Raising The Bar

Chris and I moved to Charlotte with only our personal belongings, a few kitchen accessories, two televisions, and my Grandmother’s antique vanity.  What furniture we did have was just not worth the cost of moving. Seriously, the Salvation Army offered to trash Chris’ couch and chair instead of take them as a donation.

Over the past eight months, we have slowly but surely filled the place up and made it home. Our apartment is spacious with an open-floor concept and it’s my favorite thing about Charlotte. But there is this one area of the apartment that I’ve been attempting to make sense of since we moved in. It’s a corner space off of our kitchen with two electrical outlets. It is too small for something like a reading nook, but too big for a plant or other large piece of decor.

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Now I have this obsession with Prosecco and I buy the sparkling wine whenever it’s on sale, so there are many times when we have multiple bottles of wine without a place to store (wine racks are only so big). With room lacking in the kitchen, I decided to turn this oversized corner into our very own bar. I mean, BARletta is my last name, so it’s only fitting.

Since we have no idea where we will be living come January after Chris finishes up school, I wanted to make sure that the bar consisted of versatile pieces that could be used in different ways in case we have to downsize. In addition, I plan on heading back to graduate school in the future, so throwing money away on unessential household furniture isn’t exactly a sound financial move on my part. So I promised myself to stick to a budget and not go over $150 dollars on this DIY project.

I looked at Pinterest for in-home bars and saw that sofa/runner tables were great bases. I was about to go searching around for garage sales, but luckily my boss was getting rid of their runner table and offered it to me. Suddenly, her trash became my treasure and starting point, and in thanks to the unintended savings, I would be able to add some detail.

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The table didn’t provide much storage, so I wanted a lamp that did. Target—the most amazing store in the whole entire world—fortunately sold a lamp with shelves for $30.

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I needed some other type of shelving on the wall and again, Target did not disappoint. I bought two wall-mounting shelves for $25. On the same trip to the best store on Earth, I saw a wooden framed mirror on sale for $20. I had to have it.

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The huge white space under the shelves still drove me crazy, so I happily sacrificed a Sunday afternoon at Michael’s craft store to see if I could find anything to spruce it up.

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I hate fake flowers that look fake and I can’t ever seem to find fake flowers that look real, so I chose what I like to call “Gandalf sticks” to fill the area. I had to break them down a few times to fit the space, but I like the lines and coloring they provide. Plus, I plan on taking them out every now and then and screaming, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS.” I apologize; I am the biggest Lord of the Rings fan and can’t pass up an opportunity to quote the movie. The Gandalf sticks were $15 and the vase was $10.

I also hoped I could include some type of Happy Hour flair. I saw chalkboards creatively used on Pinterest, but I could not find a single store in Charlotte that sold a chalkboard that wasn’t on an easel. Michael’s, however, had a viable and affordable substitute in the form of ready-to-hang pieces of slate for $5. The basket underneath the table for additional beverage storage was on sale for $10. To better define the space with a rug, I chose a kitchen mat from Target that cost $25. Seriously, why would I go anywhere else? All in all, I actually stayed ten dollars UNDER budget—something I rarely do. Woohoo!

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Chris and I now have our own bar feet away from our two favorite hang outs: the kitchen and living room. There is something so gratifying about enjoying a cocktail in your slippers. The best part about the bar is that our prices beat any other bar in town.

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