Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Pantry That Hated Me

So, I have this pantry. It's in the back hallway of my kitchen where there's almost no light and space is at a premium. I've been told I'm an easygoing person. And I think it's true- I can get along with just about anybody. But this pantry?? We've been frenemies since day one. Some days the doors would slide, some days they would just jam. It had that Elfa shelving that everyone pretends to love, but secretly hates because it looks like something out of a government run pharmacy. Every time I walked by it, I found myself grumbling something snarky under my breath. I knew its days were numbered, but with so many projects on our To Do list, I was thinking it was something I'd just have to tolerate until summer came around. But a couple of Saturdays ago, I came down for breakfast and found this on my dining room floor.
Apparently, summer had arrived early at the McFarland house.
And it was time to get started on fixing that pantry. Here's a picture of it without those stubborn sliding doors. See what I mean about that Elfa stuff? Yuck.
Food was forever spilling and falling through those gaps in the metal shelving and it was a certifiable mess. First step of this project? We ripped out all the shelves and tossed them in the trash. After that, we patched up all the old screw holes with spackling paste to get a nice, smooth surface on the walls. For our new pantry, we decided to go with wooden shelves, using ledgers for support. Ledgers are just 1" x 2" strips of wood, secured directly into the wall. The shelves are then placed squarely on top of the ledgers, which provide structure and stability. 
We measured everything (twice) to make sure our ledgers were the right length and perfectly level. You can see what a ledger looks like, up there on the right hand side of the pantry. Graham cut the ends at a 45 degree angle so they would be less noticeable under each shelf. Then we screwed the ledgers into the studs with 1 and a half inch screws. Quick sidenote-you can see all our drywall repairs here because I hadn't painted the inside walls yet. We wanted to dry fit all 5 shelves before painting just in case we needed to tweak something. Luckily for us, everything fit like a glove.
Next, I painted the underside of all the shelves before they were installed. I had to do two coats to get good coverage and waited 12 hours between each coat to make sure everything was completely dry. This took a bit of time, but it's really the only way to go. Be prepared, you're probably gonna scuff the paint on your shelves when you're installing them, but it's not that big of a deal. It's easy to do a few touch ups here and there. But painting the underside of each shelf after installation? Not so much.
While the shelves were drying, I tackled painting the inside walls and ledgers of the pantry. I used an eggshell white with primer in hopes of getting maximum coverage with fewer coats. But the sad fact is, it still took me 4 coats of paint to get everything covered. Those walls just kept soaking in the paint like a sponge, so I kept rolling. Which was a good idea, because I ended up with walls that looked brand spanking new.
That night, Graham came home from work with a new toy- a brad nailer. He'd done some research online and felt using this tool would be the best way to secure our shelves to the ledgers in the pantry. Hmmm, wait a minute....I just noticed something as I was typing this. Apparently, we McFarlands need to work on improving our safety awareness. Just look at that chef's knife and 2 glasses of wine right there on the counter next to the nail gun. Whoops. Do not- I repeat do not- follow this example. Safety first, people. Sorry about that.
The next morning, Graham got to work on the shelves bright and early. That brad nailer was the perfect tool for the job. It let him get in those tight spaces with ease and, within a matter of minutes, everything was securely fastened in place. 
After that, it was time to break out the paint again and finish up the tops of the shelves. 2 coats of paint later, they looked perfect. 
To completely paint the inside of the pantry, I ended up using almost an entire gallon of paint, but it was finally done. Now it was on to the second part of this project- deciding what kind of door to hang. The door opening isn't a standard size (of course not), so this makes things a little complicated. Should we cough up the cash and buy a custom sliding barn door? I really don't want to have to do that. Should we cave and install some of those tacky folding doors? Uhm..yeah, no.  We're definitely not doing that. Or should we go with The Boys' suggestion of a hippie style curtain made of beads??  Again- yeah, no.  So I'm kinda in a holding pattern for now until I figure everything out. In the meantime, the good news is that the pantry and I are back on speaking terms. And if it's true that successful relationships are built on time and effort, we're gonna be just fine. All those long hours of painting are definite proof of that. 

No comments:

Post a Comment