The Ball is Rolling

Part I: Dry Bar Installation (Part II and Part III)

Since we put the sunroom together we have been itching to get the other two ‘extra rooms’ to a functional state. We have the entry room/sitting room/wedontknowwhatthehecktocallit room and the office to work on. We have plans for both rooms but got really invested in the entry room since it is the connector between the sunroom and the rest of the house…ahem…and the entry to our home! We decided to ignore the office right now because it can hide behind closed doors.  

The entry room is…interesting. Our home was originally built in the 1950s as a 2/1. The entry room is the first room of the add-on portion of the house. It connects the original house via the kitchen to the added bedroom (aka the office) and the sunroom. And if you didn't catch on, it also has a second entry door. It is closer to the driveway so we use this door 99.9% of the time. Were you keeping track of the doors? There were 4. Four different doors on four different walls.

The entrance is a regular door.

The office has a set of French doors (that desperately need to be repainted, but that’s a job for another day).

There is a smaller set of French doors to the sunroom.

Finally, there is a large doorway through to the kitchen which has a vintage elevator door from a cigar factory in Ybor that is on a sliding track (and yes, it is as awesome as it sounds).

So, like I said, there are four different doors on each of the four walls, making this an interesting space to work with. Oh, and there is also a beam running through the middle of the ceiling…which happens to be two different heights.

Now something I consider lucky is that we need extra kitchen storage. We actually don’t have that much cabinet space even though the kitchen feels pretty spacious.

We defaulted to the exact same method of additional storage that the previous owners did which was to place an armoire on the only open wall in the entry room and fill it with the kitchen items that didn't fit in the kitchen.

So why do I consider it lucky that we needed extra kitchen storage? Well, without that need, I don’t know what the heck we would have decided to do with this space. At least needing some additional kitchen storage gave us a direction to go with the room. With that in mind, we came up with the idea of creating a dry bar. Do you hear the angels rejoicing like I do?

A dry bar would give us the kitchen storage we needed in the form of lower cabinets. Then everything above and visible would be a cool place for all our wine and beer :)

We were loving the idea and couldn't wait to get into this project since day one in the house because let’s face it, one lonely armoire in the entry room of your house that you see every day is so so sad.

We had been coming up with ideas for a while, but nothing too serious. Everything was on the back burner, that is until we finished the sunroom. You have to go through the entry room to get to the sunroom. After the sunroom turned out so awesome, we literally couldn't wait to give some functionality to the entry room. We spent the second half of our Saturday designing the dry bar. We were using IKEA’s online home planner (in case you are interested). It is a pretty good tool for visualization and spacing if you are using their products. We went through several iterations before we arrived at the final plan.

Originally we planned to have a tall pantry like cabinet on the left (primarily for that kitchen storage we needed) and a dry bar area with lower and upper cabinets on the right.

{Side note, all these plans are simply screen shots from the IKEA home planner. Also, our walls are a very light green (not lime green) and the white cabinets weren't showing up too well against them in the program, so as we move through the pictures you will also notice the evolution of the room in the background haha.} 

This was the plan from day one and for a long time after because we weren't really brainstorming that much about it. One alteration we did have to that was a ‘minimalist’ plan where we would use one of those pre-made kitchen islands or bar on wheel get-ups with some type of upper cabinet of the wall.

There were several problems with this plan. Although we could find plenty of options for the lower portion, there weren't a lot of budget friendly options (after all, the idea of a minimalist setup should include some dollar savings right?).  Another problem with this option was that the storage it was adding was open shelf storage and we were honestly trying to hide the rest of the kitchen stuff, not display it!

We then looked at a more traditional kitchen setup with normal lower cabinets and upper cabinets, jazzing it up with glass inlays in the upper doors.

We tried to make it a little different with the open shelving in the middle of both sets of cabinets.  This option was nicer to us and we liked it, but it just wasn't stealing our hearts. It just looked so heavy. 

It was at this point that we had one of our revelations. We didn't want this to be an awkward detached extension of the kitchen; we wanted it to be ‘cool’ and able to stand on its own. This was why we tried the open shelving out and they did add a little something. In reality though, what the heck was I going to do with a bunch of little 9 in by 5 in shelves? Nothing. I would struggle to fill those with stuff I don’t have and don’t need to buy. So we took them out and thought, “what if we could buy a wine cooler for a price similar to those shelves?”

We had looked at built in wine coolers, but they are expensive. The free standing ones are much more affordable, but technically you aren't supposed to build them into your cabinets because they will lose the air flow they need to operate properly. After a quick Google search we were confident that we could DIY building in a free standing wine cooler with enough space around it to maintain the air flow. Then it was on like donkey kong. We started to scour the interwebs for a free standing wine cooler that was equivalent to the cost of the shelves.  We knew once we found the right on that this would be the direction we wanted to head. At this point we removed the shelves from the lower cabinets in the plans and left a gap there where the wine cooler would eventually go.

Now our creative juices were flowing and we were starting to point the design toward awesome dry bar instead of weird kitchen extension. We shrank the upper cabinets and expanded our options up top with open shelving.

Sadly, in the home planner gadget we were using, we couldn't import every single IKEA product, so we had to go with our imagination. So in the above plan the floating shelves are missing. We were leaning toward the IKEA LACK shelves. They are simple floating shelves that come in three sizes (we had to default to the 12” because the other two options were too long for our space). We also planned to build some simple x-box wine storage to go below the two upper cabinets, as rudimentarily demonstrated below along with the floating shelves.

With the floating shelves, we planned to install lighting on the underside since we have that type of lighting in the kitchen and really like how it looks.

We were much happier with this plan, but it still wasn't there yet. I was really into having glass inlays in the upper doors and the smaller cabinets didn't offer this option. We thought about getting them anyway and doing the inlay ourselves, but that seemed counter intuitive to buy something new and immediately tear it apart to redo it. I save that stuff for the pieces I find on the side of the road :)

The Engineer then saw a picture where the floating shelves were on the outside of the cabinet instead of the inside. He really liked it and came up with this plan.

It was looking pretty cool, but with the small shelves (3 on each side of the cabinet), and I was worried that they would get lost between the right side of the upper cabinet and the wall…they are only 11” deep. For your viewing pleasure, I again placed a really high tech representation of those shelves below.

I was liking it. Liking it a lot actually, but I wasn't loving it. We still planned to build a little wine storage under the cabinet.

At this point in the evening we went to Home Depot to do some price shopping. While we were looking at and planning with IKEA items, we knew once we got the general plan we could shop around other places to find what we wanted at the price we wanted. Long story short, we decided that IKEA was going to get us where we wanted to go. No complaints from this girl about another weekend trip to IKEA!

On Sunday we were in IKEA’s showroom bouncing back and forth between our plans and the merch. One of the first things we saw was this bad boy. The only difference was that the base of the one we bought was the same birch color that the door is. Apparently this is new so everything isn't updated on the website. 


It was the perfect solution to our upper cabinet problem! See, part of the fear I had with the last plan above was that the cabinet was too large and would overpower the floating shelves instead of creating a nice balance with them. This cabinet was half the size, it had my glass inlay that I just had to have (the double cabinet above only had frosted glass), and as soon as we put it in to the plan we loved it.

Of course, with shelves…

We debated where the top floating shelf should go. It would either be a normal shelf as depicted above, or mounted all the way up on the ceiling as an architectural feature, like below. Spoiler alert, option 2 won out. With the lights installed on the shelves, it looked really cool to have the top one at the ceiling. We didn't make the final call on this though until we actually had the shelves and were holding them up to the wall.

We made some final decisions in IKEA and placed the order.  And had a free lunch while our items were pulled! I guess the free lunch is new at IKEA…if you spend $100 you can take your food receipt when you check out and they will take that amount off your total! I’m not sure if this is a limited time only thing, or specific to our store, but we appreciated it!

We got home and unloaded the car just before the rain hit and got started working…

Stay tuned ;-)