Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pinterest Project: Basement Bar

So, we recently did a little DIY/Pinterest project in the basement of our new house. More "DIY" than Pinterest, since we really just used Pinterest more as a "pinspiration" than anything.  Yes...typing that word made me gag a little.  But anywho...I really love how it turned out.
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.

We priced cabinets at the big box home improvement stores, but everything was higher than we really wanted to spend, or was too tall/short.  So I would periodically visit the thrift stores near my office to see if there were any end tables that might work.  I finally hit paydirt-- $7 for this fiberboard laminated TV stand.  It was in rough shape and needed some love, but overall it was sturdy, and the doors were in decent condition.
The top and the casters made it considerably taller than the mini-fridge, so we just removed those.

Then, there was the wine rack issue.  Our existing wine rack was just about right as far as height, but the wrought iron detailing along the sides wouldn't allow it to fit in the space we had left.  I searched FB Marketplace and Craigslist, but could never find anything that would work (or that hadn't already been snatched up, or the lister wouldn't respond, etc.).
Mid-process pic.  You can see how the current wine rack just isn't going to work.

I saw some pics on Pinterest showing wine racks made out of wooden crates, and had a "Eureka" moment.  We could find a crate that would work, and then use some plywood that we already had on hand to make an "X" shaped divider.  Brilliant!  Now...all I have to do is find a crate that fits the space!

...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.
Once everything was coated evenly and was dry, we put it all into place, and then added the counter and shelves.  I decorated them with things that had been on our old wine rack and other miscellaneous bits and bobs. 
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.

Overall cost:
Fridge: $40
Cabinet: $7
Wine Rack: $30 (originally $49.99, with 40% off coupon)
Paint: $15
Counter: $17
Shelves: $2
Brackets: $18
Glass Rack: $12
Lights: 22
GRAND TOTAL: $163


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