I made that!

I Totally Made That.

Posted in Don't BUY it, MAKE it! by brandi on July 13, 2011

Sooooo… you might have noticed that I’ve been pretty much MIA. As you may know, for the past year I’ve been working on starting my own business, The Pantry. I’ve certainly complained enough about the long hours and lack of time, but did I tell you that I built it with my tiny little hands? I had lots of help for sure, from my two business partners, Olaiya Land and Brandon Pettit, and countless friends. But this project, the realization of a dream I’ve had for a long time, now THAT was intense. And awesome. And exhausting. And completely impossible at times. But what can a girl do? A dream awaited, and I certainly don’t have the funds to pay OTHER people to build it. Since I worked as an architect before making the big switch to pastry, designing a beautiful kitchen wasn’t a stretch, but after nine months of being permanently attached to my Carhart overalls, I learned really fast how to not just make spaces that are pretty on paper, but how to actually make them stand up. Needless to say, I’ve been left with zero energy for making things in the kitchen, hence the lack of posting. So I wanted to share with you what I HAVE been making, even if it’s not edible.

When we started, it was a certified dump. Carpet peeled away to reveal layers and layers of linoleum, then a good thick layer of glue.

There was this low popcorn ceiling, with track lighting. When I first looked at it, I wanted to run away right then. THIS was going to be a BIG task. But when we peeled away the ceiling, there were these beautiful old wood joists peeking out. I like to think of those joists as the beginning of the design for The Pantry.

We had a rule of trying to find as many of our materials as possible used, from architectural salvage stores. On one of our early visits, in the dark days of winter, we came across a door. It looked like it would fall into pieces if you looked at it wrong. And according to our friend and carpenter Joe, who fixed it, it did. But it was $10 and we just had to have it. Between that door and the beautiful ceiling we were exposing, the space just started designing itself. It was to be a commercial kitchen, so there were… rules, but I really wanted it to feel like home. A place where people could feel comfortable just stopping by to say hello. Where after a class or dinner, people would want to linger. A place where a community is built.

And the table, man was that fun. The first thing we did, in the fall, was contact a carpenter in Portland about making us a 16-foot-long table. Everything would be centered around the table. It had to be wide enough to allow for classes, lots of hands flying at once. But it had to be narrow enough that you could meet the person sitting across from you. We love our table, and even after our original carpenter turned out to be crazy, and canceled the contract 3 weeks(!) before we were scheduled to host our first dinner, after our friend Joe (who fixed the door, and well, taught us how to do EVERYTHING) built it to my design in 8 days (costing many thousands more than we budgeted), we still fawn over this table.

We had our first dinner Friday night, and I dare say it was a complete success. 20 people, most not knowing each other, sat down for five courses, and made new friends. It was beautiful. That table is magic. And I look forward to maybe one day seeing some of you there.

A big whopping thank you to all of those who helped. Thank you for showing up on beautiful days when I knew you’d rather be on a long bike ride somewhere. On not-so-beautiful days, when building a deck in the mud was, like, the WORST idea ever. And for putting up with me when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Thank you Scott Elder for driving up from San Francisco in March, sleeping on our blow-up mattress and being my right arm for 3 months. Thank you to Joe Burmeister for, well, indulging my insanely tiny budget and teaching me and my friends so much. Thank you to Chris Saleeba and Bryan LaComa, for designing and teaching us how to create a garden space that gives me goosebumps. Thank you to Gabe Rodriguez, for taking gorgeous photos of the space under construction (the top two are his). Thank you to John, for not leaving me when I know I was behaving intolerably. Thank you to everyone who just walked by and told me how great everything was looking, you have no idea how much that helped on those rough days.


51 Responses

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  1. cindyc said, on July 13, 2011 at 8:27 am

    i can’t wait to visit! pat yourself on the back, you and all that helped did an incredible job!

  2. Nishta said, on July 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

    congratulations! what a beautiful space. I can tell from your blog how fun it would be to learn from you & eat your food!

  3. Christine McC. said, on July 13, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures! For those of us who’ve been following you and Molly for awhile, it’s exciting to see pictures and hear updates, even when (or especially because) we’re a thousand miles away from the West coast. Never hesitate to share pictures and stories of The Pantry, please.

  4. Irma said, on July 13, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Wow, that looks amazing, I’ve been following the progress in facebook. By the way I’m Irma a reader from Spain in Edinburgh. I’d love to atend to one of the classes, especially to the whole-hog butchery class :-O ! But for obvious reasons it’s going to be impossible.
    Anyhoo… Well done and congratulations!

