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Pantry Update: Paneling, Restored Vintage Windows, And A HOT Debate

OKEE DOKEYYY NOW WE ARE IN BUSINESS!!! Oh geez. If that shot doesn’t do it for you then I don’t know what you are into, because those windows, with that paneling flanking the entry into the pantry, are what my fantasies are made of. Today you are going to get a pantry update post – where we landed with the stone, the paneling, and the windows and let you into the debate Brian and I are having about paint color. BUCKLE UP BUTTERCUP!!!

In case you don’t know where we are in the house, the pantry is conveniently off the kitchen, which shares a space with the living room. It’s an odd shape due to the exterior wall cutting in but we are in love with her as if she were the 3rd child that Brian wouldn’t let me have (jk).

Vintage Windows Are Back!!!

For those of you who’ve been following since the beginning of this farmhouse “adventure” (click here for all of the posts), you might remember the OG vintage windows in the living room. The reason we didn’t keep the OG windows where they originally were was three-fold:

  1. We wanted to lighten up this room a lot and open it to the incredible backyard. We could have done this by putting french doors in between these windows (and seriously considered it) but we didn’t.
  2. The 1st floor had three, 100-year-old shaky/rotting windows (like the two you see) but they were mostly aluminum and vinyl windows from different add-ons and remodels. We restored all the windows on the second floor but decided to make all the windows on the first floor new. Which left us with three vintage windows to somehow use in the house.

So we took the upper sashes from the two windows in the living room, with the diamond pattern and flipped them vertically to frame the doorway into the pantry. It’s a magical moment that brings me an unspeakable amount of joy. Not sure if any of you can relate, but after being in this field for 15 years you’ve seen and been around a lot. So in order for that jolt of serotonin to flow from your brain into your limbs, something really has to do it for you. This is it. It’s not that it is this crazy standout architectural moment (fine, it is for me), it’s the sentiment, and how hard my team and I worked to make sure that these original and now interior windows really WORK again in our home. Thank you, Jamie and ARCIFORM for making these work!!!!!!!!

But What Are We going To Paint The Windows?

They will get painted the same as the paneling – a satin white. But the main question, and why I brought you all here today, is to help me decide what color we should paint the inside of the pantry. My original design (which I spoke about in this post) was to paint it the same color as the lower cabinets. So it would be just one dark moody blue, including the ceiling, paneling, and shelving. In the photo below you can see the large paint sticker (Slate Tile by Sherwin-Williams). Here are my thoughts in ascending order:

  1. Moody is super cool. Dark is chic and risky. I know this intellectually. Also…
  2. A pantry is a storage room, and shouldn’t feel like the kitchen (this is Brian’s main argument). But…
  3. Will the dark color make it feel like a dark cave that doesn’t pop? We have that vintage window in there that is currently covered on the exterior so you can’t get the sense of light in there (and neither can I). Brian thinks this window will bring in a lot of light and it might!
  4. I’m worried that the color we chose is so dark (without enough light) that it will just suck all light and the room won’t be inviting or pop. It might just look dead.
  5. So my thoughts are to paint the paneling and ceiling a lighter shade of blue. Not a crazy two-tone, but just lighter so that there is some contrast in there and your eye doesn’t read it as dead space.
  6. Brian doesn’t agree. He loves my original design and the thoughts around it and he keeps just saying “this is a pantry, not an extension of a kitchen”. I agree! In theory. I mean it was my idea after all. But when I went to find any photos of a super dark pantry nothing was inspiring. The original inspiration photos were all just close-up vignettes of shelving NOT full rooms.
  7. Brian is also so done with me questioning my own decisions that were made MONTHS ago. And believe me, Brian, me, too!!! Imagine how annoying I am to myself! However, we have made some decisions that I already regret (not big deals, but yes) which is all very very normal in this process. And you know what else is normal?? Rethinking your choices up until you make the FINAL decision. Now that I’m writing this I’m realizing how important and normal it is. It’s the final edit before you turn in the book – you might have thought some sentences were PERFECT, but upon the last look, you think “could they be slightly better???” AND THAT’S OK.
  8. And if you are worried about my marriage don’t 🙂 If this renovation was actually causing fights then I wouldn’t be writing about them to a million strangers. It’s a healthy level of debating that I frankly need from my partner and I’m grateful he’s engaged enough to have serious and firm opinions.

So imagine (as I am right now) that room being as dark as the bottom cabinets, with the kitchen and the vintage window wall all being white. Again, with that vintage exterior window in there being blocked, it’s so hard to tell!!!

The Paneling…

Throughout the house (where appropriate) we designed and installed this awesome paneling. It’s a custom run from a company in Portland called Creative Woodworking and they are 10″ boards with a 1/2″ bead. So basically a REALLY large beadboard, I’ll talk about it more later but it’s one of the more “unnecessary” things that we felt was extremely important to the home. Jamie, Taylor, Tourin, Steve, and the rest of the team have spent WEEKS installing it. If you are a real renovation/design geek these types of things are special, and if you are on a budget there are so many affordable V-grooves or beadboards out there.

Let’s Talk Hardware…

Real quick…again, picture that all dark blue! It would look so good (in theory, with the right light). Now for this room, we were doing the same unlacquered brass hardware as the kitchen, but after seeing the stone in there and the dark paint I realized I wanted it to be black. So we are getting the same styles but in the Oil Rubbed Bronze (which at Rejuvenation is almost black). More on that later. And for those of you worried about the damage on the base of the cabinets, we always intended and designed it to have a baseboard. So Unique Kitchens and Baths provided a trim piece that we have yet to install.

The Stone!

We chose this honed granite that is really pretty in dark but has some movement in it. It’s an extremely hardworking stone that will not markup or chip easily. We had leftover Carrera from our kitchen that we could have used but knew that A. Carrera is easily stained and our coffee bar is in here, and B. that would have been a lot lighter and looked like a kitchen counter rather than a pantry. I haven’t seen it in person but…

We bought it from Bedrosian, and thanks to Alpha StoneWorks for the fabrication. It’s simple, durable, and well-executed. Oh and yes, that door is getting painted (it goes to the basement where I’m going to store all my survivalist foods and canned tuna once I embrace my Mormon roots and actually start doing it again!!). My house is going to smell like tuna for weeks every year just like it did when I was a small child!!! Barrels of wheat here we come!! Y2K any day!! My kids are so lucky!!??!!).

