Before & After: This DIYer Created the Butler’s Pantry of Her Dreams

published May 1, 2022
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Credit: Nicole Francis

No kitchen storage situation is perfect. Some people have homes with no dedicated pantry to speak of and get creative eking out dry food storage space from cabinet space or the back of a door. But having an actual pantry, even if it’s a good size, doesn’t automatically lead to food storage organization bliss. In fact, sometimes, the bigger the space, the more unwieldy it can become.

This is exactly what happened to DIYer Nicole Francis when she and her husband moved into their new home. The spacious pantry had been a huge selling point of the house, but as time went on, they discovered that it had its drawbacks. “Our builder-grade pantry became a literal dumping ground,” says Nicole. “The pantry lacked organization, which made it an eyesore. I also didn’t like how everything was on full display, especially when there were little fingers that loved to move things around.”

Credit: Nicole Francis

When Nicole and her husband, Michael, found out they were expecting a second child, they decided to address this sore spot in their home. Rather than simply adding storage containers and baskets, Nicole had a bigger vision for the space. “I mentioned to my husband how I would love to have a butler’s pantry just to help with storage. counter space and to have help with keeping our toddler from accessing certain items.”

Nicole and Michael started their project by taking detailed measurements and figuring out the layout that would work best for food storage. They ordered cabinets from Lowe’s and began demolition of the old space once they arrived. They assembled and installed the cabinets In one weekend.

Next, they had a countertop company come in and template their counter. While waiting for the install, Nicole and Michael primed and painted the walls. Once the counter was installed, they were able to add their food back into the pantry and implement an organizational system. Finally, they added the backsplash and floating shelves.

Completing their dream butler’s pantry cost a total of $7,000. “From start to finish, this project took close to three months to complete,” Nicole shares. “That included waiting time for specific materials to arrive and delays due to COVID. For the most part, this project was fairly simple to complete. There were a few hiccups with installing our floating shelves, but that was due to our builder’s incorrect framing. Other than that, we felt like this project was well worth our time and investment.”

Credit: Nicole Francis

The overhauled pantry has transformed how the space functions overall. “I absolutely LOVE the transformation this space has made,” Nicole explains. “For once, everything has a place and I’m not shuffling everything around to make space for something else. I have a food organization system in place that makes it so that I can shop purposefully and intentionally and I love that everything is neatly stored behind cabinetry to minimize the feeling of clutter. I have a place to store extra counter items when our newest little one arrives and my dinnerware can now have a place that is functional and purposeful.”

Even their little one benefits. “My little gal is no longer moving things around because she has a drawer specific to her snacks and favorite meals, which makes things so much easier for our family,” says Nicole.

For anyone looking to undertake a similar project, Nicole warns of the mental exhaustion that can come from the chaos of displaced kitchen necessities and the inevitable delays that accompany most home projects these days: “Know upfront that there is likely going to be a bit of chaos for a bit of time due to material delays, but in the long run, it is so worth it!”

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: This DIYer Went All Out to Create the Butler’s Pantry of Her Dreams