Updating an Ugly Built-In

Written by MICHAEL


Sometimes when walking through a client’s home, your eye spots a new project the client never imagined.  Such was the case in this client’s home.  The original owner of the house was also the builder.  As a bachelor who loved to entertain, he added several built-ins, including this wet bar.

Not only is the bar a bit dated looking, but the upper half being closed-off created an awkward hallway from the kitchen into the family room and made the space feel withdrawn.  In addition to the awful formica countertop, the flourescent bulb hidden behind the scrolled wood trim would have to go!   I offhandedly said that opening the top of the cabinet up and leaving just the bar on the bottom would dramatically open up that corner of the room.


The clients agreed and the project began!  I had my carpenter demolish the top portion of the cabinet and the countertop.

Taking out the top portion of the cabinet really opened up the corner.

A white quartz stone called Namibian White (from Charles Luck) was a bright and open choice for the countertop.  Because of the smaller size, we were able to find a remnant of the stone at a fraction of the cost.  We went with a leathered finish to add a rustic texture to the surface and make it less polished looking.  The brightness of the colour really opened up the corner tremendously!


For the sink we went with an undermount, hand-hammered chrome finish to add some sparkle.  This  would also double as a ice bucket to cool soda, beer, or wine for entertaining!  To keep the theme going we added a modern faucet, again in a polished chrome.

We kept the soffet above the cabinet in place because it houses the wiring for the light, and we added a new hand-blown hanging light fixture for eye-level lighting.

 The addition of glass shelves and iron brackets completed this project.  The client now has a new, up-to-date wet bar in the corner that no longer creates a blocked-in or obstructed feel to the room!

And the finished results!  Timeframe for this project was about a month from start to finish once everything was selected.  The clients were also thrilled at the cost!  We were much less than they imagined!

After the plumbing was connected! All ready to serve!


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