Bookcase Turned Pantry, Part 1

Well, I finally decided that enough was enough.  It was time to tackle the last big project in my kitchen/breakfast room area.  I’ve been dragging my feet.  I’ve been procrastinating.  I’ve been trying to put it out of my mind completely and pretend that it doesn’t exist.  But I just couldn’t do it any longer.

It was time to tackle this shameful monstrosity…

bookcase turned pantry 1

Yes, it’s the oddly placed bookcase that we’ve decided to use as a pantry, but have never taken the time to finish or even organize, for that matter.  It’s a shameful mess, and sadly, it’s something that is seen as soon as a person enters the front door.

Something needed to be done.

So after unloading all of the packaged food, canned food, cookbooks, vitamins, and other random items that had managed to find their way to this area, I gave the inside a couple of coats of primer and paint, and then primed the outside frame.

bookcase turned pantry 2

The I decided that I wanted to tile the middle section to tie in with the kitchen since the middle section would remain open.  So with $30 worth of tile and supplies, I got to work.

bookcase turned pantry 3

Because this was such a small job, I didn’t bother purchasing spacers for the tile.  I was certain that I could just eyeball it and get them evenly spaced.  Big mistake!!  The problem wasn’t my eyeballing.  I’m actually pretty good at eyeballing, and generally fairly accurate.  The problem was that I didn’t take into account how cruel gravity can be to a DIYer who fancies herself a pro at tiling.  So this is a “do what I say and not what I do” moment.  Always buy the spacers and save yourself the headache, especially when tiling vertical surfaces.  I made do with some pieces of cardboard.

Anyway, I was really quite pleased with how the tile really did tie this area in with the kitchen.

bookcase turned pantry 4

With my tile installed, I just needed to do a bit of grouting, some nailing and gluing, and a little more painting, and my bookcase-turned-pantry looked like this…

bookcase turned pantry 5

It’s still far from finished, but it’s already such a huge improvement!!  And obviously, I still need to finish up some trim and install the rest of the tiles on the floor in that area.

So, are you wondering why I tiled the middle section?

bookcase turned pantry 6

It’s because I needed a place…other than my kitchen counter…to place Mr. Berkey.

bookcase turned pantry 7

It’s our new(ish) Berkey water filter, which we absolutely love!  And if you’ve ever had the misfortune of drinking, or even smelling Waco water, then you know precisely why we needed this guy.  But ever since he arrived on our doorstep, he’s been living on the kitchen counter.  It was time for him to have a permanent home, and since we just don’t have enough countertop space in our postage stamp-sized kitchen to spare, this seemed like the obvious solution.  It’s convenient to the kitchen, with easy access.

So obviously, there one last major piece to this bookcase-turned-pantry puzzle—the doors.

Actually, the doors are THE reason that I’ve dragged my feet so long on this project.  I know you would probably expect me to DIY some doors, right?  But here’s the deal.  We already have two different styles of doors in our kitchen.  First, we have the original doors that were double raised panel doors that I turned into recessed panel doors.  They look like this…

kitchen--original cabinet door

Then when I remodeled the kitchen and breakfast area, instead of replacing the existing cabinets, I just added to them to save money.  The doors on the new cabinets look like this…

kitchen--new cabinet door

(And obviously I forgot to replace the hinges on this door.  Oops!)

Anyway, not only do I not know how to make cabinet doors, but I also don’t have the right tools to do the job properly.  Oh, I’m sure I could DIY something, but there’s no way I could get them to look exactly like either one of these doors, so I would end up with a third type of door.  Right now, I really don’t think anyone would even notice that I have two kinds of doors unless I point it out (as I’m doing right now with you).  But if I add a third type, I fear that this area would start looking like a real hodge podge of mismatched cabinets.  I’ve worked too hard on these rooms to do that.

So I needed someone to make the doors for me.  That’s where the frustration came in. I think I’ve told you about my struggle with trying to find someone in the Waco area who will make cabinet doors only.  They either don’t want the job because it’s too small, or want to charge me an arm and a leg for the job.  So, I put it out of my mind and moved on to other projects.

