We moved into our house four years ago this month. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long! While our house was brand new when we moved in and we loved (and still do!) the bones of the house, it was a builder’s spec home. Over time, we’ve been able to tweak a few things here and there – adding a window, texturizing part of the exterior foundation, painting (oh my goodness, the painting. I hate builders-grade flat paint.), landscaping, tiling, etc. There’s been one project looming this entire time that we weren’t sure we had the time, energy, or dollars to tackle: the unfinished bar in the basement.
Our builders were… fine. But they “ran out of money” and didn’t give us the bar that was drawn into the floor plans. We found out about this a week before closing. It was a disaster. We decided to close and swallow the bitter pill that came with having an unfinished project in our basement.
See that bump-out on the left side of this pic? That’s where the bar was supposed to go. There’s pipes sticking out from the lower part of that wall – live water pipes and a drain pipe. Somehow my kids never managed to break the pipes and spray water all over the basement.
So we waited, and we dreamed, and we pinned pinterest pics. By the time we were finally ready to tackle the bar, I had every detail pretty well nailed down in my head. Joey? Just wanted a spot to put the keg fridge that we’d acquired along the way, and a TV on the wall. Noted. I think we accomplished both of our goals:
It’s hard to believe this is the same room from that first photo. It’s so very us now. My decorating style has always been a little weird. I love old/rustic/reclaimed… everything. It’s a nod to my tiny-town roots, I suppose. However, I also love things that are polished and have clean lines and sometimes even a little bit of sparkle. That’s where every element in the bar came from, it either had to be rustic or it had to be polished – thus, our polished rustic bar was born. (I feel a little like Catherine Lowe planning her “grown sexy”-themed wedding and wondering if anyone is buying what I’m trying to tell them. 🙂
Earlier this year, we decided to start biting off some smaller projects that we could tackle on our own. I can’t… put cabinets in or run new electrical lines. But I can paint. So we painted the entire basement Sherwin-Williams Backdrop. It’s this amazing, warm, deep greige that just really makes my heart happy. Our basement is a daylight, but we miss the added light that a walkout would provide. I wanted something that would still reflect light during the day but cozy up once the sun goes down.
Our other project at the beginning of the year was rip the carpet out of this bar “nook” area and put down plank vinyl floor tiles. On a whim, we picked these white-ish gray wood-look planks. They are perfect. I love the contrast and brightness they provide. The flooring store we bought them from promised they were virtually indestructible – waterproof, stain resistant, super tough and durable. So far, so good!
Once we were ready to start on the bar, Joey pretty much handed me the keys and said don’t mess this up. We hired my best friend’s dad (whom we all just call Paco at this point) to build the bar and do all the things that neither Joey and I are qualified to do. This was awesome in that it was sort of like hiring my dad to do the work: I could tell him my completely crazy ideas and he’d roll with them.
So, armed with my pinterest board and generally pointing at dimensions within our existing floor plan, we were off. Paco wanted us to curve the bar, so we did – and I’m SO glad we did, it adds so much character. I picked these gray-ish brown stained maple cabinets that Joey thought were way too light but he came around and we both love them now.
This hundred-year-old barn wood was kind of the pièce de résistance of the entire bar – it’s what I designed everything around. I’m lucky enough to have an amazing stepdad who, a few years ago, let us salvage this wood from a shed he was about to demolish. It’s so gorgeous. It flows around the curved bar perfectly and I’m thrilled that the home I envisioned for this old wood became a reality.
This bar top, you guys. We were really set on having a copper bar top, and we’ve achieved that and it’s gorgeous and I love it so much. But I feel like I need to have a moment of silence for the stress we put Paco through in the process. This was… tricky. The copper comes in thin sheets from a company that specializes in treating copper. You can’t touch it without wearing gloves or the oil on your fingers will stain it. It had to be glued down, then lacquered, then epoxied with self-leveling epoxy. Oh! And the house had to be 80 degrees while he did it. It was sticky. Hot and sticky. It’s really amazing though, I love it!