Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Get My Pantry!?!

When I was a little girl, there were many things I enthusiastically imagined in my dream home and, as I aged, the list only got longer. While the dream of a massive indoor pool complete with diving boards of varying heights has been replaced with a massive array of photovoltaics, some dreams have survived.

I don't recall my first introduction to The Pantry. My family certainly never had a home with one. But, once acquainted, there was no going back... such practicality! Revision after revision, draft after draft, our house floor plans always included some version of a pantry just off the kitchen. In the beginning, in our naivety, it was a walk-in pantry. I quickly came to realise how that is such a waste of square footage and the pantry morphed into a spacious closet-like extension of the kitchen.
And Shafraaz and I debated. And we went to IKEA. We have the pantry space, but how to develop it? IKEA offers several options from pull-out pantries to different shelving selections. Having the pantry area was luxury enough for me, I didn't need anything fancy, so I preferred a simple shelving system that could be mixed up and rearranged as needed. A pantry is about utility after all.

And that was where we left it. That is where I thought it was going to remain.

Then one day...

I got a call.
Apparently, during a salvaging trip, Shafraaz scored these "amazing" units and wanted to use them for *my* pantry (see how possessive I've become). And then he confesses that they are a fridge and freezer set? You've got to be kidding me? Haha, he wasn't joking. He wanted me to use a fridge and a freezer as shelving! But they are "gorgeous" and "can we please use them for the pantry... it'd be awesome!"   

Old, Salvaged, Sub-Zero Fridge & Freezer Set
Such excitement, sigh. What could I do but agree to at least see them. And as I stood before this massive Sub-Zero fridge & freezer set, I understood why my favourite-colour-is-black husband loved them. They are big, they are black, and they have simple clean lines. In Shafraaz's eyes they are perfect.

But are they practical?
On the outside they are all nice and shiny and certainly seem large enough, useful enough. They come with their own doors, so we won't need to supply doors/curtains/barriers to hide the pantry; in fact, the bonus purpose of them would be a focal point, a conversation starter. And they were FREE. They were salvaged from an untimely demise. I love reusing what can be reused. Considering that these monsters probably were huge energy hogs, one may be able to argue that we are Upcycling them.

But are they practical?
On the inside...
Complete with a Box of Baking Soda!
If the outsides remain classic and "gorgeous," the insides are certainly dated. But hey,they are clean with no weird smells, the shelves are adjustable, and there is the added bonus of storage space on the doors! It's a pantry... who cares what the inside looks like? And these babies don't take up all the pantry space surprisingly, there will be a small linen-closet like space beside it for those more difficult to store and unwieldy bulk items.  

So, I have my pantry! I'm not positive how well it will actually work, but it's worth a shot. They'll look good in any case and Shafraaz will be happy. Now I just wonder about the air-tight quality of the fridge & freezer-pantry and how that will affect its use, does it matter? Does a pantry need airflow? And what about the coolants and other bits on the fridge&freezer's backsides... do they pose any health risks if they just sit?
Another Look at that Baking Soda!


  1. Hi Serena, why not re-use the doors only and attach them to a shelving unit. The old fridge/freezer must have thick walls and other wasted space for the compressor etc. That way you have more space inside the pantry, don't have to worry about lack of ventilation and still get the enjoy the gorgeous black doors.

  2. wow. These are beauties. I would go with just the doors, though, too. Then you won't have to worry about coolants, bulk, and airflow.
    Someone asked me the other day what my favourite part of our new house will be, and I said (without a second's thought), "the pantry." On reflection, there are other things I'll like too. . . .

  3. Why didn't I think of just removing the doors? I just went to look at the doors and yes, they are screwed on a frame on the outside of the bulky freezer and fridge boxes... I knew starting a blog on the house construction was a good idea... Thanks Philip & Lori-Ann!

  4. I agree too. Even for tins you need air flow and sooner rather than later you would have to deal with the coolants. You can also use the racks and bins from inside too if they are good quality. Just a suggestion.

  5. Isn't great to have third parties do your dirty work for you! Thanks guys, I think Shafraaz is convinced to just used the doors and maybe some innards. And I was inspired, by this idea, to come up with a design solution on how to use the doors and tie it all in with the kitchen design ;-)

  6. very cool idea s & s - let us know what you wind up doing and how it all works out!

  7. You bet ee! We'll definitely keep everyone posted. For now, this is on the back burner as we prepare for the pouring of the cement flooring for the main floor... where the pantry will not be ;-)

  8. I agree with the concerns about the air tightness of the fridge/freezer unit if their interiors are not chilled. This might be a good environment for moulds.
    The inspired recommendations to use the doors only are wonderful. If you did that, you could have deeper shelves. You might consider installing deep pull-out drawers below the doors to increase your storage space. You could store large boxes or bags such as cereals, oatmeal, flour, sugar etc in the drawers. Or you could store special china or linen which is used for important family events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving. etc.
    If you use the doors only, you could expand your options. Who says the two doors have to be side by side, or even in the same room?!!

  9. Thanks Jim for all your comments and questions. Actually this drawer idea is one of the ideas we are playing with. Using the same cabinetry from the kitchen proper for these drawers to help tie the design all together. In fact, the idea is the drawers below the doors and then up the right hand side.

    Nothing is set in stone and we are forever finding new solutions to things and new treasures to reuse, so we'll see what happens!

    We are very lucky to have a few reuse centres in Edmonton, plus, Shafraaz had the pleasure of gutting a different house before its demolition (which is where my pantry came from... plus my interesting kitchen sink, but that's for a future post).

  10. Over the week-end, while puttering around the house, my mind began to wander into some free-thinking. An idea for reusing your Fridge/Freezer unit came to mind. Sometimes these musings are just crazy ideas, but I'll offer it.
    You have triple paned glass panels and, if you remove the fridge doors, you will have an airtight, moisture resistant, insulated cabinet.
    I have an idea for a cabinet to preheat your incoming fresh air.
    1. Arrange to have the freon removed safely.
    2. Remove the copper piping and the compressor and sell them for scrap.
    3. Salvage or buy dark tiles at the ReUse store. Install them in the cabinet, like you would in a shower.
    4. Salvage some use black roofing steel. Mount this on a pivoting rack in the cabinet (close to the front of the cabinet). If the steel can swing out, you will be able to clean the steel and the cavity from time to time.
    5. Attach insulated ducting for fresh air inlet and outlet.
    6. Using your triple paned glass panels, build an operating window/door for the cabinet.
    You now have a solar air preheating cabinet.
    8. In the early 1980s, for Harrowsmith Magazine and Camden House Publishing, I photographed master boat builder Ted Moores as he built a cedar strip canoe. Ted cut cedar strips, attached them to a form and then coated the inside and outer hull with fiberglass epoxy and sheeting. The book is called "Canoecraft" and was written jointly by Merilyn Mohr and Ted Moores. It was published by Firerfly.
    If you have any reclaimed cedar, and fiberglass, using Ted's canoe construction techniques, you could build a water proof, weather tight cabinet. By oversizing the enclosure, you could add some of your excess rigid board insulation to the fridge cabinet, increasing its thermal efficiency. The superinsulated fridge could fit into the cedar housing.
    There would be other details to work out, but this McGyver project could reuse several items which others might reject as waste. Jim