Then, just a couple of days ago, I realized that there was no need for me to confine my search just to the Waco area.  After all, there was a huge World Wide Web right there at my fingertips!  So after about a half hour of searching, I found a place that will make them for a very reasonable price, and because I can choose all of the little details, I’ll end up with doors that (hopefully) are identical to the doors on the new cabinets.

Once I get those doors, paint them, and install them, the finished pantry should look something like this…

bookcase turned pantry with doors

Oh, what a happy day that will be!  I should get them in about two weeks.  And believe me, I’m counting the days!  Perhaps until then, I need to concentrate on finishing the tile on the floor.  After all, how many months now has that floor been “in progress”?  Hey, these things take time.  Don’t rush me!  Smile

**Edit:  Matt just took a look at this post and said (sarcastically), “Yeah, I like how you took the time to clean the kitchen before you took the pictures.”  lol…Smarty pants.  The junk on the countertops and the stove is all of the stuff that I unloaded from the bookcase/pantry so I could paint and tile.  I thought that was obvious, but clearly it wasn’t.  So as soon as the paint is good and dry, it’ll all go back (hopefully in a more organized fashion this time) and I’ll have my countertops and stove back.


*I’m linking this post to the great link parties at the bottom of the page.  Scroll all the way down and click over to join the fun!

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  1. Looking great…! Loving the color choice for your cabinetry and the pantry idea with subway tiles and center left open.. great idea..!

  2. LOL!   I can so relate!  I am terrible about starting two or three different projects at one time and then NONE of them are complete!  The pantry is going to look FABULOUS and I LOVE the tiled area!!  You are on a ROLL!

    Lou Cinda 🙂

  3. Looks awesome-the tile is a nice touch and you can never have too much storage space in the kitchen!

  4. Love blog stalking your blog.  Yes, it is obvious the "disaster" behind is from unloading the pantry.  Although, I am guilty of staging pictures I'm going to post, sometimes capturing the chaos is part of the process. 

  5. Tell Matt you are just keeping it real, we don't mind!  Plus it is all part of the "progress" faze.  Love how finished it looks now.  Much more welcoming to your guests.  Hope you and your husbands's hearts are starting to heal, I have been thinking about the two of you. 

  6. What a great project and use of space!!  It looks great and will look even greater when  you're done.  I got the food part – wink.

  7. Another coment from Mary S. (BTW the comment I posted re: your dear grandmother (I'm the one with chronic major depression) I have to add I'm 71 yrs old and the older I get the more vulnerable I am to setbacks.  Anyhoo onto your pantry DIY…great work and great ideas.  It will surely be a wonderful improvement once you get the doors and tile the floor.  I honestly don't know how you get your job as a interior decorator done and still work on your house.  But then I remember when I was young and had 3 children I painted, wall-papered, gardened, sewed, and did a lot of things like that cuz I was happy having my babies to love and raise.  So obviously you love what you are doing and tho things get frustrating, and materials aren't found, and you get tired, you still find the strength to go on. 

  8. This looks like my kitchen, studio, living room, dining room, kitchen table, etc. when I'm working on a project.  This makes me feel so good to be normal!  Love, love, love the cabinets!  They are fantastic!

  9. Oh my goodness…

    I have SO figured out what I’m doing this weekend- I have no pantry, an ugly old bookshelf I have no place to put… and INSPIRATION!

    I <3 it!

  10. Yes, I HAVE lived in Waco and tasted the water! Yuck! I’m dying to know how long you’ve had your Berkey water filter and whether you like it? I keep reading about problems people have had, and while I know grumblers are often the ones to leave comments, there were enough problems that I haven’t ordered it. Is there anything you don’t like about it? Thanks in advance!

  11. Hate to say it, but I kind of liked it the old way, minus the mess. Now it just looks like a regular cabinet you can purchase at Home Depot or Lowes.