June 2014 archive

Ideas for Updating an ’80s Wet Bar

I am a firm believer that your house should work for you, not the other way around.  Space that isn’t being using to aid your daily life is wasted space.  Sometimes, you have to think beyond an area’s intended use to imagine the possibilities it holds!

One example of this is those fabulous ’80s wet bars that were popular in so many tract homes back in the day.  Wet bars in the family/living room are out-of-date with today’s home design and so often go unused, but there they sit…taking up space.  So, if your home has a wet bar and you never use it, why leave it as a wet bar when you could turn it into something functional for you and your family?!

My home was built in the late ’80s and came equipped with an awesome mirrored and brass wet bar in our informal family room.  Score!  {Just kidding}   The truth is, whenever we have people over, everyone seems to gather in the kitchen, after all, it’s the heart of the home!  And my home is a tri-level, meaning that my family room is about 1/2 a story below my kitchen, making it even more inconvenient and awkward to be down there mixing drinks.  Plus, the kids and their friends are down there playing video games and watching movies, so it’s really not a convenient adult entertaining space.  Every day I look at my unused wet bar and dream about what I could be doing with this space instead.



Just look at this beauty! {Not!} When we updated the kitchen, we updated the countertop and cabinets of the wet bar as well, since it used to have a small tiled countertop and pink oak cabinets.  You might notice that we removed the old sink and didn’t replace it.  At the time, additional cost for adding the sink was too cost-prohibitive and since we knew we wouldn’t be using it as a wet bar, we opted to have just a solid countertop.  We did leave the plumbing intact for resale value or should we ever change our mind and want a sink in the family room.  {Look!  You can see a sneak peek of my new family room curtains in the mirror!}

Beyond updating the countertop and painting the cabinets, though, we haven’t made any progress.  Time, money, and a slew of other more important updates hasn’t made this area a priority for me, but that doesn’t stop me from planning ahead as to what I could do with this space.


What To Do With That ’80s Wet Bar!

{Functional ideas for modern-day living}



1.  Desk

The space could function well as a desk area, but it would require the cabinets to be reconfigured to desk height and to allow for space for a chair.  If you’re already planning a remodel, though, a desk station with some functional cabinetry above could work well in the space.  It could house a family computer, be a spot for kids to do homework, or could even be used as a craft area for the kids.

{via Houzz}

{via Houzz}


2.  Built-in Storage

The addition of upper cabinets above the base could offer tons of additional storage.  You could even design a piece to look like freestanding furniture.

Bathroom Linen Closet


3. Snack Station

An easy conversion for an ’80s wet bar would be to use it as a snack station instead!  With the addition of a small beverage center, the space could be used to store kids drinks and snacks.

Beverage Fridge


4.  Wine Bar

Wine storage tends to be more popular in new homes than a wet bar, and with the addition of some open store above, an existing wet bar can instantly be converted to a wine bar!


5.  Bookcase/Shelving

Like mine, many of the 80s wet bars have mirror-backed walls.  A little drywall, some paint, and a few shelves and the wet bar is transformed into stylish display shelving.  And shelving used floor to ceiling would then look like a built-in bookcase!


6. Reading Nook

A cozy corner to snuggle, read, and nap could be just the thing for an informal family room!  Just make sure there is adequate lighting in the space so that it’s truly functional as a reading nook.


7. TV Area

If the positioning in the room is right, consider removing the existing cabinetry and add a flat screen TV instead!  Doing so will create a nice housing for the TV and related components, while still making use of the recessed space.


8. Modern-Day Wet Bar

If you’re wet bar is functional and useful to you but you don’t love the ’80s look, consider making a few updates to make it more contemporary.  The addition of a tiled backsplash, upper cabinets, and a beverage center can make all the difference.


9. Push Forward

If you really don’t need the space, considering pushing the wall forward so that it’s flush to make more space in whatever room is on the other side of the wall!  If you don’t need more space in one room, you might need it in the other!



I don’t have any immediate plans for updating our wet bar….well, I might have a handyman remove the mirror and dated brass trim….but if I ever do, I’d like to add glass-front upper cabinets for some additional storage of vases and serving pieces.  I’d also like to add a beverage center to the bottom cabinet to store sodas, juice, and waters for the kids.


So what do you think?

’80s wet bar – Celebrate It or Update It?



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5 Ways to Decoratively Display Ribbons

I am always amazed by the amount of “stuff” that accumulates in our home.  Papers, crayons, McDonalds Happy Meal toys, birthday party goodie bag toys, balloons, keychains – you name it, we inadvertently collect it!  I’m pretty good about going through all of these things to pare the quantity down to what is really necessary {which in some cases, is ZERO!}, but there is one collection growing in our home at an alarming rate and this one just cannot be pared down.

