Almost Finished! (And Dealing With The Residual Mess Of Remodeling)

Well, I’ve decided that this will be the penultimate pantry remodel post. The next time I post about the pantry, it will be the final before and after.

These daily accountability posts have been so tremendously helpful in keeping me focused and on target for getting the pantry finished, but the time has come for me to wrap up those couple of final projects, and then start tackling the construction mess and other residual mess that I’ve created in the adjoining rooms over the last two-and-a-half months as I’ve been working on the pantry.

The good news is that I really am down to about three projects in the pantry. I’m so close that last night I couldn’t help myself, and I actually started unpacking some of my stuff and loading it onto the shelves.

So I’ve got vases and canisters and dishes mixed in with paint cans, tools, ladders, and my shop vac. But that’s just how I do things. I see the finish line, and I get anxious to jump ahead to the next phase.

The bad news is that the biggest part of finishing this project will be tackling the mess in the breakfast room and studio. And in an effort to keep things real, I’m going to show you my mess. Here’s a current glimpse at my breakfast room.

I can already hear the gasps from some of you. 😀 But if you’ve been reading my blog for long, you already know I’m messy. When I’m in the midst of a big project, like the pantry or the hallway remodel, I make a huge mess and make no apologies for it, but I always pull it off in the end.

Anyway, this poor room has been everything BUT a breakfast room for the last several months. First, it was where I set up shop to make my draperies. Then when I started working on the pantry, it turned into my resin tile studio.

DIY marbled resin and alcohol ink wall tiles - place tiles on 2 x 4 pieces to pour resin

As long as I was working on the tiles, I tried my best to keep the dust out of the room. That wasn’t easy since I was using saws right next door in the studio, and dragging tools, cabinets, wood flooring, etc., from the studio to the pantry several times a day.

But after the tiles were finished, let’s just say that keeping the dust out of the breakfast room became less of a priority for me. 🙂 And about four weeks ago, I gave up completely. So while the rest of my house was getting cleaned on a weekly basis — the dusting, the vacuuming, the mopping, etc. — I just decided that the breakfast room would be a lost cause until the pantry was finished.

The fact is that the floor could be freshly vacuumed and mopped, but the second I stepped from the studio (where I’ve been using my saws for the last 10 weeks) into the breakfast room, I left tracks of sawdust. So now I have about four weeks of accumulated sawdust covering everything in my breakfast room. The room will literally need to be cleaned from ceiling to floor.

And then there are the extension cords, tools, accumulated boxes (some new and some filled with items that have been waiting to be unpacked in the pantry), wrappers from drawer slides, paint cans, bottles of resin, alcohol inks, leftover tiles, and on, and on.

But the main goal will just be getting the dust cleaned up. It’ll be a pain, but (and this seems to have become my mantra lately), it’s just dust. It may take a full day of vacuuming, but I have no doubt that this room will be as good as new before all is said and done. Even my pillows, benches, chairs and curtains will be as good as new because it’s just dust, and that’s what upholstery attachments for vacuums are for. 🙂

But in order to keep the dust out of the breakfast room once it’s cleaned, that means I also need to tackle the studio, and that’s much more daunting.

I have been vacuuming up the dust in the studio about once a week since I started on the pantry, but when you cut as much plywood and lumber as I have over the last ten weeks, it’s like fighting a losing battle. I’m not just walking on the dust and tracking it on my shoes, but I’ve been kneeling in it as I rip the plywood pieces with my circular saw. Like I said…a losing battle with the dust.

Now that all of the construction is now done on the pantry, it’s time to get all the mess cleaned up, get the breakfast room back in working order as an actual breakfast room, and get the pantry ready for it’s big reveal. I’m not sure exactly when that will be, but by gosh, I’m determined to make it before I take my annual end-of-year one week break. So it may be this weekend, or late on the 24th, or even on Christmas day. But I’ll post it as soon as it’s finished and I can get good pictures. I know y’all are wanting to see not only pictures of the pantry itself, but also the view from the kitchen, from the breakfast room, and even from the front door. I’ll do my best to get it from every conceivable angle. 😀

But can we just take a second and remember where this pantry started? There was no pantry in the beginning. There was no separate room. It was just one long and narrow room that the previous owners referred to as the den. So I called it a breakfast room, and then sectioned off an area at the back of the room for a pantry.

