dish holderWe all have them in our house…a closet filled with random stuff.  We throw things in there we don’t have space for.  Company’s coming, just throw it in the closet.  Before you know it, the closet is full to the brim and you have no recollection of what lies beneath.

I had one of those closets and decided enough was enough.  It was time to take charge because this was prime real estate for my dishes and party supplies reminiscent of a butler’s pantry.  Mother loved to entertain.  We had so many parties growing up in our house on Meadowbrook Drive and with that came her collection of dishes, glassware and serving pieces.  I am glad she passed down her love of hospitality to me but I was running out of space to stick things.

This is the empty closet.  I should have shown you a before photo, but you get the idea if you have an overstuffed, random closet in your house.  I don’t need to remind you what that looks like.

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It’s not too big, but enough to walk into.  I enlisted the help of Elizabeth Jones with Nest & Transformation to help me design the pantry.  We talked about how I would use the closet and what my vision was for the finished space.  She is one of The Container Store’s independent organizers and they worked together to design the space. The highlight for me was the inclusion of drawers and racks to hang my table linens. The genius part is Elizabeth recommended installing pull-out pant hangers as my linen holders.  They slide out and I can easily access and put away the tablecloths when I am done.

While the installation was taking place, which included removing the existing builder grade shelving and a fresh coat of paint, Elizabeth helped me to gather everything from the attic and around the house that I wanted to be stored in the new dish pantry.  We sorted everything, decided what I loved and what I could part with and developed a plan to create zones in the closet.  Smart solution — dividers to house my platters.

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January 2015 ipad 061My mother and Grandmother both had sets of Johnson Brothers Friendly Village dishes. I have fond memories of eating Thanksgiving meals off these plates and enjoy using them during the fall and winter months.  Mother also collected milk glass, patriotic dishes, and several patterns of Wedgwood china.  It all had to go back into the closet, along with my own collections of dishes.

The drawers house my linen napkins and inside the drawers are compartments for napkin rings, salt and pepper shakers and silverware.

This is the finished product.  Yes, I have a lot of candles and this exercise made me realize I don’t need anymore until I use what I have!

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One of my favorite products from The Container Store is multi-purpose bins.  I have a million of these around my house.  They are super affordable and since they take up vertical space you can store them from one end of the shelf to the other.  Wait till you see how I use them in my kitchen pantry!  In the dish pantry I use them to store paper goods like plates.


The only thing about this photo is the teapot sitting askew on the shelf. Elizabeth will see this and her mind will be blown because it’s out of place. I think I set it there because I pulled something else off the shelf and forgot to put it back.  Please forgive me, EJ.

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The final, special touch, is my custom plate rack.  Elizabeth commissioned a carpenter she works with to make it.  I got onto Pinterest and found this inspiration from Remodelista.


I wanted to use the space on the right as you walk into the closet and it made the perfect spot for my dish display. These dishes belonged to Mr. Bee’s mother, so they are a real English treasure.

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It has been a breeze when I am hosting a party to have one place to go to retrieve my supplies and return them when the party is over.  I hope you enjoyed the tour and find some inspiration in our own space!