The Vintage Kitchen Pantry Unit

vintage kitchen pantry makeover

It has been a long term dream of mine to have a vintage kitchen pantry unit in my possession but until now we have been without the space to house it in our previous pokey flats and houses. So with a little more room in the new Thrifty Towers, when one popped up at a good price locally we hopped in our car and brought her home for some TLC. This dear unit it had been used and abused over the year and even had her top portion chopped off (thankfully sold together and easy to mend), so the price we snagged her for was low, really low.

vintage pantry freestandingold freestanding kitchen unitred vintage kitchen handles

She has been sat in our sun room during the bulk of our renovations and, as you can see in the pictures, has picked up a fair bit of plaster dust to add to her over half a century of battle scars and grime. Over the weekend, once our dining room was painted, we moved her into the room and tackled the cleaning portion of her make over.

1950s kitchen unit makeover

It took a long time and a lot of elbow grease and rather than use my ordinary vinegar and bicarb solutions I decided to use up the Flash liquid stuff that our builders left behind which brought her up a treat. I’m not keen on those kinds of cleaners but if they have been brought into my house, I’d rather use them up than pour them down the sink or chuck them to landfill. On a related note our builders were really good at cleaning up after themselves. I couldn’t quite believe how fastidious they were when it came to leaving the site somewhat less messy every evening before they went home.

vintage 1950s kitchen cupboard makeover
Anyway the lovely unit (she needs a name, doesn’t she) has come up a lot less grubby and grim. It got so dark when it came to taking the ‘clean’ photos, I gave up and in all honesty the ‘clean’ photos would still look pretty filthy but at least in my head I know I scrubbed the damn thing for 2 hours and it is as clean as it could possibly be.

making over vintage kitchen cupboard

As for the rest of her make over, I’m making some chalk paint and have wax on order and eventually I’d like to see some decent oil cloth inside to keep her easy to wipe down. Ordinarily I would prefer to leave a piece of furniture like this looking as original as possible, however the paint is badly chipped and peeling back in most places. A good whizz with the sander and a new lease of life with a coat or two of fresh paint is just what this beautiful girl needs. We will of course keep the original handles, just look at them.

vintage kitchen drawers

She will live in our dining room and be home to serving platters, our Christmas plates and things we don’t use on a daily basis but regularly enough to have survived one of my “WHY do I still own this? I haven’t used it since 2008!” decluttering phases.

Keep your eyes peeled for the make over.


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  1. Oh wow, that’s absolutely beautiful! I’m moving this month but can only dream of doing a reno right now as I’m renting. One day I’ll own again and have a gorgeous repurposed kitchen too, I hope!

  2. She is dreamy. I can’t wait to see her all finished. I’d love to get my hands on a similar one at some point. Sadly, there’s no room in our little flat but one day I’ll find her cousin, I’m sure of it 😉

  3. This is too cute! I want one :)

  4. Just gorgeous! Can’t wait to see how she looks when the makeover is done!

  5. She is beautiful. She looks like an Ethel, or an Edith.

  6. This is so cute, you’ve now made me want to own one some day haha. I can’t wait to see the finished result : )

    Kathryn |

  7. This is really unique, I love little furnishings that aren’t shop bought :)

  8. She’s so beautiful already!!! I’m happy for you to have found such a jewel on a good price. I admire them every time I go to a bigger thrift store, acid green ones, pink ones..I would leave them as they are on the outside, with chipped paint and all! But you’ll do a magnificent job I’m sure. Thanks for these fantastic posts, I really like them.

  9. Gorgeous! I remember my parents getting rid of a very similar unit when I was a child – my Mum was gutting the 40s/50s kitchen and redecorating. Wish I’d asked her to keep it!

  10. She really is a thing of beauty. Love it! And deffo keep the handles, they are lovely.

  11. Toffeeapple says:

    Well now, I have felt slight pangs of envy in posts from others but this – real, true, factual envy, how am I to cope? xx

  12. I just found your blog and I love it soo much :) x

  13. This is looking so good already, I can imagine it’ll look amazing once you’re all finished with this! – Tasha

  14. In France the name of this unit was “Mado”, un buffet Mado! And the long rectangle door in the middle of the lower part of it was initially supposed to be a storage for the bread ( the french baguette). Have a look on the web!.. Liz

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