The 4 corners of the kitchen.
The Pantry.

Welcome to the second corner of my kitchen.  The pantry.

Before we get to that I’d like to tell you a little story about  a young girl.  A girl who grew up in Nutley, New Jersey.  The daughter of Polish parents, this ambitious girl became a model, a housewife, an author, a television host and then head of an empire.  All based on her impeccable taste and ability to take every day tasks and elevate them to art.

Then she went to jail.

As you have probably guessed by now, that little girl was me.

In 1979  I shined as “girl modelling slacks” in the  Robinson’s department store flyer.  That alone should be proof enough that I’m telling the truth.   The jail thing is a bit hard to explain but suffice it to say you don’t wanna get between me and the last full fat buffalo milk Greek Yogourt on sale.

So let’s talk about that Martha Stewart now.  She may not know anything about how to utilize a Chinese throwing star in a yogourt emergency,  but she has a pretty adequate handle on good design.

When I first started thinking of redoing my kitchen I immediately thought of Ikea cabinets because EVERYONE uses Ikea cabinets.  They’re inexpensive, well made and easy to install.  I knew I wanted Shaker cabinets.  But when I looked at the Ikea ones in person they weren’t exactly what I wanted.

And if I was going to pay absolutely nothing for my kitchen cabinets, I was not going to compromise!   And that’s exactly what I spent on these cabinets by the way.  Nothing.

I knew going into this kitchen renovation that I was going to work as many deals as humanly possible to get my dream kitchen.   I could guarantee the cabinets would be featured in a 5 page spread in Canadian Living Magazine as well as be seen on my blog from now until I get a new kitchen.  Which I  imagine will be around the time evolution actually eliminates the human baby toe.

My kitchen designer Carol Reed suggested the Martha Stewart line of cabinets at Home Depot for two reasons.  Because they’re really good cabinets and because the Home Depot is very blogger friendly and open to this sort of exchange.  Carol was right on both counts. In case you don’t remember Carol and I’ve never met. She designed my kitchen over the Internet.

I went with the Martha Stewart Ox Hill cabinets in the colour “Picket Fence”.   In layman’s terms those are shaker cabinets in white.  I knew I wanted a big pantry and after some configurations and reconfigurations Carol and I decided the best place for it was on the left side of the kitchen where it would be seen from the dining room.

Take a look at the pantry corner and I’ll explain some of the details as we get through the post.





The thing about this pantry is Martha Stewart doesn’t make one like it.  She does however make cabinets and drawers so we Frankensteined together a mixture of base, upper cabinets and drawers to create a stunning pantry.   And I don’t use the word stunning loosely.  Mainly I reserve it for tomato seedlings and Lladro figurines.



To make the cabinets look more like a separate piece of furniture, and well … like a pantry I did a couple of things. First off, I had the base stepped out from the rest of the base cabinets by 3 inches. This broke the line of cabinets and differentiated the pantry from the rest of the bases.

Then I had the upper portion of the pantry (the drawers and the upper cabinets) stepped back from the front of the base cabinets they sit on by 5 inches. The whole effect is a sort of breakfront that turns what could have looked like cabinets stacked on top of cabinets, into a pantry.
I keep two wood crates in the bottom. The one on the left is filled with baking stuff like flour, sugar, baking soda, chocolate chips, vodka. The crate on the right is filled with dry pasta type things. Penne, rice, asian noodles, sake.

The drawers.  The drawers on the other  hand hold far more important things.
Behold the spice drawer of my dreams. And if you don’t dream about spice drawers you are not livin’ large ladies. Not. Living. Large.


Want more STUFF like this?

Get my posts emailed to you daily.



Because of the depth of the upper cabinets (22″) and the lack of height from my ankles to my neck I had to figure out a way to make all of the items accessible without having to permanently attach a folding stool to my shins.

Enter the laziest of all the ladies. Susan. The lazy susan seems like it should be an easy thing to find in any number of stores. Do not be fooled. Miss. Lazy Susan is as rare as hair on a turtle.

I searched and searched for a lazy susan and couldn’t find anything. I found a few flimsy plastic ones but that was about it. Ikea did have some at one point but they were a specialty item that they carried once and they were gone.

Even if I had found lazy susans in a store chances are I never would have found one large enough. I wanted it to be big enough to fill my entire cabinet so I wasn’t wasting any space.

So I made my own lazy susans. 4 of them. I’ll be showing you how to do that in an upcoming post. I know. Super-exciting, right? Live. Ing. Large.
On the inside of one pantry door, I put up stick on chalkboard paper (which I got at Dollarama years ago) to act as my chalkboard. I’ve had a chalkboard in my kitchen for 15 years now and I wasn’t about to give it up just because I had no cabinets.


