before and after by 36

before & after: salvaged wood bar


Whoa. My jaw dropped when I saw this project in my inbox, and over the past week I’ve kept coming back to admire it and dream about a space where I could do something like this. Brooklyn-based interior designer Jen Chu and her boyfriend recently built out this reclaimed wood bar to act as a gathering space for interactive media company InTheMo. It was important for the company to have a casual, inviting space where employees, friends and clients could gather over a beer or coffee to discuss projects and ideas. But the space also needed to provide a lasting impact and accommodate larger social events and film screenings.

Jen did an incredible job creating a space that could serve these multiple functions, and she struck the perfect balance between friendly coziness and modern elegance. Plus, she managed to keep the costs reasonable by using salvaged materials from Craigslist and budget-friendly furniture and fixtures. The results are gorgeous! I could easily spend all my time here: working, playing or just hanging out. Amazing job, Jen! — Kate

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Read the full post after the jump . . .


Time: about 2 weeks

Cost: $6,000 for all the materials and fixtures

Basic Steps: Like most people, we started by collecting inspiration images. Even though we were building a bar in a very tech-savvy office, we wanted to give it a rustic feel to contrast that. Most of the inspiration rooms incorporated reclaimed materials and industrial or vintage fixtures, which was a great direction to go in for a big bar on a budget. We drew out some plans in SketchUp but found that the most useful way to determine the perfect footprint was just to tape it out on the floor.

First, we built the back of the bar, which would serve as storage workspace for a bartender. There will eventually be beers on tap and more refrigeration, so we stuck to a very simple structure mode of plywood that could easily be altered in the future to accommodate their needs.

We had barely enough reclaimed wood to wrap around the bar, so we cut it into smaller pieces to minimize waste and stacked the planks in a contemporary pattern. The footrest was covered in steel, and the bar top was given a contrasting trim and a high-gloss finish. We stained some slightly moldy wood lathe 15 different colors, which gave it the perfect patina. We staggered the pieces and nailed them to the wall surrounding the custom liquor shelf. I ordered custom-cut mirrors for the back of the shelf, and we hung pendants across the length of the bar.

If you don’t have the time and/or budget to buy lots of unique vintage pieces, sometimes classic industrial furnishings and fixtures can give you a similar feel. My favorites are industrial supply and academic supply websites. Everything is really affordable, and they ship nationwide.

Take your time roaming through home improvement stores. Sometimes you’ll come across the perfect material that you didn’t know existed or hadn’t thought of using. Also, get a really good respirator. All the sawing produced a massive amount of dust. A lot of reclaimed wood has old paint, mold, and dried animal waste stuck to it, so protect your lungs!

Figure out where you’re going to put your trash ahead of time. It’s amazing how much scrap lumber and general construction waste accumulates on a job of this size. Finally, always have a few cookies stashed away for those late night hours of exhaustion and despair. :) — Jen

Resources:
Reclaimed wood: Various vendors that we found under the “materials” category of Craigslist
Lumber and metal for bar and cabinets: Home Depot
Stains and varnish: 10 different Minwax wood stains (our favorites being Classic Gray and Dark Walnut)
Pendants: The Foundary (on sale)
Sink and faucet: Overstock
Stools: School Outfitters
Moose: Lowe’s

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36 Comments

Courtney

Beautiful job! I love the contrast between the rustic wood and the high gloss finish on the bar top.

Jeremy

Anyone know of a DIY tutorial for creating a salvaged wood wall like shown here?
I’ve seen those more and more and would love to know some different ways to do it.

Kathleen

When I saw this my exact words were ” WHAT? NO WAY!!!”
So beautiful and unexpected

Jillian

This is SO Impressiv and very inspirational – love the wood world!

Diane

Incredible! I did a double-take when I saw those stools— We used to sit on them in art class in school! It’s really cool to see them used so well in a new setting.

Simon

The finish on the counter top is stunning. was that bought or did they do that as well?

Tara

It’s amazing! Love it. One question – did you have to pull permits to do the work? I only ask because here in San Francisco this would require permits (due to plumbing, electrical and building fixed elements) which would make this pretty much twice the cost listed above. Not that I plan on building a bar in my house anytime soon…
Still – very, very lovely. My office is jealous of your office. ;)

The Grunion Run

Love all the different wood stains…such a great feel! What office wouldn’t benefit from a bar like that? Awesome!

monika

WHOA! That’s some serious talent! I’m in awe and green with envy–all at the same time. I went through those pics several dozen times as the transformation is incredibly hard to believe. Jaw-dropping in execution and price tag. BRAVO!

Stacy

Second the request for links to a tutorial! *OR* can you tell us what has to be done to prep/treat the wood? (I really want to cover a couple of walls in my SF apt w/ reclaimed wood.)

This is so amazingly beautiful, I had to come back a few days later and look at it again!

Ms. Clean

As my mother often says about such projects, “How am I going to clean that (rough wood)?”

Reclaimed Lumber Products

Per the requests for DIY tutorials, here are two links I found that will give you some ideas:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-create-a-reclaimed-wood-wall-165857

http://www.mapleleavessycamoretrees.com/2012/02/ryders-room-details.html

For the Bay Area folks, as a former SF apt dweller who did not have access to all the power tools needed to create some of these creations, check out reclaimed lumber dealers like Bug at Heritage Salvage in Petaluma http://www.heritagesalvage.com/

He might be able to mill something for you that you can just install on your own.

We can do it too, but depending on the size of the project, shipping costs can be prohibitive.

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