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Atomic8Ball e-Newsletter

9 Questions to Ask When Planning a Kitchen Pantry

Avoid blunders and get the storage space and arrangement you need by asking these questions before you begin

Some pantry design dilemmas don't seem obvious at the time of planning but become apparent later. Doors that open inward onto shelving, badly arranged racks and compartments, small cubbies with no room for appliances, a lack of hooks for towels and aprons, and poorly positioned lightning are all mistakes that can be circumvented. Use this quick guide to address the most obvious blunders before they happen. The suggestions may also inspire you with some fresh design ideas.

Owner Builder Network

1. Which way will the door open?

A common mistake when planning a pantry is installing a door that gets in the way. When space is at a premium, the best options are sliding or folding doors. An outward-opening door gives more room for pantry shelves and is the next best option – but only if there is plenty of space to swing the door open.

A door that opens inward can work, but be aware that it might make an already small space smaller. It can also compromise the space behind the door of your pantry, limiting the amount of stuff you can store there.

2. Will there be enough light?

Another typical mistake is to have either poor lighting in the pantry or none at all. Your pantry will more than likely be built without a window or with just a small one. One way to make sure that you have enough light in there is to install quality LED lighting. Or, the light switch should be reachable and in an accessible spot by the pantry door.

3. How can top shelves be accessed?

There is no point in planning a pantry with floor-to-ceiling storage if you can't access the items on the top shelf. If your pantry is large enough, park a ladder on the sliding rail to access the infrequently used items on the top shelves. Store thing you regularly use farther down.

If your pantry is small, store a step ladder in a handy spot for easy access. Inexpensive plastic single steps also can be folded flat and hung on a hook.

One way to see what is on the upper shelves of your pantry without clambering up a step ladder is to install glass shelving or wire racks on the upper level.

4. What budge materials can be used to get a designer look?

A walk-in pantry doesn't need to be fancy (it's after all, behind a door and not in view.) But the shelves and cabinets should be made of a sturdy material with a finish that complements the rest of the kitchen.

Solid polished wood shelves or powder-coated metal racks are attractive options. A cheaper alternative is engineered wood. Plywood is strong and looks contemporary, especially when left in its raw state or given a light stain.

Plywood shelves look especially smart when the surfaces are laminated in black, white or a color and the ply edges are left exposed. This helps imbue the space with a Scandinavian or Japanese aesthetic.

5. Will the position of the pantry aid or hinder kitchen traffic and cooking?

You not only need your pantry to be well illuminated, you also need to get in and out of your pantry quickly when cooking. If the pantry is positioned in such a way as to the flow of kitchen traffic, you'll have to walk too far to grab essential ingredients. For that reason, it's important that your pantry is near where you are preparing food.

Also consider the process of stocking your pantry and where it will be in relation to counters and tables. A kitchen countertop that is just outside a pantry will prove convenient for setting down groceries. Its close proximity also makes using it as a sorting station from which to fill pantry shelves extremely handy.

6. How will the shelves be arranged so that common items are easy to see?

Obviously put the items you use the most on the shelves that are in front of you when you walk into the pantry. Make sure the shelves are not too deep, and that you can see everything at once by placing smaller items at the front and larger items at the back. Heavy dishware and serving ware can be stored on shelves that are wider and lower down.

A common error is to line the pantry with shelves from top to bottom with no break. A small and wider shelf at counter height not only can accommodate larger, taller items and appliances, but also can provide an extra surface for food prep.

7. Does the pantry need any special features?

It's really only in the planning stage that you can incorporate special features that will become permanent but useful fixtures in your walk-in pantry. Special features could include pullout baskets for root vegetables, narrow cubbies for large platters, and spice or wine racks.

8. How can free wall space be used effectively without overcrowding the pantry?

Every bit of space can be used to solve a storage problem, and a pantry wall is no different. Whatever you decide to do with it, keep it simple and slim. Ideas include hooks for aprons and utensils, and a household calendar to note important family events. A chalkboard painted on a section of the wall could also serve this purpose.

9. What larger items will be stored, and where?

Appliances and cookware dishes and pans often are kept in the pantry instead of in a kitchen drawer or cabinet, mostly because it's easier to access them. To accommodate these bulky items, create some large but uniformed cubbies.

What Each Party Does in the Escrow Process

The Buyer

  • Deposits the executed deed to the buyer with the escrow holder.
  • Deposits evidence of pest inspection and any required repair work.
  • Deposits other required documents such as tax receipts, addresses of mortgage holders, insurance policies, equipment warranties or home warranty contracts, etc.

The Lender (If Applicable)

  • Deposits proceeds of the loan to the purchaser.
  • Directs the escrow holder on the conditions under which the loan funds may be used.

The Escrow Holder

  • Opens the order for title insurance
  • Obtains approvals from the buyer on title insurance report, pest and other inspections.
  • Receives funds from the buyer and/or any lender.
  • Prorates insurance, taxes, rent, etc.
  • Disburses funds for title insurance, recordation fees, real estate commissions, lien clearance, etc.
  • Prepares a final statement for each party, indicating amounts to be necessary to close escrow.
  • Records deed and loan documents, delivers the deed to the buyer. Loan documents to the lender and funds to the seller, closing the escrow.

Custom Home means Custom Home

One last thing to consider. Custom means C-U-S-T-O-M. Custom means never, never, never before has your exact home been built. That means some of the design is actually done on the job. Some of the problems are figured out right on the spot, by the framer, electrician, plumber, drywall person, roofer, brick layer or stone mason, etc.

Recognize this simple fact, and flow with the problems and possible delays this might mean. Don't be surprised that when some problem pops up. And understand that it will be resolved by the pros, you hired within a few hours or days. Be willing to discuss options and solutions. Don't panic!

You can be an Owner/Builder

Each year, thousands of people choose to be their own builder. They choose the freedom, independence, creativity, and savings that go with managing their own home building project. With patience, planning, and maybe a little help, they get the job done, and they love the results. You can do it too.

Owner Builder Network®
A better way to build since 1997.