gray and cream refinished bar cabinet
For months, something about our living room was nagging me…specifically, the empty corner in between the tv and the loveseat. We stuck an old end table there and attempted to style it, but all it did was call attention to the gaping space and lack of continuity in that area of the room. So we set our sights on this bar cabinet from Pottery Barn. Wine glass and bottle storage? Expandable serving space? Cool distressed finish? Yes please. I was seriously in love.
We were thisclose to ordering it, but doubt creeped in at the last minute. We’d either have to pay an arm and a leg to ship it to Oahu, or work with one of John’s freight forwarders to get it here. And we worried that the dark finish might overwhelm the room with brown (since we already have brown couches, a dark wood coffee table, and an even darker wood trunk that serves as a media stand).
Still, we needed something for the space, and we’d really fallen in love with the idea of a cool bar cabinet that would make a great centerpiece for entertaining. And honestly, the purchase of large bottles of random liquors for my birthday jello shots was the last straw. We needed storage for those bad boys. No half-empty handles of Captain Morgan on my countertops, thank you very much.
So when this bar cabinet popped up on Craigslist for 1/8 the price of the PB version, and just begging for a makeover, we grabbed it.
I loved the plantation-style look of the wicker doors, I loved the steamer-trunk style hardware, and most of all, I loved this:
Expandable AND a built-in ice bucket? Oh snap! I couldn’t resist. John and I enlisted the help of one of our friends with a truck, and we hauled it home (we “paid” our buddy with a delicious carnitas taco lunch, ha). But this thing was in pretty crappy shape. The brass hardware was a mess, it smelled horribly musty, and someone had gone a little nuts with wood filler and forgot to sand afterwards. I had plans to stain the top dark walnut and spray paint the rest a creamy white, to both balance out and complement the browns in our living room. But of course, this piece had other plans for me. Here it is getting a few coats of Rustoleum Heirloom White (notice the top is masked off):
Turns out the top was sporting some kind of laminate coating, super shiny and impossible to sand off. Stain = no go. We briefly considered building a new top (or covering the old one) with plywood and trim, but in the end we decided on a deep warm gray paint finish for the top, to complement our grayish-green living room wall color. I coated the top with Zinsser BIN Primer and painted it with a gorgeous Behr shade, Intellectual.
I loved the look of the gray on its own, but I wanted it to have an aged, multilayered look, so I took a chance with some sandpaper and a few dabs of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut. While I probably should have used a legitimate glaze product to do this, the stain actually worked really well! I sanded the edges of the piece to reveal layers of paint, primer and wood, and then went over the entire top with a rag dipped in stain. I rubbed it in and wiped it down until the gray had a warm, luminous quality. Love the final result!
Here’s the whole piece after spray painting, hand painting, distressing, glazing and sealing with Minwax Polycrylic (spray for the doors and brush-on for the rest). The hardware got a good cleaning (all 20 pieces of it, ugh), and 2 coats of Rustoleum Universal Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint.
Side note: I gave the inner sections of the top the same gray/glaze treatment as the bar top itself, so when we open it, all the serving surfaces are the same. And I did ALL the gray sections with one little $3 sample jar of Intellectual that I had mixed up at Home Depot!
I topped our new bar with a few books, some mini carnations in a mason jar, and a Robert Lee Morris silver tray that my grandmother gifted me. Oh yeah, and Ignatius. That’s the little red dude. John has had him for years.
The quality of natural light in this corner of the room is terrible, especially at this time of year, hence some color variations in the photos. But the one below is pretty true to life. I love the look of our new bar!
Can’t wait to invite some friends over to gather ’round and grab a cocktail. But God forbid anyone dares put down a coaster-less drink on that brand new finish!
Linked up at Funky Junk Interiors, Creating a House of Grace, Home Stories A to Z, Domestically Speaking, DIY by Design, A Beach Cottage, The Shabby Chic Cottage, French Country Cottage, Miss Mustard Seed, The Shabby Nest, Remodelaholic, Tatertots & Jello, Between Naps on the Porch, Southern Hospitality, The DIY Showoff and the Blogger Block Party« lizard tales in the kitchen: favorite hummus »