I’ve Hit The Dreaded “90% Finished” Point In The Pantry

“I only need one more week to finish my pantry, ” she said confidently last Thursday.

Ha! Hahahaha! Haha!

I should know by now to never say things like that. The “one more week” mark has come and gone, and I still have a punch list as long as my arm (which, thankfully, is a short arm, as we’ve already established 😀 ) of things that still need to be done before I can call this pantry finished.

I do still have a few big things to do, most of which involve finishing out the inside of cabinets with shelves and other storage organization. But aside from that, it’s all about the small, tedious finishing details. Have I ever mentioned just how much I hate those small, tedious finishing details? Only a few hundred times, right? 😀

It’s about this time in every project — that time when I estimate that it’s about 90% finished — that I start getting antsy with all of the tedious finishing projects, bored at looking at the same thing day after day, and ready to walk away and start on something fresh and new.

But don’t worry. I won’t let myself abandon this project at the 90% stage. I’m going to see it through to the end if it’s the last thing I do all year. And at this rate, it just may be.

And it really is sooooo close! Just yesterday, I finally figured out how I wanted to finish the fronts of the side drawers. I had originally made cabinet doors for these side cabinets, painted to match the rest of the cabinet doors and drawers. But after I did the first coat of paint, I installed all of them just to check for fit and get all of the hinges installed before doing the final coat of paint, and I just didn’t like how it all blended together. As much as I love teal, it was just a sea of dark teal with nothing to break it up visually.

So I started looking for other ideas, and that’s when I came across pictures like this one and this one and this one, where stained wood bins or drawers are used in painted cabinets. So I made my drawer fronts out of red oak, which is what I used on my countertops, and I’ll be bleaching and finishing the drawer fronts to match the countertops.

And as you can see I also got all of my upper shelves built, primed, and sanded. I still need to do some caulking, and then I’ll be ready to paint. The window casing, walls and shelves will all be white — Behr Polar Bear, to be precise. That’s the color that’s already on the window casing, so you can see that it’ll still be nice and bright, but it’s not quite as stark and sterile-looking as the primer color.

A couple of you noticed that my outlets are now disguised with coordinating resin and alcohol ink full overlay outlet covers.

I was pretty proud of how those turned out, and was even more thrilled when one person asked me why I had removed the outlets. 😀 I’d say that’s an effective camouflage!

If you’ll remember from last week, I was having trouble with my ceiling light. It would work just fine as long as it was dangling from the wires. But as soon as I actually installed the canopy up on the ceiling, it would stop working. I finally figured out the problem, and it was a simple and ridiculous problem. I was using the wrong size wire nuts, and since they were too big for the size of wires I was working with, they weren’t holding the wires tightly together.

So I got the right size and re-installed the light, but I couldn’t get the canopy to go on. It had the kind that holds on with the two little decorative nuts that go on two screws on opposite sides of the canopy. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get the second nut to go on, so I ended up just switching out the canopy altogether with the kind that has the one center ring that screws onto a threaded nipple. But of course since I was using a new canopy on a light I had painted, I had to paint the canopy first. And after all of that, now the canopy doesn’t fit tightly against the ceiling, so it will need to be taken down AGAIN, adjusted, and reinstalled AGAIN before I can put the glass balls back on.

All of that to say that it’s THIS kind of tedious finishing projects that make me want to pull my hair out, or just throw in the towel altogether, close the doors on this pantry, and begin work on some other fun project. It’s THIS kind of thing that eats up hours of time, and before you know it, another week has passed and the room still isn’t finished.

But it’s part of every project, so you’d think I’d be used to it by now. And yet, somehow, it always shocks me how much time the finishing details and setbacks take.

But it’s getting there. It’s sooo close to being finished. Maybe by Thanksgiving? I know, I know. I shouldn’t say that out loud.

And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. If you’re not taking “before” and “during” pictures of your projects, you’re missing out. It’s so encouraging to look back and see just how far I’ve come. When I hit this 90% mark and want to walk away, that’s when pictures like this are the  most motivating…

It’s hard to believe that what is now my pantry used to look like that. And then it got much worse before it starting getting better. The excitement of seeing a completed “after” photo next to that “before” photo makes me want to keep going.


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. Kristi! You’ve got this girl! If you really want this to be the last thing you do this year, finish it up by Thanksgiving, hop a flight to Montana, and help me do my kitchen. Not a problem, right? Right?

    1. Sorry Kathy… she’s hopping a flight to northern Nevada…. I have a whole house (oh, and front yard too) that needs work 😜

  2. Don’t think of it as abandonment or “throwing in the towel.” Anyone who has taken on a big project knows how difficult it is to see it through to the end without burning out. It took me 2 years to caulk the trim when I remodeled my kitchen!

