Stuff I’ve built: The kitchen pantry

No, no post yesterday.  Instead of writing something for the blog, I spent the day cooking Easter dinner for 16 folks. My two sisters in law with their families, my in-laws and my mom and step dad. And, boy, did we ever eat. Roast lamb. Ham. Roasted potatoes. Two veggies. Two different kinds of salads. It was nuts.

And, when it comes to the kitchen prep in our house, we like to keep a lot of the staples close at hand. Different oils, vinegars, rices, pasta… the works.  This way, we can whip up a meal fit for guests whenever we need to.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t always so easy to store these staples. We had very limited pantry storage area in our kitchen – basically a linen closet in one hallway and whatever space we could eke out of our cabinets. Very tight and sloppy.  We needed a solution.

To help contain all of these goodies in one convenient place, I built this freestanding pantry unit for my house. Based on Danny Proulx’s design in his book Fast and Easy Techniques for Building Modern Cabinetry, it is a very simple yet useful design.

Basically, it’s a large cabinet built out of red oak plywood. About seven feet tall and 18 inches deep. Rather than sitting on the floor, I built a frame for the piece to make it look a little more graceful. The piece is held together with glue and pocket screws, and I built the doors for it. I figured the curved top rail would allow it to look a little fancier. It’s as plain as plain can be… but when you get into the inside, this is where the piece shines.

Inside, there are five full-extension heavy duty pull out shelves on runners that can handle 100 pounds each. This baby is designed for heavy lifting and ease of use. I built the shelves from pieces of 2 inch wide by 3/4 inch thick red oak runners with 1/2″ plywood grooved inside. The sides are held together with more pocket screws.  I purposely graduated the height of the drawers from the bottom to the top of the piece to allow for taller storage on the lowest shelf, and to restrict the number of canned goods that could be stacked on the upper shelves, preventing too much weight from being placed on one shelf.

The best thing about the piece is simply how much stuff it can hold. We store all kinds of goodies in there – the breakfast cereals, the bags of coffee, the large mega-retailer packs of pasta – the works. This way, we can stock up at the local membership clubs and keep all of those things out of the way safely tucked in the pantry.

This piece has allowed us some great flexibility in storage at our home, and we’ve had more than one visitor remark how they would like to get their own copy of the pantry for their kitchen.


6 thoughts on “Stuff I’ve built: The kitchen pantry”

  1. Tom, I am a hardware snob … on drawers wider than 20″ I use at least Accuride 7434 which are rated for drawers of 204 to 30″. They also require 1/2″ spacing with the box. You will find that on wider drawers, using the right slide provides less racking.

  2. I should have started my post by saying that I love your pantry concept, I believe in pull outs all the way. Very smart way of maximizing space.

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