Butler’s Pantry: Update

I found some countertop material! I’d been hunting for scrap soapstone/marble/anything-really secondhand when I saw 3 sheets of 3’x5′ slate chalkboards for only $10 (O.o!). They came from an old school that was torn down. Luckily, slate is easy to cut yourself, but they are only 3/8″ thick and we will need to add a cabinet-grade plywood backer to install them. I plan to oil then after installation.

We’ve finished the simpler right-hand side of the pantry and finalized our plans for the left. In addition to beefing out the shelving and adding a toe kick to the mangled section, we had the idea to add a built in wine rack to the upper cabinet that is missing a bit. Hopefully, we will be able to blend the old and new with the stain.


We’re hosting during the holidays this year and will be holding off progress—and a big mess— until after.

(A look back at Part: 1.)

Refinishing The Butler’s Pantry: Part 1

J and I are working to repair and restore the butler’s pantry between our dining room and kitchen. We plan on doing it in 3 phases as we try to keep the space usable for our day-to-day lives. First, we will try to restore the upper cabinets by polishing up the original brass hardware, stripping the wooden cabinet faces, and staining/polying them. We’ll replace the lone broken glass pane, but keep the interior the same white as our trim.

Our second phase will probably take less time but more resources since the lower cabinets and countertop need the most help. Someone along the way had cut out a third (probably for an early ice box) and we need to make the whole bottom cohesive. We are hoping we can scrounge a solid run of stone countertop secondhand to unify the top and beef out shelves with a new toe kick to match. We’ll probably keep the lowers painted since we will be unable to match the consistency of stain across mixed woods.

Out third step is lighting. The existing pendant light is not centered in the space and is on a pull string like a basement light (please don’t break!). J hopes he’ll be able to center it and add a light switch coming in from the dining room. I do like a fancy hanging light, but we may have to go with recessed lighting to avoid the tall cabinet doors. We are debating about adding some under-mount lighting or cabinet lights, but we’ll see after the big stuff is finished.

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I was able to spend a few hours on the pantry this week and  already scraped off the painted wallpaper on the plaster walls as J pulled off the cabinet doors. After stripping a few layers of paint, the wood seems to have a nice long grain opposed to knotty pine, so our staining will probably be a go. I hope to get the right side mostly stripped by the end of the weekend, but we’ll see how it goes.

Cheers and happy end of summer!