There’s A Finished Dry Bar in Our House

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

Hey guys! It’s been a little while huh? The Engineer and I put our house improvements on hold to focus on some other things. After our big push getting the sod in, we had family from out of town visiting and we took some time to enjoy their company and then some more time to enjoy life.

Some of that time enjoying life was spent celebrating our one year wedding anniversary! Yup, one year on the nose today. It’s been the best year and I can’t believe The Engineer and I shared our wedding vows one year ago.

All I can say about the past year is that I have the best partner in life that I could ever ask and dream for and I can’t wait for the rest of our lives <3

But enough of that, you are here to see a dry bar installation!

Last time we talked about the dry bar it looked like this….

You can find Part I and Part II here if you missed them…or since it has been so long, you probably forgot what on earth I am talking about!

As of last night though, the dry bar is completely finished! Since we installed 90% percent of it in one day it only seemed fitting to drag out the last 10% over a month and a half. :)

Back to where we left off with cabinets mounted to the wall. We scoured the interwebs and found a wine cooler that we thought would fit well in the gap we left for it.

We decided it might be a good idea to make the gap for the wine cooler a standard width. This way there is always the option to replace it with a 24” cabinet if we ever want more storage, if the wine cooler breaks and we didn't want to replace it, or if we wanted to take it with us if we move someday. Either way, it was an easy thing to plan for. It also gave us dimensions to shoot for when looking for the wine cooler.

There are wine coolers designed to be built into cabinetry, but they start around $600 and go up from there. A little bit of research let us know that we could build in a cheaper freestanding wine cooler on our own if we left enough space for ventilation. Se we decided to purchase a free standing wine cooler instead of a built in one.

First we built a stand for the cooler out of scrap wood to raise the bottom of the cooler to the bottom of the cabinets.

This way we could install a solid kick plate all the way across (which didn't end up being solid for ventilation purposes, but more on that later).

We also made sure that the bump on the top from the door hinge would fit under the countertop once it was installed.

After we had the stand in place we built everything else around the wine cooler. All the wires for the lighting on the shelving were fed into and through the wall and came back out wall behind the wine cooler where the only outlet in the room happened to be beyond conveniently located. Minor victory there! We wired the six lights from the floating shelves to one transformer and the rest of the lights on the center cabinet to another transformer (they come with three lights in a transformer, but there is room to wire six in each) and mounted them to the wall in no particular place since they would not be visible. And yes, I hate that they are crooked. 

We then installed fillers on both sides of the wine cooler to fill the rest of the 24” gap. The wine cooler was 18” wide so we made two 3” fillers from left over kick plate material. But we had some special modifications to make to these fillers. We figured the dry bar would get use for holiday gatherings and such…what if we wanted to plug in the slow cooker? Like I mentioned, the only plug in the entire room was located behind the wine cooler and once that was installed…we weren't going back there again unless that thing was coming out! So we thought to install some plugs on the top of one of the spacer strips.

Oh yes, that is real life.

We found a three plug adapter that was, for all intents and purposes, the same width as the spacer. Additionally, if you flipped it upside down (quite common in our house actually), there was a little lip that would catch on the front of the spacer to prevent it from getting pushed backwards when plugging things in. We used the same L-brackets that we used to mount the spacer and placed them as a backing for the adapter to further ensure that we couldn't push it back into the empty space when using it. I also super glued the living daylights out of it just for kicks.

With this installed, we can plug any appliance we need which makes this space much more functional. We didn't stop there though. On the other side of the wine cooler we installed switches for the lights. We removed the default toggle switches and wired both light sets into this switch.

We used the same mounting method with a bracket and it is rock solid. And awesome.

With both spacers installed with their respective flaire, the wine cooler could slide right in. I think it looks pretty good, right?

I did paint the front of the wine cooler stand white because we planned on putting a vent on the bottom to let some air in for that ventilation we needed. To put that vent in we took some soffit that fit perfectly over the kick plate (I know, we couldn't ask for more) and cut it to fit across the gap below the wine cooler. We also made a little spacer strip to clean the bottom up a little bit.

We are pretty happy with how this all turned out given that we were flying by the seat of our pants on this one.

There was some waiting after the wine cooler was installed because the countertop we wanted from IKEA was out of stock for 3-4 weeks. We could have gotten a laminate top, but we really wanted to hold out for the solid wood. I am so glad we did because it is much nicer and worth the cost difference.

We weren't quite ready to seal the countertop and screw it in so we just set it up there for a while. I am so glad we were slow with this because we noticed that the temperature in the wine cooler shot up without the open top.

To fix that problem, The Engineer got creative and scavenged some old computer fans we had and wired them up so they would sit on the sides of the wine cooler to create air flow.

He is so darn smart. You might also notice in that picture that there is a tiny wooden block sitting on the top of the wine cooler toward the back. We put that there to wedge the cooler in since it doesn't actually touch the bottom of the countertop to prevent rocking when the door is opened. Works like a charm and no one will ever see it. Except for all of you :)

We applied three coats of BEHANDLA wood treatment oil (from IKEA) to the countertop and allowed it 24 hours to dry before final installation. We didn't follow the instructions on attaching the countertop to the cabinets. Honestly, the countertop isn't going anywhere…its really stinkin’ heavy! 

We knew it would be much easier to get under it if we ever needed to if we just put a few screws in. So we only attached it to the cabinets with four screws just to be sure it wouldn't slide if some was tackled onto it or something like that.

And just like that we were finished!

Pretty cool right? I absolutely love it and feel pretty cool that we came up with this on our own. I still need to up the decorations a little, but I am a firm believer that decorating a space should take place over time and not all at once. That’s just asking for a redo.

The dry bar gives the entry room some sort of function now and it is far from depressing like it used to be.

And I was even allowed to upgrade the bathmat rug to a real one! It does not get much better!

I'm sorry this one took so long to get out to you all, we are ramping up again so things will be a little more regular around here.

Happy first anniversary to the best husband I know <3