Sneak Peek Into The Kitchen…

Y’all, I’m seeing this with YOU. Of course, I see it a few days ahead, but I haven’t seen any of this in person yet so these photos excite me beyond belief. More on the kitchen soon. But back to the pantry: the stone looks awesome. The paneling is so pretty. The cabinets are so lovely. The vintage interior windows are incredible but again…. LOOK AT THAT KITCHEN!!!!!

We are getting close. I feel extremely lucky, happy, grateful, and mostly relieved that I love it all SO MUCH. Thanks for reading 🙂 xx

*Photos by Kaitlin Green


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178 thoughts on “Pantry Update: Paneling, Restored Vintage Windows, And A HOT Debate

  1. go! dark!!! I would love to see a dark pantry. and if in a year you really don’t like it, paint over it and write a new blogpost about it. it’s a win-win situation!

    1. Agree! Here’s a dark pantry from Kingdom Woodworks. And keep the brass to add a little sparkle.

      1. Yes, this is the perfect inspiration pic. I also like that they used a glossier sheen. It bounces light around and will be easier to clean!

      2. Note, there is white ceiling here. Perhaps that is the key to keep the light moving through the space?

      3. Pretty example Kj!
        I agree about keeping sparkle and keeping the brass instead of changing to ORB.
        It’s looking wonderful now AND it’s going to be a lovely pantry!

      4. I like it all dark! Ceiling, dark hardware! Let light bounce around with different sheen of paint, a lamp, glass decanters, etc!! Either way, dark is going to be fab!

      5. Yes to going dark & having shine. Paint should be glossy/ some sheen- flat or matte paint. Yes to brass hardware – not black. The ceiling in this picture is white – that might be the way to go.

      6. Totally agree. The glossy finishes complete this butlers pantry. They’ve used Satin Nickel or Chrome here for the hardware, complemented by the inclusion of a small touch of Brass in the ceiling light. Perfect.

        1. I don’t think high gloss paint is Emily’s vibe. It’s gorgeous but doesn’t seem like it would fit in here. Also, the bottom cabinets are already painted.

    2. YES! Go dark!! I think the reason you’re not seeing a ton of inspo is because people usually don’t have windows in their pantry! But you do! Our entryway is SUPER dark in our house (black walnut paneling) and it’s BEAUTIFUL IRL, but in pictures?? It looks awful! Dark rooms are really hard to photograph, but with your window i think it will be totally fine in pictures and even better IRL.

  2. Yes, yes, YES DARK BLUE!!!! I think it will look awesome and elegant and quiet and I feel especially since you went with the darker stone it just makes sense to lean into the moody monochrome drama of it all to make everything really pop. I think a second lighter tone of blue will make everything too busy in there with all the other pantry supplies and the kitchen right next to it. I would say especially because it is so open with the windows to the kitchen (that will also let light in) and because it will be a pantry and therefore at least slightly messy at times, the room really needs the quiet of the dark monochrome paint you plant all along. Trust your original vision its soooo GOOOD!!

  3. First of all, there is a whole book about the importance of being willing to change your mind: Think Again by Adam Grant. Highly recommend!

    I think you should hold off on painting everything dark and see it in person with the window opened up and decide then. I have painted a few rooms dark and they are cool but you really need more lighting. If it’s the space I’m making my coffee in every day of the year, especially considering the PacNW climate (I lived in Seattle for over a decade), I would want a bright, energizing vibe. Maybe that is what the dark slate blue will achieve for your family? I say follow your instincts. We are all here reading your blog because your instincts and choices inspire us!

    1. I totally agree with Colleen! The dark pantry in with the glossy sheen and white ceiling IS gorgeous but I would absolutely wait and see it in person with the windows opened. And, Colleen, I LOVE Adam Grant! 🙂

      1. Me too. Because I am loving the idea of a paler blue cabinet with that dark granite and black hardware….

  4. Love the moody blue! It is verrrry dark, so why not do the walls/trim the same shade as the cabinets but have the color mixed to be 20% lighter? That would provide a bit of tone-on-tone contrast with the cabinets, still keep it dramatic but makes it a little less potentially gloomy?

    1. I agree with % of paint colours.
      I did this with my extensive picket fence… I went 25% of the quite strong yellow (Dulux, Open Sesame) and it’s fabulous. Everyone loves it.

      For your pantry, I’d go 60% pigment of the cupboards and MAYBE IN A LIMEWASH!?!

      Definitely keep the hardware BRASS. The light catching them will be so charming and sweet.

      I’m totally overjoyed with those recycled windows! BEST bit so far!

      I’m EXCITEDDDDDDDDDD!!!!😯😍🤩😃

      1. I don’t think she could do a limewash over the beadboard? But I do like the idea of slightly less pigment.

    2. Brilliant idea….impressed that Rusty could dial it in to specific percentage. And this approach is now my total vote. I think the shift in hardware is good too. Strict Continuity can also be too expected…less special. These are complementary but gives the space it’s own due. It’s a supporting character winning the Emmy vibe while kitchen is main character energy.

  5. Just a little side note – I’m wondering what’s going on with the shelving in front of the window just outside of the pantry? I can’t remember what’s going there? I know they’re probably put up to be specific heights but I think they need some adjusting to line up with the panelling…. it’s just what I would do! 🙂

    LOVE a dark pantry btw! xx

    1. I imagine that space will play host to a hanging wall of luscious greenery! (Or it would, if it was my space.) 😉

  6. I think it’s going to look great painted all the same, BUT I do think you should stick with the brass hardware. One for continuity, but two, because that will create a visual brightness and the dark will feel too on the nose. Also, if you’re going to have shelves, under cabinet lighting is your friend.

  7. Wow! It’s going to be so pretty. I had a pantry in my first college apartment and have missed having one ever since. I think you have to be there in person and have the window uncovered before deciding. I like the idea of going just a bit lighter on the walls so that there’s a little contrast to highlight the pretty paneling but still has a different vibe than the kitchen. Lighting will be key for making it cozy.

    Also, the words my husband most fears coming from my mouth are, “I was thinking…” So, I relate to this post. 😆

  8. I look forward to seeing your dark pantry! It will feel like a warm morning embrace as you prepare coffee and breakfast and get ready for the day. Also, someone coming around the corner and seeing this tradition will get a lovely surprise. Great designs EH.

