before and after

before & after: salvaged wood bar

by Kate Pruitt

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

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Brought to you by CB2, who’s giving you the chance to win a $15,000 Novogratz Room Makeover. Now through June 15.

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

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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