Before and After: A Useless Pantry Looks Way Better As a Fab IKEA-Built Home Bar

published Nov 17, 2019
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Credit: Lisa Cole

Every home comes with its own weird little quirks. At Lisa Cole’s house, a short hallway connected the kitchen with the dining room, with a little alcove in between. Previous owners had installed cabinets to create a makeshift pantry but, says Lisa, the placement was awkward and, as such, the cabinets were underutilized.

Credit: Lisa Cole

Lisa and her husband threw around a few alternative ideas for the space, she says: wall it off to create a walk-in pantry, add a bench to create a breakfast nook… but the winner was a built-in bar. “As a couple with a love for craft beer, whiskey, and scotch, ultimately the bar area option was the most appealing, and almost necessary option,” Lisa says. “After all, where else were all those cans, bottles, and various cocktail accessories going to live?”

Credit: Lisa Cole

A bit of kismet timing made the project extra affordable: “We got really lucky and happened to move into our home, which also needed a full kitchen reno, right as IKEA was holding its annual kitchen event,” Lisa says. “A huge selling point of going with IKEA for both the kitchen and the bar cabinetry and countertops was that we would receive a 15% credit on everything we spent.” That meant that the cabinets and counter for the bar area—valued at $1,200—were essentially no-cost.

Lisa and her husband DIYed the project themselves, having picked up tips and tricks from watching their contractors work on their kitchen redo. Their only costs for the project? The fresh white paint, about $2 for replacement baseboards, $50 to rent a table saw, and $250 for their new beverage fridge.

Credit: Lisa Cole

“I’m so obsessed with the gorgeous teal-gray color of the cabinets and they add a welcome splash of color next to our more neutral kitchen,” says Lisa. “The finished product is this awesome, super useful space that works well to both visually and functionally connect the kitchen and living room. It’s truly perfect for entertaining and keeps the flow between the rooms moving seamlessly.”

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