Before and After, Interiors, Kitchen

Before and After: An 80’s Home Turns Rustic Refined in Littleton, Colorado

When I first saw this home, it was a 1980’s suburban dream.  Except it was 37 years later and now we all know the good and the bad that comes with living in the suburbs and frequently the word “dream” is excised from that slogan.   (You can see more of this renovated, Littleton, Colorado home here.)  Here’s a before photo of the the bar area:

before photo 80s dining room
BEFORE: We moved the wall at the kitchen further into the dining area to give the kitchen more space and we sacrificed that window.  I repurposed the long oak shelf on the right – it’s the back counter in my office now (I painted it white).

We completely renovated this home.  We got rid of some windows to get more function out of particular spaces, and added windows where there was a view.  All of the trim, doors and hardware were changed as well as the flooring.  The kitchen will be debuted in a magazine this Fall and I will share it with you after it comes out!  For now – let’s take a look at the new bar:

walnut bar
AFTER: The view of the new bar from the dining room looking into the kitchen.  (Photo by Sara Yoder.  Styling by Kristy Oatman for Laura Medicus Interiors)

We used alder cabinets stained a walnut color for the bar area partly to set it apart from the white and blue kitchen in the adjacent room, and partly because I wanted this area to be warm and inviting at night.  We also had to contain a lot of function in this little area and my goal was to disguise all of that as best as I could.  Looking from left to right at the lower cabinets we’ve got an ice maker, a sink with lower cabinets, two refrigerator drawers, a pull-out trash and recycle bin and of course, a wine refrigerator.

Kristy Oatman, a design assistant at Laura Medicus Interiors, styled this bar area for the photo and I asked her for her top styling tips for a home bar.  Kristy mentioned one thing to keep in mind when styling a home bar:   “Bars are not always a safe place for people, and personally, I always want people to feel comfortable and secure in my home.  My styling advice is to soften it and make it less intimidating.”  She also added that you don’t need to feel like you have to display the hard liquor.  I love this advice and agree completely.

Kristy’s 4 Styling Tips for A Home Bar:

1 : Never Mix:  “Keep the light and the dark liquor separate.  This allows you to organize your ingredients, quickly find it and it looks more pulled together.”  She separated them in the photo above and I like the way it looks!

alder cabinets bar
The brass hardware is from Emtek and the backsplash is handmade from Lilywork Tile. The counters are Calcutta quartzite.  The custom, Colorado-made cabinetry is by Oak Tree Classic Woodworks. (Photo by Sara Yoder for Laura Medicus Interiors)

2 : Lemons and Limes:  “Not only does fruit soften the space, it’s useful in most drinks.”  The pop of color is a bonus and they’re easy to find at the grocery store.  Add a few citrus leaves (or a leaf that looks like this) to the lemon/lime bowl to add even more texture and color.

3 : Art:  Kristy says, “Find something that’s interesting to look at because a bar is a bar.  They’re very predictable and art will add personality!”  I agree.  Look for something that has meaning for you – a map of your home town, a photo from a favorite vacation spot – anything besides a “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” sign.  (Please know that I am gently teasing you if this is you!)

4 : Rugs:  “Add a rug to soften the space – it will add texture and will help keep your home bar from looking too much like an actual bar!” I also like a lamp and a plant if you have a larger area that you’re trying to warm up.  Books on mixology and other related topics work too!

I feel like I should end a post about a bar with a quote by a famous drinker that resonates with me at this point in my life and especially for those of us with school age children:

“Never mistake motion for action.”  Ernest Hemingway












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