Monday, January 23, 2012

Pantry Part 1: The Destruction

When we bought our house we loved everything about it except the back part of the downstairs. This includes the kitchen, half bath, office and master. To move forward on all our plans we first needed to move the half bath which we accomplished over break. You can read about the work we did to move it under the stairs here. Our next project was to turn the old half bath into a pantry since it was in the kitchen. Before we did that we needed to get the fridge out of the way. You can see what we did about that here.

Once everything was removed from the space, it was finally time to do some demolition. To remind you, this is the space we started with.

The area that has the toilet and sink is where we are putting the pantry. It has an entrance from the back door area and is cramped because of the area for the fridge. This is the view when you walk through the door.

The design is not very conducive to the pantry we wanted so we decided to take down the walls that were hiding the fridge.  This means that the entrance will be from the kitchen, and we will close up the old door. This accomplishes two things. One it allows for more space and easier access from the kitchen and two it creates a really nice back entrance where we can put our keys, jackets, umbrellas, etc.

Since we didn't really know what to expect when we took down the wall (there were these two awkward capped off pipes sticking out the wall facing the back door) Nate took a small section down to get an idea of what we were going to have to deal with. I didn't get a pic but what he found was quite interesting. There were multiple ceilings which was weird in of itself, but one of the ceilings was tiled in this lovely yellow and black tile. This bathroom apparently had not always been a half bath, but a three-quarter bath.... right off the kitchen (does anybody else think this is awkward??)

Anyway, Nate saw some pipes which meant this project wasn't going to be as straight forward as we thought (since we had no idea where these pipes went) so the wall coming down was put on hold while we finished up the bathroom and working on the electrical.

The project got kick started again when Nate's dad came to visit. He and Nate really like working on projects together so they chose the pantry as their project for the time he was here. Once the fridge was out of the way they carefully took down the two walls that were enclosing the fridge and the plaster and lath in a few sections to get a better idea of what was going on with the pipes. To cut down on dust we taped up a plastic sheet over the doorways so some of these pics are not super great. 

Here they are working on taking the walls down:

To give you a better idea of the space, here is a wider shot (still working on that wall). They were actually pretty sneaky and were able to take the wall that is still up in this pic down in basically one piece. This was possible because it wasn't actually attached on the bottom...

It was amazing how big the space was once the wall were down. Here is a shot once again from the old doorway.

And look! You can see into the kitchen! (and you can see the mystery pipes)

After some investigative work, it was determined that the mystery pipes in the picture were the supply lines for the upstairs bathroom. They were in a very inconvenient place since we wanted to increase the door height so someone over the height of 6 feet could walk in without knocking themselves out. The pipes also were not made of the best material so the plan was to move these pipes to a better location. Oh and the awkward capped off pipes? They were attached to nothing.... so out they came. 

Since the new pipes had to be fed upstairs from a new wall (which was going to take some luck and talent) we decided to make our lives a bit easier and use Pex. This is flexible, polyethylene tubing that has some great advantages when it comes to the type of project we were tackling. Since it is flexible, soft turns and corners were not an issue like it would have been with copper. Also, the push-on connectors (which act like chinese finger traps) made it so any tight space connections were not a problem. The fact that Pex is significantly cheaper doesn't hurt either. 

After a little luck and some great teamwork from Nate and his dad, the new Pex pipes were fed up to the second floor and down to the crawl space and connected. We used all of the 100' length that we purchased ($26 vs. about $125 for copper) and it now resides in the wall common with the back entranceway.

You can also see that new electrical is in place. Both the back entrance light and the light in the old bathroom did not have switches (which was annoying) so switches were added as well as a bunch of new outlets for small appliances that will be used in the pantry (a counter will be going in which is why the outlets are so high)

The floor also had to be dealt with. there wasn't tile where the walls use to be and most of the tile in this area was cracked. Luckily, the tile came up quite easily (we were able to lift up large sections and then hit it with a hammer and it all cracked apart). 

Part of the subfloor also needed to get replaced to make the floor even and to get rid of some compromised spots.

Since the pipes were moved, the doorway height could also be increased and after this was done the demolition was finished and so the plastic could come down.

This was the end of the demolition but we clearly have more work to do from here. Next will be the process of bringing this space back to life!

Home Stories A2Z


  1. Thanks so much for the floor plan. Really makes it clear. What an improvement!!!!

  2. This is so creative. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

  3. Found this link while searching Google, thanks