May 21, 2013

Introducing... The Wet Bar

Okay, I know what you're thinking.  "You put in a wet bar?  What is this, 1986?" And you might be right.  It seems like most modern remodels are removing the sink and bar space in their Living Rooms instead of adding one.  But let me start at the beginning, and I mean way back to the beginning.  Back to the Hub's and my wedding 7 years back.  After an amazing wedding and week long honeymoon we returned to our first house to discover a large, stainless steel keg fridge with a bow on it in our basement, a gift from our Groomsmen.  The Hubs did a party dance while I was all, "we registered for a vacuum and got a keg fridge..."  

Turned out to be one of the best gifts ever.  We were young, newly married and one of the first of our friends with a house, which meant we always got to host the parties. (You know this party planner loved that.)  We never had to create an excuse for a party, we just made the calls, "We just tapped a new keg of Summit..." The only issue was that this big stainless steel box sat in the middle of our Family Room for years.  About 5 years in we finally built a bar around it to make it fit, with a lot of help from our friend Builder Chuck.  In fact, I would say that this bar project was the first to really give me the courage to tackle building furniture.  

 And then we moved.  Of course our buddy the keg fridge came along for the ride, and some how for 2 years found himself once again in the middle of our Family Room.  So when we began this remodel we knew part of it would have to be finding an appropriate and grown up space for the keg.  (We do have 2 kids now.)  Here's the area of choice:

It's on the other side of the steps, right across from the Wine Bar and next to the Cat Closet.  The plan was to build in a little counter top and a small sink. Yep, I'm putting in a bar sink.  I'm a big fan of being able to quickly wash the wine and beer glasses that we use down here, rather than bring them upstairs at the end of the night, wash them, and have them sit on our counter for 4 days until someone remembers to bring them back down.  If that makes me old school, I'll take it.

The only problem was this guy:

Notice we didn't bother to paint the trim all the way to the corner, since we knew it would be hidden here.

We unfortunately have a return air duct right in the way of where our plumbing lines would need to run through.  (We can't run them through the back wall as typical, because that back wall under the stairs is made of cinderblock.)

Here's a look inside the cat closet at that return air duct.  You'll see what was just a small vent on the outside, is a big old mess for us to deal with in the inside. (If you have an eagle eye you'll also see some plumbing lines that are running through this room already, making this sink super easy to plumb.)

But I'm pretty much not scared of anything anymore, so after a few conversations with my Dad and the guys at Home Depot, I took out the tools and got us to here.

 Gross- that's a lot of dust. 

We had our buddy the plumber come out to run the water lines and return drain.  He is fantastic and did a super professional job really quickly one Saturday morning.  Then I focused on moving the return duct over one set of studs.

Of course it's all 1980's so it took a lot of trial and error to find the right parts, but eventually the guys at Home Depot and I settled on adding this contraption to the top end of the return:

 And then running this tube of flexible duct work down to the new vent.  It was pretty easy, and takes up less space than the last one.

So here is the very strange inside look at the plumbing and air duct.  A great example of the ugly stuff that has to happen in the walls before you can make everything pretty.

 Up next: my more modern take on the 1980's wet bar.  I'm really excited to show you what we can up with!  In the mean time- what do you guys think of the wet bar?  Am I the only one that appreciates their functionality?  I mean, I get how they can be a bit redundant if your Living Room is right next to your Kitchen, but for a basement or far away space I think they're kind of awesome.  Anyone else rocking a keg fridge like they're still 25?  Do you go for the more humble beer fridge out in the garage?  Does my need for a fridge who's only purpose is to hold beer showcase that we have a problem? :) 


  1. I think the wet bar is kind of brilliant. I'm constantly shuttling glasses up and down the steps at the firehouse (the kitchen is on the first floor and our faux apartment is on the second).

    There's no shame in a keg fridge. (Please note, this is coming from a woman who has a small fridge on the second floor to keep vodka cold.)

  2. We have a keg fridge and when we did our basement remodel a big part of it was building in our own modern take on a wet bar. We have a large bar sink and our keg fridge built in and I love it! So glad we put the sink in.

  3. We are putting in a wet bar in our basement. I will tell my mom it's a "popcorn kitchen" like hers :)

  4. great idea! If we had room we would totally have a keg fridge! I think the sink will come in handy, not only for washing glasses but also for the inevitable foam that happens when you tap a fresh keg. And the location across from the wine bar is perfect!