Now that summer is underway, my kids are back in the swing of their summer hobby – collecting swim ribbons!  For those without kids on swim team, let me fill you in so that you can better appreciate the sheer quantity that multiplies each week.  The kids get ribbons for each race they are in, and my daughter often has about 9-10 races per week and my son about 6.  That’s 16 ribbons a week making their way into my home!  My son likes to just keep his in a pile in his room, but my daughter has been asking how we can display her ribbons, not just in her room, but around the house.  I am of course thrilled to include her ribbons in the home, but the selfish practical side of me wants them to look stylish and decorative while on display, so I was on the hunt for ideas this week.  No matter the type of ribbon or medal you might have, there are some beautiful and creative ways to show off your accomplishments while ensuring that they blend with your existing decor.


Simple & Organized

This is just a simple drape using a string or small rope, but with all of the ribbons sorted by color and aligned neatly, the ribbons become a beautiful display.  {Granted, it doesn’t hurt that in this picture, the ribbons color coordinate with the mud room accessories and clothing items…}


Collage It!

Another option is to create a collage and frame it, either in a simple frame or a shadow box.

{via Country Living}

{via Country Living}


I could probably even incorporate something like this into my family room gallery wall since it’s already a bit eclectic.

Tidbits&Twine Gallery Wall 3c AFTER

{via Tidbits&Twine TV Gallery Wall Reveal}

The only downside to framing the ribbons, though, is that we can’t easily turn them over to get the details of event, which are always printed on the backs of the ribbons.  Which brings me to this next idea.


Wall Art

While I don’t personally have a spot for this, it is so beautiful in KariAnne’s play room that I just had to share.  This is an herb drying rack that has been hung on the wall and repurposed to be a medal/ribbon display.



Apothecary Jars

Apothecary jars are so practical and so functional and can easily be used to display ribbons and medals, maybe in a media room or as part of a vignette on a coffee table.


Frame ‘Em

I was also thinking that it might be nice to pick maybe the three ribbons my daughter is most proud of and frame them separately as a trio of images similar to the framed coins below.  The other ribbons she could then display in her room.European Intaglios


I’m leaning toward doing a simple hanging display in our laundry room, since that’s how we go to and from the garage and the kids can then see their accomplishments several times a day.  I might also place a few on shelves or near stacks of books to use decoratively.  In my daughter’s room, I’m planning to add a row of decorative knobs to the wall so she can can them up neatly.


What would you do?


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Around the House…

The first week of summer always seems to be the busiest for us and this year is no exception.  Suddenly, all of the “free” time that I envisioned for the summer is consumed with day camps, play dates, swim practice, swim meets, and more.  By the time I sit down at the end of the day I’m exhausted from my duties as Mom’s Shuttle Service and Kid Referee.  Unfortunately, this leaves me very little time to work on projects and even less time to write.


I did manage to get a few things done, though, starting with our front porch.  While we were away on vacation last month, our drip system malfunctioned and nothing got watered for almost 2 weeks.  Everything planted in the ground was just fine, but the plants on my porch withered and died a slow death.  That called for a trip to Home Depot for new plants!  And while I was there, can you believe I found a Fiddleleaf Fig tree?  {Please pardon the rather dark iPhone photo.}

Home Depot Finds


The trio of planters on my porch used to look like this, after I planted them for Height-Spill-Fill.  {This is a photo from when the plants were still new and hadn’t yet filled in.}





Months later, there was a different selection of plants available, so my porch now looks like this.



I’ve never tried a hydrangea on the porch, so fingers crossed that the light will be right for continued blooms.  I still included a gardenia for my grandpa, but added a wider variety of plants.



I love the dark green mixed with the chartreuse and the purple contrasted with the orange.



I also managed to finish up a poster project that has been on my To Do list for a long time!  This was an easy and relatively inexpensive project and I love how it turned out, but I haven’t yet had a chance to photograph everything.  In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek.



I also found an interesting, chippy architectural element at HomeGoods that I instantly fell in love with.  It doesn’t yet have a permanent home, but for now it’s sitting on my living room coffee table as part of a vignette.



This weekend, I’m hoping to photograph my poster project and provide a tutorial.  Plus, rumor has it that my new neighbor likes to refinish furniture, so I might wander over and ask what I’ve been doing wrong with my bedroom chairs since I seem to have hit a snag with that project…  :)


Have a wonderful weekend!
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