  9. Uh sorry. I can’t say anything about pantry color after I saw the kitchen peak. THOSE SKYLIGHTS!!!

  10. I love dark and saturated walls, but I think you should keep in light. With your microwave, toaster and coffee bar in there, it IS an extension of the kitchen! And you’ll be in there in the morning, making coffee or toasting bagels – doing that in a dark room sounds rough to me. Painting a small room later on is very doable. I know you want it all done perfectly now! But I’d have it match the kitchen walls and see how it feels. That said, as a designer the dark pantry is bolder and will likely get you tagged in more posts from others as it will be more interesting.
    I LOVE that kitchen tile – omg!!!!

    1. I would split the wall paint colors.. I would paint one horizontal bottom panel half of the pantry a dark blue keyed to the cabinets and the rest above it a matte version of the kitchen wall color. It’s very in keeping with the time period of the home. A backsplash of color, if you will. The dark base will make the pantry feel rich and anchored and the top will be airy and feel related to the kitchen. I did this in a bathroom – after living with bummer 100% cream walls and a dark counter for a year – and it does not feel crazy it feels sophisticated. The color makes it feel fun and intentional but I’m not trapped in the darkness. While we are here did you ever consider stripping the windows and staining them to a color matching a kitchen wood tone? I feel like it would highlight them as superstars!

    2. So funny, for me the idea of starting my day in a light, bright room makes me want to crawl back into bed!

    3. Definitely agree. And the not-summer seasons in the PNW are very dark, grey and dreary. Waking up to a dark room is not always agreeable.

  11. Go dark! Everything is SO beautiful. Looking at it from the outside, there are a lot of different lines – horizontal and vertical and of course the diagonal in the windows. Having everything one dark moody color on the inside would, I think, make the vintage windows really stand out. And not be busy. You would still have subtle contrast/movement in there based on slight difference of sheen between cabinets/trim and walls – if you are doing that. If not I still don’t think it will be a flat cave. It will be cozy and gorgeous!

  12. I can’t believe you haven’t found chrislovesjulia’s dark brown pantry! There are tons of pulled back shots and she had only one overhead light. It didn’t look gloomy. I always thought it was clever to paint a utilitarian room dark because you can hide scuffs and marks.
    I know you’re not a diy-er but I’m always surprised by your finality in choosing paint colors. That is arguably the easiest thing to do on your own. Of course a whole house is time consuming and not up your alley, but a tiny little pantry? Seems to me like you might benefit from waiting on making a decision. BONUS! Your kids see that painting is not a big deal and can be done by themselves in their future apartments or homes.
    i vote dark blue, but I also vote for a Saturday post in January where you write that you took a weekend to paint your pantry after sitting on it for a while as is and all the dopamine you got from seeing something you did yourself. It’s like a craft! But on a bigger scale!

    1. I agree. This is an excellent example. Keep it one dark color, please! Once you stock your pantry, the supplies will provide plenty of contrast.

    2. Seriously? I’m POSITIVE she knows how to paint and has painted many a wall!! They’re having their home professionally painted throughout… leaving this space ‘as is’ means the surfaces won’t be prepared or protected, and it also means pulling EVERY DAMN THING out of the pantry to paint the walls and shelves down the track in a newly renovated home. Makes zero sense to wait. Zero.
      Lol @ you telling Emily that painting is ‘like a craft! But on a bigger scale!’. Wtf? Do you honestly have zero clue of her history?

  13. +1 vote for dark, and love the idea of going black with the hardware. Loving seeing this all come together, and that you are normalizing indecision and regrets, it makes the rest of us feel better about our own. <3

  14. I vote for a slightly lighter shade of dark blue above the cabinets (like just 20% lighter as someone else suggested). It’ll still read cozy and dark but without looking “dead”. Especially with cloudy weather and a small-but-sweet window i think you’re likelier to regret going full dark everywhere.

  15. Love the pantry, especially when the peek through of the kitchen is revealed. Consider painting a deep blue color, mid between the pantry cabinets and the kitchen wall tile. Still moody, but a nod to the integration of the two rooms. Keep the hardware dark to downplay contrast. Many thanks for taking us along on the journey with abundant photos and the decision pros and cons.

    1. 100% agree! I was thinking all dark, but once I saw the shot looking into the kitchen and at the beautiful blue tile, I changed my mind. I think the all dark will feel gloomy in contrast to the very light kitchen and not in a good way. I’m thinking about something like this very cool two-tone blue/green bathroom from Joanna Gaines that made the rounds for a while. Obviously not quite right, but agree that the paint color should be a bridge between the dark cabinets and the light
      Of course this is not at all helpful now but I think a butcher block cabinet would have been beautiful in that pantry and can handle the wear and tear. I know the ship has sailed, but the dark counters are limiting the decision in some way.

  16. I was leaning lighter until I saw the kitchen peek! Dark will be lovely but I would recommend a different sheen that would maybe bounce light a little more rather than a flat finish. Plus with the vintage windows painted white, the dark behind them will really make them pop.

  17. Oh my goodness you are so funny- Y2K! Ha! At any rate, it will be fabulous with a slightly contrasting, lighter color (I’m thinking of one of Steven Gambrels kitchens with a two tone blue-grey palette, stunning!) or painted out all dark. Either way, I can’t wait to see it!

  18. Go Dark!! I think it will look amazing and there are plenty of windows to help with light. I think if you are wanting this pantry to be a moment it will be much more impactful all one saturated color than being toned down with a lighter shade of blue. Trust your gut (or Brian)!

  19. I love the idea of all dark but I’d worry it would make seeing the stuff in it hard!

  20. Love the cabinet color. Love that countertop stone. I don’t think you should paint the walls that dark though. I like what someone else suggested which was to mix the paint to be a little bit lighter. I don’t think that room will pop if you go that dark, moody is nice, but I think a lighter color on the walls will contrast nicely with the cabinets and countertop. I also like with someone else suggested which was to hold off on painting the walls until you can actually see what kind of like you are getting in there.

    1. I second that. A pantry is a workhorse, not a racehorse in the IG sweepstakes. Paint the lowers blue as planned, but paint the panelling the same cream/white as elsewhere. If it were mine, I’d paint the ceiling a pale blue, which is what New Englander’s do for their porches – like looking at the sky.

