Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Butler's Pantry

We have a little transitional area between the kitchen and living room. The area I'm referring to is directly in front of that huge wooden cabinet. I'm not sure what this area is called or even if it really needs a name. But, I like to have a name for each room... thus a purpose. I have dubbed this area, "The Butler's Pantry". It's highly doubtful that this house has ever had a butler... but it seems a fitting name for the area.

Picture is from the MLS listing.

As I mentioned, it had a huge unusable cabinet. I could never find anything in it and I began to think of it as a black hole for our pantry/dry goods.

My mission was to find an inexpensive china cabinet that we could repurpose for the little recessed area in our little butler's pantry.

During a return visit to Virginia I made it a point to visit one of my favorite junk/thrift shops. If you are in the Virginia area I highly recommend Class and Trash,

We found a mid century china cabinet that I felt would fit perfectly in the recessed area.

Purchased from Class and Trash for $125.00
I knew we could make this work. It was the right dimension for the recessed area (17" x 41") and I was positive with a little paint and a little spackle editing it would look perfect!

Once back home I removed everything from the huge brown cabinets and we carried them out to the garage. Yep, added storage in the man-cave.

I scrubbed the china cabinet down with warm soapy water and then we removed the top hutch from the bottom cabinet and removed the doors. This project was done pre-blog and I don't have a lot of detailed step-by-step photos.

Primed and installed.

We mounted the upper part of the cabinet 14.5" above the base cabinet. We then added spacers (raw wood along the edge of upper cabinet) and hung beadboard in the newly created area between the bottom and upper cabinet.

Prime, spackled and roughed in.

Once we were sure everything shored up, we then made a baseboard for the front of the cabinet... to give it a built-in/always been there look.

Once the two pieces of the cabinets were secured to the wall and the trim was added it was time to  paint. I used ultra pure white paint in high gloss. I have painted all of the trim in our house with it.

This is the view from our stairway. Excuse the mess... just keeping it real. *grin*

As you can see we have plenty of room to store our pantry/dry goods.

Now for the big reveal...

Viewed from the kitchen... still need to paint the walls.

I decided that it worked best for me without the upper cabinet doors. Again... I like to have open shelving to display some pretty dishes.


Taken from the stairway. Excuse the trashcan and broom handle.

Now for a side by side before and after.... Don't you just love those?

The true before and after. It's a little blurry to see... we added new aged bronze knobs and handles.


We built/repurposed the hutch back in the beginning of summer and I still smile when I walk through the area. Best Investment Ever!

Thank you for stopping!

Monday, January 6, 2014

One Nine Inch Drawer... Really?

We purchased our 1940 Four Square house in April of 2013. It is located in a little village in Western New York. We truly love it, but it required some immediate changes.

When we looked at our house we were on a time crunch. We had three days to look and find a house. Which could be totally done... However, in Western New York the majority of houses don't have lockboxes and the realtor must hook up with the selling realtor in order to get a key. Not ideal when you have a time crunch and/or inpatient to look at a house.

We were all set to put a bid in on a house when our realtor told us about this house. She told us that she only had 10 minutes to show it to us because she had to be back in the city (1 hour away) for a meeting. And, we had to get back to Virginia.

It didn't even take us the full 10 minutes to fall for this house. It felt cozy, warm and well... like home!

However, it wasn't until we had our walk through that I realized the kitchen only had one drawer and it was only 9" wide.

Who has only one teeny tiny drawer in the kitchen? Well... us!

The before pictures are from the real estate listing.

We knew we would need additional counter space but with this realization we knew we would need to remodel sooner rather than later. The challenge was to add additional drawer/counter space without making our small kitchen feel even smaller. It was an "L" shape and we decided to make it into a "U" shape. This would only require a couple of edits. The first thing we did was remove the long vertical window and install a shorter one. One that would accommodate counter height cabinets under it.
  I don't know where the pictures of that project is. Once I locate them I will update this post.
They did leave us an inexpensive cart that they removed the wheels to accommodate the window.
Once that was done we removed the dishwasher and the minuscule little cabinet from the right side of the sink.
We then installed a corner cabinet with two built-in rotating kidney shelves. Adjacent to that cabinet we butted the much need drawer... three of them. *grin*. Mission accomplished! We now have a place to store our utensils and dish towels. Next to the drawers is a brand new stainless steel dishwasher and we reused the little minuscule cabinet on the end of the U-shape.
Sorry about the shadow... still learning how to take photos.
However, with a twist… we need all the space/storage we can squeeze out of our little kitchen so I asked my husband to cut-out the side of the cabinet and enclose the interior as a bookcase. The front is still functional… we use it to store our keys.

Note that we installed the tile to the door jam (back door) and down to the baseboard.

For the top cabinets, over the new counter area, we added a new corner cabinet and also reused the old upper cabinet that was above the old dishwasher. I love open shelving for glasses and cups. And, for that reason we didn’t replace the doors on the old cabinet after I finish painting it. More about that later.

The old and new cabinets have two different style fronts. To unify the look and make it less obvious I painted the lower cabinets a medium gray called Amazon Stone and the top cabinets and walls a creamy white called Eloquent White.

Having the walls and upper cabinets the same color opens up the area and makes it feel bigger.

Here are some before and after of our counters. It always amazes me how much a little tweaking and paint can change the whole look of a room.

Photos on the left are from the MLS listing.

Next on the agenda was the refrigerator area. When you walk into our house you look directly thru our little hallway/ butler’s pantry and into the kitchen. I found it jarring that you could see the side of the refrigerator. Not to mention... it was extremely unattractive.

Note that the trim & baseboards are stained in this room (all rooms actually) and white in the kitchen.

I asked the hubs to enclose both sides of the refrigerator to make it look more built-in. We also  install a cabinet above the refrigerator for additional storage. He built the cabinet box and repurposed the cabinet doors from the old cabinet. You know... the one that is now open shelving and holding our glasses and cups.

At this angle you can see a little peek into our butler's pantry.

Now the refrigerator has a more finished, built-in, look and it gives the butler’s panty (to the right) more of a defined space.

It is so much nicer walking in and looking into the kitchen area. For a comparison here is a before and after.

We are very pleased with how the kitchen turned out. It doesn't feel cramped at all. The hubs and I can work together in the kitchen without getting into each other way... well most of the time! *grin*

Whew! I hope this wasn’t information overload. Next time I will show how we updated our little butler's pantry.

Thank you for stopping!