Desperate for advice on open pantry
February 17, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We had shelves built for the kitchen that will serve as an open pantry. They are 1' deep and 2' wide, and will be placed where I've indicated in the attached photo with the rectangle on the floor (except, of course, parallel to the wall). There is a crawlspace access panel under the paint stuff, so 2' wide is all we can do. We may also hang a curtain diagonally from the left side of the shelves to the far side of the window to further block the furnace and hot water heater from view.

My dilemma is how to finish the shelves. I had planned on painting them white (BM Chantilly Lace, the same color as our new trim, which will replace the wood trim you see in the photo), but now that I see them finished I'm having a hard time committing to painting all the nice wood. I am now considering staining the outside of the unit and the fronts of the shelves, and painting the inside, but I can't decide if that will look nice or weird. I would probably go with a fairly dark stain, but I think using it on the whole unit would darken up the space too much. I've also considered using a grayish whitewash-type stain. If I end up painting them, should I do the whole thing white, or paint the back of the shelves the wall color (BM Revere Pewter)?

There will be an assortment of items on the shelves, but most of our pantry stuff I have organized in mason jars.

Oh, and we're mid-remodel, so the house, and, to a much greater extent, the garage, are a mess! Please don't judge. And thanks in advance for your help!
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if the shelves were built from paint grade wood, they will not stain evenly. I'd go with your original paint color choice. If you paint the back the same color as the walls, they will look like inexpensive add-ons.
   February 17, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Urbana ~ Designer Ellen Crystal
paint as planned. The grain is several different tones---especially the back. would end up very patchy. I would suggest once painted you get some clear, rubberized shelf liner to protect the finish. Over time, a spill or two or scratch from a can dragged across will not matter.

If you wish to make a fresh look in future, think about wall paper panels cut to size on back or accent colour. You could get a whole new look
   February 17, 2013 at 5:25PM
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How close will your shelves end up being from the door of the furnace? Don't forget that someone may have to work on your furnace someday and will require some room to not only take the cover off but also some elbow room to swing a pipewrench or other tools and be able to reach the gas line and valve that supplies the furnace.
   February 17, 2013 at 5:26PM
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Thanks for the advice - I hadn't even considered the quality of the wood when thinking about staining, so I will paint. What would you recommend for an accent color for the back, if not the wall color?

wyndyacre, we're leaving the recommended amount of space between the shelves and the furnace for servicing.
   February 17, 2013 at 5:30PM
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That's great that you already considered that...lot's of people don't! :-) I'm a gasfitter by trade and have come across a lot of renovations that have totally blocked access.
1 Like   February 17, 2013 at 5:41PM
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Agree with the comment about furnace access. My current project house has access so tight to the furnace that the filter has to be bent to get it into the slot.
   February 17, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Urbana ~ Designer Ellen Crystal
back panel could be like your floor tone or colour that makes you happy. If you are using creams & greys, then a sunny yellow or fresh orange or even a lime green all look great with grey. Its a way of warming up the neutrals
   February 18, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Have you considered chalk paint??
I saw it in a boutique recently and it is so cool! I don't think the wood grain is an issue....
   February 18, 2013 at 9:09PM
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