      1. Actually there is a super interesting backstory behind blue porch ceilings. Several sources cover it, but this one stood out for crediting the Gullah Geechee, enslaved people in the low country coastal areas. Of course I think its true that many people choose a tradition and assign their own story. But the origin stories and whose culture is being honored is worth knowing imho.

  21. If it’s a space you are actively working and spending time in, making coffee, toast, etc I would go lighter. I live in a cloudy place and lived in Seattle for years and mornings can be pretty gloomy in these climates. I would save the dark and moody for your TV space. Just wanted to suggest (if it’s not too late) to add a little sink in there if it is meant to be your coffee bar. You definitely won’t regret that.

    1. Yes to all this, including a small sink if this is truly a functional coffee bar space. The more I think about it, why not keep this a true pantry and move the coffee bar into the kitchen proper so you can have a dark pantry while also enjoying a bright kitchen in the morning while you prepare coffee? Really everything revolves around a bright beautiful coffee scene lol

  22. Dark would look great in photos, but here’s the thing: seeing things in a pantry is pretty much step one in its functionality. When my kitchen cabinets were dark, I had trouble (as my 40s progressed) seeing stuff in my own damn kitchen. Painting the upper cabinets lighter made a huge difference. Going a click lighter makes lots of sense to me.

    1. Agree 100% with this. Dark would look great in photos, but would probably get annoying in your day-to-day living. IMO, being able to see what you need to see is the most important aspect of this room!

    2. I’m on team “worried you won’t be able to find what you need to find” if you paint the whole pantry dark. Light just makes it so much easier to see the items in a space because the contrast is so much greater. I’m afraid you’re going to need to leave a headlamp in there every time you really need to use the pantry. But! You’ve probably already considered this and have we bright lighting planned. That said, if this is worrying you too I hope you go lighter.
      Thank you as always for letting us follow along. It’s beautiful!

    3. I agree entirely with this. Dark paint looks divine, but if this pantry is going to be a work space rather than just storage then it needs similar considerations that you would give to a work space. The exterior window is so very lovely and provides great light at 2:00 pm in JULY. But you are going to be making coffee/breakfast/assembling lunches at 6:00 am on January mornings and there will be no light that feels like a warm hug or whatever for most months of the year. You’ll be using the space for dinner preparations, again, not in the middle of the day, but likely after sundown most of the year. It’s so hard to tell when your photo of that great light doesn’t represent the conditions when you will be using the pantry the most. Perhaps you can visit before the paint needs to be done and spend time in there after sundown. See what you think. If it’s lovely and cozy then, yayy, go for the dark dramatic paint!

  23. Wait wait wait wait. Can we talk about the canned tuna thing? Your parents were canning tuna themselves?? You had a stash of survivalist foods as a child?? Emily, we need a post on this stat! Lol.

    1. LOL… spunds like my childhood, sans tuna. Our hoard was canned fruit, pickles, chutney, jams….huge amounts of it, even after we gave geaps away!
      That’s what happens when you live in the country snd have 7 children!!!🤣🤣🤣

    2. I would also love a post on this. My partner and I are planning to try more canning and are interested in learning to preserve tuna and sardines. Veggies as well, of course, but there does seem to be a bit more information available on that. That being said, I am also particularly interested in canning soups. My grandmother always canned vegetable soup in the summer when the veggies were at their peak – quite a treat for a chilly February day. I could see bean soups or chili being excellent as well! I imagine Emily’s wealth of knowledge in the soup department could be very useful.

    3. Members of the LDS church are supposed to keep seven years of food on hand for the coming tribulation. So I’m not surprised about her parents stockpiling food. It doesn’t mean they were necessarily preppers, bc it’s an expectation of the church. They offer calculators online so you figure out how much Jell-o and so forth you’ll need over seven years.
      But did your parents actually can the tuna themselves? That’s so interesting, I never thought of doing that. I mean, canned tuna is awfully cheap already? My BIL recently started growing and pressure canning potatoes, so maybe cost is not the main consideration here? Did your family catch the tuna? I’m not from the PNW so I have no idea if you can catch tuna there or not.

      1. Life long Mormon here and I’ve always only heard it as a year – as in ONE year – of food storage.

        1. My apologies! I’m not a Mormon and my information on this comes only secondhand through Mormon friends. I could easily be misinformed or have misunderstood.

          1. Hi Tarynkay! No apologies needed – in fact I had a serious moment of “wait, have I gotten that wrong all this time?” for a minute there. In my lifetime, at least (though I’ve never lived in Utah so I can’t speak to the tenor there) it’s always been posited as a more general way to be ready to support oneself through job loss or general emergencies (not apocalyptic ones – in the case of which I’d rather go in the first wave rather than try to grind wheat by hand and cook it into bread without electricity. No thank you – I don’t even like camping).

          2. yes, exactly—-just a way to be prepared (not, like live in a bunker) and for sure only one year at most—(even in utah), and mostly just extras of your staples and most-used food!

    4. I live in a small town on the coast way up in northern California, and canning albacore tuna is a fairly regular thing people do ; ) It tastes much different/better than store-bought. It’s a fairly involved process, so we always do a couple years’ worth at a time. It’s something we only do with an outdoor setup, because that smell is strong, and lingers!

  24. I’m with Brian. Paint it all the cabinet blue for a monochromatic background. The contrast with the bright and light kitchen will be nice. A dimmer on the overhead light so it can be blasted with light if needed at times. It’s looking so good- repurposing the windows the way you did is so special and sweet.

  25. This will be a showstopper. When deciding on what paint color to choose (and please wait to decide until the window is uncovered and you know the true amount of light comes through), I would consider two things. What is the function of the he space? Will you be in there for extended periods if time or just briefly? From what I have gathered based on your blog posts, you like to look at dramatic rooms, but you like to be in lighter, less intense rooms

  26. I really think you’ll want it brighter so my vote would be to lighten up that shade… my vote would be a light wood stain or whitewash, or even (gasp) white! For me, I love making coffee in a bright morning space that helps wake me up so the idea of having your coffee bar in a darker space seems counterintuitive.

