Before and After of Our Complete Pantry Makeover

9 Materials
6 Weeks


This beautiful beast of a room is finished and has added so much functionality and storage to this 1,000 square foot home of ours. I’ve seriously been walking by a dozen times a day to sneak a peek, and not just because that’s where the snacks are kept.

It took us six weeks to completely overhaul this laundry/pantry, but it made this space so much more functional and added much-needed storage.

You can read a complete breakdown on this project on our blog HERE.

Before and after
Clean, clean, clean

This room was A MESS.

There was black mold behind where the laundry units go that we had to remove. The old, janky cupboards were falling apart and HAD. TO. GO.

And that water heater... it was 27 years old and well past its prime. We'll dive into that in the next step.

Demo WEEK, and replacing the water heater

When you see the before and after photos, your first question is probably, "Um, where'd that water heater go?"

Well, it was from 1993 and beyond the point of needing replacement. We figured if we're replacing it, we might as well get a tankless unit outside and give that room a ton of extra space.

We also tore out all the cabinets and racks on the wall to clear the room out.

Install and paint cabinets

We got these lower cabinets from Home Depot and the paint is Cavalry by PPG. These took a day to install, and we primed and painted them a little later in the process.

Cut, paint, install faux brick wall

Another question you might have when looking at the before and after is, "Where did that brick wall come from?"

No, we didn't lay a single brick. We’ve seen plywood brick panels a few times in other people’s projects, and at roughly $35 for a 4’x8’ sheet, you really can’t go wrong.

We painted them white then nailed them into the wall.

Add open shelves, wall sconces

With the room being exactly 8 feet wide, the open shelves were very easy install with two 2x12s at 8 feet.

The sconces were simply screwed into the wall and we used battery powered bulbs to avoid dealing with wiring.

Building our faux butcherblock countertop

Instead of paying hundreds for a butcherblock countertop, we made a faux one ourselves with some plywood.

We glued and clamped together two pieces of plywood and sanded the top before staining. Then we nailed the piece (which got to be VERY heavy) on top of the cabinets.

Install laundry storage

These two storage shelves were made out of scrap wood and leftover stain/paint.

The washer and dryer stick out from the wall because of the vents so we built this storage shelf to hide the gap and also provide more storage.

We then added a dowel below the upper shelf to hang clothes coming out of the laundry.

Paint over the old, gross linoleum

We painted over with a light grey and used this stencil for the white pattern.

The old flooring
Move fridge into room, decorate

To cover over the holes from the water heater, we cut down quarter inch plywood to 6 inch strips to cover the ceiling.

The last step was to move our fridge into the pantry (we debated this before making the decision) one foot over from where it was in the kitchen.

By moving the fridge we saved a lot of space in our kitchen, which we're going to use to build an island.

This was our most advanced project yet and took six weeks, but it was well worth it!

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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Kristi Kristi on Nov 17, 2020

    Simply stunningly gorgeous, but I most truly admire a couple who works so well together! My question is, what did you use to finish the front edge of the plywood countertop? Some sort of veneer? Since I am short in stature and shrinking every year, I could never reach those wall shelves, but do keep a small folding Rubbermaid stool with large steps handy. My old bones cannot afford a fall. Paint is lovely and a good choice for the end pieces. One alternative would be a colored stain, which would allow more of the oak grain to show, followed with durable clear finish, satin being my personal favorite. The water based versions generally best hold the color true, rather than ambering your blue. And be sure to have a cutting board handy, just in case your space gets used for food preparation along the way. (Man, are you lucky that water heater didn't rust through like THEY ALL DO! Ten yrs tops around here, even "the best". Thanks for sharing.

  • Judy Haas Judy Haas on Nov 29, 2020

    Would love to know what kind of paint will cover old Lino?? After you stenciled, what did you use to protect the floor? Inspiring project!

  • Evestar Evestar on Dec 02, 2020

    Not sure how long ago you finished floor, but how is it wearing so far? Do you plan on sealing it every year? 6 months?

    Everything looked amazing.


Join the conversation

3 of 27 comments
  • Lisa Jane Long Lisa Jane Long on Dec 04, 2020

    Super impressed, I am saving this for future reference! I've never heard of wood panels that look like brick...that's SO COOL!

    • Dmholt4391 Dmholt4391 on Dec 09, 2020

      They aren't wood like plywood, but some kind of pressed wood with the pattern pressed into it then painted somehow. But it is nice, and can be used and painted so many different ways.

  • Ulana13 Ulana13 on Dec 22, 2020

    Wow!! I am amazed!