I built a bar. Well, technically I created a bar “area,” but it involved hammering, drilling, painting and profanity, so it’s basically the same thing, right?! I’d love to say it was easy, but it was by far one of my most challenging DIY projects ever.
When I first moved into my apartment, I knew almost instantly that I wanted to turn this cute little nook off the kitchen into a bar area and had just the piece to get it started. Enter the old clunky buffet pictured here. I bought it several years ago for $75 from a thrift store down in San Diego, hauled it with me when I moved back to northern California in 2012 and kept it in storage, all the while knowing it would eventually get a facelift and take center stage in one of my designs.
Next came the shelves: Part 1. At first I had envisioned three floating shelves that were white and minimalistic, so I sourced ready-made materials for the look and made it happen. Easy peasy, except opposite of that. Nearly impossible to get level and about as sturdy as a piece of paper, those three little shelves, sitting slightly askew upon my walls, taunted me for the better part of six months until I decide I couldn’t take it anymore.
Enter the shelves: Part 2. Realizing I’d need to create more stability with the shelving, I re-conceptualized the design and decided on hardwood (I used poplar) with brass brackets (from here). I painted the two bottom shelves a high-gloss white and then for the top shelf, which is longer and narrower, I went with a dark navy hue in a matte finish. In order to accommodate the wineglass racks underneath the bottom shelf I had to get creative with how I configured the brackets, so I went with one on top and one on bottom.
Figuring out and executing the shelf dimensions, paint colors and bracket design were the easy part. Hell, even installing the shelves on the wall was easier the second time around. The part of this process that was nearly my demise was mounting the brackets onto the shelves. It involved a whole lot of profanity, blood, sweat and tears—literally—as I stripped at least four screws and inadvertently snapped off the heads of two others. Fabulous. I wanted nothing more than to say “screw it” (no pun intended) and scratch the whole project, but my stubborn nature insisted that I persevere. That and I’d planned a cocktail party at my place where the bar was to be the focal point, so there was no turning back. Industrial strength glue became my saving grace for securing the brackets to the shelves where the screw heads had snapped off. Not ideal, but it got the job done.
Pretty much all the DIY projects that I tackle include their fair share of frustration, but this one was fraught with challenges and left me wondering why the hell I put myself through such turmoil. Now that it’s done, though, and I love the results, I have an immense sense of pride and accomplishment. That and a whole lot of cocktail options for when the DIY going gets tough, which always helps!
This is only the beginning of a slew of projects I intend to do for my apartment, so I hope you’ll follow along as I design my space, one room (and cocktail) at a time.
– S A D Y E E V Y N R E I S H