    1. A white wash would mean stripping the already installed windows, the door etc etc

  27. I hear there are many grey days in Oregon. Perhaps the window covered is giving you a glimpse of lighting similar to a grey day. I’ve also seen many a small lamp, with a textured shade, in kitchen and pantries lately on some gals blog. On low natural light days, or evenings while soup cooks, imagine a soft lamp glow from the moody pantry. Ooohhhh, and during quiet morning coffee brew time. Leaning into team Brian; stick with the original monochromatic moody, beautiful blue!

  28. I’d love the see one color throughout. For me it would be some sort of light color. However, if I could design a pantry for myself, I would have a lot of open shelving with huge jars. So it would be a completely different experience. I like a moody room, but I like my storage lighter because it’s easier to see. For me a pantry is a storage type room, not an extension of the kitchen. As such I would go for lighter colors without much daylight. We all design how we want and need things. If you are into the darker color go for it, but be sure to add a lot of light. I think it’s great when the room has something fancy (unique) or even a bit edgy or risky. I think if you do it in one color it could achieve that edginess in a way. Add a lot of light, sconces, table lamps to compensate for darkness

  29. Gah, this is so good. Having grown up in Concord, MA, where 99% of the houses are more than 100 years old (and many 300+ years old), I have to admit that I was being REAL old house snobby about the reno before I could see the finishes. They made SUCH a huge difference. I was like, I don’t know if you can really put skylights in a farmhouse and still have it feel old to me – but I’m becoming convinced! You are so freakin talented? Loooooong time follower here, so this comes as no surprise to me, but it’s really fun seeing how it plays out in a house like this.

    1. Also, talented was supposed to have an exclamation point and not a question mark after it!

  30. I think paint it dark. I am not a paint it dark person, but I can see your original vision and it is amazing.

  31. I can’t see past that beautiful wood paneling! Can you stain it and leave it? It would add warmth and homesteader vibes to this utilitarian space. If you kitchen cabinets are a wood tone, it would be a lovely tie-in.

    1. Agreed! Show off that wood! It would be so pretty in there and tie into the kitchen without being matchy.

    2. Jenny, I wanted to suggest the same idea but thought everyone would think I was nuts. I love the idea of staining the wood paneling. It would look so warm. I personally think the contrast of walking from a bright white kitchen into a dark moody pantry would be jarring to my delicate system. But walking into a warm cozy wood paneled pantry would feel so good.

    3. Good point.I don’t understand why you’d choose custom, pricey paneling that tools weeks to install only to paint it? And why can’t she wait till that exterior window is opened up to choose the color?

      1. Why not wait till they move in to make ALL the decisions then? Seriously shaking my head at so many of these comments!

      2. Thank you for saying that, Anne! I was thinking the same thing and having a real headscratcher moment. If the intention was to just paint it, why not just use cheap MDF?

    4. I agree that the wood is gorgeous and I was conflicted to see it go. Could they paint the kitchen first and pause before painting the pantry to see if wood would look good?

  32. The dark color has had your heart from the start. And, you can make sure the lighting is very good, so that when you’re actually IN the pantry, it’s light and bright.

  33. We’re at a similar point in our renovation, the last push where I start questioning everything, and I have to say, sticking with the original plan always works out best for me. Let’s face it, I made those plans when I was much more level-headed and sane, so unless something needs to change because of an unforseen circumstance, I really try to stick to the plan! That means my vote is for going dark in this case, and I think it will be beautiful.

  34. Team go dark here! 100% agree you should stick to the original design plan in here. For me the big thing that is missing from the discussion/thought process right now is lighting…sure right now maybe the dark paint+dark cabinets+dark countertop with no overhead lights might be too dark (not convinced that it is) – but you’re not Amish! You’re gonna have overhead lights!! And that window wall countertop is the perfect spot for a funky vintage lamp for a cozy vibe that you could leave on when you’re working on the kitchen so you still get the pretty glimpse through the white interior window wall. Plus I really think you need the dark contrast behind the painted white vintage windows to fully appreciate the vintage windows.

  35. Another vote for dark! We had a similar debate with our entryway, which is visible from the living room. We decided to paint it a dark color so that when you turn the lights off, any mess in there becomes *magically invisible* from the rest of the house. So then, when you look toward your pantry from your beautiful + bright kitchen, your eyes will stop on those stunning original windows instead of looking through at any mess!

    I’m also in favor of moving the coffee making situation to the kitchen. Seems like it may be annoying with no sink. And then you presumably have to store mugs in there, which will make unloading the dishwasher a little more annoying because you’ll have to walk them over to the pantry. Not impossible but just seems like more steps than it’s worth!

    Things are looking so beautiful!

  36. Team dark all the way! You can line your shelves with light-colored baskets and glassware to bounce back the light from the window. Go with your initial instinct, and your hubby, on this one. Also, so envious that you have a man who says things like, “this is a pantry, not an extension of a kitchen.” Just trying to picture my husband uttering this sentiment, or anything similar, has me cracking up. You’re lucky to have a willing participant! (Granted I enjoy making all these kind of decisions myself, but it’s kinda lonely AND a lot of pressure!) Finally, just have to add that your joy over this repurposed windows is entirely understandable and I’m right there with you!!! And the kitchen! All of it! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

  37. Because of the functions that will be done here (microwaving, making coffee, toasting bread, etc.), I disagree with Brian that it is just a pantry and not a kitchen extension – it is a kitchen extension! If only a pantry, then all it should be doing is storing food and should be dark (no windows) and dry (no functions that will create moisture like making coffee).
    I vote for a lighter color but that is just personal preference and not because I think it is a kitchen extension. And if I may make a suggestion, based on where the microwave will be located – get a drawer microwave. Otherwise, it becomes a safety issue having to crouch down to get a hot object from mw to counter. But cabinet should have been designed for this so maybe too late now.

  38. Yes to the dark- I love going all dark including the hardware! I like the idea someone had of doing a different finish then the cabinets, maybe satin. If it’s not to big I feel like the popsicle lamp would be great in here or a metal lamp. I love that you are near the finish line! So exciting!

    1. This is a similar example of what I was talking about in my comment, the outside of the pantry matches the inside. In this case it looks like a furniture unit but it is the same idea.

      1. At first I loved this idea of painting the outside wall to match, but then it occurred to me that it would feel too much like the dreaded, trendy “accent wall” of dove minutes ago. I don’t think it would feel timeless enough for Emily.

