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Bottoms Up

We've always been foodies, but nothing says Buy More Stuff! like getting into craft cocktails and snotty beer and joining lots of wine clubs (it is required if you live this close to Napa). As the tiny wine rack from Ikea filled up, boxes that couldn’t be unpacked started to pile up in the pantry. The refrigerator was full of beer and cocktail supplies to the point we couldn’t find food. My husband started to really miss his bar that was in a house we left a decade ago.

The solution: make a bar.

Easier said than done.

Our loft is 46 feet by about 14 feet, long and narrow. We have length for days, but no width. Add an island and a 36” round 4 top table and you are maxed out. We also had a serious collection of books that lived in a tall bookcase on part of a the precious wall space and 2 tall 24” square glass showcases that house our rock and crystal collection (don’t judge me). We argued, designed, researched, fought over finishes, dragged friends into it and finally arrived at the fact we needed a dual zone beer and wine frig to handle this new-found collection/hobby. We also had to figure out what to do with the books (thank you Ikea Kallax shelving which we did not have a divorce putting together). We found the frig, had it delivered, rearranged everything, loaded it up, got rid of boxes, sat down to have a glass of wine and enjoy the fruits of our labors………..

And realized it was all wrong.

In our defense, Mercury was retrograde, so of course, after all the backbreaking labor, we would have to re-do the whole thing. Well played Mercury. Well played. (For those not familiar with this, Mercury is the planet that rules intellect, communications, electronics, computers, flow of information, etc. Three times a year for about 3 weeks each time, the planet appears to move backwards in the sky. During that time you can experience changing plans, indecision, having to re-do, re-write, re-visit, reconsider, and relocate. Fun times)

This time, we brought in a professional. Just Go Home Design stopped by, quietly surveyed the obviously wrong layout, and said that our original idea (from years before) was the only way it would work. Luckily we had put casters on the heavy things, so we rolled stuff around and voila! Perfection! Everything fell into place, fit well, did not crowd the pathways or entrance, and looked great! And of course, one more trip to Ikea for another Kallax (we are very good at putting them together now!) Since we now knew the layout, we could actually measure for the size bar that would fit and we were off onto the next adventure: building a dream bar!

Remember when I mentioned casually about us fighting over finishes? The bar top was the number one finish fight. My husband won. He was very passionate (and whiney) about getting a live edge cross section of a tree, which are beautiful but can be very expensive. I wanted granite or stainless. One day that we randomly had off work together, we decided to see if Artisan Burlwoods in Berkeley, CA, was open (which is rare). We walked in and walked right up to the perfect live edge slab, book matched, young growth redwood with birds eye and flame showing through in the perfect size. My husband had been looking for one for years and there it was! It didn’t even have to be cut. It was in our budget and they finished it beautifully.

My idea for the base was born out of what do we have just laying around? We had an extra baker’s rack. That will be perfect I thought. We just had to figure out how to attach it. Another trip to Home Depot for smaller casters to reduce the height, some metal plates and screws the right length to not pop out of the top when screwed in and we were set.

Everything was going very smoothly. First plate screwed in, second plate…and then CRAP! The shelving on the baker’s rack was actually being held in place by gravity and little plastic sleeves. When he screwed the second plate down, the shelf dislodged and we realized the shelf would not be stable, secure or in the correct position. Then we had a beer and deep contemplation (and some cursing).

I don’t want to say I’m a Feng Shui consultant that hoardes, but sometimes answers lie in a woodpile left over from the pantry build. The pile is next to the garage door, which seems like a natural thing that isn’t weird at all, except it is in the living room. We can’t all be perfect.

Anyway, there was one board that was the exact size to fill the gap between the bar top and the shelving, so when we screwed it down, the shelf didn’t move out if it’s position. It was a woodpile miracle! When we carefully turned the bar right side up and wheeled it into place, we grabbed the beer and toasted a job successfully completed. Cheers!

Image Credits: Britney Stanley

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