Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Dream Pantry!!!!!!

How do you like this little teaser?

Disclaimer: My reasons for posting these pictures of my pantry are selfish. I want everyone to be jealous of the gorgeous space I have created, but, I also want you to know that it is POSSIBLE and DOABLE and not even all that bad to take on a challenge like this one. Go for it!

Have you ever imagined something in your head and then made it come into real life existence? It has happened to me before with the peg people that I have painted and some of the sewing projects I have completed. I have also experienced the imagination-to-reality phenomenon with some of the lessons I planned for my students. What a great feeling it is to take an idea and make it come to life! The biggest project I have ever dreamed up is now a REAL THING thanks to some amazing teamwork on the part of my husband and me and some of our supporters (namely, Kayla and Mom and Dad). Not to brag (except that I am actually bragging), but what you are about to witness is the epic transformation of a sad, disgusting room under the stairs into a beautiful and sunshiny pantry.

The moment that we first toured the house that is now our home, before we even closed on it, the wheels in my head were already turning- "What am I going to do about that pantry?" Here is what I had to work with:

This space had so much potential, but it was being used very inefficiently. Plus it smelled so bad, I couldn't imagine putting food in there.

I found some inspiration on Pinterest and, because I know Drew is scared of colorful walls, I even did a mock-up of my dream pantry in PowerPoint. Now, just to clarify, when I call this my dream pantry, I quite literally had dreams about black and white tile floors and yellow walls. Knowing that the pantry would be behind a closed door, my wonderful husband accepted my dream and let me run with it. We were a great team throughout the process and I learned a lot. I wasn't really happy that it took two and half months to wrap it all up, but the feeling of success, however delayed, is gratifying.

The inspiration for my dream pantry!

I know this is super nerdy, but I had a lot of fun making this.

The first thing we had to do was demolish the foul, nasty, gross room under the stairs. The cats had peed in there, the carpet was straight up yucky, and the shelves were super duper lame. I was surprised at how fun demo was and how quickly we did it. We even had time to make a run to the dump that afternoon. At this point I was thinking I would have a pantry in no time at all. Um, not so much.
Buh-bye, you filthy walls!

There was so much hair and dust and fur in these walls . . . icky!!!!!!!

Drew liked having the opportunity to admire the construction of the house. We might not like every small detail left by previous owners, but the bones of this place are solid; they stood up to the test of Drew climbing all over them.

Over the next few weeks, Drew worked on hanging new drywall. When he initially told me he wanted to replace the drywall, he assured me that it would be an easy project. Well, I have learned that just because a project is easy, it is not necessarily quickly completed. Cutting, taping, mudding, sanding, repeating. I'll admit that at times I was frustrated when other projects around the house took precedence over my pantry, but having a working HVAC is important, too, so I just had suck it up buttercup.
This is what properly puckered drywall screws look like. I did at least one of these! Probably the one on the right.

Drywall mud is so cool! I think it looks like nougat, but it just wouldn't taste the same.

We were terribly busy during the month of July, and not much work got done in the pantry or elsewhere in the house. The most important thing we did was design our shelving! It's the most important part of the pantry, and I was most eager to get that detail all squared away. 

SO EXCITING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once we had a few moments of spare time, we laid down the beautiful black and white tile floor. The process of laying the tiles was much faster than I imagined it would be. The worst part was cleaning the grout off of the tiles.

The spacers hanging out amongst the tiles reminded me of a chess game.

And THEN, thanks to a fantastic friend who gave me a Lowe's gift card, I was able to paint the walls! The paint color I chose is called Fuzzy Navel by Olympic and it is an intense yellow. Note to all DIY-ers: even if you buy paint with primer in it, PRIME YOUR DRYWALL. I painted one wall with five coats of paint before I sent Drew to get primer before I continued with the rest. Painting in such a small space was a nice workout, too; I did a lot of squats without even realizing it as I made floor to ceiling paint strokes with my roller.

Black and white tiles and yellow walls! I can hardly stand it, it is so beautiful!

When the walls had dried, I decided to tackle the tile baseboard on my own. My mindset was positive at the start, ready to breeze right through it. It was all good until I had to break one of the tiles to make it fit the empty space on the wall. Drew had shown me how to score and break ceramic tiles when we did the floor tile. He made it look as easy as snapping a chocolate chip cookie in half. I felt like I was trying to break a diamond in my hands, leaving me feeling defeated and helpless. Many tears were shed. And not the cute kind, where you can still talk and function as you cry. These were the ugly you-know-you-are-crying-for-a-stupid-reason-but-you-haven't-cried-in-a-while-and-it-feels-sort-of-good-so-you-just-go-with-it-because-what-is-the-point-in-stopping-now?-and-then-you-start-laughing-because-you-are-crying-and-then-you-start-crying-again-because-you-are-so-frustrated kind of tears. After I was done with that special moment, I pulled up my big girl pants and tried again. If I am nothing else when I set out to do something, I am persistent. A YouTube video saved my frazzled nerves and I gave it another go, this time with success! I bought five extra tiles for the parts that would need to be cut, and I returned three of them to Home Depot, so that makes me feel proud.

Bringing out the big guns for this project. Please make sure you know all the tricks to using a caulk gun BEFORE you do your project. My hands still hurt because I didn't take the time to learn the helpful tips first.

The key to breaking the tile cleanly was to place something thin underneath the scored line. The video I watched recommended a wire hanger. Since I don't have any of those, I used a metal skewer. I still had to stand on the tiles to break them, but it actually worked, and that is all that mattered to me.
Dear small tile, You were a pain in the butt to create, and although I am happy that you exist, if you were a person walking down the street, I would have to try really hard to not punch you in the face. Love, Angie

Everything happened really quickly after I had the tiles placed on the wall. Grouting and caulking were a breeze, and then I was ready to install the shelves! Drew and my Dad did an incredible job of installing the top tracks that provide the horizontal support for the shelves. Normally, a design doesn't have more than one track to support the same shelves across both, but in the case of our oddly shaped pantry, we were rebels. When I placed a level on each shelf today, it was darn near perfect, and I love them so much for doing the one part of the installation that intimidated me the most.

And now, are you ready to see my picture perfect dream pantry?! Honestly, my only regret is that these pictures don't truly convey how beautiful it is. So, if you need to see it in real life, come by for a visit. :)

Shelving that makes sense!

I think this picture gives the best representation of the wall color.

There is so much space in this pantry that I don't even have it all filled up yet!
The magazine files that are holding my cookbooks are yellow on the inside, just like my walls!

Keep Calm and Cook On

Thus far, I have a green kitchen and a yellow pantry. What's next?! I am thinking a blue laundry room sounds good.

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