Lots of people talk about needing more storage space for kitchen items.
During a period of COVID-19 self-quarantine, the Lloyd and Carrie Jones family did something about it.
Living in a Victorian-era home in central Davenport, their open basement is the kind with concrete floors and walls, exposed wood rafters and not much in the way of light.
While the majority of their basement is still like that, they now also have a pantry — a 10x14-foot room with four finished walls and a ceiling, recessed lighting, lots of open shelves and a vinyl plank-look floor.
The walls are pink because Carrie loves the color pink and she wanted to give the room the feel of "grandma's cellar," a space that is pretty, with vintage elements.
"We had so much fun," Carrie says of the project. "My husband is the best."
Carrie had long wanted a pantry because, with three children and a love of home-made cooking and baking, her kitchen cabinets were always stuffed with non-perishable food items as well as bowls, dishes and appliances.
"Our kitchen cabinets are only so big," she said. "I never knew where to put stuff."
Then one day as staying-at-home became the norm, Lloyd announced that he was going to build that pantry.
A carpenter by trade, Lloyd began by framing in four walls, leaving an opening at the bottom of the stairs to allow access to the rest of the basement. This opening is covered with a curtain.
Then he installed mildew-resistant drywall, creating recesses for the shelves so, as Carrie says, "there would be more room to walk around."
He also cut holes in the ceiling drywall for lights — four on each side and one in the middle — so that the space would be bright and cheerful.
For flooring, he bought a roll of pre-padded vinyl at Menards, tacking it down onto the concrete floor with glue. "It turned out perfectly," Carrie said. "And it was only 70 cents a square yard."
Helping Lloyd was the couple's son Adrian, 13, who cut boards, held drywall and did "mudding."
The eight shelves, purchased on clearance from Walmart are rated to hold 4,000 pounds each. Five hold food and three hold appliances, bowls, pans and the like.
Other purchases included shelf liner; Better Homes & Garden-brand plastic containers that are air-tight, making food last longer; and a kitchen island on wheels where Carrie can sit (two stools tuck in underneath) and write lists or do other tasks.
Filling in the rest of the space are two chest freezers that previously were in the garage — the basement is a lot handier — and a refrigerator.
Carrie is a five-nights-a-week cook who buys meat and produce in bulk, then sets aside time to re-pack into smaller, one-meal-size containers so meals such as stir-fry can be cooked up in a hurry.
The total cost of the pantry came in right at $1,900, she said.
"Oh my gosh," she said. "It's so wonderful. There's no clutter anymore."
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