As soon as you came down the stairs to the basement, the first thing you saw was this big, random, and awkward landing area. Tony and I went back and forth on what to do with this space. We tossed around a few ideas before choosing the bar. First we talked about making it into a small work area with one giant built in desk with multiple chairs and shelves. I could picture it, but to be honest, I mostly work from my bed or in the kitchen. We also thought of making it a sitting area with some fun chairs and a side table… just to have “something” there. Again, not a very good use of the space when we have a giant sectional, a bench, and some chairs around the corner in the living area. Then of course, came the idea of a bar! Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
The first thing I did was measured the entire area. Then I roughly sketched up a general idea of the bar…that I ended up changing 5000 times. My main design ideas I wanted to include were: Counter to ceiling upper cabinets, a white counter top, glass upper doors with shelving, rip up the carpet and add new flooring, natural wood cabinetry, two toned design, putty-colored upper cabinets, a beverage center, a sink, an ice maker, and open shelving.
When it came to the full design, there were SO MANY OPTIONS and so many different ideas that I wanted to do! This is always one of the longest processe for me when it comes to my home, but definitely the best part of the project.
I started by ripping up the carpet and carpet tacks, which was super easy! I then had to do a little bit of electrical work. With the cabinet depth, it was going to fully cover the left wall outlet, so I needed to that over about a foot. I also added a third outlet on the main wall by running wire from the right wall outlet. I debated doing outlets inside of each upper cabinet, but I decided to put it on the outside instead, just above the counter top.
Once area was cleaned up after tearing out the carpet tacks, I laid a waterproof barrier in between the concrete floor and the base of the cabinets. I even used pressure treated wood as the base frame– just to be safe incase of any possible future water situations. I then added the face frame to my cabinet carcass. My plans were to have the cabinets completely symmetrical, so I added a wine rack in the center for cute feature!
After spending hours looking online and going to different stores to see different flooring options, these were the final options I narrowed down (the two patterned tiles were my very favorite!!!)…….and I picked none of them for the final choice– which is a definite “me” thing to do. We had black hexagon tile in the bathroom, this luxury vinyl flooring in the playroom, and any of these choices above would have been A LOT going on for that area. So, I ended up deciding to use the same black hexagon tile that I did in the basement bathroom. It ties them together really well without it looking super busy.
Next up was making the cabinet and drawer fronts! I LOVE the look of inset cabinetry, so that’s what I did! “Inset” just means when the doors and drawers sit inside and are flush with the face frame. It was a little more challenging because there is little to no room for error and everything has to be completely level and plum. I used a premium pine along with this router bit set to make the shaker style doors.
One of my favorite details is the quartz countertop! I love how it looks similar to a marble with the dark gray veining. UGH! It’s so pretty!!! But, it was a monster to put on. Fun fact: My pinky got caught between one of the cabinet walls and the counter top when we dropped it on top of the cabinet base, and it was the worst… so I’ll spare you the details.
I wanted to do something different than the standard upper cabinets. So I built these counter to ceiling uppers, and they’re my favorite! In between both cabinets, I made the floating open shelf that would hold the alcohol. For extra details, I added vertical shiplap inside of the cabinets (I’m obsessed with vertical shiplap) and chose this pretty putty color for my two tone design, by Behr paints. The bottom cabinets were stained this natural color by Minwax.
The last details were to make the upper glass shaker doors, add the strip lighting underneath the floating shelf, put on the cabinet hardware, and style all of the shelving!
And here’s the finished product (almost! I still have to decide a backsplash!) and I LOVE IT! It’s perfect for hosting and really makes this landing area feel much more open!
What I left out out of the original plans:
- No sink/plumbing: Tony and I kept going back and forth on this one. We weighed out the pros and cons and there were more cons. I wanted everything in my design to be symmetrical– and even with the smallest sink, it would’ve taken up valuable counter space. So we opted to go without it.
- No ice maker: I wanted this soooooo badly. Nugget ice chips 24/7!? We host bigger parties at our house about 4-5 a year, so this was a matter of deciding if that would be worth it or not. We decided that we would be fine with just having smaller ice buckets during events, and eventually getting counter top ice maker (like this Frigidaire ice maker or this Opal ice maker) that we can just put away after parties!
- Flooring: Originally, the plan was to rip out the carpet in the entire landing area. We had black hexagon tile in the bathroom, this luxury vinyl flooring in the playroom, and the tile I was looking at just would have been A LOT going on. Too many textures and colors so my sister-in-law suggested I just do the new flooring only where the bar was going to be and it ended up working out perfectly without it looking too busy! I loved this decision.
- Double shelves: With the height of the bottles, it was best to go with just one shelf.
- Backsplash: I’m still planning on adding a back splash but I just can’t make up my mind and just haven’t gotten around to it yet, but it’s definitely happening!