Monday, February 3, 2014

The Bar Project

This project has been on our mind since the day we contracted the builder to finish our basement before we took possession. The builder had one idea in mind. I had another. I won. Their idea consisted of using some space as you entered our basement while my idea was to get rid of an extra closet downstairs and use that nook for the bar. & since we weren't sure what we would really want to do when the time came, we had both spots dubbed.

Come April we will have been in our house for 2 years & up until a little over two months ago we weren't sure what we wanted in the space. Justin really wanted the bar to be completed by Super Bowl Sunday which meant I had to figure out a design that was not only functional, but fit our style & incorporated a bright RED fridge.

This fridge was a MUST-have for Justin from the moment he saw it. I am pretty sure we had the kids down for bed, each had a drink in hand and started looking through catalogs. I ran across this fridge and said "this would be cool for downstairs." The next day he informed me that he called the company to see if they had it in stock and how long it would take for it to arrive. It was in our cart by the time he hung up. Luckily you could personalize it a little and we had the the handle & opening moved to the other side to fit our needs better.

For the next 10 months, maybe longer, that lonely fridge sat in what would eventually be the bar space. It looked awkward & pathetic & frankly I think we were both tired of seeing it sitting there. We figured if we didn't do it this winter then it would at least be another year before we did the bar because come summertime we won't want to be in our basement.

I started a Pintrest Board for the bar and started pinning inspirational pictures. Anything that struck my eye. Back splash. Counter tops. Lighting. Shelving. Sinks. Bar stools. As I looked at more and more pictures I got more and more confused about what I wanted. I knew that I loved the idea of using reclaimed wood & wanted some open shelving and floor to ceiling, well cabinet to ceiling back splash. Then I ran across this image. It was PERFECT. Everything that I was imagining & although parts of it a little modern for Justin and I, the rustic touches brought it back into our wheelhouse.

All I had to do now was convince my husband & BIL (he did the work) that I could make it all work within our budget & that it would come out looking similar but not identical because we wanted to put our own mark on it.

I got the nod of approval. Mission accomplished.

First order of business, cabinets. I first started looking at cabinets through Home Depot or Lowes, we used cabinets from here for our kitchen remodel in the old house so we knew we wouldn't be disappointed but I also knew I wasn't super excited. I went to order the cabinets a number of times and just couldn't pull the trigger, I was looking for some sign to say YES & all I could do was think NO! & then I got a sign, I saw a Reader Redesign pop up on the very popular Young House Love blog & she had the cabinets that I wanted!! I was so worried that they would be WAY OVER our budget but then I read four of my favorite letters. I. K. E. A. & went straight to their site. I spoke to a kitchen specialist that helped ensure that I got every size and option that I needed. It was a very easy process & I was beyond thrilled at the cost, they were 1/3 of what we would have been ordering. & although there were a few hiccups with the delivery (some how my order was canceled but I wasn't told about it) I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. Their customer service was great & shipping was so inexpensive! & if you have been staying away from their site because it costs an arm and a leg to ship anything to KS, you should go check it out now! They have lowered their shipping cost to our area since a store will be opening up in Merriam come October of this year. You're Welcome!

The shipment arrived in 37 boxes and I started to have a slight panic attack. How could I figure all this out by myself. I didn't want my BIL wasting his time on putting the cabinets together when I could at least get that done for him. So Logan and I sat down in the basement one Saturday and we worked. Hard. And what started like this…

became this…

and as you can see from the above picture, we added some flooring too. And by we, I mean my BIL, I only put the cabinets together. The rest of the work was all him. We decided to go with a tile floor, one that looks and resembles wood. Easy to clean. Looks good on the eyes. But after the flooring was put in we needed to add the reclaimed wood to make sure it all flowed. Unfortunately not from my Grandpa Earl's barn but someone's barn. I found this wood on craigslist and we bought about 90 feet of it. We decided to leave it nice and dirty so that it's story would live on and not be brushed away.

From there sinks & faucets started arriving. I was hoping for a farmhouse sink but we weren't sure if the one that we got was going to fit. The IKEA one that was perfect for our cabinets is not being offered online and it wasn't in any stores. When I called about it they said it was a manufacturing issue & that they didn't know when or if it would come back in stock. So we went with a different one and my contractor (my awesome BIL) made it work!

