Apparently if I see an old, rusty metal shelf on casters in an antique mall, I will pay all the money for it.
Ok, that’s not totally true. But I will rack my brain trying to figure out how to use it in our house, remove the tag (so no one can claim it while I walk) and visit the front desk to inquire about a discount (Hello easy 10% off!), and then somehow convince my husband that said rack can be a belated birthday gift for me (my birthday was in January and we bought this in March.) Long story long, we bought a bread rack.
When we found it, it looked like this:
But in my head, it looked more like this:
After a year of collecting, our decanter collection outgrew our petite bar. We’ve been casually looking for a different bar set-up. This cart totally clicked for me. The only problem (and the reason it was stored in the captain’s bedroom for many months – you can see it hiding in the corner in this post) is that the grated metal shelves offered an unstable surface. Great for bread, not for bottles.
House Hunters 2.0 gave us the boost to get this bar built. First that required a trip to a hardwood lumber place Aaron has been stalking on Craigslist. It’s a small shop filled with lots of wood, including some exotic options. While we have a serious soft spot for zebra wood, we thought it would be too loud and too pricey for this application. We mulled over the selection and almost settled on some basic poplar before noticing a pile of ambrosia maple. We learned that the discoloration and holes are caused by ambrosia beetles that burrow in and bring fungus. Those splotches definitely stole our heart. We dug through the pile looking for the perfect pieces and chose some of the “buggiest” (according to the wood shop employee.) We left with 4 boards (30.5 board feet) for a total of $91.50.
The boards weren’t wide enough to span a shelf, so we needed to join them. The boards were rough cut and only square on 3 sides so Aaron started by trimming the rough edge off 2 pieces.
Then he used the biscuit cutter to create some grooves.
Biscuits + glue + clamps
Once the glue dried, he made the final cuts to make each shelf the right length and width.
He also removed the excess glue drops and gave everything a light sanding.
While the boards dried, Aaron tested some oil options on a scrap piece of wood.
Originally we thought we would want a darker tone, like the dark walnut. But after we chose such a pretty, defined wood, we were torn. We popped the test piece of wood onto the cart with a few bar accessories to help make the decision. But we were still torn. We worried that the light walnut would make the wood stand out too much. And we worried that the dark walnut would hide it too much.
In the end, we decided that we loved the wood too much to tone it down. Both sides got a coat of light walnut danish oil.
This involves 2 coats of flooding the board with oil and spreading it around with a brush. The second coat is applied within 30 minutes of the first so that it is still wet.
Once the boards were prepped, we turned our attention to the cart. I gave it a good wipe down with soapy water to remove any loose dirt while keeping the rusty patina.
Then Aaron made some vital repairs to the shelves, tightening the bolts and replacing a few lost ones.
We laid the wood in place and it really started to come together.
The wood adds so much warmth to this piece.
We pulled out all of our full decanters, all of our empty decanters and all of our bottles of booze. Then I uttered words I never thought I’d say: “We need more alcohol.”
The overall effect is nice, but it’s a touch barren. I guess that’s what happens when you install 24 square feet of bar…
We opted to keep the styling really simple, focusing on the decanters and mixing in some bottles for interest.
We pulled out a wine infograph poster to add even more height to this corner of the room.
And we kept a little space for actually mixing a drink.
So, I guess we’re just down to the super hard task of collecting more bottles of alcohol. Woe is us.