    I admire your tenacity, but we all understand if you need to take a break and work on something else for a while! Maybe if you took a breather from the light, it will all come together smoothly when you get back at it. That’s how it usually works for me! 🙂

  3. You can do this Kristi! It’s looking fabulous. Take each finishing step one at a time. You’re almost there and you will love using that pantry when you are done and full of the satisfaction of a job well done.

  4. Where are all the things that will eventually be stored in this pantry now? For me that’d be the greatest motivator to get this done – all the stuff that’s being stored elsewhere that doesn’t have a home.

    1. Half of it is piled in the corner of the studio, and the rest is boxed up in the sunroom. I’m definitely ready to get all of that unboxed and stored in the pantry.

  5. Kristi, you are so, so close to finishing this amazing pantry…….all the little jobs do add up, but you can do this. Keep going, you’re almost done and it’s looking gorgeous already!!

  6. I hear you girl! I’ve been sewing a bedspread (first and last believe me) and I’m down to the final hand sewing bits. Funny how I end up doing other chores that I really don’t want to do either just to procrastinate. But hang in there. Won’t it be great when you can actually use your pantry and everything will be so handy, neat and tidy.

  7. My mind just can’t see that picture as being the before picture. It looks huge in comparison to what the room looks like now. Btw the now is really looking good.

      1. Oh! I see. I haven’t followed you long enough to know that. I better go through the archives and check it out. What I have seen is so amazing! You should have your own tv show.

          1. I am even more amazed than I was after seeing the rest of what this huge room was and what all you have done. Just unbelievable! Also if you take into account what all you have done with both rooms then you are way more than 90% finished.

  8. Print out that before pic and hang it in the pantry and as those weary, tedious tasks begin to defeat you look at it for inspiration. Hang in there you are so darn close, if you don’t finish in the next few days take time off to enjoy family over the holiday then jump back in.

  9. Get it, girl! Keep going! Don’t give up! You’re at mile 21 of a marathon, where everyone hits a wall and wants to stop. Just put one foot in front of the other. You’ll get it done! Just think of how happy you’ll be when you do your year-end recap!

  10. Thank you for being so truthful about what it takes to get these remodels done. The tv shows always make it look so easy and quick, and even to change and install a light, I always have the type of trouble you are noting. It is helping me to realize the true amount of time and energy it will take to do a remodel of my kitchen. Ikea makes it seem like you can just change out cabinets in a weekend. No way!

    My friend says, “90% done, 90% to go!” The hardest part is pushing through that last little bit. Keep going – we’re all routing for ya!

    1. I agree with Lisa—thanks for keeping it real! I’m so tired of blogs that just show the finished product, and apparently nothing ever goes wrong. It’s perfect and easy every time. Ugh.

      I forget just how much WORK and TIME it takes to do the little, but important, things—like caulking and sanding. Let alone when something just doesn’t work correctly, or is the wrong size, etc.

      The pantry looks amazing!!!

      1. Since all of my projects start at the light-fixtures-and-trim point, I appreciate that you all agree that those last 10% are disproportionately long and annoying!

  11. Pretty soon, the GET ‘ER DONE thing will kick in. I can’t even imagine how proud you must be of this room!! You are totally, completely, genuinely AMAZING !

  12. You are SO close! Just keep remembering that. You are almost there! And it is amazing!! Just think how you will feel when you can stand back and take photos of the totally finished pantry. And when it will be fully functional and you can easily find and get to all the things that are stored in there.
    You have totally inspired me to get to work on my pantry and I am envisioning some of your same projects, including the wood pull outs!! Now if I can just get that plumber over here to install my extra dishwasher in there so I can get started. I know, just like my brother said, “You can install it yourself, you’ve done it before.” Well, with all the other things that have been done wrong in my new home, I just want to make sure the plumbing in there has been done correctly. I am not certain that the lines to the dishwasher in the pantry were not an afterthought for my builder (one of the many things I had to remind them to do) and maybe not done as they should have been. I’ll leave all that for the plumber to figure out while I do something more fun.
    Again, thank you for sharing your amazing talents. You rock!!

  13. Why didn’t you keep the green carpet???? HAHAHA Looks awesome and don’t give up now – you’re al the finish line!!!!

  14. Just remember that if you had hired someone to do it, they would have quit at the 90% done point and left you with a wonky light fixture or drawers /doors that banged into each other, or scratches in a finished surface, or who knows what? When you finish, it WILL BE PERFECT, and BEAUTIFUL AND UNIQUE!

