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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Country Pantry Makeover

Thursday, July 25, 2019

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While cleaning the pantry, a bad stain on the sheetrock made it obvious the pantry needed a makeover even though I already knew the pantry was getting a makeover. A French Country makeover . . .  with the perfect opportunity to add a beautiful blue and white toile wallpaper inside the pantry.  

Pantry with new toile wallpaper 

French Country Pantry Makeover with Seasons Toile Wallpaper in blue and white

Inspiration for a toile wallpapered pantry came from The French Nest Company interior designer on her Instagram account. Her colors and pattern are not what I used for my pantry, but seeing her French-style papered pantry sparked the idea to use a toile pattern in my pantry. 

F R E N C H   C O U N T R Y   

P A N T R Y   M A K E O V E R   

French Country Pantry Makeover in a post and beam country home
Behind a white-washed wood door in my post-and-beam country kitchen is a functional pantry, but the pantry was not a very pretty one. 

B E F O R E 

French Country Pantry before makeover with new toile wallpaper
Sturdy shelves, efficient turntables, and light-weight wire baskets held our non-perishable food items and cooking supplies. Nothing had changed from when we built our house over thirty years ago, including the pink walls. 

The pink walls were not quite the color I envisioned for the pantry, but the color of the pantry walls was a low priority for completing the house and moving in. We were living in rental house since our previous house sold in record time, sold before the house was listed on the multiple listings used in those days. Other pressing things had to be completed to get the new house to pass inspection so we could close and move in. Repainting the pantry was not required to pass inspection. Pink wasn't a problem for the inspector. 

The plan was to repaint the walls eventually after moving in.  

Somehow over thirty years passed. 

Then, I saw The French Nest Company interior designer's under-stairs closet turned into a pantry. A pantry with personality, French personality. Redoing my pantry became a priority. Those pink walls had to go, and a beautiful blue and white toile wallpaper had to elevate my pantry 

from ordinary 

to French Country extraordinary. 

A F T E R 

French Country Pantry Makeover with new Seasons Toile Wallpaper in blue and white
The plan was simple. Prime the sheetrock walls with a white primer and paper the walls with four Seasons Toile wallpaper in dark blue and creamy white. 

spring ~ winter ~ summer ~ fall 

Spring time dancing French messieurs and mesdames. A horse drawn winter sleigh. Mesdames enjoying a summer picnic. An oxen drawn cart filled with grapes for a fall harvest. 

French Country Pantry before makeover with rough brick and stone wall
The plan changed as often happens. The rough brick and stone wall of the adjacent fireplace detracted from the new beautiful toile wallpaper. 

French Country Pantry Makeover with white painted brick wall
At first, I thought white-washing the bricks was what they needed, but painting the bricks solid white looks better than whitewash with the white painted shelves. 

The plan is still changing. The bricks and stones have gaps without mortar as needed. The fireplace stone mason probably thought this hidden wall would have sheetrock installed to cover it, but I like the exposed brick and stone wall better than sheetrock. Plans are now to add mortar and to make the wall smoothly finished, then to repaint the bricks. 

I like the 'character' the irregular mortar in the bricks provides in some of the sections, and those will remain as shown. The large gaps in mortar between the white limestones at the top are the places where new mortar will be added. 

There is a fine line between 'character' and 'too much character.' One adds charm; the other is poor workmanship. Each person gets to decide what is charming and what needs improvement in her own home. C'est la vie! (That's life . . .  idiom to express resignation or acceptance.) 

French Country Pantry Makeover with white painted shelves and Seasons Toile Wallpaper
The shelves are finished with an enamel-based white wash left over from refinishing the living room's wood floors a few years ago. The finish is hard and will withstand moving cans and boxes on the shelves. 

French Country Pantry Makeover with ceiling ceramic light
The ceramic ceiling light fixture remains. A cotton hanging cord turns the bulb off and on. 

We discussed the option of installing a light switch on the brick wall, but a switch would require exposed metal conduit to enclose the electrical wiring between the light and the switch. I think the metal conduit would not be attractive, and would be hard to install over the wood shelf supports creating design problems for the shelves. 

French Country Pantry Makeover with Seasons Toile Wallpaper and wire shelves on pantry door
The wire baskets on the door remain, but have been better organized than shown here. This photo shows how the bottom wood floor of the pantry looked before it was painted white. 

French Country Pantry Makeover finished with food on shelves
After sorting and throwing away the out-of-date food, the pantry has more room for groceries. 

And, I love seeing glimpses of the wallpaper in the background. 

French Country Pantry Makeover with white basket weave canisters and Seasons Toile Wallpaper
New white basket weave ceramic canisters on the top shelf hold powdered sugar and brown sugar for baking. 

French Country Pantry Makeover with small white basket weave canisters to hold snacks
Smaller white basket weave canisters and an open ceramic canister on the third shelf hold microwave popcorn, nuts, and other snacks. 

The following close-up photos show my two favorite scenes in the four seasons toile wallpaper.

French Country Pantry Makeover winter scene sleigh from Seasons Toile Wallpaper
A horse-drawn winter sleigh reminds me of Christmas. 

French Country Pantry Makeover with spring dancing scene from Seasons Toile Wallpaper
The maypole spring dance reminds me of performing a maypole dance on May 1 when I was in elementary school. Each dancer held one of four different colored crepe paper streamers attached at the top of the pole and wove in and out during the music to form a tightly woven checked paper design. Then we reversed our steps to unwind the streamers. 

French Country Pantry Makeover finished view with adjacent stone wall

V o i l à 

a  F r e n c h  C o u n t r y  P a n t r y 

with Seasons Toile wallpaper  


For those of you who love French Country design, Jennifer Lincoln-Cutler of @thefrenchnestcointeriordesign is one to follow. Her Instagram feed has both her own home and homes of her clients. She uses a mix of new materials and French architectural antiques in her design work. 

I would love for you to follow along. 

Thank you, 500+ Instagram followers!  



White Basket Weave Ceramic Canisters - AtHome 
I bought mine from HomeGoods last summer, but saw them this summer at AtHome. 

Pantry Makeover Plans  - A post from last summer detailing 'before' photos of the pantry.