Pantry Pause

Finally I have the door finished to the pantry. It took far longer than I expected, but before I get into why that is, here she be.

FInished door

And another shot from the inside

I already wrote about some of the mistakes that pushed back the progress here. But I had (low) hopes that the automatic hinge closer would at least allow me to keep the push plate that I originally planned for the outside. It didn’t.


The pin cover didn’t even fit into the hinge, despite being the same brand. Once that crumbled up and I tore it off (because you can’t even see the brass pin in the hing anyway) I had hoped it would work. At first it wouldn’t even shut the door, despite the fact that it is a hollow core door. Then I tried adjusting the pressure to be higher, knowing full well from reviews that this was not a good idea. Sure enough it worked, once, then the spring popped off and I scrapped the idea altogether.

Putty and paint

Just a little bit of putty and paint and the other handle from the set of two that I bought and I was on my way. The holes sanded and puttied okay, and I’m happy with the handle though a dummy handle (ie no need to turn it because of the ball catch) is not as intuitive as the push plate was.

But the best thing to come out of this project was by far my goof with the trim. Because the sheet rock is thicker than standard because it’s fire rated (I think) and made for basements, the pre-hung jamb was too narrow. I had tried to split the difference, which meant I needed to cover a gap on both sides between where the trim flush with the wall was and where the jamb ended. I had originally hoped to calk it, but after looking at a couple test pieces it would not have looked good. Thankfully I had some primed white, white wood shoe mold kicking around the basement that was thinner than 3/4″ but tall enough to cover the gap all the way around. We both love how this trim came out with the 3 pieces, the shoe mold, 1×4 flat and then 1×2(ish) surround. The surround is actually a 1×3 ripped in half, so it’s about 1 1/4″ thick (2 1/2″ / 2 – saw kerf).

Trim close up

Now that the door is done, I”m pushing pause on the pantry for now.

Pantry for now

I touched up the wall paint, added the plate covers back for now and started actually filling the cabinets with extra serving dishes, old dishes, anything from the stack of boxes that we actually wanted to keep. It felt really nice to actually put stuff away, even if the room isn’t finished. This is where I will leave off on my project list for the pantry; the upper cabinets, ceiling and baseboard are going to have to wait. I have a nook to plank, an entry to redo and a kitchen to renovate. Okay fine, it’s a play kitchen, but it’s in rough shape.


Pantry Door Progress

Merry Christmas Eve! I’m really hoping for lots of progress this week since between all the gift giving and family dinners and best of all days off from work, I want to spend as much time on projects as I can. But let’s catch up on where we’re at first.

So I made some progress on the door, but not quite as much as I had hoped. Here’s a shot of where I left it.

I made some pretty good progress early on. I got the moldings cut and the trim cut (probably a bit too quickly, see my mistakes later) and started getting the molding laid out. I discovered that Home Depot had a little surprise in store for me in the 4 pieces of molding I bought. They were completely different depths, despite being the exact same item #s / UPCs. I first thought I had accidentally pulled from two different sections, or maybe someone had mis-stocked them or a customer switched them up on accident, but no. They were the exact same, but it looked like maybe different suppliers of the same items? Fun times.

Not so much the same

Thankfully of the four pieces I bought and needed, 2 were one depth and 2 the other so that I could match one side and the other side and you would never know they were different. I was so thankful that I didn’t have to either try and make it work or go out and get more molding since this was the start of my day and I really wanted to make progress.

