Build-a-Bar!

So, Nick and I have known for some time that we were rapidly running out of space on the bookshelves in our home office that we were using to store everything from books to camera equipment to computer cables and accessories, and of course our collection of fine adult beverages. I forgot to take a “before” picture but you can kind of get an idea of how crowded the shelves were from the background of this photo:

I <3 cashew milk

I <3 cashew milk

Basically the shelves were a mess and we needed to do something about it. We started looking up home bars, and were absolutely shocked to find out that not only are they pretty rare in the size we needed, but the size we needed was also usually upwards of $1,000! Here’s an example of one we looked at that is about $1,600, and it wasn’t even big enough to house everything.

Example bar.

Example bar.

So, we pretty much gave up on the bar idea until we won the lottery or something.

But then! One weekend we were staring mournfully at the bookshelves, and one of us suggested (can’t remember who – Nick swears it was him) tipping the bookshelves on their sides and just MAKING a bar. After a little Googling we found someone who had done just that on the website ikeahacks.com (worth checking out – people do some cool stuff with Ikea furniture!), and decided to try our hands at a little Ikea hackery of our own!

Like any home project, we expected it to take a couple of weekends. I totally should have known better from that time I tried to renovate a house in 2 weeks, but everything always takes three times as long as you think it should. It took us several weeks to finish the bar…probably 6-ish by the time all the finishing touches were put on.

On the plus side though, we already had the shelves, and so we only had to buy:

We also opted for the following optional items to spruce it up a bit:

Making our total expense on the bar just $329, which was insanely cheaper than we could have purchased one.

Here are some progress shots:

Clearing out the shelves....we don't have a problem.

Clearing out the shelves….we don’t have a problem.

Checking to make sure bottles will fit in the cubes - perfect!

Checking to make sure bottles will fit in the cubes – perfect!

Step one - the two shelves are horizontal and glued together, and we checked to see what the height would be with the bar top on.

Step one – the two shelves are horizontal and glued together, and we checked to see what the height would be with the bar top on.

Bar top on!! There's still a lot of work to do though...

Bar top going on!! There’s still a lot of work to do…

Priming the backing. Ready for textured wallpaper.

Priming the backing. Ready for textured wallpaper.

Here's a closeup of the textured wallpaper we used.

Here’s a closeup of the textured wallpaper we used.

Backing is wallpapered up...

Backing is wallpapered up…

Lights going in. Nick used his new router (thanks MIL!) so he could run the cables neatly.

Lights going in. Nick used his new router (thanks MIL!) so he could run the cables neatly.

He put in a false backing to hide all the cables for the lighting.

He put in a false backing to hide all the cables for the lighting.

Here's what's behind the false back.

Here’s what’s behind the false back.

The light switches are mounted on the inside of the top left cube. You can change colors or cycle through different colors.

The light switches are mounted on the inside of the top left cube. You can change colors or cycle through different colors.

Wine rack being assembled, and then we spray painted it black and put it into the lowest right hand cube.

Wine rack being assembled, and then we spray painted it black and put it into the lowest right hand cube.

Sprucing up the sides with textured wallpaper, black paint, and trim.

Sprucing up the sides with textured wallpaper, black paint, and trim.

Here's what the side looks like, in progress...

Here’s what the side looks like, in progress…

Finished!!

Finished!!

Closeup of the inside of a cube with the lights on.

Closeup of the inside of a cube with the lights on.

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6 thoughts on “Build-a-Bar!

  1. Hi there

    Very nice your bar! We’ve built also bar with Expedit and Capita, but the bolts of the Capitas were a little bit to short, so that the distance disk didn’t fit anymore between the Expedit surface and the screw nut. How did you solved that issue? Which “Special bolts for the Capita legs $7″ did you use?

    Thanks in advance and best regards from Germany
    Alex

  2. Hi Alex! Thanks for visiting! Yes, we had to use special bolts. We got them at Lowe’s, a major hardware store. They are M10 – 1.5 bolts. M abbreviates metric, and 1.5 is related to thread count. I can’t recall the length, but if you bring one of ikea’s pieces with the disk on it to the hardware store, you’ll know how much longer you need. We could only find them long enough by choosing bolts that were half threadless.

    Speaking of which, we also bought the widest washers we could find, since the replacement bolts won’t have the disks as on the pieces that Ikea included.

    Best of luck!
    Nick and Pam

  3. This is bloody gorgeous! I love it! Did you find that some of the alcohol bottles were too tall to fit? We have a lot of whiskey’s still in the boxes that I wonder might be a wee bit tall for this.
    Thoughts?

  4. It’s not a good idea to store hard liquor horizontally if it has a cork. The cork will dissolve. Just FYI.

    • Hi Derek! I did some research and it seems like there’s no consensus on whether storing bottles on their sides is bad or not. At any rate, the only ones we lay on their sides are Grey Goose vodka, which have an artificial cork. Thanks for the heads up though & cheers :)

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