Monday, July 12, 2010

No Pantry

Our kitchen does not have a pantry. I wish we had a pantry. Some day when I remodel this entire house, I'm adding one. Until then, I need a place to store my food. I think kitchens are the worst rooms for small house owners. How do you make a small kitchen work for a family?
We have a cabinet we bought from IKEA that we use as an island for frequently used items like cereal and baking powder and such. But I couldn't figure out a good place to put my cans and buckets of food. So I did what any resourceful woman would do and got out my saw and drill and made benches. First I got some help from my good friend Google and found a plan I could adapt easily. This one can be adapted by anyone with a drill and circular saw (and eventually a nail gun...). Most the other require special carpentry tools. If I could afford those I would probably have just hired a cabinetry shop...

I bought some 2x4's and cut them to size. Measuring correctly is so key! Remember, 2x4's are actually 1 1/2" x 3 1/2". I then used 2 1/2" screws and wood glue to secure them. Because they need to go through 3 1/2" of wood you have to predrill and counter-sink the screws. It's a pain, but the only way to do it.

The above picture is for the bottom of a bench.

Next you have to attach the legs. This gets tricky because you already have screws in the wood where you need to attach the legs. You see where I had to drill another hole because I hit metal. Once the legs are on it will look like this:

Notice that the bottom 2x4's are lying sideways while the top (pictured below) are vertical. This not only allows for lids with a larger circuference than the bottoms, but it also makes the seats more secure because it distributes the weight better. Each legs should have 2 studs resting on it. Once again you'll have to countersink to attach the top to the legs. I also chose to attach some metal l-brackets for more support.
And once your done, here is the outer shell! I am using 3/4" mdf for the seat and side pieces. I want to use a nail gun to attach the sides though and I don't have one :(. So for now there's just some mdf sitting on the top so the kids can sit on them.
The biggest mistake I made was in the height. I measured one of our chairs (16 1/2")and then the red bucket (15"). So I planned to make the benches 16" tall. Once the seat and cushion were added they would be about standard height. Then when I was getting ready to cut I remembered I wanted to include the taller wheat buckets which are 18" tall so I changed my measurements. I didn't even think about table height! So now it fits the kids nicely, but they are too tall for my husbands legs to fit under the table. To be perfectly honest, if it weren't for the wood glue and the side pieces being cut already, I'd take them apart and trim them down today and move the taller buckets back to the closet.
So if you choose to do this, please learn from my mistake.
I also wish I had used a square when attaching pieces. It's a little embarassing.
I hope I can attach the sides and some decorative trim soon and you'll see the finished product and be truly inspired! Meanwhile search the web for some better inspiration :)
Don't get discouraged about your small spaces. There are so many wonderful ideas for storage out there. A solution for every problem.
I have to believe that or I'd get really, really depressed.

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  1. THAT is aweesome, Kris.

    My solution for a small kitchen with no pantry is as follows: get rid of all your stuff. I don't know what we'll do about long-term food storage as yet, but the kids have a walk-in closet, so that may have to be my answer.

  2. It's amazing that with everything I have already gotten rid of, I know I can do a lot more. I have a whole shelf in my cabinets I could probably utilize.

  3. You are so awesome. My kitchen doesn't have a pantry, but there is a coat/linen closet in the hallway that I had to turn into a utility closet/pantry. Now our coats hang on a rack in the entryway and our towels all have to live in the bathrooms.

  4. You have such great ideas. I need to study your blog a little more!