I already had the door jamb up and the door primed so I was hoping that I would be able to really move on the door and trim but I had a few set backs. These are the types of thing that I try so hard to avoid with planning and prep and yet it seems like they are nearly inevitable set backs that push projects out long past my overly optimistic timelines. This past weekend’s fun included (the facepalm after each should be implied):

  • Cutting the headers too short because I wrote down the interior measurement (ie didn’t add 7″ for the 1×4 on either side)
  • Forgetting to buy a bolt to attach the knob despite the fact that I made this same mistake with Shannon’s doors
  • Not realizing that the basement sheetrock was extra thick so the trim wouldn’t lay flat on the jamb, meaning another piece of trim is required.
  • Even after realizing the jamb wasn’t thick enough, thinking I could split the difference and caulk the gap. If I hadn’t done that I could have done flush trim on one side and added the extra piece on only one side. Now I need it on both

All of those were annoying enough but the coup de grace came once I had painted three coats of paint on either side, attached the molding, attached the new satin nickel hinges, the push plate and hung the door. What did I forget / neglect to take into account?

Push plate on door

I kind of forgot a way to pull the door close when leaving the pantry. You see somehow in my head I always envisioned the scenario as “I need to get into the pantry and my arms are full of these giant sacks of potatoes, wow sure am glad I can just swing this door open without having to use a handle”, and no I don’t know why it was always giant sacks of potatoes. Then I envisioned pushing the door shut once in the pantry, and opening it again with a nice glass knob to match the cabinet knobs. Somehow close the door after me… never occurred to me? I think I was imagining the two way swinging door in my grandmother’s house that separated the kitchen from the dining room, not really remember that’s a whole different hinge set.  Thankfully there is a fairly cheap add on that might save the day here. Namely this little guy from Lowes

Hinge Pin CloserOf course it has terrible reviews though, so we’ll see what happens. If I must, I can take off the push plate, fill the screw holes, sand it down, repaint and just do a knob. Or I guess I could do the pull handle on a plate thing… but that seems a bit odd.

But not everything went poorly. I am really happy with the applied molding look. I still love Gray 2121. And the replacement hinges came with optional extra long screws to really secure the door and jamb which I thought was a great idea. I know that some people do this by habit (replace one of the standard screws with a longer one) but I thought including it as an option, or having the standard size screws in the pack was a great idea. It definitely makes me more likely to buy Gatehouse hinge packs in the future.

Optional longer screw

And I like the dark door with the bright yellow lights.

Dark door. Bright lights.

I think the white trim is hopefully going to add some contrast to the barely gray walls. And originally I had thought to cover the pipe with some boards stained to match the beam, but now I’m thinking I might want white there instead.

I also have some projects for the kids that I was going to attempt for Christmas but since they are with me nearly every second I’m in the basement working and I totally ran out of time, I decided to scrap the surprise and let them help. So up on the docket besides the pantry project I’m going to be doing a kitchen renovation (of their play kitchen) and a practice workbench (for the kids before I build my real work bench for me). Shannon did a great dresser to play kitchen conversion but having 3 little ones banging on it has left it in rough shape: broken “oven” door, broken “faucet”, destroyed backsplash, lost curtain rod and just in general banged up.

Banged up kitchen

So I plan on slapping on some paint, adding new hinges, knobs, “faucet” and a different type of curtain attachment for the bottom. Hope it works.

The Bucket of Sadness

How did we get here? Well, let me tell ya.

The Bucket of Sadness

Back when I was hanging the beam I happened to need a measurement for something in the corner above. I went to balance myself on the counter and it was wet. That is never a good start in home improvement projects. A pantry should be dry. This one was not. It was not exactly rocket science to figure out the issue lies in the plumbing above the counters from the first floor bathroom. As I felt around and wiped some moisture off of the drain pipes I oddly found myself hoping it was from my 3 year old’s misadventures in potty training and not a leaking drain. I was really hoping I was wiping up pee I guess? Maybe I’m just so used to that by now it doesn’t phase me, but it still seems an odd thing to hope for.

All of that to say that I need to address the leaky pipe before I move on to the door.

I at least got a chance to hang the door on Saturday afternoon. It didn’t go well. Despite being a pre-hung door, I had all sorts of issues with level, plumb, clearance for the floor, twisting and my personal favorite half the jamb falling and splitting in the corner. Good times. But I got it up, popped off the door and called it a day.

