Tuesday, January 11, 2011

this is the bar that jack built, ya'll

[or, how to create a bar from a closet]

Baby, it's cold outside...  And I don't want to leave the house to go out.  Logical decision: build a bar.  Obvious, right?

TA DA!!!  So, we decided to tackle this RIGHT before Thanksgiving... RIGHT before family was coming to stay for the weekend...


Anyways, this was previously a closet.  Now, this is a bit of a controversial move: in a house that has almost no storage space, why would you get rid of a closet?!  Well, I'll tell you why- because I said so.  There.  So here's how you convert a closet into a (dry) bar:

First step is removing the doors, shelf, hanging bar, and anything else left on the wall.  Then we removed the inside molding.  When you do this, you are left with a gap between the existing drywall and the end stud.  We filled this with GreatStuff, (an expanding insulation foam.)  Once this has hardened and set, we sawed off any excess and spackled over.

 the beau sawing off extra GreatStuff*

After a fresh coat of paint (we painted this the same color as the rest of the living room to really make it part of the room - I forget who makes this paint, but I remember it being called Trench-coat,) we were ready to get crackin!  And apparently, crackin means SHOPPING!!

We lucked out that Ikea has a mirror that fit our design to within half an inch or so??  Perfect!  No glass cutting or special orders!

We also decided to go with a short Gorm shelving unit from Ikea, which fit perfectly AGAIN!  Double awesome.

See how well that mirror fit?  After a trip (or seven) to Home Depot, we got started: we mounted the mirror to measure off of, and installed the support strips.  These will hold the counter and the top shelf.

Here is the puppy sawing some lumber.  Poor pooch never gets a day off!

The counter-top, shelf and molding were bought from Home Depot.  After these were cut to size, they were stained along with the Gorm shelves.  The stain was picked to match the existing furniture in our living room.**  After stain, we poly-urethaned the hell out of everything!  Everything got at least two coats of poly, but the counter-top has four.

Meanwhile, we were also assembling the light box/liquor shelf... yup, like they have in real bars!  The plastic was a cut-to-size order from an online store, which was adhered to the top of a wooden box that was painted black.  Inside the box is a fluorescent light- we installed a new outlet in the old closet by running electrical from the bordering bedroom (where there was an existing outlet right behind the wall,) and installed a light switch and second outlet into the light box, (the second outlet is for blenders, etc.)  One thing to remember when doing this is to drill a hole in the box and the counter-top in the same spot to feed the cord through to the wall outlet.

So, installation!  The first thing to go up was the top shelf.  This was a bit difficult and aggravating, as it is tough to keep the shelf flush with the support beam.  We chose to put the support strips above the shelf because it is prettier that way!

The hardware to hang the glasses was purchased online.  We went with a piece of wood that's usually used for stairs, as it has a curved outside edge.  Works fine for a shelf, too!

After the shelf was hung, everything else went fairly quickly- the counter was screwed in, the molding was installed, and the light box was hooked-up.

Here's the molding around the mirror back-splash.  I believe this is technically crown/ceiling molding?  It really finished off the look and hides that extra half-inch gap between the mirror and the wall.

There is also molding on the lip of the counter...

and around the edges of the counter where it met the wall!  Man, look at that corner!!  And that's with just using a manual miter box.***

Now, as for the Gorm shelves- Ikea makes wine/bottle shelves for Gorm, but not for all shelf sizes.  And we happened to get the size that doesn't have the pre-made bottle shelves.  Because that makes life easier.  Anyways, all that needs to be done for a bottle shelf is to install thin 1x1 strips onto the shelves, spaced to accommodate whatever bottles you plan to store there.

We also hooked up a mini-fridge with a basket on top to hide any of the many things that need hiding when you have a bar.

 I think that pretty much sums it up... time for glamor shots!!

this pic was taken pre-bottle & glass stocking

Now, the only problem with having a bar, is you HAVE to stock it....

So whats the internet verdict??  We are beyond thrilled with the outcome and love-love-LOVE showing it off and using it for chic cocktails!  We think it really finishes the room off, and definitely looks better than a boring closet.  And, icing on the cake?  We got this sucker finished, installed, and everything cleaned up all before our guests arrived!!

*You know, that stuff??  It really is great...
**Ugh, it is such a pain in the butt to match a new stain to an old piece of furniture?  It is stupid tough.  So my advice to you would be, if you are staining an item and have any smidgen of a notion that you may want to sometime in the future get another piece to go with that set?  Buy enough stain for the whole dreamed-up project.
***OMG We totally got a fancy-pants miter saw with a LASER for xmas!  IT IS THE BEST EVER!  Molding, get ready to meet your maker!


  1. LOOOOVE IT! can't wait to come drink some of that St. Germain! and where's the Hendricks!?!

  2. It's beautiful! You guys did a great job down to the very last detail. I love the lit area for the bottles and the fact that you have booze storage galore! Hmmm... Do I have a closet that needs to become a bar...?
    :) Meredith

  3. what a fabulous idea! it's a party in the closet!

  4. Wow...who would of thought a closet/bar would look so good! Great job.

  5. this is awesome!!! I am going to copy your idea since I have a closet similar size! thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Oh so glad you like it!! We get compliments on it all the time, and use it regularly.

  6. Thanks for sharing. Just bought a house and have a non-conforming bedroom as a "man cave". Planning on doing this with the closet that's in there! :)