Why: “Home bars create a special place to store and serve drinks closer to the living space,” says New York architect James Wagman. “If the bar is near the action, the host can create wonderful drinks while socializing with guests and family.”
Built-in bars don’t need to be limited to homes blessed with abundant square footage. A built-in bar can be the width of a single cabinet. Wagman installed this diminutive but mighty bar at the entrance to an apartment’s living room. Pocket doors come out of the wall to hide the unit when it’s not in use.
- Design fees and labor: $4,000
- Cabinets: $3,000
- Refrigerator: $1,200
- Countertop: $600
- Mirror backsplash: $400
Melarti notes that this client opted for no sink and installed a tough Corian countertop. “If you choose a more expensive stone, you will need to babysit it. With this material you don’t need to worry about etching from wine, lemons or limes,” she says.
- Custom cabinets (materials, labor, installation): $5,000
- Labor for appliance installation: $3,000
- Miele coffee system: $2,999
- ULine Echelon series wine refrigerator: $2,899
- Countertop (wood with a decorative finish): $1,000
See options for more inexpensive freestanding bars
Best time of year to do it: Eric Adelman of South Park Design Build says building a bar is a seasonless project. “Anytime is the right time for this project,” he says. “Especially if you are thirsty!”
Architect Nico van der Meulen in Randburg, South Africa, says if you are staging a major remodel or building a new home, plan for a bar early in the process. “Begin right at the start of the planning and building to ensure there is ample space for it,” he says.
Jason Urrutia of Urrutia Design in Sausalito, California, suggests starting small with a bar cart or tray. “You can move it around and see where it works best before investing thousands of dollars,” he says.
Once you’ve decided to make it more permanent, “if you want a professional look, hire a professional,” Miller advises.
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