Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Pie Safe "Pantry"

My kitchen isn't nearly big enough--"big enough" being a relative term, of course. Sometimes I'm convinced that I need a bigger one--because I'm spoiled and tend to confuse the word "need" with the word "want."

It's true, when I was raising my sons, I dreamed of having one of those expansive, open-concept kitchens with long granite counter tops that resemble landing strips for small aircraft.  You know what I'm talking about--a chef's dream of a kitchen, with an island and a breakfast bar and a pantry and so many drawers and cupboards that everything could look neat and tidy behind those closed doors...instead of stacked up and packed in as tightly and creatively as if--as my oldest son and his wife would put it, when describing their own kitchen storage areas--it was all part of a challenging game of Tetris.  (I've never played Tetris, so I really must give credit for that reference to them!)

I have a traditional Colonial-style house, with a first floor that is broken up into separate rooms: kitchen, family room, formal living room, formal dining room, and half-bath.  (It's a beautiful house, but the concept is not the least bit "open.")  I have a quaint and lovely, though dated and modest-sized, kitchen.  We have made it an "eat-in" one, despite the lack of a breakfast nook area, thanks to my carpenter husband, who years ago designed and built the perfect long, narrow trestle table that would make the best use of the space we do have.  (He's my hero, that guy.)  I love our formal dining room, which is absolutely wonderful for big holiday meals; but I've always liked the idea of being able to eat at a cozy kitchen table on an everyday basis.

Yes, when my boys were broad-shouldered teenagers (all five of them six feet tall and then some) there was some bumping and jostling in there if we were all trying to fix ourselves a sandwich at the same time. Yes, I most definitely could have used more floor space/cabinet space/counter top space and every other kind of space kitchens ought to have.  But the bottom line is this: for two decades, I fixed meals for a family of seven in my kitchen, and it seems to have worked for me just fine.

I am, however, always trying to figure out creative ways to get more storage space in there. We only have two Lazy Susan's to hold all the canned and boxed food items.  I used to have a storage cabinet in the basement for stashing extra jars of peanut butter and spaghetti sauce and such, but it was made of cheap particle board and got ruined a few years back when we had a little flooding down there.

Not long afterward, I found the perfect "pantry" for my little kitchen in an antiques/consignment shop downtown that sells lots of refurbished furniture pieces.  It's solid pine (not that awful particle board!), and I believe it's what they used to call a "pie safe."  I don't think it's actually an antique; but it's solid and well-built,  it doesn't take up too much room, and I love the farmhouse look of it.  The best part about it, though, is that it actually has lots of room inside for storing all my excess foodstuffs.  No, wait--the best part is that it only cost me $99.  You'd be hard-pressed to find a new piece like it for that price at a furniture store (or even at Target!).

I just thought I'd post this today to inspire those of you out there who are looking for innovative ways to make your small kitchens more efficient.  And to illustrate that sometimes, a secondhand furniture piece can be even more beautiful and functional (not to mention more affordable) than a new one.

(P.S.: My husband also built the storage cabinet underneath the wall phone in the top photo...and there is a serious game of Tetris going on behind that curtain!)


  1. That's a nice pantry! My sister and I converted an old closet in our townhouse into a pantry. It serves the purpose! I like the wooden one, though. Do you find it nice to have a separate pantry, versus one that's built-in (i.e. a closet or other, more formal pantry)?

    1. If there had been a walk-in pantry in the kitchen when we bought the house, I would have preferred that, definitely--a big walk-in one! But this really does the trick with the space we have, and I do like the look of it.

  2. Laura
    After living in a tiny house with alot of people we realised it is all about footprint space, if something is taking up floor space make sure it is maximising for us we decided to go as high as possible, as here
    and here

    Love your cupboard, so solid! and attractive.