So our new house, which I love, came with this weird alcove in the basement. I'm 90% sure that the previous owner had a bunch of bookshelves tucked into it, but I forget from when we did the walk-through.
The basement already has tons of storage (the doors to the right in this photo are our game closet), so using it for a closet didn't seem to make sense. Reading nook was a possibility, but it's really dark right there, so that would require adding in some lighting. It was too shallow for a play area (plus, as the kid gets bigger, I'm sure the whole downstairs living area will become his play area).
So, what to do with it? Currently, the downstairs living area is our "movie room" (though we haven't made much use of it yet). So it struck us to turn the alcove into a small "dry" bar (no plumbing in this area of the basement) for drinks and snacks. This freed up some space in our dining room upstairs (which is where our wine rack used to be, but since our new dining room is a little smaller, there isn't really space).
So...where to start?
With a fridge, of course! We found a black mini fridge on the FB Marketplace for about $40. Therefore it seemed to make sense to focus our build around this. I visualized the fridge, a wine rack, and a cabinet or two for closed storage that would potentially be lockable. Then a countertop and some shelves above.
My initial sketch. Please ignore typos.
The top and the casters made it considerably taller than the mini-fridge, so we just removed those.
Mid-process pic. You can see how the current wine rack just isn't going to work.
...whiiiiiich was harder to accomplish than originally thought. Everything seemed to either be too narrow or too short--but if it was too short, stacking two would make it too tall. *sigh* So, I went to DIY Project Mecca: Hobby Lobby. After much searching through the store with my tape measure in hand, I found a large crate that measured 14 inches wide by 29 inches tall. It was a little short for what we needed, but I knew we could work with that.
Meanwhile, the Hubs took care of finding the countertop and the shelves. We recently got a Menards, and they were running Grand Opening sales, so we got some great deals on white-laminated MDF, measuring 8 feet wide--just a bit wider than the alcove's opening. The countertop had to be notched to fit, but I think the Hubs did an amazing job.
So then...we had a dark brown laminate cabinet, a black fridge, and a light brown crate. Guess it's time to paint!
The interwebz told me I should probably sand the laminate cabinet and then prime it. But I am lazy. So instead, I found black satin spray paint that would adhere to laminate. The project took about 3 cans, which were $5 each.
We waited for some beautiful weather, and then spread out a drop cloth in the back yard, weighted it down with rocks, and I went to town. (I also painted some of our outdoor fixtures while I was at it.)
Overall, it took 2-3 coats. And I probably SHOULD have scrubbed the laminate at least a bit before starting--I think the previous owner had used some sort of oil-based polish on it at some point, so the paint didn't adhere great to the doors or front edges, but the rest looked pretty good. In order to save on paint, I only painted the surfaces that would show--there was no point to do the sides that are hidden in the alcove. So I just wrapped onto the sides a bit. And I only did part of the shelves as well, so that I could put down patterned contact paper instead for some fun detailing.
We used some pieces of 2"x4" to shim up the difference in height between the cabinet and the wine rack, and painted those black as well.
We also added a glass rack to the lowest shelf so we could hang wine glasses out of the reach of our little one. Finally, we bought 6 puck lights at Home Depot to add some light, since this corner is really dark.
All in all, really happy with the result. It works perfectly for what we need, adds a little "wow" to the basement, and just seems like a smart use for the space. Also--we don't spend a ton of time in the basement right now, so I kinda like that I have to earn my calories for a beer/soda/glass of wine by going up and down the stairs. It also keeps the sodas a little more out of reach, so they're not just there to grab in our kitchen fridge.
Wine Rack: $30 (originally $49.99, with 40% off coupon)
Glass Rack: $12
GRAND TOTAL: $163