Monday, May 27, 2013

Functional with frills - Pantry, panic room & office nook combo

Panic room may not be exactly the right definition of what I mean. Unless it means somewhere to hide from your children with access to a computer and unlimited Tim Tams. In that case, it's spot on. I know the current trend is to have a butlers pantry, which I think is a miniature kitchen inside the pantry to conceal all the mess, but really, what fun is all that? Far better to have a small  room to blog uninterrupted than a closet to dump all the dirty dishes in I think.

So, given that it's come time to finalise our kitchen design and that includes our walk in pantry, I thought I would share what we are planning and get any tips from anyone who has an actual functional pantry. I personally have come from a tiny cupboard  so stuffed full of food that the garlic salt can never, ever be found when you need it, so I cannot imagine what it will be like to actually be able to put everything away, let alone be able to find it again.

Of course in my fantasies it will look exactly like this,

with all the milk glass lovingly displayed in neat rows with a gorgeous grey backdrop. Unfortunately, in the real world of Betsy, the pantry will actually be for..........gasp........... FOOD! I know, a complete styling nightmare but what can a girl do? After roaming around on pinterest ogling pantries, I have decided that what is really needed is a series of interconnected smaller and smaller pantries, kind of like in the 'Cat in the hat comes back' when he has a hat full of tinier and tinier cats named from A- Z.

Imagine, a pantry just to look gorgeous, then one to dump all the mess in, then another for the  milk glass, another for the pyrex, another one for an office, one for all the bulk goods and so on and so on. Don't giggle, someone is probably doing it now, for next months Belle magazine.

Anyway, back to the reality of only one pantry. This is the before shot. This small space is tucked between our bedroom and the existing kitchen. The previous owners were planning to turn it into an ensuite but instead became overwhelmed with the concept of a renovation and decided to ditch Betsy for a house that required no work. Luckily for us that meant no dodgy ensuite to rip out, just the bare bones of a very small room that we thought was in the perfect position for a pantry.

The doorway on the right ( which leads into our bedroom) will be closed over. A new doorway will be made on the left with a sliding door. The window will be replaced with a full width glass panel with a view out onto the side fence, with just a glimpse of the neighbouring house and lots of trees.

Below the window will be a bench with a stool and a filing cabinet to store all our paperwork. Above the window will be some shelves to store folders. Below the bench will be a filing cabinet and there will be a stool to perch on. Probably a  similar size to this, just add a window above the desk.

 When you enter the pantry you will be facing the left hand picture and the wall in front will have my teapot hooks and probably aprons and bags. To the right will be floor to ceiling shelves.

The opposite end to the window will have 500 mm deep pantry shelving almost to the ceiling to store large items and appliances. The shelves along left left hand wall in the photo below with have 300 mm deep shelving for all the pantry goods. The wall on the right will have no shelving but high up will be a large open space (which is above the fridge and microwave) to store eskies and probably the Christmas tree.

Given that the entire space is 1.2 m x 2.7m we hope that this is a functional use of quite a long narrow little room. I anticipate it being the place were bills are paid, food is stored, school paperwork is organised while still having enough frills that it will be a nice little nook to sit in and enjoy the view. Perhaps even nice enough to shut the door and hide in with a cuppa, and the floor to ceiling Tim Tams.

And speaking of doors, I'm quite liking that yellow one in the first pic. I had planned to get frosted glass doors to let in more light, but a solid colour painted door is also appealing. So given that my previous pantry space was about the size of a mini-bar, any tips or thoughts on general pantry design and function would be greatly appreciated. And answers to those pressing questions of course.

Would you paint your pantry door yellow?
Would you put an office nook in a pantry?
Would you like to able to lock yourself in your pantry too? (with internet access and chocolate).

Images that are not mine via 1.Remodelaholic  2. Thistlewood Farm 3. Apartment Therapy 4. Decor Pad


  1. I just can't wait to see all these lovely details in your home....Heidi

  2. a most definite yes to all those questions! nooks appear quite often in my dreams....and now it will have ones with sliding yellow doors (that lock from the inside!!). a great use of space mel x

  3. I say yes to all three questions too. I adore my grandsons, but there are times when a place to lock myself away with a computer and chocolate sounds really good, and I'm sure my daughter would concur. :)

  4. I am so seriously jealous!
    Any sort of walk in pantry is my dream!
    Every time I see pretty spice containers or old flour tins at an op shop I buy them so when I do have my walk in pantry it will be organised and full of pretty colour!
    It will be my space! All mine!

