A Tour of Amy’s Kitchen and Pantry

If you’ve been around here for a while, you may already know that in recent years my husband and I built a new house which included moving my piano studio into the basement and out of commercial space.

My husband did a lot of the work while still working a 40-hour workweek, so the bulk of the build took around three years.

Since cooking is my other mojo, I’ve been wanting to share photos of the kitchen and pantry for a good two years now but it kept getting put off.

After finally taking the time to capture some good photos for our cabinet builders to display, I had no more excuses. It’s finally time for a tour!

 

Before

Considering it was new construction, sharing photos of the empty “before” construction space isn’t much fun. What is interesting though is to see what we went through leading up to completion.

Since our deadline to move out of our rental house was 6 months prior to our kitchen cabinets being ready (or the upstairs being complete in general), we lived in an unfinished basement (my future studio space) with no carpet or kitchen.

Here’s my make-shift kitchen.

We ate a lot of pre-made bag salads in those years to the point that I couldn’t stand eating them for at least an entire year after. LOL

Even for a cook like me, there were a lot of frozen pizzas as well.

 

After

Going through that made us extra thankful when the kitchen was finally installed! I am not a fan of upper cabinets or corner cabinets and love lots of light. It’s my dream kitchen for sure.

This is my happy space, 100%.

I was also pretty adamant that I wanted as many drawers as possible. Why people didn’t think of using more drawers in kitchen cabinets sooner, I don’t know. They are so much easier for storage and retrieval than bottom cupboards.

The Thermador range has a griddle top which is fabulous for things like pancakes or bacon The smaller oven can be used as a regular convection oven or steam oven and has a warming drawer below. We use the smaller oven three times as much as the large oven.

I forgot to take a photo but the downdraft is behind the oven and raises up. We wanted to avoid a big overhead vent so it didn’t break the space visually between the open concept kitchen and living room area.

 

Favorite Custom Elements

We took advantage of the “custom” part of the custom cabinets big time. Some of my favorite drawers we designed include this vertical storage space drawer. I knew exactly how many items I wanted to fit into that drawer which is what influenced the design.

I laid out all of my utensils in a row next to a tape measure so I knew exactly how much space we needed going into the design process. There are two utensils drawers in the island. This one houses utensils and knives I use on an almost daily basis.

The second drawer holds those used less regularly. I really do use all of them!

My final favorite custom design is the trash and recycling center. The two-drawer front face is deceiving but looks nice. We use one bin for trash, one for glass and aluminum, one for paper and cardboard, and the fourth for plastics.

 

The Pantry

Once our kitchen cabinets were finally installed, it was time to move out of the basement but would be another 18 months until we invested in custom cabinets in the pantry. Here’s the make-shift setup.

Originally, the plan was to install white particle board cabinets but ultimately decided since the pantry space was open to the kitchen, we wanted it to flow and match.

Here’s the final result.

In order to keep the kitchen countertops free of as much clutter as possible, I wanted countertop space in the pantry. It’s a great place for the microwave, toaster, food processor, blender, instant pot, stand mixer, and produce like lemons, onions, potatoes, and garlic.

The upper shelving is roughly organized into the following segments: canned and dry food goods, beverages, salad toppings, honey/jam/peanut butter, and snacks.

The cabinets below house slow cookers, large stock pots, pantry stock such as paper towels, drink pitchers, etc.

The drawers below hold a bunch of miscellaneous stuff. We love having the drawers below the cabinets because it makes it easier to not have to bend as far down to lift out pots and pans. Thinking outside the box!

The 7″ shelving on the right side was something I dreamed of for years.

Avoiding deep cabinets where pantry items could easily get lost was an important element as I wanted to be able to see everything front-facing (or at least not have to go more than two items deep).

The left cabinet from top-down is organized with:

  1. Liquors
  2. Baking items/sugars
  3. Grains and flours

The right cabinet from top-down is organized with:

  1. Growlers
  2. Spices for baked goods (Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, etc.)
  3. Savory spices (everything else)
  4. Seasoning mixes
  5. Vinegars
  6. Oils

As you can see from the photos, I haven’t gotten into the trend of unloading everything into expensive containers to make everything look pretty. I like to be organized but also like to keep things simple. Plus, all those containers can get expensive!

If laid out in an organized manner, I think the items themselves can still be visually appealing in their original state.

As a person deprived of height, yes, I need a little help reaching items up top.

I love this little ladder. Purchased from Menards (at the time of this post, I couldn’t find the exact one but here’s one that is similar), it’s made of aluminum which means it’s super lightweight. It has three steps which help get me a little higher than a lot of the two-step stools and stores happily right inside the entrance.

The upper shelves are for items we use less often to minimize

 

Conclusion

While it was frustrating taking so long to complete the house in general, it did give us the margin to plan and think through every element. We took the time to layout and think things through so specifically and intentionally, I honestly can’t think of one thing I would do differently – and yes, that’s a wonderful feeling! The struggles were worth it in the end.

If you’re planning a remodel or new kitchen built, that is really my biggest tip. Think through what you want to put where. Don’t make what you have fit into a pre-defined space, design your space to fit what you have and the way you move in your space.

When we were planning the pantry, we literally pulled everything out of the make-shift pantry onto our kitchen countertops and measured how much space we would need for things like spices and flours This not only helped us determine how many shelves we would need on the shallow shelf wall but the best depth to hold both a container of flour and two levels of spices (7″).

Thanks for taking the tour. If you’re working on your own kitchen or pantry project, I hope this gave you some good ideas! 🙂

 

18 Comments

    • They’re fabulous! I didn’t think to explain though that the one on the left is a freezer and the one on the right is a refrigerator. We got rid of our deep freeze and this was a great alternative.

  • Your results are a thing of beauty! You have succeeded functionally and aesthetically in your planning and execution, and to top it all off — you have the spectacular view from your window!

    Thank you for letting us have a look at the outcome. Even if one (me) can’t start from scratch and do a remodel, it’s possible to benefit from thinking along those lines — working with and streamlining the existing conditions to achieve more order and organization. 🙂

  • Beautiful kitchen Amy! Love all the drawers and skinny shelves in pantry! May I ask what are the measurements of your kitchen, pantry and island? My husband and I are thinking of building and our kitchen plan is a question mark right now 🙂 If you could share that would be great!

    • Wall to wall, the back wall of the kitchen from the outside of freezer to the refrigerator is 19′. The island is roughly 11’x3′. The coffee bar I can’t quite remember off the top of my head is normal cabinet depth – so like 2′ – the length maybe 8′? I’m not at home at the moment to measure. The pantry I’m not 100% sure either. I’ll try and remember to look it up when we get home! 🙂

  • Oh Amy your kitchen is beautiful! I especially love your flooring. I’m sure the waiting is well worth it.

  • LOVE your kitchen, Amy! My favorite thing is your magnificent view from your kitchen window. Wow! My second favorite thing is your smaller oven (& all of your drawers!!!) I’m also very impressed with the sacrifices you both made living the way you did while it was all in process. Can’t wait to see it in person in a few months!

  • A wonderful wonderful kitchen. We renovated our kitchen even though we had delays with lockdowns in Australia where we live due to Covid.

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