  39. Brian’s instincts have been so good! Go with the dark! Between light from the kitchen and light from the window in the pantry, I think you will have enough light to make it look nice and moody. Just have good task lighting in there! I would go crazy being so far away while all this was happening. I’ll be the contractors are happy, though! 🙂

  40. Should we be worried that Rusty hasn’t weighed in yet? Isn’t she always the first commenter? Hope all is well, Rusty!

    1. Hi Roberta, thanx forthinking of me (I actually have pneumonia at the moment, but recovering well-didn’t have to go to hospital…winter here). 🙂 xx
      I commented in response to other comments.
      I usually comment early, because I’m more than 1/2 a day ahead of you time-wise in Australia. 😉

      1. Sorry to hear that you have pneumonia Rusty, and glad you are recovering well! 🙂

      2. Thank you.😘
        I’m just glad it’s not bad enough to have to go to hospital.

  41. I agree with Brian – the same dark blue is going to look beautiful. It looks like a lot of light will be coming through that window, so I don’t think it’s going to read “dead” in there. AND, that last shot looking back at that gorgeous kitchen tile while in that dark blue room gave ME a hit of dopamine and I am not a designer. It’s really something special! Also, consider the fact that the shelves and counter will not be empty and anything you put there will really pop on that dark background. I think you mentioned displaying some of your platters or pottery on the rear wall or you could hang/lean a piece of art there. Either way, remember to picture it with all your stuff in there, as obvious as that sounds.

  42. This blog has a couple of dark pantries pictured. It might help you to see them. They are beautiful. Either way you go, I think the pantry will be beautiful, but I’m guessing Brian has a good feeling about what you really want. And ultimately, it’s just paint that can be changed in the future. I’m so excited for all these little updates. It’s all so good! Thank you for sharing this process with us.

  43. Am I the only one who likes to wake up slowly with a cup of coffee? I dream of a rainy morning that doesn’t push me out of the house so fast 😉. A dark pantry sounds pretty and could evoke any mood you want it to — I think you’ll enjoy having a space that you designed especially for you, and walls can always be repainted later. How exciting to be almost ready to move in to your new home!!

  44. Love seeing how it’s all progressing – so pretty! I’m leaning towards a lighter/grey-ish blue. It would be a nod to the backsplash in the kitchen, but would still allow the pantry to feel different and airy. All dark may be too dark – especially adjacent to the white spaces. Either option will look beautiful in the end!

  45. I vote for the dark color. I could see a cute lamp on one of the counters that could soften the space and add a little brightness.

  46. I think the photo shared is great. Also look at Chris loves Julia current and past pantries.

    I think the strongest argument for dark is that you want to hide all the contents more when you are not in there!

    You can always add more might through lamps, under cabinet, etc if needed.

  47. Go dark!! Let the ceiling be your out if you need a lighter color. You will have light fixtures and a window. It will be beautiful. Trust yourself.

  48. I would dk the same color but add a little white to the original tint so it’s just a tad but lighter. I think with the different sheens and the counter it would still feel like all the same but trick the eye a bit.

  49. I love the idea of this dark, rich, blue room off the light and bright kitchen. As many other comments have said, the blessing of paint is that it can be changed if need be! I envision a beautiful styled shot in here with a sweet lamp nearby for early morning cups of coffee. I do love the idea of keeping the brass hardware though 🙂 The sneak peak of the kitchen is EVERYTHING

  50. Yes moody and dark! The light from the window will be so beautiful against the dark walls and cabinets. I almost never weigh in on these debates because I can see both sides and can’t decide, but I feel this one in my gut haha! GO DARK!

    1. Lol Mallory, yes to seeing both sides, that’s an issue for me too!
      And I like dark for the pantry because of the diamond paned windows and how well dark recedes (hides) any mess or clutter that Emily who self confessed about how messy she and Brian are in the post about about the large size of their primary closet! A reason I like to wear black when traveling on a plane because I ALWAYS spill onto my clothes!

  51. I would paint it light (or leave it unfinished) and see how you feel after living with it for a month or two. A pantry is such a quick paint job and doesn’t require you moving furniture to get to things. But if you need it to just be done, I say go dark! You can always add a pretty lamp or two or plug in sconces 🙂

  52. As someone who took the kitchen cabinets in the house we bought last year in Nevada City from boring off-white to dark blue (Twilight by Benjamin Moore), with oil-rubbed bronze hardware . . . I wholeheartedly vote for a dark blue pantry!!!

  53. I love the dark! Keep it all dark, and then bring back the brass hardware to help bounce light around. Once I remembered that the kitchen walls are that gorgeous light blue tile, you are already doing a lighter blue wall, keep this special! Plus, it’s hard to go lighter over the dark, but not impossible.

  54. I love dark moody paint schemes but because a pantry is above all a practical space, lighter painted walls will make it easier to see and identify things on shelves, especially those in glass jars. Whatever you decide it will work and be beautiful, and yes, its ok to change your mind!!

  55. My main concern with all dark would be functionality. You really might not be able to see what’s in your drawers/cabinets very well! We made the mistake of painting our attic bedroom (with decent sized windows and a skylight) dark blue, and while it looked cool and dramatic, I could not see what was in my dresser drawers even with all the lights and lamps on. Bright light coming in the side window or from the kitchen could appear glaring, and your eyes are constantly trying to adjust for the dark and then the glaring bright spots. That was the case in our room and it was super uncomfortable on the eyes. All they to say, I’d go lighter. Or if you do go dark, keep the ceiling white, which will help bounce some light around.

  56. everything is coming together so nicely – i can’t wait for the reveals. as i was reading this post, i just kept thinking about @banyanbridges mantra “it’s only paint!” i say go with your initial thought – dark! – and if it’s wrong it’s a weekend and a couple hundred bucks to fix it. plus we all learn!

  57. Love the windows! I’m leaning toward the one color (dark blue) approach. This concept is very similar to Jean Stoffer’s Madison pantry. She painted her windows black in the dark blue room. This could look really good with the counter tops, door, and hardware.

  58. I would go dark and keep the brass. Seeing those beautiful diamond panel windows reminded me of Beata Heuman’s kitchen ceiling. She did a glass panel on the ceiling and it really reflects light beautifully. Maybe make the ceiling a feature?

  59. I honestly was going back and forth myself with my thoughts on going with the darker paint. After seeing the last photo and sneak peak of the kitchen I am now fully onboard for team dark!

