New Bar Renovation From Bad To Better
Now that the 2020 Holiday season is upon us, it is even more important that my bar be up and functioning. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you with the renovation of the mon proper bar, and the course, all bon walk-through starts off with a sketch and an explanation of the challenges and goals.
I assumed the first challenge is that it’s hideous in a 1970’s builder home” what’s on sale ” kind of way. I know that this bar has been renovated at least once before because this version doesn’t really match the construction drawings I have for this house. Built-on-site Paint grade cabinets, yellow solid-surface countertops, and stained tooth-rouge brown elevated millwork countertop. The staff were very friendly and helpful.
When we decided that this was a space worth some attention (and therefore part of our budget) there were certain things that we knew we would have to keep. We weren’t going to rebuild any walls and since there was a lot of built-in millwork in the house that is remaining, it wouldn’t make much sense to just replace the millwork in this area. That meant paint, trim. hardware, and most importantly, the configuration of the countertop … because it made zero sense.
So here is an end elevation of the countertop-which is the only view that clearly demonstrates the issue with the counter. You can see that there is an elevated bar portion on the right-hand side (the countertop that was made out of stained wood). Normally this would not be a problem, and some people would even think that this is the right thing to do … but they would be wrong.
At a working countertop – like the one in your kitchen-those are typically set at 36 ” tall – When considering in a bar height counter, such as the one shown here in wood, it should be located approximation 6 “taller-at 42” above the floor. This is pretty standard stuff and if you were to go buy “bar height” chairs or stools, they would set the seat higher to accommodate the fact that the counter is higher. Seems to make sense so far …
The sketch above shows my real condition. All the countertop heights are set correctly relative to one another but the floor in my Den steps down 6″… which means the height of the bar counter is 48 ” above the floor. This means at best, you could never place a bar chair here, which means at worst, someone who was 5 ‘ -4 ” tall could walk up and set their chin on the countertop without bending their knees.
The second sketch I have here was pulled out of my sketchbook-it was one of my original concept designs for this bar. The staff were very friendly and helpful. I had a pretty good guess but I’ve been surprised a few times on how the construction was executed on this house. I also wanted to keep the cost down so I know that it would be painted to match the rest of the millwork (no steel plate for me) and I knew that in order to keep the construction marching along, the design would have to be out of stock sizes that are readily available.
I don’t have many images of the front of the bar prior to the demo, but this one gives you a pretty good idea of the stained wood panel and trim that was in place. I find pretty much everything about this to be icky but what I really love (sarcasm) is this: if you look closely at the corner of the bar, below the wooden countertop, you will see that a painted face and a stained face come together at the corner. It also happens at the crown molding at the corner as well.
The image above-there’s actually two – shows the bar during demolition in the morning (on the left) with the elevated bar, and an afternoon shot (on the right) which now has the bar height dropped down.
At this point, you would be surprised to learn that this was considered “clean” in my mind. I included this photo here for two reasons:
I wanted to present the bar within the larger context of the space in which it serves, and
Just before I took this picture was the moment that I realized that the area where the gypsum board had been removed would need a 1/2 ” veneer wood panel added back in so that the trim I was planning on adding would sit on top of the plinth that would run along the bottom.
Of all the drawings and sketches I prepared, this image was the most effective way I communicated what I wanted. The room was very clean and comfortable. I know she’s happy now but I’m not entirely convinced she was on board with this at the time.
This is on the inside face of the cabinet and you are looking at the toe kick under the cabinet. For all you eagle-eyes out there, the trim piece on the right was originally flush with the cabinet base – which wouldn’t work because I needed an interior corner so that I could terminate the shoe mold.
Here is a look at the dowels getting installed-it’s actually quite an easy installation once you’ve got everything set up and level. In my early sketches, the word that stuck out to me was “texture” as I was trying to have the front of the bar be something other than a slab of some material.
Once all the dowels are set, you have to run a sander over them at the top and bottom so that they will be nice and smooth when they are finally painted.
This picture gives you a better idea of the whole thing. I caught the guys on their lunch break so they still had some sanding left to do, but all told, this entire design was started and completed in just a few hours
The room was very clean and comfortable. There’s a whole thing about the painting going on at this point which involved the removal of one crew and having a second crew brought in. Normally I would have avoided installing the countertops when there was paint spraying still to be done but at this point, it simply couldn’t be helped.
We installed a 3cm dolomite stone called “Shadow Storm” which is probably one of the more befuddling stones out there. Dolomite is slightly harder than marble but markedly less than granite or quartzite. Generally speaking, I don’t really like most granites and there are even whites coming out of there that I like (bad at working). Since we were going mostly white, the stone had to have some movement to it (rather than a flecked stone that looks like it’s been peppered) so my wife and I had a sit-down conversation about the maintenance of that sort of stone would require and were we okay with that. In the end, we obviously decided that we were but I would imagine that we should circle back around on that decision in a few years.
The staff were very friendly and helpful. I like round sinks when they are used in bars, and I am particularly fond of them when they are larger than ordinary Bar sinks. Before you ask, I used a 16 “Krause Oletto Kitchen Faucet and a 17.125″ Miseno Circular Undermount stainless steel bar sink for a grand total.
This entire process could be described as” Addition by subtraction”, which is a judgement I probably overuse. The staff were very friendly and helpful .The room was very clean and comfortable… the staff were very friendly and helpful.