The final thing I did to customize the cabinets into a really great pantry was have a piece of marble cut for the upper portion to rest on.  This piece cost around $200 to have cut to size and the edges slightly rounded.
It’s Pink Tool belt’s favourite part of the kitchen. Along with looking great, it gives me somewhere to put my jars, cans, or glasses when I’m going through the cupboard.


The marble is honed Carrera …
… which matches the honed Carrera marble on my island which you’ve caught tiny glimpses of but haven’t seen in its entirety.
And which you’re not going to see now. I told you. One corner at a time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my ankle monitor is makin’ me rashy and there’s a sale on Greek yogourt.



  1. michelle r says:

    Love the pantry and the marriage of the different cabinets (ahhh..diversity). And the hardware just seems to go well with it all. But in fact Susan is not lazy at all, so how about the Lazy Fella……just saying

  2. Mindy says:

    I went through the same lazy Susan hunting nightmare. I ended up finding two plastic ones at Goodwill and bought them because I couldn’t find anything else. Anxious to see how you made them.

  3. Melody Madden says:

    That spice drawer is incredible …. jealous!

  4. Olga says:

    I think you made a good choice going with MS cabinets instead of IKEA. Even though IKEA kitchens are beautiful, their odd measurements of cabinets makes everything more complicated. You don’t need to complicate your life! lol Plus, I think having “Martha Stewart” logo in your cabinets is very appealing as well. It’s like a reminder that once in you in the kitchen you should turn yourself into Martha.

  5. Leah Laurent says:

    I saw the Lazy Susans at Ikea and bought 4 because I knew they would go away and I would never find them again!

  6. jeannie B says:

    I love it. Such a beautiful pantry. And I love the marble. I only have a big, square, marble, floor tile that I pull out, to roll out my pastry on. Your kitchen Karen, is stunning. I look forward to seeing the whole thing.

  7. Sabrina says:

    I’ll add to the accolades already pouring in…love it! I did a redo last year – repurposed someone’s old cabinets into my kitchen – new for me :) But really, I only have a kitchen because it came with the house. I admire all your menus and cooking adventures, truly, but I am more gourmande than gourmet chef; maybe someday when I grow up….

    I did have a question, though. At the bottom of the wall on the left of the pantry, is that a register or a cat door? Since you now have a radiant floor, I’m really wanting that to be a door. I cut one into my living room which my cats think is great (the litter box is in the sun room next door) so long as it is propped open. They are completely confounded if the flap is down. It was supposed to be a stroke of genius. Go figure.


  8. Debbie says:

    Curious, what does fish feet and your Mother think of your kitchen? So far I love it.


  9. Auntiepatch says:

    Take note Martha; you’re loosing money here. Karen’s way ahead of ya!

  10. Rondina Muncy says:

    Very functional. While I applaud you making the lazy-susans, I found the best ones at The Container Store when I turned the hot-water heater into a pantry. They are clear and made by Romanoff Products of New York. They have a nice deep lip around the parameter.

  11. Kelli says:

    FAB. U. LUSS! I love me a well thought out pantry! It all looks gorge, especially that Carrera marble. I’m just excited to know that I own those same spice jars! (btw, what do you do when they start getting sticky/rusty? just buy new ones?)

    But really…you ARE going to tell us your jail story some day, right? :)

  12. Vere says:

    I love it, love all of it! but being an Italian citizen it just hurts my soul to see Carrare spelled Carrera, you are killing me Karen!

  13. Cred says:

    Love your pantry. And the lazy susans are so smart. I need to reorganize my kitchen, now I look forward to making a few lazy susans for my awkward corners. And love the hardware, too. I thought I recognized the cup pulls from Martha’s line.- they’re great.

  14. Leslie says:

    That is SO pretty! What a relief to have that calm space in your kitchen after all the time in chaos!

  15. Gretchen Sexton says:

    OK. You are absolutely GENIUS! This piece is not only gorgeous, but ever so functional. I am taking notes and going to copy it at my earliest opportunity. But right away I am going to put all my baking items in a basket in my current pantry configuration. Can’t wait to see the Lazy Susan DIY. I do love a good Lazy Susan! You continue to rock my world!

  16. Marion says:

    Beautiful!!!! I cannot wait to see the final reveal. You’ve probably already answered this somewhere on the bloggity blog, but when does the issue of Canadian Living with your kitchen in it come out?

  17. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Amazing! My heart is racing…carrea marble, a beautiful pantry with full size lazy susan’s and that fancy hardware. Living large indeed. You deserve it. I, too, want to know if you spices are in alpabetical order, lol.

