Many of you have heard me complain about my kitchen before -- too tiny, sawdust-backed cabinets (Lowes' unfinished el-cheapest), no room to put in a dishwasher. I feel better now that we at least have nicer lighting and decent hardware on there, but the functional issues still bug me and I still dream of something dramatically different to make it much more comfortable to use -- different floorplans, etc. However, major kitchen renos just don't happen in the same decade or so as major HVAC installs, so I'm looking at my options.
I'm looking for honest opinions as to whether this idea - adding even more cheapo-junko cabinets - is a wise investment of time & money. Here's the deal.
First, backstory: One of the things that drives me crazy is that the pantry closet is around the corner in the dining room, because they had to leave a blank wall in the kichen for an electric baseboard heater.
The side wall from the kitchen currently looks like this:
It's the wall where the phone is hanging, and basically we can't put anything there that's functional. Plus the way the pantry is laid out, it's less functional than I'd like - I'm putting in more shelves to help improve that, but it's still not the greatest. That wall is also the left side wall of the pantry - not shown in this pic but shown in the diagram below, the doors to the pantry are just to the right of where you see the fire extinguisher in this pic.
(and fyi - this was a pic from when we were looking at the house, so it shows the original lighting and hardware. And no, Von's shoes aren't nuclear powered, they were just highly reflective with the camera flash!!)
So here's my idea and I want to know if it's quite foolish or quite sensible, or if you have an even better idea.
To the right of the small cabinet that's already to the right of the stove, I would install a matching (i.e. cheapo unfinished oak front, sawdust back) 18" wide tall pantry cupboard. It would go where the red block is in this diagram, opening into the kitchen:
I already know from having a tall pantry cupboard that size in my previous house that it's the perfect size for keeping the number of canned/pantry goods I like to keep on hand. Cabinet runs $180 (I got this idea from seeing last night that they had them at Lowes), I estimate getting some pull-out shelves/drawers in there will run me another $100 and let's add another $100 for misc. stuff to get it installed and finished.
I'd actually just keep the closet as-is, which would make it a strange but still very usable cabinet for lesser used cookware and serving ware. The interior of the closet would actually be L-shaped; the left 2' would be around 14-15" deep -- I'd just slap some plywood on the side of the pantry cabinet and use it as the backing to hang some shelves for pots & pans, etc.. Then 16" on the right side would be 34" deep, and I'd probably just put shelves going all the way back for things like my wok and cupcake pans that I use every couple of years or so.
So... would upgrading a cheap-cabineted kitchen with more cheap sawdust-backed cabinets be foolish? Or is this a potentially sensible under-$500 upgrade that could definitely improve the usability of the little bit of kitchen space that I have? Or am I missing something else that would make more sense for no more or not much more?
And FYI,what I'd REALLY like to do is take a cabinet making class, then basically one at a time replace the cabinets in there with something made of better quality materials and in a simple design I'd like much better. Problem is finding the cabinet making class or someone to teach me... But, that's another $$ dream.