  5. Leonora said, on July 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

    brandi, i’m a friend of tessa’s and will be moving back to seattle in december after a year of travel. can not WAIT to visit the pantry…it sounds just incredible. huge congrats xx

  6. Kasey said, on July 13, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Everything looks BEAUTIFUL, Brandi! I am so excited to come for a visit. Ya for following dreams!

  7. Brittney said, on July 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

    It’s so inspiring to see your dream realized! The space is beautiful and the dinner on Saturday provided the opportunity to meet like minded people, create new friendships and enjoy delicious food!!. Can’t wait to take a class and come back from another Pantry dinner. Fantastic job Brandi and Olaiya!

  8. Julie (Bananas for Bourbon) said, on July 13, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Magical is the only way to describe this space. It looks like something out of a dream. Your blood, sweat, and tears were definitely worth it because it came together just like you wanted! It looks like it would be such a great time to take a class or attend a community dinner, I might just have to plan a trip to Seattle specifically around it! It is obviously going to be a huge success. Congratulations! You did it!

  9. Elizabeth Ingersoll said, on July 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Wow, I thought I was impressed when I saw the space on Sunday, but seeing the before photos makes it all the more amazing! You guys did a fantastic job turning the Pantry into something gorgeous and I’m really glad I could be there for the beginning of it – I can’t wait to come back again! Thanks for all of your hard work in preparing and to you and Olaiya for creating such a memorable evening. Congratulations on getting a dream up and running, too!

  10. brianne said, on July 13, 2011 at 10:48 am

    This is so exciting. I’ve been dying to see it, and even more excited to make it over for a dinner (since it seems like I’m at Delancey about once a month). From one architect to another: great job, its absolutely gorgeous! See you there soon, hopefully!

  11. Amy C. said, on July 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Wow, the classes look amazing! I wish I lived in Seattle. What a great concept. I’d love to find classes like those in Chicago.

  12. Samara Kline said, on July 13, 2011 at 11:23 am

    It looks amazing!!! I can’t wait to go and see it in person. xo

  13. Marisa McClellan said, on July 13, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Oh my. It looks just amazing! I have dreams of creating a similar space out here in Philly and it’s so encouraging to see that you’ve done it. Truly, I am so impressed. Here’s hoping I can come and see it someday!

  14. olga said, on July 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    This looks stunning and warm and exactly what you described. What a labor of love!! I can’t wait to come and visit and experience it for myself!!

  15. Kelsey Kelly said, on July 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm


  16. Leah said, on July 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    The place looks absolutely amazing, and I have to say that I’m in love with the idea of the Pantry. I used to eat at Delancey all of the time and was hoping to pay a visit to the Pantry for a class or dinner, but I just moved from Seattle to Madison, WI a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully I can come visit sometime soon. Best wishes for a successful endeavor!

  17. Lindsay said, on July 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Talk about a transformation!! Amazing work… You should definately build one of these in London… :o)

  18. mom in rome said, on July 14, 2011 at 7:28 am

    WOW!!!! GREAT JOB!!! YOU ROCK !!!

  19. Alice Q. Foodie said, on July 14, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I am so impressed with this – you guys did a beautiful job. Hoping to come up there and see it in person soon!

  20. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys said, on July 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Congratulations! It is a beautiful, warm, and inviting space. Great concept!

  21. Gemma said, on July 15, 2011 at 3:28 am

    It looks incredible Brandi – seeing it finished I almost can’t believe that it was only 4 weeks ago when we saw it. Now I just wish I could come back to Seattle to take some classes…

  22. Stefanie said, on July 15, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Congrats! I just visited The Pantry’s website for the first time, and it sounds like an amazing place. I wanted to immediately sign up for half the classes your offering. Sadly, I am clear across the country, , but here’s hoping that one day I find myself in Seattle and can stop by for a visit. Until then, I’ll be living vicariously through your website!

  23. Buffy said, on July 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I think I’m going to have to schedule my first trip to Seattle. That place is amazing! As a woman, Alabamian, and friend of a friend, I am so proud of you and inspired by what you have accomplished.

  24. Michelle said, on July 16, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I can’t wait to come and be part of this great community!

  25. Brenda said, on July 17, 2011 at 11:59 am

    CONGRATS BRANDI!!! Whooohooo!! Can’t wait to come by. Whooohooo!!

