Shelf Upgrade

These are the old wonky shelves in my kitchen. They were shed shelves at my old place, and for two years they have held onto my kitchen paraphernalia quite adequately, albeit in a fairly wobbly and precarious manner. One of the first things the builder did when he came to build a verandah for me back in February was screw these shelves to the wall, right after he nearly knocked them over while drinking tea near them. Fast forward to last week when I asked him to build me a small table for the centre of the kitchen. I have a small house with a large kitchen that has very little bench space. What were the previous owners thinking? Well, the builder suggested narrow shelves on the wall to create more floor space, and somehow, the project morphed into this:

Posy and I spent three days painting. Posy allowed me to photograph her arm for the blog:)

And then we added a beautiful recycled tassie oak benchtop:

When I say 'we' I mean I said to the builder, "Please can you find some pre-loved timber to make a lovely, lovely benchtop?" and he did all the actual work.. well, I spent ten minutes oiling it to make it look pretty.

And now replete with all the jars:

I am so excited to be the possessor of this most beautiful piece of furniture. It has caused a revolution of efficiency in my kitchen - instead of getting down on hands and knees to haul out casseroles or soup bowls from the bottom of cupboards, I just elegantly whip them off the shelf..

But wait, there's more - just inside Rosy's bedroom door (to the right edit, left of the dresser in the photo above), up the precipitately steep stairs on the way to her attic room, is a void of a space that up until last week held a large, untidy, precariously balanced mass of food in various containers. We called it the pantry, but it was more like a robber cave. Here it is after I cleaned it all out prior to shelves going in:

Now with shelves:

This is so thrilling because I have been able to haul all the jars of preserves out from under my bed, and the backs of cupboards, and put them all in one place so I can see whether I have any salsa left. I discovered two jars of fig jam. My favourite! I also now have places to store the big stock pot, the dehydrator, the preserving gear. Bliss. There is also space for big buckets which are storing my bulk dried goods - chickpeas, lentils, pasta, flour, rice. Come the zombie apocalypse I won't have to search under the bed to find the lentils. The children will be pleased.

What I love about all of these new shelves is, well, shelves. Can you ever have too many shelves? I think not. But more than that - they were made by a local craftsman and all round nice person. We have used some nice old timbers for parts of the job. Everything has been measured to fit. We were there with the tape measure measuring my jars, wine glasses, the potato box - everything was designed to fit perfectly.

This kitchen revamp has been rather expensive, and tomorrow comes the next part - the kitchen table that started this whole process - but the money has been spent on locally made sturdy furniture which should last as long as the house does, and which will be a beauty and joy to use every day for as long as I live here. I call that a very good return on investment.


simplelife said…
That is the best investment, think of the joy you will get from those kitchen shelves everyday. I must say I'm a little envious of all that open shelving, I love being able to see all my dishes etc, it makes them have two purposes their original purpose but also decoration.
That pantry, what an unusual space, do you have any idea of its original purpose?
Cheers Kate
Anonymous said…
Love the shelves! What wonderful gatherings will take place in the kitchen, once the tables is donr. I look forward to more pictures!
Jo said…
Kate, the 'pantry' is a very odd space which is set over the cupboard that houses the hot water heater.. and yet it never warms up. I find that encouraging as it means the hot water heater must be well-insulated! Who knows what it was once used for..
Re the shelves - I cannot believe how easy it is to find things. I love the efficiency, and I love the way they look like they have always been there!

Patricia, I am looking forward to some more progress so I can provide you with pics!
Hazel said…
I love the shelves, and all your jars on them. It looks beautiful.

We have a 'pantry' in a passage way and that looks just like a robber cave 80% of the time.
Beznarf27 said…
As much as I loved your wonky kitchen shelves I have to admit your custom shelves now look a lot swankier and would take up less room and would deliver more storage space. What an interesting hole that was in the wall?! I wonder what was previously stored in there? Bed linen? Either way, it's now definitely a pantry. Lubbly jubbly Ms Jo <3
Pam in Virginia said…
Hi, Jo!

Hi, Posy's arm!

I am just speechless - and an unbecoming shade of green. What can I say but Wow! Wow! Good for you for being so brave as to Just Get It Done. Now you have
years of bliss ahead of you to enjoy it.

Unknown said…
Hi Jo

Those shelves are a work of art! Talk about incentive to spend more time in the kitchen. If the table is anywhere near as good, your kitchen will be a palace of food production (and consumption!) I don't suppose your craftsman wants to move to Canberra? No, I didn't think so. ;-) Anyway, you deserve to have a wonderful home, with all the effort you put in. May you enjoy it for many years to come.

Anonymous said…
Hello Jo. I absolutely love the shelves. Your builder is a real find - he's done a beautiful job that you will appreciate every single day. The little pantry is a stroke of genius. I guess one of those old-house-problems has often been a lack of storage, but you have found a lovely solution for the kitchen.

Linda in NZ
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Awesome! You know it is surprising just how much storage you need if you get into preserving in earnest - not to mention kitchen bench space. Our lot has overflowed into one of the sheds... I sometimes use that to scare visitors, in a good way of course. Hey, are those apples in Fowlers bottles high up in the alcove? Good stuff. And your passata bottles look really good too.

In all seriousness, did a modicum of neatness and order sneak into your kitchen? I'm genuinely impressed.

Jo said…
Hazel, yes, robber cave, assuming the robbers are really, really untidy:)

Fran, I quite liked my wonky old shelves as well. I was rather conflicted about spending the money on shelves when the old shelves still worked... but I have to admit that the new ones are very satisfying and efficient.

Pam, yes, I have a very persuasive builder with a 'can do' attitude who is whipping my kitchen into shape, and this does help with the decision making process:)

Hazel, will suggest a nice 'holiday' in Canberra for him:)

Linda, I am rather fortunate to have found someone who is a real craftsman.

Chris, all the preserving takes up a lot of space, doesn't it? I really need a cellar, and may eventually have to build a new shed, like you! It is the requirement to keep the preserves cool that is the trick. Hence the need for a cellar. Yes, a modicum of neatness is creeping in, but maybe i should take a photo of the state of the kitchen bench on the other side of the room, just for for balance!
Tanya Murray said…
Oh Jo, how marvellous, all that space and organisation. Well done

Popular Posts