pleased with what we found. The teak wood alone is worth more than what I paid, plus it has the nice glass side cabinet and drawers. I would love a pantry, but I’m happy with the project. Even if we move to a house with a pantry, I’ll keep this for storage.

      I checked out your garden, and it’s looking good.

    1. Post

      There’s a million on Craigslist now that everybody has flat screens. It turned out better than I hoped. I just wish we had a legit, walk-in pantry.

  4. Pingback: Another Craigslist Win | Adam

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