Cocktail time (quite often my favorite time)

Throwback to this custom bar I designed last year at the bottom of a client's basement stairwell. This beverage center functions as an add-on to what is currenty the playroom, but it will easily transition to a proper bar in time, once both kids are grown.

We opted for a single wall shelf because the client likes to hide the clutter and it also allowed more of the tile to be visible. Plus, we built a second counter and cabinets into the nook of the stairwell (above right).

The @hanstonequartz countertop has discreet veining to make it interesting while keeping it super simple for the client, plus it complements the existing floor tiles without overpowering them. The custom cabinet doors and fridge open in the same direction for ease of use, with pull-out garbage and drawers secretly configured within.

Pendant lights from @visualcomfortco offer all the ambiance needed without being fussy. When choosing lights, I opt for shades or glass to diffuse the glow of the bulbs and ALWAYS put them on dimmers. Everything looks better when there's not surgical lighting. When choosing bulbs, I look for the words LED, 40 or 60-watt equivalent, warm light and wattage of 2700-3400K on any box of bulbs. Any brighter is no bueno, in my opinion. Always go for more lights at lower wattages. These bulbs by Philips fit the bill nicely. You can choose any brand you like, just look for my key words. Stock your cabinets and cross it off your list. For existing table or floor lamps that don't currently have a dimming switch, buy this converter and you can plug your lamps right in. Done!


The bar faucet with single-hole design takes up the minimal amount of counter space and only requires a single hand to operate. When you're selecting fixtures. think about who will be using the space (kids) and the tasks you need to accomplish (quick hand washing, counter cleaning, glass filling) so you can decide if you need hot and cold knobs or a simpler option. And don't forget to test the metal color - all the elements here are polished nickel, which can have myriad color variations. If that matters to you, get samples before you bite the bullet.

Below are a few "in process" glimpses. It had tons of potential asking to be unleashed.

A huge, round mirror on the perpendicular wall (side view in pic above) adds depth to this tiny corner and softens the square space with its rounded edges. A little secret: I love round mirrors because they never look crooked. Mirrors are one of the items I will often buy from online retailers because there is such an enormous and affordable variety available. Splurge for the important things and get price-conscious where it matters less and won't be obvious.


Who's ready for a drink now? 🍷🍾🍸 Does all this time at home have you interested in designing a bar of your own, "from a distance" of course? It's very doable. Reach out anytime to chat.


xo Ariane

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