DIY Farmhouse Pantry Shelves
Y’all, I am so excited to show off my new Farmhouse Pantry Shelves. They are beautiful thick cut cedar boards with hand forged brackets.
While most ladies probably like chocolate and flowers for Valentine’s, my dear sweet husband rebuilt our pantry for me. I now have the farmhouse pantry of my dreams. Honestly, it is the pantry that should have always been in our home, but did not come with the house. Here are a few before pictures to let you see how this transformation took place over a weekend. As you can see, I had a decent pantry, it was a good size. Upon moving in almost 3 years ago, I decided to really organize it. I added nice labeled baskets, Shelf Liners, Lazy Susan’s and wire can racks. Last summer, we added the pretty frosted glass Pantry door, a DIY post you can find here on my blog. I also felt like we needed to add an extra shelf to the top. I had a huge 3 foot gap between the shelf and the ceiling which was just wasted space in my mind.
First things first, I had to remove all the contents of my pantry, so basically my kitchen was a nightmare for a couple of days. Once the food was moved out then it was time to remove those awful wire shelves. I must say, I really hate wire shelves in a pantry. It always seems like items never sit evenly and things are always falling through the shelving, or sinking into my shelf liners.
Then, we needed to remove the old existing wire shelving. My husband recommends a few specific tools which make the removal process very easy. It also leaves very little scarring on the walls too. Although in our case it didn’t really matter, since we were lining the walls with white beadboard, to add a more farmhouse feel.
The Silver Lining:
You can see the amount of holes left behind by this builder grade wire shelving. It would really be a nightmare to patch and paint all of this, which was part of the deciding factor to cover the walls with beadboard. Plus, I really wanted to add white walls to reflect light and brighten up this space since the cedar shelves were going to be dark.
My husband, Ron, measured the wall in 3 separate places, top, middle and bottom then cut the wall boards accordingly. As many DIYer’s know, walls are never straight or plum, LOL. Then, he tacked up the bead board sheets with a nail gun.
Since you would be adding additional depth to the walls by adding the beadboard, you will need to readjust your plugs and/or switches. So you do not end up with this problem. It is very simple to do just make sure that you first and foremost TURN OFF THE POWER to this switch before attempting the move or adjust it. As you can see below, we are now working with a shop light and lighted drill.
Then, thread the loose plug through your precut hole in the beadboard and reattached on the face side of the board. This will make the switch or plug flash to the surface and eliminate the gap.
Measure Twice, Cut Once:
The next step was adding a basic farmhouse flat molding to the top. This allows you to hide the gap that you will probably have at different points along the ceiling. Remember, nothing is ever square in your home and you will always has a slight variance. This tool above, which is called a bevel, was absolutely invaluable. It will help you to get the proper angles for corners that are not just a simple 90 degree angle. This was still a pretty basic chamfered angle at 22.5 degrees, which is a standard on most miter boxes. However, it is always good to confirm that before cutting up your materials. You can see adding the molding makes a nice clean finished look at the ceiling and also covers any damage that might be on the edges of the beadboards too.
Let There Be Color:
So, while all of this was going on upstairs, I was working on a few projects in the basement myself. I was in charge of staining the beautiful cedar boards we were using for the actual shelves. Actually, I had started them earlier in the week to allow proper drying time.
I decided to use Minwax Interior Wood Stain, 1/2 pint, Special Walnut, which was the perfect color to accentuate the beautiful smooth cedar and protect it at the same time. As you can seen below, the raw cedar verses the stained. My word of advice; always, always, always hand rub your stain on to the boards, and always make sure to dry rub the stain. Meaning, do not over wet the rag. It makes a huge difference in the finish.
I just want to give a quick shout out to Thomas Supply, where we purchased the nominal 2″ x 12″ thick cedar boards (the actual dimensions are 1 1/2″ x 11 1/4″). This is a fantastic lumber yard and I am very lucky they are just up the road from my home. They have been in business for over 90 years and carry quite a few types of rustic and beautiful varieties of wood for all your farmhouse applications. Thank you guys, y’all had exactly what I wanted and needed for this project. My other project was to spray paint the white wire can racks and the Lazy Susan’s in a matte black. Since we custom ordered hand made iron bracket’s from Mountain Metals in black for the shelves; I wanted to make sure these items matched the hardware. I used a Primer Plus Paint Spray Paint that would bond to the plastic coating. Remember these, you will see them again at the reveal below.
