We Bought a Farmhouse

stories of renovation, home decor inspiration & sprinkles of country life

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Our Farmhouse Pantry Renovation: Before & After

Oh, hi. Remember us? It's been a minute since we last popped on for an update. We've been hard at work on the house, but we had one teeny little project that has kind of held us up for months. I'm happy to say, it's finally done!

So friends, this was the little project that could. We started to renovate our kitchen pantry right after we finished our master bathroom in September because we thought it would be a nice, easy-breezy room we could get done in a couple of months. We thought it was more than realistic to have it done by Thanksgiving last year, and we were so excited at the possibility of having it complete right before baking season began. Oh, we'll just rip all the walls down in a day, take a week or so to install new drywall and electrical, and in a little over a month we should have this thing done in time for Thanksgiving! It's funny to think how wrong we were! 

The biggest delay was actually beyond our control. The sawmill we used to have all our wood pieces cut for our custom shelving just ran into delay after delay after delay. We called in our order about a month before Thanksgiving, they said it would all be ready in a week or so, and we got it on March 31st of the following year. It was crazy, and unfortunately, we're just limited on places in our area where we can order custom wood pieces. On top of that, we ran into a lot of design issues because of the slanted ceiling, and our attempt to squeeze way too many things in here. But, in the end, we ended up getting almost everything we wanted for our pantry, and it's finally done. About six months late, but it's done.

Let's start with a before and after.

To begin the room, Josh tore down all the drywall, plaster, lathe and flooring to expose the studs and joists (so, basically, how all our projects kick off). He then began to reconfigure some electrical to have a flush mount light fixture and switch where we wanted it, and also, allow us for some outlets in here to install a freezer. Then we put new drywall back up, taped, sanded, primed, painted, laid down new flooring, installed custom-made shelving and finally moved everything in (and out of our half bath downstairs, which is where we had been storing all our food, which is the weirdest thing ever).

I'm a little smitten with brick floors, and have contemplated transitioning a few areas of our first floor into brick, which would replace a slate tile we have down there. We decided to do a test run with brick floors in the pantry to see how we were feeling about them, and I'm so happy with how they look in here. We used thin brick, which is made specifically for interior flooring and accent work, and did a white mortar and grout. We love it so much that we're planning to do this in our mudroom and half bath downstairs.

Our biggest challenge was planning the shelving in here to really make the most of our space and cater to how we use our kitchen (and, ahem ... account for all the snacks we keep on hand). The design made my brain hurt because it's an odd space being under our stairway. But we also knew there had to be a solution out there to maximize functionality while keeping everything organized in a way that was practical for us. Josh did an amazing job building out the plan I designed, and installed a cubby system with pull-out baskets, a countertop, of sorts, for easy accessibility of things we use often, and lots of open shelving. We did did a mix of stained wood and white paint to go with our kitchen design.

We also decided to put a little mini freezer in here for extra storage. I bake a fair amount, and especially during the holidays, I bake so much that I never have enough freezer room to store extra cookies that I've made ahead of time. The small freezer was our answer to that. We had to do some minor structural changes to the space in order to accommodate the recommended amount of breathing room for a freezer, and honestly, this was our biggest headache design-wise. Our original plan had included a dual-zone wine cooler in here as well, but we just couldn't make it work because fridges and freezers require a lot more room around them for ventilation than we thought, and we hadn't accounted for that when planning it all out. But, that said, having the extra freezer storage has really been so nice and was definitely worth the sacrifice. It also allows us to stockpile groceries from stores that are further away from us because, God forbid, we run out of cauliflower gnocchi or guilt-free frozen mac and cheese dinners from Trader Joe's.

Josh and I both have a thing for general stores, and in our travels throughout New England, we've visited quite a few and always scope them out while driving around. I got it in my head one Sunday morning that I wanted to give our pantry a bit of a general store feel as a nod to the places we've visited in Vermont, Massachusettes, Maine, etc. Hence, the General Store sign. We also decanted our most-used foods into jars, and bought custom labels on Etsy to give it a bit of a general store-reminiscent look (and also, to keep the mice out of our snacks, because, you know, old house).

Bonus Corgi photobomb.

And lastly, I really wanted all my little baking accessories in one area that could be picked up and moved around on days I needed them. I have a lot of food colorings, sprinkles, cupcake wrappers, etc. and they're always scattered all over our pantry. Whenever I need them, I have to collect them like little eggs from a chicken coop and bring them to the counter, and it was always a hassle (first world problems). So I found this tiered stand online and decided to keep all these little, easily lost things in one place. When I need them for baking, I can just pick up the whole stand because it's small enough, but carries everything I need, and bring it out to the kitchen with me.

I'm feeling so fortunate to have this space done and finally crossed off our list because it definitely ate into time we needed to be spending on our living room renos. We're continuing to make progress with our two living rooms, though. New large windows are in both rooms (yessssssss), and Josh is just now beginning to finalize the subfloor so we can walk in them again (even better!). We're positive they won't both be done by Christmas, but we're hoping to maybe have our TV room done in time for the holidays. Maybe. It'll be tight, but we'll see. 

Links to things pictured
General store sign: My own design from my Etsy shop, FarmPickedMercantile
Light: Home Depot
Lidded jars: Target, available in three sizes, two of them linked here and here.
Tall pasta containers: Target
Labels: Etsy
Tiered stand: Wayfair
Thin bricks: Home Depot
Sliding baskets: Woodworker Express


  1. You all make me want to buy an old farm house...however I am not as talented as you two! It is lovely. That Brick floor is nice but is the mortar hard to keep clean? I have ceramic tile that drives me crazy because the grout is never as clean as I would like it to be. Love Love Love your labels and going to check out your etsy store right now.

    1. For low-traffic areas, we're okay with the brick floor maintenance. I'm not sure if I would want it in a high-traffic area because you do need to scrub them with water and a mild soap when they're dirty. It's not complicated, but because of their texture, you can't really use like a swiffer or something flat to easily go over them. More like hands-and-knees with a brush. We've been using our pantry for a few months, and they still look new, so that's good!

  2. I love the brick floor and custom labels. What fun details!

    1. Thank you! The labels were really reasonably priced on Etsy, so something to think about if you ever have a use for them :)

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