  18. mickey says:


  19. Liz says:

    Can we talk about the freaking beautiful latching hardware for a second?!? guuuuuhhh I LOVE IT!! I’m curious if you had that in mind all along, or if you agonized over a few choices?
    I love that it’s shiny, gold and new, but brassy enough to be a bit old and timeless :) I’m enjoying this one corner at a time thing too! The anticipation definitely makes me appreciate every detail more

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liz! I’ll do a small update about the hardware on the bottom of the post. I had SO many things to mention I completely forgot about the hardware, lol. The cup pulls are Martha Stewart hardware and the latches are from Lee Valley. I have to antique the brass on the Lee Valley hardware so it matches the Martha stuff but I haven’t had time. That too will end up being another post. :) I didn’t debate at all. I knew I wanted gold for the warmth and because well … it’s the new thing … and I knew I wanted cup pulls again, which I’ve always had. I was thrilled when I saw Martha Stewart carried not only gold cup pulls but ones that were more squarish than the normal rounded ones you see. So there you go. The story of the hardware! ~ karen

  20. Carol says:

    Its funny I have to remind myself we haven’t met in real life, because I feel like we have.? : ) Your photos capture the pantry beautifully and it provides that wonderful sightline its like an update to your DR too. So much beauty in these first two sneak peeks and yet my favourite part is still to come….. ~ C

  21. Elen says:

    I’m experiencing total pantry lust. Total. Pantry. Lust.
    Maybe even a hot flash.
    The end.

  22. Rebecca says:

    I love it! All of it.

  23. J9ftw says:

    A-maz-ing. I’m moving into your pantry.

  24. mayr says:

    Nice drawers.

  25. jainegayer says:

    Well done, Karen! Love the hardware too.
    ps- Love the vodka in with the baking stuff.

    • Dan says:

      You’re missing half your vodka, which should also be stored with the pasta. Now, all you can have is penne-a-la-damn-I-wish-had-pasta-vodka.

      This kitchen reno is dead to me.

  26. Su says:

    Stunning. cool. Awesome. Now I have pantry envy. Serious pantry envy.

  27. Tigersmom says:

    Absolutely gorgeous. You surprised me a bit at first with the gold hardware, I love it, but I didn’t expect it. Thinking back now though and remembering things like your gold tree in the dining room it isn’t too big of a surprise after all.

    I put what I like to call an exposed butler’s pantry down at the end of my kitchen where the dining room used to be when we renovated. It has white cabinets with mullioned glass fronts over small drawers with a narrow bit of marble and then three more bigger drawers stepped forward on the bottom. The pair of cabinets frame a large window and beneath the window is a window seat with three huge drawers that hold things like my crockpot and blender. I can send a picture if you want to see it.

    And, yes, I noticed the stacked pigs and it is not lost on me how perfectly at home they look in such a timeless, classic and elegantly designed kitchen. We apparently had the same thoughts in mind when we renovated our kitchens: that we wanted it to be timeless looking and classic and something that we would never grow sick of because we never want to do have to do it again.

    Great job and I hope you are thrilled with it and find it to be worth the eternity it seems you waited for it.

  28. Deb Miller says:

    This. Is. STUNNING! And the post is knee-slapping funny! And that cabinet hardware is to die for! Can’t believe you didn’t brag on your amazing choice of hardware! Perfection, I say!

  29. Beth W says:

    Looks fantastic Karen! I love the countertop, so sleek. I also like the use of the inside of the pantry door for your menu board. Might I suggest that you put the menu itself on the chalkboard, but make one of your “print on wood” signs to go above it that says “menu” or whatever? I think it’d be a great compliment to the other woody items that are peeking out here and there, and would fill in the gap above the board.

  30. Edith says:

    Forget the fridge. I would wanna sleep with this pantry if I could! But I can’t. Im too far away.
    It is perfect.

  31. Jody says:

    And to think the pantry was where your sink used to be. It is a stunner. How much fun did you have putting all your pantry stuff away–all tidy and organized?

  32. Sally A says:

    It’s georgeous!! I love the marble! It’s my first choice in countertops even though I’ve heard it can be difficult to keep nice. But I think if I just have the mindset that every mar you get just adds character I’ll be alright.

    I, too, love the hardware. Those latches are awesome and the color adds so much warmth!

    Can’t wait for the lazy susan tutorial! I had to settle for the flimsy plastic variety. They’ll do, but would like something more substantial.

    Can’t wait to see more!