I was determined to get the door primed at least this last weekend so after the kids were in bed I got out the primer and for some dumb reason a 4″ cabinet roller and a mini paint pan. After about 30 seconds of trying to use the paint roller on a 36″ door, I took another route. I dumped on primer and rolled with a normal wall roller. It was much faster and it all worked really well. I let one side dry while I painted primer on to the jamb with a brush and then came back to do the other side. I was adamant about not getting another paint try dirty (I’m not sure why) so I attempted my pour method again.

Artsy paint pour

This time it didn’t quite go so well, I was a little too generous with the pour. I ended up priming a bit of the basement walls that had gotten marked up and stained, particularly in the stair well so it all worked out fine in the end.

So the door, the molding and the jamb are all primed. I hope to get it constructed, painted and hung this weekend. Getting the threshold and trim done would be amazing, but I don’t know how realistic that is.

Beams o’ Light Install

Let’s start with the bad. This is the type of “never again shall we speak of this” type of lesson that I like to share (once) and then move on from never to repeat again. I knew when I was picking out the lights and doing my test fittings that the amount of wire poking out was less than ideal. I planned to get around this by wiring the lights on the ground before I put the beam up and possibly pigtailing in extensions if I had to. Here’s what I had to work with:

Little wires

Do you see them? That 1-2 inches of wire coming out the back there? Yes, I thought that would be okay. I thought I could wire nut those to the supply lines. I was wrong.

I struggled with it for much longer than I care to admit, but in the end decided I had to shorten the stem of the lights. Now I could have been patient and replace the 3″ pipe extensions with 1″ ones, but that would mean a trip to the store, many coats of spray paint and most importantly peeling off the worst label stickers known to man. I think it took me an hour to get the first set of four peeled off entirely and cleaned up. So, since I had full executive design control on the project, I made a switch.

The lights went from looking like this:Lights with extensions

To looking more like … well, we’ll get to that in a second. Suffice to say, I pulled off the extensions and hooked the lights directly to the plates that connected to the beam.

In order to install the beam I added some bracing under the existing LVL, screwing them up with Scorpion screws. Side note: I love Scorpion screws and use them everywhere. I’m irrationally smitten with them.  They rarely strip or bend or do anything other than drive straight and hold tight. Yay screws.
Bracing for attaching lower beam

Since I was doing the install myself I used a bunch of clamps to hold the board up while I glued and nailed in other parts. It worked surprising well, both on the bottom and later again on the face. So let’s throw in a another Yay for clamps. Yay clamps.

Bracing for attaching lower beam

I had also already added the support strips that I would nail the face to in addition to nailing it to the bottom beam and to the supports on the bottom as well. I wired up a nice long tail for the connection to the existing ceiling bulb and them clamped up the face beam. Originally I was going to put the two beam pieces together in order to get the tightest seam I could, but during the first test fit of the length of the bottom piece I quickly realized just how hard it was to maneuver the individual pieces in the narrow pantry, let alone trying to do it once they were together.

So here it is with the shortened lights, all nailed up.
Bracing for attaching lower beam

I had really hoped that I could get rid of the ceiling light altogether, but the light is too directed and isn’t going to cut it. But oh well, now it just means I get to plan something interesting for the ceiling light too. Here’s the pantry with just the beam lights on.

Bracing for attaching lower beam

I’m actually very happy with how the seam came out on the bottom. I had originally planned to build the beam as one piece and then install it together but it was hard enough to maneuver the individual boards in the tight space of the pantry, I didn’t want to smash up the walls or the beam by doing it in one piece.

Bracing for attaching lower beam

So thankfully the only “never again” part of this was trying to wire lights up with too short of leads when I KNOW they are too short and shouldn’t have even bothered trying in the first place.

This means I can cross the beam off my project list for the pantry and move on to maybe a door? Or trimming out the lolly column?