It all started with an idea to reduce clutter. That is, to reduce kitchen clutter and hide it in the pantry! I thought we could also reduce kitchen cabinetry, although I am not sure that proved true. (If you missed the kitchen info, here you go.)
Our floor plan created an L-shaped space behind the kitchen — perfect for a pantry. Walking past the pantry, the hallway leads to the garage. Walking through the pantry, a stairwell leads upstairs to the guest suit (above garage) or down to the basement (a.k.a. Pops’ Dugout). But the pantry space itself contains just about everything else we need.
The pantry is set up for guests as much as ourselves, hoping they will feel at home and help themselves. A bookshelf cabinet became coffee station and breakfast nook. Open shelving displays Polish pottery; easily at hand are a percolator, coffees, teas, granola, and protein bars in an old sugar jar that also holds with small treats for the grandchids. A wire basket contains fresh fruit and vegetables.
A small beverage fridge tucked underneath contains yogurt, half-and-half, and refreshing libations. Lower shelves are mostly open for ease; the exception is the corner cabinet with a swing out shelving system. The counter holds an assortment of small appliances at the ready. We used a more affordable “Arctic white” quartz countertop here; it works great with the cabinets. I liked that the particles were finely grained, the design not too abstract.
The washer and dryer are on the back wall, with upper cabinets for cleaning supplies, laundry detergents and small tools. Adjacent to the laundry space is a small utility closet. Opposite the laundry space is an industrial stainless utility sink. Most importantly, the countertop and base cabinets stop just short of a space custom-sized for my pantry cabinet.
The pantry is an antique oak cabinet that my mother-in-law, Betty, purchased at an auction many years ago. It was an aged brown, almost black in color and stood in her garage for many years, often coveted but essentially forgotten. I knew she knew I had my eye on it at one time but I never expected to own it.
A couple years ago, unbeknownst to me, Betty gave the cabinet to the Hubs. He had it refinished for me as a lovely birthday surprise. It is as efficient and practical as it is beautiful, holding all of our foodstuffs.
On or near the pantry I have placed some of my favorite things, including my grandmother’s knitting needles in a cut glass vase, my grandfather’s canister lunch tin, my aunt’s flatiron, a metal milk jug we used for raw milk back in the day, colored glass bottles and vases from various places, a ceramic shoe from Holland, and wall art — from Spain, NY wine country, and a small child. Every time I am in the pantry these things remind me of loved ones connected to this space and their important role in our lives. I’m sure that is why this small room is among my favorite spaces in the house.
~ René Morley