And do you remember when it looked like this during the kitchen remodel?

I had removed the old cabinets from the kitchen, but couldn’t get them into the garage by myself (that’s when the studio was a garage with a floor that sat about 18 inches below the breakfast room floor). So I lined them up at the back of the room that is now the pantry.

Before I could work on the breakfast room, all of that had to be removed, so my brother and I moved them into the garage, and that back area that’s now the pantry looked like this…

So even with all of my construction dust and piles of tools lying about, I’m pretty proud of how far this has come.

pantry progress - shelves and wall with first coat of paint
pantry progress - freezer cabinet finished

But enough of the “before” and “progress” pictures. I’m ready to see some “before” and “AFTER” pictures! I better get busy!


My pantry is finished! Want to see the entire project from start to finish? You can find every single post about the pantry build right here…

Or you can skip to the end and see how it turned out. Here’s a peek of the finished pantry…

Butler's pantry remodel with dark teal lower cabinets, floating corner shelves, and whitewashed wood countertop

You can see more pictures on the before and after post right here…

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  1. I am just BLOWN AWAY at your talent. And the “mess and sawdust” doesn’t bother me in the least…I am not shocked or horrified. LOL! I love following your blog…You keep it REAL! I can’t wait to see the reveal of your pantry.

  2. I demoed my bathroom in my first house by myself. That house was an 830 square-foot square, so I unfortunately had to clean up the dust each and every day or else I would’ve tracked it into my bed, kitchen, couch, etc. I’d happily have left it like you do and waited til the end! Cleaning was the worst part 🙂

    Everything is looking good!

  3. To clean the studio — I suggest a leaf blower to get the worst out, then sweep, and blow one more time. We do it to clean our garage/wood workshop all the time. Everything looks so great. Cabinets are not easy, so kudos to you.

  4. Kristi, AMAZING! Do you know the color of your pantry cabinets or did you mix yourself?.. I am going to try to look through your past posts.. I love looking at it all anyway..

    1. It’s called Mythic Forest by Behr. It’s one of their old colors, so they won’t have a paint card with the color on it. But they do still have the color formula in their system and can mix a sample for you.

  5. Construction gets messy… that’s just the way it is. Dust is impossible to contain no matter what you do. It doesn’t bother me.

    But I would LOVE to see a video of you cleaning up the pantry floor (not the breakfast room, cuz that’s just dust) because I have similar floors to yours, and I’m totally paranoid about protecting mine.

    I just can’t fathom how drywall mud, paint splatters, etc get cleaned up without leaving signs, and how you manage to not have your floors dented and chipped to hell.

    I’d love to be brave enough to tackle some smaller projects without spending half a day protecting my floors, so seeing how yours stand up and clean up after all that would REALLY help.

    (And it might make some of your critics shut up about the mess).

  6. Thank you Kristi for posting these pics, you are the best. Am totally unimpressed with the so-called mess in the breakfast room, just a few boxes and some vacuuming, like you said. Really excited for you to start enjoying your fully customized pantry. It would be interesting to know the total cost for your pantry vs the cost if you had a similar set-up professionally installed. I saw a comparable type of swirly, colorful customized ink tile by an artist in New York (it might have been in House Beautiful or Architectural Digest) and I wouldn’t be surprised if the artist charged a lot for the custom tiles. So, I would think the price differential is vast. That’s why I get such a kick out of your DIY, that you achieve such beautiful, personal results at such a low-cost. It’s something all of us want to be able to do, but most of us give up after our first few attempts since we don’t have your skill or talent. But it is very inspiring.

  7. Kristi! It’s amazing how talented and productive you are! I am so inspired by You! Keep Posting/Inspiring! The pantry is Awesome!

  8. I can see why the studio is such a priority for you two now! I can relate about making a mess before completely reorganizing, too. It will be great to have a dedicated space next year! I certainly hope you are very proud of yourself for how incredible the before and afters will be!!

