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The layout of our house uses space very effectively with the exception of the pantry-laundry-mud-room area. With a baby on the way, we knew we needed to make some changes to this room to make it function for our (growing) family long term. We needed more storage, better flow and quite honestly, a design and style update.

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This Is Going To Be a Real Reno

If you’ve been following along as I’ve shared other spaces in my home, you’ll know that we’ve re-painted (goodbye taupe!) and re-tiled one of our bathrooms, our fireplace and our kitchen backsplash to get rid of the tan/brown tile that was in our house when we built (11 years ago…when it was in style). All of our other renovations have been cosmetic up to this point. This time we knew we had to remove some small walls to improve the space and we knew that meant touching up the ceiling and redoing the floor (yay! no more brown tile!).

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We also decided to remove a 24″ wide broom closet that was basically useless space. It was a struggle to get anything in or out of this tiny closet and the useless “architectural” wall next to it was interrupting the flow of the space, too.

My Vision for This Space

I wanted the space to feel bright, white and airy. I also wanted it to feel consistent with the style in the rest of our home. I spent over two years planning this project trying to get it just right (I hope it doesn’t take you this long!). I wanted to maximize both storage and style and give our family the additional functionality that we needed in this multi-use space.

If you want to check out some of my inspo, you can check out the Pinterest boards that I created: Pantry Love & Inspo and Dreamy Mud Room & Laundry Spaces. Okay, here we go…

The Demolition Process

It’s Demo Day! We had to do this demolition in phases because of how the space was built and structured. I hope you find my recounting of this to be helpful for your own demo!

The first thing we had to do was remove all of the wire shelving. I hate wire shelving. I know it’s considered cost effective for builders in subdivision homes, but I hate it. It really grates on me (pun intended). If you’re handy in any way, you can easily create built-in shelving on a budget with a mitre saw, some MDF, a nail gun, caulking and paint. We were able to sell the wire shelving on Kijiji, too, which made it that much easier to get rid of.

Next up on the demo list was taking out a couple of small walls. Once we learned that the walls we wanted to remove weren’t structural or load bearing, we removed the drywall and then removed the unnecessary studs. In this process we also removed the aforementioned 24″ wide broom closet which was a total waste of space. We donated the closet door to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

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Call In The Trades

Once the drywall was out, we knew we had to get some outside help for a couple of things. One of the small walls we wanted to remove housed a light switch that needed to be relocated as well as some HVAC ducting. Having professionals come in to do this small amount of work for us wasn’t as costly as you’d think!

There wasn’t a ton of lighting in the space to begin with (a few builder-grade ceiling lights) and so we opted to have recessed LED pot lights installed in the space. This provided a ton more light and also made the rooms feel more modern. We also had the electrician add in a couple of extra receptacles while he was on site – a dedicated plug for the fridge we planned for the space and two plugs over the counter for small appliances. These features are what make it a real butler’s pantry!

Putting Everything Back Together

Once the utilities were all good to go and the drywall was hung and painted, it was time to start finishing the space. The first order of business was the flooring. We decided on a 12″x24″ polished marble-look porcelain tile with grey grout. As soon as the flooring was in, the space was immediately brighter.

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Next stop cabinetry and shelving! And counter tops and tile back splash! Then all the finishing details!

Installing Cabinetry

Traditional custom cabinetry just wasn’t an option for us from a budget perspective. As much as I love my kitchen cabinetry (and its solid oak doors), we knew we wouldn’t get the investment back in our home if we were to continue that particular cabinetry in the pantry area. I also didn’t want the espresso stained doors in an area when there isn’t much natural light.

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The answer to all of this was IKEA Cabinetry. This way we got the quality we were looking for, great warranty and something gorgeous to finish our space without the massive price tag. For more details on IKEA Cabinetry and the planning process, click here.

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Want to see the finished product? Check out my Pantry Renovation Reveal post to see it all!

Adjoining Spaces

It’s important to note that our pantry area connects to our walk-through mud room and laundry space as well. This meant that the demolition spread and so did some of the re-finishing of the area. You can check out the before and after photos, the renovation process and all the finishing touches of those spaces here:

Pantry Renovation Reveal

Mud Room Renovation Reveal

Laundry Room Renovation Reveal


Tips for Planning a Renovation Like This:

What’s My ROI? Are you planning to “love it” or “list it”? We always renovate with re-sale in mind. Although our recent renovations are in the spirit of loving our home again, we know that at some point we plan to move on and so we don’t want to invest in custom features where we won’t see the ROI down the road.

Decide Where to Spend + Where to Splurge on Finishes: We decided to remove all of the wire shelving and install either IKEA cabinetry or custom-built MDF shelving in its place. Rather than installing new stone countertops in the new pantry space, we opted for a more cost-effective butcher block instead. We used porcelain tiles rather than real marble on the floor and an inexpensive white subway tile for the backsplash.

Know Your Limit + Play Within It: Know your skills enough to know when to hire someone and when to DIY. For this project we hired an electrician to install pot lights, add some electrical outlets and move a light switch. We also hired someone to move some HVAC venting. These services aren’t nearly as expensive as you’d think! We did all of our own cabinetry assembly (even at 8 months pregnant!), installation and tile work.

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A Few Links To Help!

Want to learn more about IKEA Cabinetry and how Kitch products can help to customize your project? Click here!

Want to learn more about Kitch and their products? Click here!

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