I found a better before of the bar from Zillow. Weirdly enough all the real estate photos from when we bought the house 5 years ago are still up. It makes me think I should have them taken down, but it’s kinda fun to look back and see what’s changed. Could I copy all the pictures and put them on our computer, sure, but I haven’t and instead typed this all up, so I probably never will…
So what did the bar have going for itself? The brick wall and all the necessary functional things. The downsides: It was ugly and never used. One of the contributing factors to never using it was that we never bought bar stools. The other being we used it as a dumping ground for our trash and recycling. There is something about an ugly space that makes me physically unable to keep it clean. Why go to all the work of cleaning it when the end result will still be ugly.
It of course had some perks, which include being largely functional. Clearly it wasn’t a huge priority to tackle when we first moved in. Actually we don’t really make priorities, it’s mostly whims. Usually the things we tackle must first start annoying us, then make us slightly crazy and only then might we be inspired to tackle something that will require a certain amount of labor or effort. My main motivation here was, Brett was pushing hard for Harry Potter bar and I didn’t want him to screw it up. Aha motivation!
So with out further ado… The final product. Let’s start with a good side by side, before and after:
From dark and sad to happy and Harry!
The wall color change alone would have made the room significantly better. I am a sucker for any blue green shade and the Stratton Blue hit the spot. (side note: spell check did not like Stratton, what did it suggest instead? Castration. Now I’ve never named a paint color, but somehow I don’t see Castration Blue flying off the shelves.) You might notice we also bought some stools, for sitting. I found them at Home Goods after having been eyeing some much spendier ones for a long time. They are quite stable and the perfect mix of warm with the wood and the metal base lending itself to a bit of an industrial feel.
The other biggest bang for our buck was replacing the bar top. The light natural wood tone of the butcher block helps lighten up a basement room with zero natural light. And it’s pretty. Now I don’t know if it’s true, but I think natural wood tones never go out of style. Trees are pretty much always cool, making wood pretty much always cool, so as long as you don’t mess with the wood tone and make it too orangey or in the former bar state- too poop brown, I think it will always look timeless.
Here you can see the base cabinets painted a nice matte black. They are slim with what I think is a soapstone counter top, but I’m mostly making that up. It’s sorta odd to me that the whole top row is fake drawers. I mean I get the fake one under the sink, but who really needs four fake drawers. Not me.
I used a stencil to trace the words trash and recycling, which surprise, holds our garbage and recyclables. I just did it with a white colored pencil and it hasn’t really come off. The funny thing is I did it in the hopes the kids would clean up after themselves and put things in the right spot, except for the small problem that they don’t know how to read yet… We often hear Levi yelling “Gideon put it in the one that’s has more letters!” The cute little leather pulls are from IKEA. Nothing like black and leather to really man up what could be kind of a nerdy space.
The shelves hold all of our glassware. I used to make fun of Brett’s shot glass collection, but now we just have a slightly more grown up version with collectible wine glasses and other glassware. I kinda like the nostalgia of it all, wineglasses from anniversaries, little beer glasses from Germany when we took the kids on an underground cellar tour in Nuremberg, glasses from the Guinness tour and of course Harry Potter glassware from the Harry Potter theme park.
Surprisingly, Brett was able to buy a bunch of Harry Potter stuff, despite his meager Target salary back in the day. He and Noble Collections (the place where you buy themed crap I mean- memorabilia) were quite close. Not so surprising, Brett bought all these treasures pre-marriage. When you know you found the love of your life young, you know you better spend what little money you have to buy all the glorious Harry Potter things, cause goodness knows your wife will be a real tightwad when it comes to collectibles. If you are wondering, of course the Marauder’s Map case opens and you can look at it up close.
That little strip of white on the left is the doorway to the laundry room and to the right is the opening to the living room. You can see at the tippy top of the picture where the wands start along the soffit (see previous post for all the how-to wand hanging you’ve been dying to know). This part of the bar is the slightly less subtle section. But it’s also only visible when you are in the bar already. It feels more like immersing one’s self in the culture and less like something screaming HARRY POTTER to the whole of the basement.
And now for some cute little vignettes where I stole some decor from around the house. Have no fear the theme runs deep through every facet of the space.
I leave you with my two favorite kiddos having a snack at the bar.
I will say I find it quite a happy / useful space to be in now. The other thing I like is that all the mainstays aren’t themed. It’s all just decor, so if Brett’ love for all things Potter ever wavers we could come out okay.