  26. Ruby said, on July 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    it’s a gorgeous kitchen!
    and oh that table! <3<3

    when CAN we come over? :))

  27. Alan Feingold said, on July 19, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Absolutely beautiful. Well done!

  28. Ashley said, on July 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Brandi it is stunning. You should feel very, very proud. And having just sat at that table the other night I can attest that it is indeed magic. I look forward to many, many more meals there. Those beans were magic too. They were darn good. Thanks for a great night. See you Monday!

  29. Molly said, on July 20, 2011 at 10:47 am

    What a gorgeous space, and congrats on your achievement. I would come up to Seattle just for this!

  30. Sara said, on July 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Congratulations- it looks really great and when I come to Seattle I do hope to visit the Pantry, and the pizza shop. very inspiring.

  31. Steve said, on July 22, 2011 at 1:42 am

    congrats! the place looks great! love the long table. my brother lives in Portland, and we’ll definitely come visit if we head north.

  32. Hannah said, on July 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Fantastic job! All of your hard work created such a lovely space to gather, share and eat. I so enjoyed my dinner at the Pantry and look forward to another.

  33. Chrissie said, on July 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Congratulations on a dream come true! 🙂

  34. Anya said, on July 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    It looks fantastic! I wish I lived closer to it!

  35. Sara L. said, on July 28, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I love this!! This is awesome!! I wish I lived in the area so I could stop by.

  36. kitchen witch jenny said, on July 31, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Absolutely inspiring. You’ve made a gorgeous setting from which to launch a new generation of passionate cooks who just might save the world! All the best.

  37. Jen said, on July 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    What a beautiful space, and what a gorgeous table!
    (How *do* you determine the width of the table to facilitate discussion across it?)

  38. Kimberley said, on August 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Brandi, I can’t even begin to express how impressed I am, and how inspiring and rad this story is. I’m heading up to PDX in a little over 2 weeks, and if I can swing it, I’m gonna stop in Seattle for a hot second, too. Mostly because I want to see this amazing, wonderful space you’ve created, and because I want to eat pizza at Delancey. 🙂

  39. alwayshungry said, on August 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Wow! The Pantry looks sooo cool! I live in France but my family is from the northwest maybe when I go there to visit I could stop by… Congratutations on holding on to a dream!

  40. Matthew said, on August 10, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    So happy for you 🙂

  41. 13thfloormanhattan said, on August 14, 2011 at 9:01 am

    We moved to NYC from Seattle last year. With all the great restaurants here, we still miss Delancey and can’t wait to come back and check out The Pantry. Awesome job!

  42. tara said, on August 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    i so want to sit at that table one day. i can’t believe i’ve overlooked sending my congratulations until now – so, congratulations. a million of ’em.

  43. Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice said, on August 18, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Congratulations on a beautiful and impressive project! I’m so inspired by your work, and imagine that first dinner felt like a true accomplishment.

  44. Julie said, on August 18, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Oh my goodness–congratulations to you! Your table is stunning, well worth the crazy contractor canceling–it would have been bad karma to have a crazy person craft something so integral to your business. We’re in the midst of home renovation, which has been sanity-stretching…so I can’t wait to have the bliss of eating our first post-construction dinner. It needs to be something spectacular, simple, and memorable…and we have a way too expensive bottle of wine that we’ve been saving to celebrate. I also built my own business–an heirloom plant nursery–and I wish you much happiness and success! Cheers!

  45. orla@ThePremiumButcher said, on August 19, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Congratulations and Well done for not only creating such a beautiful establishment but for reaching your goals. I wish you every success and happiness 🙂

  46. beleye said, on August 24, 2011 at 4:05 am

    How beautiful is this kitchen! Incredibly warm, inviting and inspiring

  47. @at said, on August 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    what did u make for your 5 courses?

  48. Suzanne said, on August 31, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Wow! What an amazing concept. I just love your business plan. Congratulations on all your hard work coming to fruition. I need to make a trip to Seattle just to try this.

  49. beleye said, on September 26, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Hi, it’s me again! Could I ask you what kind of floor you chose for your kitchen? I’m intrigued if it is wood or stone, it looks so beautiful and shiny. I need a new floor because I’m going to move my kitchen from the east to the south side of my house. Thank you!!

    • brandi said, on September 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      Ha! Our floor is the existing concrete we found under the carpet. We scraped and scraped it to get the glue off and then sealed it. Good luck!

  50. Jen said, on December 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    What are the dimensions of the gorgeous table?

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