  33. Erhhhmergerd !!! Your kitchen is looking dang sexy !!!

    I have a wee practical question for you. Any hot tips on how to keep the marble looking clean and white? Did you seal it? Do tell. Do tell. TELL. <– I yelled that.

    I'm so freaking excited for you!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. When they cut the marble they sealed it. But also, it’s honed marble, not polished. And since I’ve only owned it for about a month I’d like to brag about the fat that it is indeed still all white. But give it a year or two and that’ll change, lol. Since the island is old, old, OLD marble, it’s all stained and cracked and marred, which I love actually. So if anything happens to the pantry marble I don’t have to worry. I didn’t answer your question at all did I? Sorry ’bout that. ~ karen!

      • barbee says:

        My mother-in-law once told me the story of her brand new Haywood Wakefield dining set. In his birthday excitement, my future husband was jumping up and down, unknowingly gouging the table with his belt buckle. Her mother-in-law Freda soothed her dismay by telling her that one day she would stroke those scratches & say “That was Johnny ‘s fifth birthday.” I had to remind myself of this story frequently while raising my son (whose middle name was property damage).

  34. cbblue says:

    So smart you are! Great ideas-all of them. I need those Lazy Susans. You didn’t mention the hardware. I love it. Old fashiony and shiny new all at once. Great choice. I am anxious for corner four. When will your kitchen be in the magazine? I will try to hunt it down but I am in the US.

  35. Maureen says:

    I’ve been thinking there were some flaws in my kitchen design and that I didn’t have quite the cabinet space that I’d hoped for as I started putting things in place. Now I wish that I’d put in a pantry. I’ll have to make do with shelving out the utility room, now, lol. That setup is beautiful!

  36. Vic says:

    Wowsers!, so looking forward to the lazy susan post.

  37. Susan says:

    OMG, I have no words. Okay, I have a few… that pantry is KILLER! As I sit here in my small condo with a galley kitchen that I can’t afford to reno. Sigh, you are one talented lady :D

  38. meg says:

    wow. I LOVE those drawers. I love drawers anyway… but 4 in one place?! ! the little bit of marble is a nice touch, can’t wait to see the whole kitchen!

  39. Grammy says:

    I swooned. Really. To hell with Martha Stewart, you are the one I want to push down in the mud. That comes from my fourth birthday, when I was showing off and another little girl pushed me and I fell in the mud, bending the hoop in my blue party dress and dislodging the giant bow in my hair. Ever since that day I’ve fantasized that fate for girls who have the prettiest things. I want a pantry like the one you made. That is a gem.

  40. Sue says:

    I too bought my kitchen cabinets from Home Depot. I designed my kitchen with a very helpful young lady, who has sines left for another employer. She was fantastic. Mine aren’t Martha cabinets, but I am quite pleased with the way my kitchen looks and functions. Even after 8 years. I wouldn’t change the layout. Your kitchen is shaping up nicely! I’m looking forward to seeing the other two corners! I hope you enjoy your new kitchen! <3

  41. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Wow girl..That is just gorgeous..and I have been thinking of doing my spices the same way..

  42. Bobbi says:

    lovely…just lovely. and i love a lazy susan, myself. i even have them in my refrigerator. pantry included, i have 8.

  43. Edith says:

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. I’m so happy for you.

  44. Stephbo says:

    That bee-atch Martha Stewart has some great things. I hate her. I love her. But not as much as I love that marble! It’s gorgeous!

  45. AnnW in the US says:

    How many more days do we have to wait? This might be the most anticipated kitchen since Pretty Handy Girls! I think yours will be classic, perfect, and perfectly designed. Can’t wait

  46. Stephbo says:

    Soooooooo……. The dream spice drawer paragraph. Is that a typo in the second sentence, or is it intentional? Because I never quite know with you.

  47. Jamieson says:

    Looking forward to the mega-reveal sometime in the future when we have evolved to read holograms projected directly on our frontal lobes. Til then, the bits are looking quite splendid, congrats!

  48. Pat says:

    Wow! I’ll say it again….wow! You are such a clever woman. That is the greatest little pantry with sooo much character. You did a fantastic custom job. Are the spices in alphabetical order? Just askin’…… Can hardly wait for the rest of the kitchen.

  49. TucsonPatty says:

    You. Are. So. Frigging. Awesome. I love the marble. I love the drawers. I want drawers and my mom had drawers and they are so wonderful and useful, and did I mention I want drawers like that! Love.
    This is almost better than the fridge!

  50. Laura Bee says:

    I knew it would be worth staying up tonight! Stunning & yes, drawers like that would make me cream my jeans as Carole Pope sang.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Seed Starting Calculator

  • About Karen