Dear James: We are doing some remodeling and adding a room on to our house. I have always wanted a walk-in pantry off the kitchen. While we are making the room addition, what is the best design for a pantry? — Lori A.
Dear Lori: A walk-in pantry is a wonderful addition to almost any home. If your new room addition is anywhere near the kitchen, you should be able to carve out a little space for the pantry. Even if the room addition is on the other side of the house, you may be able to steal a little space from the kitchen, laundry room and/or dining room to create a walk-in pantry.
The most common items stored in a walk-in pantry are extra food and bulk supplies. It is also a nice place to keep appliances and dishes that you do not use everyday in the kitchen such as pasta makers, toaster ovens, coffee urns, serving trays, roasting ovens, etc.
The walk-in pantry need not be large, fancy or expensive. A size of 6 feet by 8 feet is generally adequate for the average family. Figure on having a 3-foot-wide open area in the middle surrounded by 18-inch-deep shelves along the 8-foot sides. Deeper shelves can be installed along the back end for unusually large items.
Don't plan on using expensive, fancy cabinets and wall covering. Just build the pantry room and finish the walls with drywall. Paint it with semigloss white paint. This is bright, to reflect light, and it is also easier to clean than flat wall paint. Semigloss paint will show more wall surface imperfections than flat paint, but the walls will be mostly covered with shelving.
Any floor material will work fine, but simulated hardwood laminate flooring is the best to use. Laminate floor is very durable, easily cleaned and has an expensive look of hardwood. With all white walls, it will add some warmth and color to the pantry.
You can buy premade shelving, but it is not difficult to make your own and save a few dollars. Once you take an inventory of the items you want to store in the pantry, determine the pattern and height of the shelves. Make the shelves from three-quarter inch birch plywood and support them with 1 foot by 2 feet shelf posts.
Make a set of lower shelves to rest on the floor at a comfortable countertop height. This will provide an 18-inch countertop for a work area all around the pantry. Leave 18 to 24 inches from above the countertop to the bottom of the upper shelves. On one side near the door, don't install any shelves. This will be an area to store brooms and other tall cleaning items so you can reach in for quick access to them.
If you have more space available, build a wider walk-in pantry. This will provide more working space and a deeper countertop along one side, enough for a microwave oven and some food preparation space. Try to locate it so the back wall is along an outdoor wall for a small window.
The next upgrade is to a larger walk-in pantry that includes a laundry room. With access to water, in addition to storing items and food, you can do more initial food preparation and cleaning in it. Installing a tile floor would be your best choice.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244 or visit https://www.dulley.com. To find out more about James Dulley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.