The next section of the DIY required prior proper planning, it was the shelf layout and spacing. As I had mentioned earlier. I wanted to add an extra shelf to the top, so the wasted space could be utilized. I also wanted to increase the spacing for the bottom shelf to house a few of the larger baskets and two liter bottle drinks.I know a lot of people that custom place shelves based on the items to go on the shelves. Which is great for using all your space, but I wanted a visual standard and balance when I looked inside. So, that meant evenly spaced shelves. At 14″ each plus the 1 1/2″ thickness of the boards.
Ron used a laser level to insure that the shelves would be level around the room. This is such a useful tools to have for these kind of projects and makes hanging level art work a breeze. He marked and predrilled all the holes to make the bracket installation super easy.
He proceeded to mount the first set of shelves. Starting from the top allowed easy installation of the brackets as he worked his way down the wall. This way he was able to work under each shelf with ease and not worry about the drill fitting in the space between the shelves.
As I mention above, we got these beautiful hand made brackets from Mountain Metals. They use raw steel material bought locally in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The steel is cut to the desired length which includes the length required for the mounting holes and the all the proper bends. Mountain Metals then drills the holes and uses a sanding wheel to remove any burrs, then bend them to the final shape and paint.
Here is the final look with all the shelves installed. We were even able to add an additional shelf at the top, just as I had hoped for. Now I have six rows of shelves total. I really love how the shelves look on top of the bead board wall. It really invokes the farmhouse feeling I was looking for.
The final step in the process is to get my kitchen back! By putting everything back into the pantry. This part might take a little time. Especially if you group like items together for easy use sections, like seen below. A few possible examples are baking supplies, soups starters, and snacks.
This is the perfect time to make sure everything is in date and the older foods are rotated to the front of the shelves. You can do this by taking a quick glance at the sell by dates and just putting dates further out to the back. I find that salad dressings, mayonnaise, and pasta sauces tend to be my biggest offenders in this category. My cereals, boxed and canned goods usually have longer dates on them.I reused my existing baskets to divide groceries into subcategory for things that easily get lost in a pantry. Things like soups mixes, drink mixes or dip packets. I did however invest into a actual chalkboard marker, which made a HUGE, difference in my penmanship. The little chalkboards are now very crisp and semi-perminate, so they are not as easy to wipe off when grabbing a basket. I also decide to add a few large Mason jars to house bulk items we used all the time, such as rice, elbow macaroni, Italian Bread crumbs, Crasins, and Popcorn kernels. I think they add a bit more of rustic quality and by being in glass, create a visual texture too. Plus this elements those pesky half opened boxes or bags floating around the pantry.
Remember those old white Simple Houseware Stackable Can Rack Organizer, well check these out now. First off, they sit on the solid shelves easier with out falling through. The spray paint was perfect and really looks great with those rustic iron brackets. Even the white Lazy Susan Turntables turned out looking pretty good. Which is great news, because I loved having them in the deep back corners for things like Olive oil and Vinegars. I will take a minute to say that Oli+Ve is my favorite olive oil company, as I am sure you could tell by vivacious stock pile, lol. Just wanted to give a shout out to all the adies there!!!
I even had plenty of space to include these fun retro baking canisters, which actually do house the listed contents. I think items like these add personality to your pantry. They make the space personal and decorative while actually being functional.
Finally, I just wanted to speak about how important the shelf spacing is when re-doing the shelves. Just look, I can now stand up my cereal boxes which utilizes less space. I can also stand up two liter soda bottles directly on the floor, under the shelves. No more laying them on there sides to roll around unconfined. Where they were always getting shaken up, only to explode upon opening.
Hallelujah!!! I can slide the chip, cracker and pasta baskets in and out under the shelf, with out crushing the contents on that pesky wire lip. So, not only can my pantry hold more items, but it is far easier for me to find items and retrieve them. Here is one last look at the before and after picture side by side so you can truly see what a difference these shelves are making on a daily basis.
Ron’s Tool Box: