Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Basement Bar

Okay, the squirrels have remained at the top of my blog for long enough. Let's just move on.

During the last week the weather around here has been wet and windy (although shockingly the sun is out this morning). That combined with the sun setting at 4:30 each afternoon, has kind of forced us inside. I've been expecting this. After all it's November in Seattle. But, it's this time a year, that the benefits of having a house with a basement are beginning to become clear.

Ever since we moved into this rental house, I've been attempting to get the basement set up to be a usable space. And by usable I mean a place to hang out, drink beer, play darts, work on small projects and generally not worry about making a mess.

As part of this master plan, the last time we were in Spokane I picked up some pieces of an old bar that my parents have been holding onto for about the last 40 years. My plan is to reassemble this bar and install my kegerator (which I also need to build) underneath the bar.

Several pieces of the bar have gone missing over the years. And the remaining pieces (which are mostly plywood)are in pretty rough shape. Basically, all that remains are two sides and the top. In theory, I could of just started from scratch and built a new one. But, I love the history of this and the fact that my parent's used to use this and that my uncle helped build it. So, I'm going about putting it back together.

The pieces of the bar were wrapped in newspaper. The newspaper dated back to 1982 and was from when we lived at Travis AFB in California. So, that was the last time the pieces of the bar had been unwrapped.

I wanted to keep this project fairly simple and inexpensive. So, I opted just to sand the remaining pieces of the bar and repaint them black as they were originally.

The three original pieces of the bar upside down, as I build a frame to attach the new front to.

After that, I needed to build a new front to the bar. I picked up a half piece of plywood from the home supply store and managed to get it to fit the front of the bar with minimal cutting. My original thought was just to paint it black. But, after thinking about it, I opted to try to class it up a little bit by wrapping the piece of plywood in vinyl.

This required a trip to Joann Fabrics. A few things about this craft/fabric store.
1. Speedy Customer Service is not there strong suit. The place is packed and they've got one check stand open.
2. A 30 year old guy who is not with his girlfriend/wife gets a lot of strange looks walking around a fabric store. Go figure. Granted, I was probably giving some of those same people strange looks, because I was stunned at some of the fabrics people were picking out.
3. They sell some sweet patterns of vinyl. This is good to know as I have eventual plans to recover some furniture.

Anyway, I managed to find a nice sparkly pattern that I thought would go with the red top of the bar and black sides. After being asked by several old ladies, what I was making (code for: what the hell are you doing here?), I finally made it out of the fabric store. Next time, Tonja's coming with me.

I've never done any type of upholstery work. So, I kept it simple and just wrapped the vinyl around the plywood and stapled it on. I thought about putting some padding between the vinyl and plywood, but ended up liking the flat look of the vinyl against the plywood without any padding.

As you can tell from the photo, I don't know what I'm doing. Getting the vinyl tight was interesting.

Decided the floor was a better option for stapling the vinyl to the plywood.

Anyway, I then screwed the new front to some 1 x 2's that I'd used to make a frame for the front. Everything fit surprising well.

Attaching the front of the bar...oh yeah, I also found time to hang my dart board, as you can see in the back.

Almost done...I was happy with the contrast in colors.

It's not quite done. As I plan to run a couple of pieces of trim along the front edges to cover up the plywood edges. And I need to add a shelf inside and figure out where the kegerator, beer lines and tap are going to run. I'll post more as the project moves along.

Right now, I'm headed outside...while the sun is still out....crap, it's gone.


  1. thanks for sharing your trip to joann fabrics. made me laugh! looks like you have built yourself a man cave!

  2. Looks nice! Hope the Emerald City is treating you as well as the Emerald Isle is treating us.


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