  9. Honestly – given the size of your reno project – your “mess” doesn’t look bad at all!

    and love, love, love that you’ve already started putting up your dishes! exciting!

  10. It’s looking great! And I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one that lets everything else go in the house when I’m working on a project! No gasps here! 🙂

  11. This is perhaps the most jealous I’ve been of your projects but I’m ashamed of my jealousy because I know how you have earned this. I take comfort in knowing your pantry posts will be there for me when I’m ready.

    I really wish you had someone to handle the drudgery of clean up while you create away, or rest. I know they would not be able to read your mind (at first) and it would take patience and communication but it could be good for the both of you.

  12. LoL, I totally understand the sawdust battle! I try to vacuum intermittently, but when I’m covered in it head to toe, it still gets tracked around most of the house….doh! Your pantry is looking amazing!

  13. You are such an inspiration.
    I can’t wait to have my forever home and make it exactly how I want! Your pantry is a DREAM!!!

  14. You are so amazing! I am so impressed by you and in awe of your talent! Your “mess” is not a mess at all. Just proof of your hard work! I hope you smile with pride while putting things away and getting rid of the dust. Beautiful, beautiful job.

  15. When the pantry is all done you need to take your end of year week and look at all you have accomplished. It’s truly amazing and looks absolutely perfect.

  16. I loved getting the daily updates. You are simply amazing. Even with all the mess, it still looks a gazillion times better than it did before.

  17. It’s a work in progress and what progress. So looking forward to the end result. Good for you for being so diligent….with a few nudges from all your fans!!! lol. Your goal setting skills are something to blog about later. You should give a class.

    1. I wish you offered classes on building things. Of course, I’m in CA, so I probably couldn’t attend anyway, but I love, love, love your mad skills!

  18. Congratulations on having the end in sight. I enjoy my morning coffee reading your posts. Guess I’ll need another reminder for the next few days.

    Love your use of “penultimate” one of my favorite old-school words. Ditto using leaf blower and be sure to wear a mask or rebreather. Nasty stuff in plywood dust.

  19. You go girl! Your mess is not that bad, IMHO! It will all go away as things get put away!

    Ya’ll need to not obsess over her floors being covered with all things construction related. She built and installed those floors and finished them, and IF there is any touch up that needs doing, SHE is fully capable of doing it, and showing us all how to do it to boot!

    Can’t wait to see it finished! Have a very blessed and Merry Christmas you two, and a great New Year!

    P S> What I am most anxious for is the studio, both the process and reveal!!!
    Being an artist myself, it would be a dream come true for me!

    LOL! Living vicariously with you!

  20. I don’t comment often because I have the same thoughts every time I open a Kristi blog:




    You blow my mind!! And it is such a pleasure.

    Your pantry, like all the renovations you have done…inside, outside…is going to be OVER THE TOP.

    And it is almost done!! CONGRATULATIONS on another mind-boggling accomplishment.

    It is almost unbelievable that one little gal could create all you have in as little time as you have. Almost, except that you are KRISTI, who makes the seemingly impossible just another step along the way through a fantastic full-house renovation.

    Your excursion in the attic yesterday was such an example of how you work, how far ahead you are able think, plan and pave the way for what you will need to have in place at some point.

    Did I mention AMAZING????

    Thanks, Kristi, for all you do, for you and Matt, and for us…whose lives you brighten as we ‘come with’ while you wend your way toward having, I can only imagine, the envy-property of your entire area, but more important the perfect home for you and Matt, about which you will be able to say: “I did it my way” with well deserved pride.

    1. Yes, this!!! What an incredible journey you have taken us on, Kristi, and I look forward to the final reveal and to more of the same in 2019! BTW I have seen those types of messes before – at my house – it happens, but boy, it sure feels good when it’s all cleaned up, ready for the next mess 🙂

  21. I love that you aren’t afraid to show the ugly along with the fabulous! A friend of mine always said “you have to make a mess to have the best”, but she was referring to craft type stuff, not remodel! However, I think it fits this aptly. Personally I would be on cleanup duty with my hubs making the mess, but only because it drives me crazy to see the tracks all over the place. But if it doesn’t bother you (and Matt ) then go ahead and live with it until finished! Hope you get everything you want done so you can enjoy the holidays a bit by relaxing, and admiring your hard work! And I bet at some point we’ll see a cute kitty perched on those shelves, so save her some room! LOL!

