There’s nothing that I love more than a good design challenge when it comes to client projects and remodels. The project I’m sharing with you today is actually just a small part of a larger home remodel project that I’ll be sharing separately in the next few weeks.
Today I really wanted to focus on this amazing bar transformation because this is such a great example in a remodel of how you can breathe new life into something that you may think needs to go.
Before I show you the finished project, let me show you the before pictures of this space and tell you a little about our design challenges.
My clients had this massive wood bar in the corner of their very large family room that they were hoping to keep in the space as we talked through the remodel possibilities of the family room. They were very open to updating the bar area and making it more modern but they wanted to keep it because they used it a lot for entertaining and they needed all of the shelving for books and bar storage. The couple has a passion for books and cocktail mixology, which is a fantastic combination and my inspiration for the re-design.
What’s hard to see in pictures is that the curved bar itself only had seating comfortably for three people and there was very little room behind the bar to move around. It just wasn’t a solid functional space for their family.
My solution was to completely redesign the island and make it much larger to seat more people, while creating tons of additional storage in the island itself. Plus, the curved bar didn’t fit the scale of the massive shelving. I pinpointed that the island itself was the biggest design issue (too small for the scale of the space) and that by making the island bigger and more of a rectangle, it would instantly breathe new life into the whole area. 90% of the time, the biggest remodel design issues I deal with are scale issues.
So we started the project by getting rid of the curved bar and starting from scratch.
The other big design issue was the color of the wood and the heaviness/dated vibe it brought to the whole family room space itself. Since the clients really wanted to go as modern as possible with the rest of their remodel, I suggested that we paint the shelves and bar a moody dark gray and keep the rest of the walls throughout the family room space white. There is no faster way to modern up a space than bringing in a dark moody color surrounded by white and adding contrast. I wanted the bar area to look and feel brand new and as modern as possible.
I also went black slate on the floors for that extra modern feel. Below you can see how the cabinets looked after we painted and moved in the new huge island that we topped with beautiful solid white quartz.
The new island now allowed for five people to very comfortably sit around it and created plenty of room for multiple people to move around behind the bar itself. We also removed the top dated trim pieces on the top of the bookshelves and replaced with a modern simple squared off trim. This is another trick that I do when it comes to updated shelving. Something as simple as switching out dated trim on cabinetry can instantly change the whole feel of the piece.
So here is what the bar area looked like when we finished the remodel and styling. I still can’t get over the difference!
I thought about going all the way to the ceiling with the shelving, which I usually do in most situations but in this case, the shelving was already huge and massive in the space and I didn’t want to add to the heaviness. Plus, that would have been costly and I was trying to save as much money as I could for my clients.
As far as styling the shelves, I wanted to combine the couple’s love of books and mixing up inventive cocktails within the shelves. My goal with the vibe of this space was to make it feel like a New York City library bar, which are so popular in NYC.
I removed all of the covers on the books to expose all of the beautiful spines and color grouped them together.
To help keep the shelves from feeling too dark, I brought in large white styling pieces like urns and vases, which makes such a big impact in dark cabinetry. I also worked in some organic elements like soft greenery.
I knew from the beginning of this project that I would recommend this gorgeous brass up/down hanging linear chandelier. It was absolutely perfect for the space and we put it on a dimmer so they can adjust ambient lighting.
The solid white quartz countertops help to balance the dark cabinetry in the whole space.
I always look for ways in my remodel projects to use as much of the clients accessories in styling as possible. In this case, all of their books, crystal and decor worked perfectly.
This has been one of my all-time favorite design projects because overcoming design challenges like this are so rewarding. I am so lucky that I get to work with families like these sweet clients that trust me to guide them through the design process in creating dream spaces. I can’t wait to be able to share the rest of this transformation with you in the next few weeks!
If you want to see more of my client projects, you can click look through them here.
Thanks for stopping by today friends!