    And I like the yellow sounds like you will have enough light in there from the window that a solid door would be fine.

  5. Ooh that pantry full of Pyrex .... But in the real world ... Will you have a step stool? Our pantry (not a walk-in) has a shallower top shelf so that I can see what's on it and reach it, no step stool in our kitchen. But sounds like you are going to use top shelf for serious storage. Something to think about ...
    I find 500mm shelves very deep, I have lots of Tupperware (used to sell it just so I could stock my pantry with it) and behind that are unopened packets, op shop china squirreled away, etc. if building a walk-in pantry now I would opt for shallower shelves just the right depth for my containers so no mess, moths etc hiding behind. I think that's the difference between nice American pantries and Australian pantries! So it sounds like you have a great design going with yours, deep and shallow storage spaces. Lucky you!

  6. what a great tips that you have shared to all of us..glad that i have found your site, its very informative and useful..i can't wait the finish outcome of your house..

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  7. the little office nook in the pantry is total genius! no more pile of school crap on the kitchen bench! yay! I would love a proper pantry one day, I've started to learn to 'put food up' each season, it would be nice not to have it scattered in random places around the house. And a big yes to the yellow door :)sarah

  8. In answer to your questions, yes, yes and yes. I love that yellow door in the first pic (esp with that dark cabinetry) and I would love to get my hands on that HUGE fridge too. Our office nooks are very similar in design - I am still deciding on a stool. I think this is very well thought out space and it's going to come up a treat! xx

  9. 1. The yellow door will be fab and only takes a coat of paint (or two!) to change it, if you change your mind!
    2. Yes, a computer nook sounds fantastic, but I would make sure I had a huge window - if not floor to ceiling - so I could see outside!
    3. Yes, the locking in aspect would be fabulous! I was dismayed that our ensuite didn't come with a lock on the door - I guess the builders assume you don't need one when the door is going in to your bedroom. But for me, it means the kids come in willy nilly and I never have a moment's peace. So any door, anywhere, with a lock that I can be on one side of and the family the other - well I could do it without the chocolate!!

    Enjoying seeing the renos. More, more, more (please!)!!

  10. I think I'd be tempted to put a little lock on my yellow door, on the inside you understand......they wouldn't find me for days!!! :) x

  11. Yes I agree with all your ideas. the little desk area with biscuits within arms reach.
    the bright coloured door will be amazing. maybe you could get one with frosted glass panels in it then you could enjoy the extra light and the pretty colour.

  12. Well I am beyond jealous of the thought of any pantry, for computers or food or anything! A little room for storage and a computer will be very useful. I say yes to all three. x

  13. I am envious, my last 2 houses had pantries and we kept lots and lots of things in them. This house doesn't have one, it did but my parents made it into the utility. The last one, in our old house, went on forever - we had all the food and kitchen things to hand then other items towards the back and further away. to answer your questions, yes to yellow but no to the others, might sound nice to have peace but locked away in a cupboard when you'll have that amazing deck???? NO but then, I have deck envy. Remember lots of shelves and hooks and high up space can be used too (think you have that covered though). Looking forward to seeing how it turns out love, Katie xx

  14. It's a triple yes from me! Loving the progress shots and such great concepts!!

  15. They are all just beautiful! The thought came to me that there must be tonnes and tonnes of old pyrex being collected at the moment, wow, there must have been a lot out there!

  16. Loving your pantry ideas Mel. I grew up with a walk-in pantry and my sister and I would hide from each other on the top or bottom shelves behind the cereal boxes, it was great. A hidey-hole office sounds wonderful. I can't wait to have small shelves for all my bottles of foodstuffs and tins. Just catching up on all your progress.

  17. It sounds like it's going to be a smashing place. My only reservation would be (but this is probably just me) that having an office space within arm's length of so much food is just too much temptation! I would be snacking the whole time!

  18. Having your own panic room sounds cool and practical at the same time. I always wanted to have one because I heard that it's also a good protection/shelter from tornadoes. That's why I'm delighted when mine was installed in my basement last month. And thanks to you, I learned that it can be a good hiding place from my active little ones. Kidding aside, have you pick out the color of your pantry door? Edwina Syber @

  19. Hey there! Thank you for sharing your thoughts this is really a great transformation for office pantryKeep it up! This is a good read. You have such an interesting and informative page. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well