Updated: Dec 2, 2019
We did it! We finished our first major renovation in the house! ...Ok, maybe it wasn't major in the world of renovations, but it was major to us at least. After 2 long weekends and several changes of plans, our kitchen now has an open pantry instead of a weird cement-wall corner, and I couldn't be happier.
Here's what we started with:
We removed a really old, crusty cupboard from that corner when we moved in ...much to our dismay, we discovered it was covering up cement walls, missing baseboard, and a hole in the floor! Shoot.
(the hole in the floor is filled in temporarily with a board...not great, but it worked until we could get moving on this project!)
Not quite what I want to look at in my kitchen. So let the reno begin!
We decided to remove the dark wood paneling, and see what was behind it.....surprise! More cement. (This part of the kitchen butts up against the chimney coming up from the basement, but is it just me or does it seem like a LOT of cement for a rectangle chimney!)
We also discovered more random paintings of food....kind of cute, but not really the feel we were going for in our kitchen...
So we made a plan to build a wall in front of the cement chimney wall, to allow us to attach shelves securely (and to cover up the cracked cement). It also meant we didn't have to destroy the paintings...I mean...someone put a lot of effort into those. I was relieved to be able to preserve them.... I'm not heartless!
We cut a the small bit of beautiful flooring to fix the hole (leftover from my parents' kitchen remodel a few years ago), and then started working on the wall! We ended up having to demo a bit of the drop-ceiling corner (above Dad's head in the pic below), but the slight deviation from plan ended up producing a better result: our wall would be straight and level. And in an 81 year old home, it might the ONLY wall that's straight and level anymore haha!
At this point, we changed plans again: there was the bit of cement wall (with the basket of mushrooms, on the left) that was still going to be a problem. It wasn't square, and would be difficult to paint. In addition, the cement down behind the (missing) baseboard was crumbled and in bad shape...it would be tough to add a baseboard back onto that area.
So we decided to cover the wall with drywall as well! That way, we could paint it, and the wall textures would match in the entire pantry corner. Bam! New plan established. Plus, I preserved the final painting....I have a clear conscience!
Now that we had our measurements, we build the frame, and got it up and secured. Then we cut drywall and put that up as well.
Things were really starting to take shape, and I was getting excited!
We sanded and painted the drywall, with a paint that I had picked out AGES ago for our entire kitchen. This corner was my test....I was so nervous that the color wouldn't turn out the way I wanted.
But I ended up absolutely LOVING it! Watch out, rest of my kitchen...here I come, paint roller in hand!
With the walls painted, it was time to add the trim and baseboards back in!
The walls were finally finished!! With the corner prepped and ready, we started adding brackets for our shelves!
One of my biggest requests for the pantry was that the shelves would be extra-sturdy, so that I didn't have to worry about how much weight I was putting on each shelf. Because if it's at all a possibility to overload a shelf, I will absolutely worry about it.
And you know what? The great thing about building your own wall is that you can add studs in wherever you need them! So we built the wall with studs at the marks where we planned to attach the brackets, and my request was taken care of. Nothing short of a dozen 10-lb bags of flour is going to strain these babies!
Once the brackets were up, we added in the transition piece between new flooring and old laminate. Doesn't that just add the cherry to finish this bit off? It looks so great!
All that was left was to cut the shelves to size, and screw them in place! Once the shelves were up, the final piece of corner trim was added as well, and it was finished!
Here's the final result:
Things I learned from this project:
1) Projects never go according to plan.
2) If you think a project is going to take 3 days, plan on 6 days.
3) Building a wall is easier than it sounds....but measuring for said wall can be VERY confusing
4) Wood laminate flooring doesn't actually attached to anything...it 'floats'. Weird.
5) Collapsable sawhorses are the best invention, period.
6) My parents have a lot of wisdom when it comes to home renovations! We would never have been able to even plan this project without them, let alone figure out how to make it actually happen! They are pretty awesome, and we owe them a lot for all their hard work.