  22. I just love this post so much! I’m new to your blog and it is so refreshing to see someone else gets what I call Tunnel Vision when doing projects. It drives my husband crazy but I do the same thing and am so messy when I’m working on a project! 🙂

  23. I’ve no problem with the “mess” you show! It’s going to happen no matter what. So glad we’ve all been able to encourage you! May you and Matt enjoy a peaceful, uneventful, well-deserved break!

  24. The mess doesn’t bother me to look at from a distance 😂 But, with copd, I’d be a mess trying to breathe in the dust. 🤷 Can’t wait to see it all finished!

  25. Man I wish I lived closer so I could come help with the clean up! Hubbs and I have rental properties and that’s my job when I work with him. It gives me great satisfaction to know when he’s done with a project, I have 95% of the clean up done as well. Plus I get to hang out with him and learn a few things on the way. You are getting so close. We are all excited for the reveal and cheering you along from our keyboards!!!

  26. AMAZING!!! I sort of gasped, though, when I saw dishes piled on freshly painted shelves. Is the paint cured enough to not stick to something that heavy? (I hope so!) Love your blog…of the three I follow, it’s the best. Can’t wait for the final reveal!

  27. I sit here in amazement at all you have accomplished! You made EVERYTHING!!!! I would have a huge mess from one end of my house to the other! You are something else!!! I have a sister like you and I am so envious of people like you that can just figure anything out! Hope you are so proud of your accomplishments!!

  28. It does shock me a bit but I know that some people work like that. I don’t but then I do not rebuild a room like you do. I have a messy handicapped daughter and I have to clean most of the time, but then there are times that I just want to leave it and deal later. I do not know what I would do if I could remodel a room the way you do. You have a right to do it any way that you want to. Perhaps you enjoy the cleanup afterwards. I just say do what you like.

  29. I think you ought to do the accountability blog on every project. Mostly because I love seeing what you’ve done day to day. And it seems to keep you on track as well. I hope you enjoy your break and have a relaxing holiday.

  30. Your breakfast room is a bit messy but it won’t take long to take out those boxes, stow the tools, extension cords etc and vacuum the first layer of dust. Let is sit for a couple of hours before vacuuming again so that it settles. Those couple of hours will give you time to work on cleaning up another area. Step-by-step and I bet you have it in shipshape within 8-10 hours after you start. Cannot wait to see it completely set up.

  31. While I was reading todays’s post, my husband was intrigued by the resin-tile-table picture and commented that he is keen on trying the resin method for something like your artworks – so now you have two active fans in this household 🙂 (so far he’d only been a passive one and I was the one to put advice from you into practice…).
    I love the look of that pantry and am looking forward to the reveal. I hope you can enjoy it and the adjacent rooms for Christmas in a clean and finished state – to that goal I keep my fingers crossed!!!

  32. Your progress is amazingly wonderful!!! One day I’ll get everything done. But, as for the dust, my hats off to you – I would have been a taping nut! I would have been covering everything with huge garbage bags. Particularly tv, chandelier, pillows, buffet, etc – anyplace where dust would seep into crevices. I j just think about places where that fine dust can seep in – YIKES!!!. I wouldn’t know how to ever get all of that out – even with a vacuum. Anyway, you are a master at it and clearly have a very Zen perspective about it all. I enjoy that about you!!! Can’t wait for the final REVEAL!!! Thanks, as always for sharing!!!

    1. I just got an eye-twitch seeing that succulent still sitting in the breakfast room. Ha! It would have taken no time to carry that into another room and drape cloths over everything else. 10 minutes tops. And why not keep the new purchases in a different room too? I don’t mean this as a criticism–I’m just genuinely baffled and like to hear other people’s approach to these things.

  33. I don’t comment often, but always read your blog. I am always amazed at your talent and vision and just plan old hard work! Also, LOVE LOVE LOVE your use of color. I am sick of the grayish/whitish trend.

  34. The messiness of a project doesn’t bother me at all. It has to happen or you spend way too much time straightening up things that will have to be used again shortly. You are so so close, and it’s awesome! Sure hope you can show us those before and after photos by the end of the year, but if not, it will happen soon I’m sure. I know you will be so proud.

  35. Oooh, you’re practically there! The clean up sucks, but yay! Hopefully your brother and niece can come help you so you can finish faster! I can’t wait to see your finished product! You’re so talented! Thank you for taking us along for the ride.

  36. I work the same way! Every project I start, I say to myself. Im gonna keep it clean, and organized throughout. NEVER HAPPENS! I guess Id rather work in the ciaos , then clean up at the end too. I LOVE A BIG REVEAL! Cant Wait! It looks amazing!!!!!

  37. Honestly, you leave me speechless every time you post! Your imagination, your determination and your talent are beyond belief! I am in total awe of you and I STILL think you deserve a super-hero costume all your own (Wonder Woman is sooooo yesterday)!

    Wishing you and Matt the most joyous of Christmases and a safe and happy New Year. Do, please, take some time for yourself and Matt so that you can truly enjoy the beautiful home you’ve created.

  38. You are such an inspiration to me. I love that you make these beautiful spaces and aren’t afraid to show the mess that life brings when working on a project like this. I love how honest and real you are, it makes me feel better when I look at the messes I make when working on a project. I’m so used to seeing the Instagram perfect pictures and sometimes feel insecure that I don’t have everything put back together as soon as I’m done. I am loving the progress pictures and can’t wait to see the final result. Thank you for being human and actually living in your home. 🙂

  39. Maybe when you get to the portion of the studio where the floors have been laid, it will be warm enough to move the saws outside, but I would still recommend putting down that temporary floor protector—the brown paper stuff. It’s not expensive, and surely it would be preferable to cleaning tons of sawdust off your new floor after building all the cabinets.×50/202823781 I am so excited to see the reveal of the finished pantry—it’s so different than most of the pantries around the internet—in a way that I love!!

  40. I love the fact you are nonplussed by the dust. That is a great asset to have in house updating /remodeling. I wish i could be more that way. Thinking you at some point should look into getting some sort of dust collecting system in your work room. If you plan to do carpentry, upholstery and your wonderful art all in the same room.
    You really are freakin talented and I too LOVE to read your blog. Loved daily updates. Your blog is the first thing I read in my daily emails!!!

  41. I am so in awwww of you and your skills as a BUILDER, CARPENTER, ARCHITECT, SEAMSTRESS, DESIGNER, AND MUCH MUCH MORE, you are all this and much more! I have so enjoyed your post and hope you continue for a very long time! You need to learn to give yourself a break though, you need to take more that a year end week, you should take January to plan and schedule yourself for 2019! I truly dont know how you do it all! I think you are so so amazingly talented! TAKE A BREAK AND SOAK IN THE TUB WITH A GLASS OF WINE AND ENJOY YOUR SUCCESS! BE GOOD TO YOURSELF! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  42. I hope you had a Merry Christmas Kristi! I’m just checking in with you—I’m your friendly accountability check for the day. 😆. I hope you have been able to enjoy yourself and relax over the holiday, and now can switch gears to finishing your pantry.

    1. It’s actually finished! 🙂 I finished it around 11:00pm last Saturday night. Then I spent two days cleaning, one day with family, and then it was dark and rainy for two days, so I haven’t been able to get good pictures. I’m guessing that post will have to wait until next week.Evidently we’re supposed to have sunshine today, so perhaps I can get good pictures today. But I do go in there and just stare at my finished pantry several times a day. 😀

  43. Getting so excited to see the final debut of your pantry! I check daily hoping today is the day 😀
    Happy New Year to you and Matt though. May the coming year bring you nothing but enough…enough health, enough wealth, enough time, enough love, enough of your needs met and enough of your desires met to keep you happy.