  15. Your attention to detail is what sets you apart from any other designer or builder I have seen. Those receptacle plates! Genius!

    You will have a masterpiece when you are done, and you will be done soon.

  16. Just imagine how beautiful your view will be while sitting in your breakfast room. The colors and textures are so pleasing to the eye. You’re going to have such a fun time pulling together all of the little decorative details! Whenever I finish a big house project, I wait until everyone has gone to sleep and I just sit in my new space and give myself a little bit of time to enjoy the space and take it all in. You’re almost there! 🙂

  17. I’m loving your pantry.

    Finish it up, completely, then help put the gal in Montana. Then travel “next door” to north eastern North Dakota and “spiff up” (from the wall studs and floor joists out) my kitchen.

    1. I’m loving your reply – yes, us Northern gals need us some Waco help. I sincerely think there’s something in the water, there, so fill us up a Thermos when you come, Kristi!

  18. I completely understand that 90% feeling. We just moved out of house to renovate (full gut job) and that last 10% of stuff to move was so painful. I think a big part of it was burnout, but we had to finish and you will, too!

    I’ve been meaning to comment on your tile. It looks so good! It’s not my personal style, so I was nervous for you that it would be way too much for such a small room. But it’s brings great color and pattern and feels very “you”!

  19. I like the look of the teal cabinet doors. so elegant in my view, but I worry about your floor!! hope that is not another re do that has to be done in the end.

  20. Kristi,

    I am SO IMPRESSED with your imagination, your talent, and your hard work. So much so that this is the first time I have ever written a comment on a blog!!

    I especially want to thank you for letting us know why your ceiling light was not working properly. Something like that can keep a person up at night – at least it would me!!

    Keep going – you can do this – you always do – and with such flair!!

  21. Kristi, you may be 90% done but the last 10% is going to make such a huge difference, it will LOOK like you got 90% done. Does anyone know what I mean? Those little details, like putting the cabinet doors on and cleaning the floor, look to the casual viewer like way more than 10%. I personally am really excited to see how the totally finished project turns out at 100%.

    Also – on the outlet covers, can you please take a picture and show us a close up? I cant really tell what youre talking about with the resined and colored outlet covers, but it sounds neat.

  22. It’s looking fantastic! I too thought you’d got rid of your outlets. How clever to make matching outlet covers. They’re virtually invisible. Brilliant.

    I think breaking up that big sea of teal with the white wood finish is going to look really custom. Also, it will tie in so well with your trim and shelving.

    This is going to be one heckuva showpiece pantry. Great job. Maybe you can update over the weekend on Instagram?

  23. Brilliant idea to do the stained draweer fronts. They’ll look Awesome! The whole pantry is looking Quite Fine! Just a bit more effort and you’ll be finished and on to another Incredible Project or 10!

  24. Kristi what if you have your brother come over and fiddle with that light so it doesn’t make you crazy? And instead of completing by thanksgiving why don’t you complete it by Christmas. It would be a lovely present for Matt and you to enjoy Christmas morning and I know we can’t wait to see it too! But we don’t want you to kill yourself trying to finish it now. Do something fun this weekend that has absolutely nothing to do with the pantry.

  25. Kristi, you Must stick with this and finish. You have come too far. It is fabulous and I can see where you get sick of something and want to move on. Please finish that pantry. I wanted to say that f ing pantry but not sure that was appropriate. LOL.

  26. Ok, let me just say, you need to give yourself a break! You shouldn’t even attempt another project this year! You should plan on finishing the pantry and take a BREAK, rest your body and mind until after the new year! You deserve a break my friend! The pantry is looking amazing and I can’t wait to see the finished product! You are an incredible carpenter and as I have said before I would donate time to help you just to pick your brain a bit, if I lived close! Your just amazing! STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP and explain to yourself how amazing you are…………………………………

  27. You’ve got this. If it goes another week – OK. You’ll feel great when it’s all done. Bonus is you’ll be able to put all the stuff you’ve been storing away somewhere in the pantry. I’m an organizer, so I love that part.

  28. Love the idea of breaking up the teal with the stained/whitewashed drawer fronts. That is going to look so cool! And the matching outlet covers, now that’s a genius idea. I’m really looking forward to seeing the completed pantry!

  29. I can’t wait to see the drawer fronts. I think they may come in #2 as your favorite thing in the room. We all know the tiles are #1. 🙂

    1. I will! 🙂 I was hoping to have one today but didn’t get enough done (at least, it doesn’t look like much done on the surface, although I’ve been working very hard on it) to warrant a new post. But I’ll update y’all tomorrow, no matter what.