There's no getting around it. Building a custom home can be pretty overwhelming. No matter how much research you think you've done, no matter how much you've planned, or think you know exactly what you want or need. There will always be something that throws you for a loop. It's the classic "you don't know how much you don't know."
Niels and I try to keep on top of things so we can converse somewhat coherently with our GC. A BIG help in this regard is the website, GardenWeb. We have a link to it on the side of our site because we are there on a daily basis. The site is made up on forum of every conceivable topic related to building/renovating/maintaining a home, but we spend most of our time in the "Building a Home" and "Kitchen" forum.
It was from this site that we learned of the importance of providing ventilation in a walk-in pantry. Never occurred to us, and it wasn't brought up by our designer or GC. But, many posters in the forum had issues, so we started brainstorming.
What we decided to do is cut out a hole in the drywall above the pantry door to insert a return, like this.
That vent is pretty elaborate, but I did find several sites that make more budget-friendly options, if we don't want a basic white vent, like the one on the right, below:
There are a ton of different designs beyond the straight vents. Most are pretty traditional, but I do like this one.
I also saw that they can also be made of wood, like this one:
And then I saw some really creative ones, like this one:
So that got me thinking about doing a little bit of functional personalized art. So now I've asked Joe to give us a quote on a vent that looks something like this:
His prices are pretty reasonable, so that might be a fun fifth anniversary present for Niels and I in July. In the meantime, we'll start with the basic white vent. This will get fresh air in the pantry, as well as a little extra light.