Story by Rebecca Knutson
Photography by Robb Siverson Photography
With continual snow to shovel and the kids clawing at the walls, we are all thinking, NO MORE WINTER, PLEASE! I personally have resorted to Marie Kondo-ing every room in my house as an escape to looking out the window at the snow banks which my dog can no longer scale. I know what you are thinking, “Wasn’t this a bar article?” Exactly. Where’s the bar?
In all seriousness, we have been staring down the insides of our homes for too long this winter and it’s time to pump some life into them. As an Interior Designer, I am frequently asked to include a bar or beverage station into a project scope. These are wonderful additions to any project as they can be versatile well beyond housing liquor; they can also be a zone for your children’s after-school snacks and homework.
My hope is to paint you a picture of what goes into a well thought out bar, more than just spirits and Angostura Bitters. Let’s break it down with some main points:
Are we talking man-cave above the garage, a classic basement location where we need to accommodate family time, or maybe a dedicated space just off the kitchen? In any of these situations, my very next question to you is, “Do we have access to plumbing?”
Depending on your location, it may be tough to get water access for a sink or icemaker to your bar location. That’s ok! A dry bar is still a great way to add value and function to your space. However, if you are able to rough-in for water access, by all means DO IT. A sink nearby will give you the obvious convenience of easy cleanup, but can also double as an ice bucket. Simply plug the drain, fill with your favorite beverages and top off with ice. Once the party is over, pull the drain and shazam! Your cleanup is done. Having a sink is also beneficial if you plan on running an icemaker to the drain. This brings up the next important point of bar design: Appliances.
Is your bar doubling as holiday prep storage? If you answered yes, then we are probably going with a full-sized refrigerator. If hidden appliances are more your thing, well then let’s tuck them below the counter, install a cabinet door on them and just like that, you have more upper wall space to display.
Truth be told, I love under-counter appliances and here are a few of my favorite tricks;
If there is room to do a traditional built-in island or peninsula, let’s get one in there. We can tie-in the seating backed right up to your base cabinets. If you’re seeking a little more of an open feel, we can design a custom table or shop for a piece of furniture. Either way, our next discussion will be which way guests will want to face; the game on the TV? Each other to converse or play cards? Or the adjacent theater room or game tables?
STORAGE & DISPLAY:
Anytime I’m in downtown Fargo, I usually choose a restaurant that has a great bar display wall. I love the interesting bottle designs and color variations which make a gorgeous backdrop... so, if we can display a few of your favorite spirits, let’s do it! If you’d prefer to hide that Costco vodka bottle behind closed doors, we can create the perfect height cabinet to do so. (Face it, we all have one, and those bottles are gigantic!) Glassware or wine bottle display? You name it, we can showcase it.
Everyone’s style is unique and each need varies. This is a broad topic, but my main point here is to have some fun. A beverage station is a smaller scale than your kitchen, so don’t be afraid to use that unique stone countertop, backsplash tile, or bold color in this space. In a smaller-scale project, it doesn’t seem so scary.
Hidden man cave:
This bar was designed for hockey viewing, hunting, conversing, and straight-up manly discussions. Complete with a hidden library access door, balcony, and multiple TV’s, this hubby got it all.
Kid-Friendly Bar in the Basement:
(Adjacent to the theater and game room)
Freezer drawers were specified for birthday parties and we placed the garbage on the end run of the cabinet for all guests to easily access. Ice maker, under-counter beverage fridge, and microwave included.
Main Floor Bar:
Adjacent to the kitchen, this bar space keeps hors d’oeuvres off to the side and beverages easily accessible to guests. The wine display was a fun tie in on a necessary mechanical chase.
Grown-up style, kid-friendly accessories.
Plenty of storage for snacks and a knock-you-off-your-socks, granite countertop.
Midwest Nest Magazine features home designs in its monthly print and online publication.