No joke. A stranger walks into a bar and says, “What’s that bar doing in your living room?” And the homeowner (me) says, “I don’t know, but it’s driving me to drink!”
It wasn’t even a cool bar, like Casablanca kind of cool. It was dark, unused, and forgotten in the corner. We didn’t use this built-in cabinet as a bar, but we definitely needed the built-in storage. It was time to give this cabinet more function and less…uh…bar-ness.
As with all home remodeling projects, there were some problems to solve along the way. If you are thinking about removing cabinet doors to create open shelves, these tips will help you to avoid some pitfalls.
But first, let’s start with before and after pictures.
Before: It’s the final call for this dated wet bar.
After: Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!
So here’s the story.
We don’t need a bar in the living room, so these wine racks just collected dust. The glass and brass door inserts were not really my style, but it would be costly to replace them. And since this dark cabinet sat in a dark corner of the room, you didn’t even notice it. I knew that this built-in had loads of potential, but I clearly had my work cut out for me.
Problem: The Dark Wood Had Faded Over Time
Look at the photo below. Sorry, it was a quick cell phone pic. Can you tell how the sun had faded the cabinet? The color changes dramatically from left to right. Ack!
We decided that white paint would make the cabinet look like new.
Problem: Outdated Glass Doors
The original brass and glass doors needed updating. I considered replacing the glass with clear glass, decorative metal panels, or just removing them altogether. In the end, open shelves was the easiest and most inexpensive option.
We had the old doors removed, and the holes from the hinges got patched and sanded.
Problem: Unused Wine Racks
We had the wine racks cut out from the center of the cabinet, but that revealed another problem. The cabinet door had routed, curved edges, but the wine rack opening had straight edges. (See the photo below.) After contemplating expensive options to fix this, I decided to leave it as is. I crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t be noticeable once we had it painted.
In the end, you really have to get up close to notice the different edges, and I don’t notice it them at all since we added decorative accessories to the cabinet. The accessories draw your eye away from the imperfect edges.
You have to look closely to even notice the routed edge. Some problems aren’t worth the high cost of fixing them, so look for creative ways to camouflage them.
Problem: No Wow Factor
The new “wow” is really the old marble countertop.
It really contrasts with the white paint, and now you really notice how pretty it is.
In the end, the results of the updated bar cabinet are better than I’d hoped for. My dark and unused corner cabinet is now eye-catching and functional. Open shelving, white paint, and a little styling were all this built-in needed. Problem solved!
I shopped the house for unused accessories and found this chipped bust tucked right under this cabinet. Now “Chip” has found a new home. I love the bronze finish on this piece, and the imperfections don’t bother me a bit.
I also stole a brass urn from my husband’s office. I like that it has an aged patina, so I’m leaving it as is. No cost decorating! Always the best kind! The other pieces are mostly T.J.Max finds.
I’ll fill this cabinet over time with things I love, but for now I’m happy to shop the house for a few things. I really don’t want to just go out and buy a bunch of stuff to fill spaces.
Now the unused bar cabinet has open shelves and a bright new finish.
Here’s Looking at You, Kid!
There’s so much more to come from this room remodel. The staircase gets a major makeover, the fireplace gets new paint and decor, the old wood trim gets a fresh coat of white paint, and a new wall color brings it all together.