Now the countertops. I wanted concrete but I wasn't sure how they were done & if it would give me what I wanted. But I knew I didn't want granite or quartz down here, I wanted something a little more rustic and unique, durable so my BIL contacted a concrete guy & he came to show us his work. I asked for a little bit of a blue tint to give it a slate-like look & a little less gloss than normal. He delivered.

And then when the lights went it, it all started coming together. I knew that lighting would make a big difference and we had to get it right. I looked and looked and then I found these beauties in the newest Pottery Barn catalog. But do we get two or three? We went with two & the multiple holes were cut into our ceilings--I may have been panicking at this point!

Next up the shelving. I had the idea of doing open shelving because I didn't want the wall to be too heavy. I have seen lots of kitchens and even bars with open shelves & the inspiration picture had it, why couldn't we have it!

A friend of mine used butcher block for their counter tops & I thought they would make for great shelves. The problem--how would they be attached to the wall. NOT my problem, that would be a problem for the contractor, AKA the BIL. & of course he figured it out--shelves got hung without having to see any supporting hardware. But before they were hung I had a little bit of staining to do. To save a little money, about $200, I bought the maple butcher block & stained it to be a darker color. & since the maple butcher block was the cheapest it also had the most imperfections which was a plus in my book.

& then it was time for the last of the projects-the backsplash. I was doubting it. My husband was doubting it. My BIL, the contractor, he was doubting it. Them a little more than me. I had picked out a bluish-green penny tile to cover the entire wall.

They, well we, were worried it was going to be a little much but once the shelves were put in and the first row of tile was up, it was full speed ahead.

I am sure my BIL just LOVED having me coming down and checking on it every 10 minutes but each time I came down, I fell a little more in love with it. & the tile was the last piece of the puzzle & then our vision, my vision, was finished. & as hard as it was during the process to know if it was all going to come together, to not second or even triple guess yourself, it was all so worth it.

& I know it isn't always easy working with family so I just want to say thank you to my BIL. For those who know me, I kind of like control & I kind of like things to be a little on the perfect side. I had lots of questions, suggestions & more questions as we went along. Most of my questions were on his to do list & if I had just shut my yapper he could have explained what the next steps were and I wouldn't have needed to second guess him. & for that I apologize. (See that, I just apologized!)

After the bar was about 99% finished Justin and I went shopping for the essentials. At least what I felt were essentials for the bar to be "ready". Let's just say the Crate and Barrel associate was more than happy to follow me around the store--Justin, not so much, his wallet took a good hit! & although we bought 4 decanters & one would assume for 4 different types of alcohol, nope not here--3 of the 4 have vodka in them-raspberry vodka, regular vodka & UV blue. I really don't drink that much, I just thought they were pretty and we of course needed them.

& as I was cleaning out our storage closet I ran across a gift from my external wholesaler a few years back. He had given me his authentic Chiefs helmet (he lived in DC) & until now, I wasn't sure where to put it but it balanced out the fridge perfectly. & Justin's dad's Philip 66 firetruck also found its home on the bar.

It was done. It was a process. Like most projects, it had its ups and downs. Justin and I had lots of discussions about pretty much every aspect. But in the end, we are both thrilled with how it all turned out. I really don't think there is a single thing that I would change. It just all works & I think it fits our style and personality perfectly. Plus its 100% functional-complete with a dishwasher and all! So there you have it, our little winter project coming full circle. 

and here are a few additional pictures of some of my favorite parts. & please forgive, these are straight out of the iPhone, as are the rest of the images on this post. I didn't want to wait until I was home with daylight (this weekend) to take "better" pictures. If I didn't get this down now, I wouldn't & its what we have been talking about since the day we saw the house so I gotta check it off the list. Done. A big FAT CHECKMARK DONE!

& if you are in the need for a very handy contractor--I can certainly pass along my BIL's name and number. He does this sort of thing for a living & has quite the portfolio. & guess what, he might be one of the only contractors in town to work with IKEA cabinets & he certainly knows how to deal with a bossy client---me.

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