DIY Doorless Pantry Makeover

This pantry remodel was continuously placed on the back burner. Motivation was waning on this one.  We really did not finish the pantry until a few months before moving out of the house.  Our old pantry had bi-fold doors and four wire shelves.  It was functional, but had a lot of wasted space (and was ugly to boot).  So I started looking around at different pantry shelving ideas and designs.  I knew I wanted white shelves, more storage, a counter for a coffee pot and most importantly, a home for the kegorator.  Because, priorities…

Here’s a before picture:


Below are scribble plans I originally made for the pantry.  You can see things changed as we moved along with the project.  If we ever move back I would like to add an outlet on on the keg side of the pantry for a microwave and Keg.  We didn’t put one in this round because we were moving so soon and there is a plug in on the other side of the pantry that’s within easy reach.



I managed to get the top three shelves up and the pantry remained like that for months and months.  They were not painted, caulked, or even close to being finished.  The shelves were functional, so we lived with it while finishing up other house projects.


The barn doors….sigh. The barn doors.  They were lovely, and felt special because we used reclaimed wood floor pieces from our rental houses in Oregon and Washington.   We put them up and they were great looking just not functional.  Only being able to reach half the pantry at a time  wasn’t working.  After a lot of frustrated consideration we decided to make our pantry doorless.  We were able to find the barn doors a new home via  local buy/sell group.

Barn Door plans
After living with the top three shelves for a few months we decided the bottom two shelves needed reinforcements.  So we took them down and added two  2×3’s for the bottom shelf and one 2×3 to the middle shelf.  We also added 2×3 cross supports to the bottom shelves to increase stability.  The top shelf was the smallest and was solid with only a 1×2 wall support.   To cover up the 2×3 supports we used a 1×4 front piece that also acts as a lip to keep stuff from sliding off the shelves.  We originally used a 1×2 for the lip/front piece but after designing a few shelves for upstairs closets I was digging the 1×4 chunky shelf look. The 1×4 hides the underside of the shelves much better.  So the 1×2’s got switched out (except for the top shelf, we left the 1×2 front piece there).
 2x3 supports
Cross Supports
As you can see I  had the shelf come out to the edge of the pantry, so it’s a U shape, a very wide U.  It creates a perfect little space for smaller pantry items.

I originally thought I was going to paint the shelves white and a fun color for the walls, but because of time, I ended up painting all the closets white.  Everything is simple, bright and clean.  I used high gloss Behr Ultra Pure White and have no regrets :-).

Somewhere in the mess of constructing and painting the upper pantry shelves we put the lower cabinets together.  We used modified Ana White /  Killer B Design cabinet plans for these guys.  I didn’t make cabinets for the whole lower space because I wanted room for our Kegorator.  Since we have a floating laminate floor we cut  the floor so the cabinets would rest on the subfloor.  I messed up and didn’t account for that when making these, so the toe kick space is 3/4 shorter than it should be.  My plan for these was to store canned food in the side cabinets and root vegetables in the center.

Lower Pantry Cupboards

Since I was planning on storing canned food and vegetables I wanted something durable and easy to clean.  After being really happy with our  under the sink tile job we decided to do the same thing here.

Tile on pantry cabinet


After all the tile was grouted and cleaned up we installed a Sliding Cabinet Organizer, 14 1/2″-x 17 3/4″(Amazon Associate link) and a Sliding Veggie Bin Cabinet Organizer, 13″ (Amazon Associate link).  Both were more expensive than I anticipated but I was happy with both and they were easy to install.

Wire Rack Installation


The last big decision we had was what kind of counter to install.  We went back and forth between matching the granite in the kitchen, tile, or butcher block.  When Lumber Liquidators had a sale on their butcher block we jumped on it and bought a slab of 1-1/2″ 8ft American Walnut.  Outside of coffee pot use this butcher block won’t be exposed to much water, so I felt comfortable with it in the pantry.   We used a jig saw and router to smooth the edges/cut it to fit.  To seal the butcher block we used Waterlox(Amazon Associate Link) and were happy with it.   We didn’t actually need 8 feet of countertop, but decided to get the longer slab and cut it up into cutting boards for Christmas Presents.


And Bam!  Completed Pantry!  We were only able to enjoy the finished pantry for a few months before moving to Texas.  We sure do miss it!

1Ginger and the Huth Completed Doorless Pantry


Below is a close up of the cupboard.  We ended up painting it the same color as our powder room Behr-Silver Hill.

3Ginger and the Huth Completed Doorless Pantry

And here’s the pantry full of stuff!  I do a lot of bulk food shopping at Winco and so I love the 1/2 Gallon Mason jars (you can get them at Winco!).  And for the bigger stuff i.e. Cheerios, Bran Flakes, Oatmeal, Flour and dried Beans I bought Anchor Hocking 2.5-Gallon Montana Jar (Amazon Associate Link) and Anchor Hocking 1.5-Gallon Montana Jar (Amazon Associate Link) and really love them.

DIY Doorless Pantry


4 Ginger And the huth doorless pantry completed


Ginger and the huth doorless pantry


When we nixed the barn doors I was really terrified of having an open pantry.  Did you see the ‘before’ picture?  We aren’t always the most organized people.  But this pantry makeover made everything so much more functional, it really wasn’t hard keeping things pretty.  I would do this all over again.  I think the only thing I might consider re-doing/adding is doors to the lower cabinets.


-Dorris and JG