Raising the Bar

Hello there! For today’s post, I thought I’d share one of our little household projects that came together in the last week or so. Because this was Kyle’s braintrust and I did absolutely nothing to help him in this, I thought it would be only appropriate that he share his process in putting together our fabulous basement bar. Take it away, Kyle!

This project began with a mop.

A day or so after we moved in, I was mopping the basement and broke my water bucket. The puddle grew as I watched, dumbfounded and still, which is my go-to response in moments of crisis requiring swift action. [editor’s note: that is true.] Luckily, the problem took care of itself by sliding down the recessed drainage hole in our basement floor.

Wait, the linoleum floor in our partially-finished basement has a drain capable of swallowing even bucket-sized spills? Basement bar!


The process started with a trip to the ReBuilding Center on Mississippi St. where I bought part of a small, old kitchen cabinet for $65. The plan from there was to build a sort of facade around the cabinet and slap an overhanging surface on top. I wanted the whole thing to be relatively easy to disassemble, so I attached the facade to the cabinet with 2×2″ posts that could be unbolted without removing every board.


We were going for a rustic look, so I screwed some cedar fence boards to the 2×2’s with about a 1/4″ (exactly one Bananagram tile) gap between each. Five footers turned out to be just the right width to overlap the side panels, which I decided was conveniently rustic.


For the top, I chose a 2×4′ piece of plywood. This turned out to give the bartop the perfect amount of overhang for one person to sidle up on one of our wooden stools. I reinforced the bartop with some shelving brackets screwed into the plywood and 2×2″ posts.


I didn’t really have a plan for the bar surface until I came across some pieces of MDF at Home Depot painted with an outdoor chalkboard surface. Perfect! It would be fun to have something to write and draw on, and it is supposedly meant for outdoor signs, so ought to stand up to a little moisture. Even if it doesn’t, a 2×4′ piece is less than $10, so it’s no big deal if it ends up ruined. The last step was to add some trim to the bartop to make it look complete (in a rustic sort of way, of course) and I called it a bar.


I wanted to put this thing together in time for our, err, “mellow” New Years Eve party that weekend and was able to do it all in about a day. The whole thing might have gone faster without breaks like the one in the following picture, but really, is that any way to DIY a basement bar?


Thanks for letting me share, Erin May!

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