  60. Oh, the pantry is going to be so pretty and scrumptious!! Those windows Emily!!!
    I think keep the dark as you planned and Brian wants, it’s only paint, and you can redo it lighter later if you don’t love it, and have a white ceiling to help bounce the light. The pantry being dark will help hide any messiness that happens, you have written that you and Brian are both messy people when writing about why having a large primary closet is important.
    Return to brass hardware, brass sparkle is lovely and after all, you have a long time love for brass, even your blog was originally The Brass Petal! 🙂

  61. There are bunch of comments saying that you need the coffee making area to be bright… I disagree! Make your cup, then go sit in the lovely bright kitchen or sunroom to wake up. I’m either doing a pour over which is super fast or an espresso. If it’s a drip coffee maker just walk away and putter with something else while you wait! With task lighting it will be fine. That being said I do like to pivot from sink to coffee making. Would not be a fan of a walk to fetch water.

    The entire space = an ENORMOUS, delicious serotonin hit.
    I say go dark. I imagine it will feel like a warm, enveloping hug in there -perfect for pre-coffee brain
    (though the whole design is so stunning I trust your final decision ; ).
    Congratulations to EVERYONE involved in this project!

  63. So exciting to see the progress! I think the dark vs. Light wall color will partly depend on which direction the window faces. Northern exposure on a cloudy day could be gloomy instead of moody-in-a-good-way. Can’t wait to see what you decide.

  64. I agree with Brian. Go bold! The cupboards are not so dark. It will look great, all in the same shade,

  65. If this were my decision I would not want to make coffee, toast and whatever in a small dark room when i could be in THAT kitchen. Having said that, a % of the dark color would be my choice to paint the pantry with what’s already there.
    I don’t see anything wrong with adjusting as you go along. If you always stick to a plan when your gut is saying change it, well that’s not the right thing, imo.
    Either way, dark or light, it will look great.

  66. Go dark. I’m 100% with Brian and your original vision. Second guessing is normal, as is fear of regret. But it’s so cooling and lovely to have that contrast with the kitchen. IF it feels “flat” you have so many design mitigation options: Food and it’s storage is beautiful. Lighting is dramatic. Art! And the space is going to have way more color (liveliness) once it is actual a pantry and not just a space for a pantry. I think the two tone approach will just not be as strong a design. You are talented and wonderful and you can always change your mind later, but you owe it yourself to see this vision in real life first.

  67. OMG just paint it dark and if you don’t like it you can repaint it- it’s a weekend DIY in that small space.
    But seriously, I have a super dark blue foyer that gets zero natural light and it’s lively because I’ve decorated with things that pop against the dark walls and have some accent lights to brighten up the corners. Warm browns, cheerful orange-yellows, creamy whites and some metalics all liven up the space against the dark walls. I can easily picture cute clear canisters of flour/sugar/etc. with chalkboard labels on them looking amazing against that dark blue. I adore the “cracker jar” canisters from the container store and I think something with that look and feel would go perfectly in that space against a dark wall.

  68. I didn’t think it was possible to add anything new after 106 comments, but no one had said what I’m thinking, which is pantries are busy spaces, because they have so much stuff in them. Pretty sure the shelves are going to be open (you showed brackets on Instagram, I think), which I fully support but is busier. I think it tones everything down a little to keep everything one color.

    I have a dark kitchen (Hague Blue) with dark soapstone counters, and I don’t have any trouble seeing things even with my 40 yo bad eyesight. Just be mindful of the lighting.

    100% team dark.

  69. Go with your gut… your ORIGINAL gut. If I remember correctly, that window is southern facing with no obstruction, therefore there WILL be light, even on gloomy Portland days! Brian is right, lean into your original plan! It’s going to be beautiful!

  70. Did I miss it, or was there any discussion about wallpaper? The pantry would be a great place for wallpaper and might be a happy medium for you and Brian.

  71. Whatever is the lightest always pops the most so what do you want to pop? The hardware? The accessories/containers? Or a brighter wall?

  72. Yes, go dark. You will have a window in there, you will have beautiful lighting. Don’t second guess yourself! (This is a scullery by Plain English.)

  73. Is it weird that I think you should do dark stain!? That wood is so amazing, you could have such a moment if you stained it and did dark blue trim and door.

  74. The repurposed windows look gorgeous, the kitchen sneak peek (ah, the blue) looks beautiful, and really love both the cabinet colour and the contrast between it and the brighter kitchen. I lean towards going with your original (dark) colour for the pantry walls. Nothing wrong, of course, with changing one’s mind – and I appreciated your analogy to editing – but I wonder if sometimes later changes come from a more risk-averse place, and it would be exciting to see your bold, original vision here. Love a lot of the inspo and suggestions in the comments above – brass hardware, painting in gloss, adding lamps and decor that’s designed to pop against the paint colour, limewash…I’d also suggest not painting the ceiling white, but if you really want lighter contrast there, I liked the pale blue sky-inspired paint suggestion in the comments, which will keep it tonal and more interesting. Looking forward to the final version! And just adding another dark pantry that sprung to mind when reading your post here:

  75. I like the darker color, moody rooms in my house in SW Portland — the living room, guest room, and library are all saturated, strong hues — but I think the pantry is connected to the kitchen, and would keep them closer in intensity. For me, the moodier colors are for rooms that are primarily used in the evening.

  76. I would paint it dark as you originally planned and as Brian wants. If you hate it, you can repaint.

  77. I love all this and judging by the comments I don’t think it’s possible to make a paint mistake with the pantry (I’m personally team dark walls, white ceiling, brass hardware).

    The part with “you are on a budget there are so many affordable V-grooves or beadboards out there” got me all excited for maybe some sources because I haven’t had any luck sourcing anything but regular skinny beadboard. I’d love something even just a little wider because we have some original wider beadboard on a wall in my 1890 victorian and I’d love to put up more of it.

    1. Agreed – I’ve actually found it hard to source anything ‘cheaper’ that I really like. Suggestions would be great!

  78. Paint all the walls dark. It will feel like a cohesive choice and room, as opposed to an after-thought. No white in there. Also the dark interior will allow people to look at the windows from the kitchen without looking through them, taking in their prettiness. No white!

  79. Great execution of the 10 inch bead board design, I love the thought that they finished above the top of the vintage door and 2 windows on a full piece groove and then able to start on a full piece above the lower cabinets. Plus of course all these small details add up to an AWESOME big picture, HUGE congrats to the team!

