Cocktail hour!

Full Bar Unit

Although I’m not drinking as much as I used to, RocketMan still enjoys a cocktail, and our friends certainly enjoy when he shakes up a Manhattan or a Negroni at our home bar. For a long time I’d wanted a supercool art deco bar, or a 70s-style bar like my grandparents had (of which I cannot find a reasonable facsimile). 

Obviously, space and cash stood in our way. Clearing out six square feet of floor space for a beautiful piece of furniture was a hard sell, especially when we had other needs beyond the basic bottle placement. Space prevents us from being collectors—we don’t even own martini glasses—and we needed room for wine as well as cookbooks. (We’re not wine collectors, either; we have four bottles we’re saving, and other than that, the drinks get drunk.)

We’d inherited two hutches from a friend–very basic cube-shaped stained-wood hutches, the kind of furniture that you never, ever notice. At least I never did. I knew something held up our vacuum lamp, but it never registered that it was actually a piece of furniture in its own right. So RocketMan strapped on his toolbelt, threw together a bookshelf, tinkered with the hutches, and here’s the result.

It stands in the corner of our living room, right next to the kitchen, for easy cookbook/booze access.


Pretty, pretty bottles!

Back to Tap Plastics for this piece of translucent plastic–cut by the kind folks at the store, and costing a whopping $15.

  • It’s hinged to the hutch with basic hardware, and tethered by a piece of wire pulled through a small hole drilled in the corner. That’s a skeleton hand fastened to the wire.
  • It closes with a simple magnetic latch.
  • Add a fluorescent light to the back wall of the hutch, and presto—some nice mood lighting and instant decoration. The switch to the light is attached to a light switch that controls all our low evening lighting. (That’s another blog.)
Open Bar     Light Closeup

DIY wine rack

Wine Rack

Below the liquor is our wine rack. It’s exactly what it looks like: sawed-off cardboard tubing glued together and stacked. I’ve never seen anything like it. Only drawback: larger bottles like Pinot Noir and sparkling wine will not fit in these holes, so they go on the bottom shelf, which is tubing-free.

Handy cookbooks


For a long time, our cookbooks were on the top shelf of our kitchen—well out of my reach and as a result, underused. When I use cookbooks I like to sit on the couch and read them, spread out a few on the coffee table, compare notes. This solution was perfect: well within reach and between the kitchen and the couch. We have a few more cookbooks on other bookshelves; these are my favorites.

If you’re a little handy with a drill and saw, the construction is simple. It’s all pine, and the side panels have the adjustable holes built in; the shelf is another piece of pine resting on supports. Another piece of wood shores up the back, and metal brackets fastens the whole shebang to the top hutch.

  • A pencil-thin fluorescent light attached to the bookshelf illuminates the workspace.
  • No bar is complete without a cutting board. Knives are right around the corner on the magnetic strip.
  • The juicer initially seemed like a frivolous wedding registry idea, but it turns out we love it! Nothing like a fresh mimosa to start your weekend, and this baby does the trick.

FYI, those are our dinner napkins (we eat at the coffee table). And the little green bottle is cheap liquor our friend brought back from the Beijing Olympics. The other bottle she gave us smelled like candy-flavored lighter fluid, so we’re just enjoying the green bottle for now.

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2 Responses to Cocktail hour!

  1. Pingback: Oh, How Thy Trash Doth Light the Night « rocket city digs

  2. Pingback: DIY Wine Rack II: Taller, Thinner, Less Cardboard « rocket city digs

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