  80. First, I would like to say that I am very excited about more regular progress posts of the house. This is the GOOD STUFF.

    Second, I am with team go dark and stay brass.

    Woohoo, can’t wait to see it all coming together!

  81. LOVE THIS! Personally, I think the copper-looking window frames are superstar and I would never paint them! (of course, I know nothing, maybe you have to put something on them). But let them shine and match the pulls/knobs to them. I do really love the idea of dark, but I definitely would either do dark or the same color at a percent – something “in between” the kitchen tile and the pantry will look odd and too busy. Doesn’t Sara’s dark TV room inspire you? It does me.

  82. I’m more of a whole-vision person when it comes to decorating so it’s hard to isolate the pantry without knowing what’s going on in the kitchen. First, I’m support the all-dark-blue color on the walls for the seamless and timeless Shaker-indpired look it will create.

    Second, my radar went up a little when you said that the outside wall (and vintage windows) that faces the kitchen is going to be white, hmmm, really? With the architecture — the cased opening before that desk/bar cabinet with the fabulous big window above it — it seems like that whole entrance to the pantry area should be the dark blue color. There’s tons of light in this area! It will highlight it as a special feature and the dramatic color will appear lighter, give movement and dimension, WOW! Maybe it’s a bonkers idea but that’s what I’d consider, based on what I can see in these photos.

  83. The original windows repurposed vertically to the entry of the pantry is STUNNING. Seriously, might be the greatest design element of the house! It’s really unique and your eye is drawn to it. I am really digging the dark wood of the windows and the contrast…are you sure you want to paint them white? What about just oiling them and keeping them wood? It might be hard to tell from photos, they might be in poor shape and need a coat of paint but I really love the contrast of the darker windows against a white wall. Well done!

  84. Emily,
    I hate to even write this, but I fear that you haven’t put any faucet/water in your pantry despite planning for the coffee station to go in there. I hope I’m wrong. You’ll be carrying water to the coffee maker, and then carrying coffee grounds to the trash/compost back and forth between the kitchen and pantry? In our kitchen rehab five years ago, I put in a Miele steam oven and decided not to run a water line to it; it felt unnecessary since the sink was so close by and I could fill the oven water resevoir easily. I sort of regret it now, and I fear you will end up putting your coffee station closer to the kitchen sink my friend, once you start living there… 🙁

  85. Go for it – go dark! I feel confident you and your team can design light into it with dry goods canisters and framed paintings and accent pieces. Let the room be the dark canvas for exciting pops of color, light, and life.

  86. I think the all dark will be so gloomy and depressing in Portland winters. I can’t imagine starting my day in a dark room. I love light, especially in the A.M. with my morning coffee. Light cheers me up and makes me happy. I think an all dark room would be moody- sad moody.

  87. A walk in pantry with countertop space is an actual dream. However I am confused by the lack of toe kick on the cabinets. I dont have a toe kick on my kitchen sink due to it being an old metal cabinet that was retrofitted and I am constantly kicking the thing because there isnt room for my feet! I know this isnt a main area of the kitchen but Im still a little puzzled.

  88. Dark. Its plan A (or Q, but a good one). Its very Emily (and makes Brian Happy). If you hate it, its relativelly very cheap to repaint the paneling and ceiling, but if you chicken out you will always wonder.

  89. i would like to see lighter color in the pantry. It already looks so dark. I am curious why the pantry entrance is so narrow and the look a bit awkward. I think a more effective design would have been stacking both antique windows floor to ceiling on the left of the entrance and make the opening wider aligned with the counter top on the outside.

  90. go a bit lighter if there isn’t a door to that pantry… i agree and the light suck. plus if you’re wrong easier to paint lighter paint over later. i mean could be handled in a weekend…

  91. I love a moody room, but wonder if the all dark blue pantry will feel more like a speakeasy and less functional for making toast and coffee. You will definitely need more lights in the darker room. Have you seen the final episode of The Established Home on DIY/Magnolia network where Jean Stoffer does the porch/boot room/garden room of The Madison? (Not the one with the diamond black and white floor, but the one with the custom tile border and checked blue/sage interior of the floor). She uses some lovely layered blue/dark sage/dark gray/black . There might be some inspiration there for combining the moody loveliness with the light needed for morning toast and coffee. If you go all dark, what can you use to bounce some of the exterior light (the ceiling? mirrors? shiny metals?). If there is something bothering you, follow your gut. You are really good at this. 🙂

  92. Definitely go dark with whitish ceiling. My reason being that pantries often aren’t neat and tidy as one might keep their kitchen. I.E. cereal boxes left out, snacks, etc. A light color would make this messiness much more visible (interior windows) than a dark color would. Besides, it would be just so darn charming!
    LOVE the interior windows. I did that between my family room and kitchen

  93. I honestly don’t think there’s really a “wrong” choice here. You’ll make it look amazing and inviting in there whether you go with the dark blue or the slightly less dark blue. If Brian likes the dark blue, go for it! You got this.

  94. I think it will be quite dark, dark pantries are having a moment now, but are not the most practical choice so probably it is more of a trend than a classic? All dark seems like a very serious manner to start your day, and you are a whimsical and happy family.
    If it were me I’d leave those gorgeous clear grain wood walls as natural wood, what a shame to do all that work just to paint it! Let a thing be what it is. I like a bit of ad hoc surprises in an old house. You can use your styling gift to get things cohesive.

  95. I am late to this discussion, but have you thought about staining the wood paneling in the pantry? I realize you are painting it everywhere else, but what a pretty contrast the wood would make to the blue cabinets and light paint elsewhere. That paneling is stunning, you should give it a moment to shine.

  96. go dark!!! just do it! I guarantee you won’t regret it – don’t play it safe! This is the perfect place to take a risk and have some fun! PS – as others said, a white ceiling may be just the trick though from making it feel too dark. So if you are going to change anything, I would only change that!

  97. The design looks so rad! Also I am very interested in this food storage situation in the basement. I toured a home that had an amazing basement room just as you described. It was so organized and impressive!

  98. Y2K made me LOL! Your young audience would have to google that. Perhaps our friends at the WEF and the NWO trying to starve us into compliance is more fitting this century.

  99. This is the epitome of first world problem. But please continue to request votes about paint colors.

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