Bar Top

December 15th, 2010

The breezeway between our side yard, the house and the garage has this funky little pony wall that was cut down at some point. The original layout of the breezeway is a bit of a mystery, but I believe the entire area used to be enclosed.

See? Someone just hacked it down. I’ve considered various options for making this area useful and have come to one conclusion.

Bar time. Hello.

Yeah, this is looking like a party house now.

My idea is to source a ten foot slab and then secure it to a frame bolted to the brick pony wall with a steel pipe installed in the right corner for support. I am slab crazy. Have a problem? Throw a slab at it.

Easy enough, right? Maybe…

If it all goes horribly awry, I’ll probably just make a top with some long redwood slats in a frame of 1×2’s or get super nuts and weld up a metal top.

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    36 Comments

    1. Zach on 12/15/2010:

      Where do you typically source slabs from? It’s an awesome solution, just not sure who usually carries them.

    2. monika@stylemadesimple on 12/15/2010:

      Great idea! It is a really obvious solution :-)

    3. THE BRICK HOUSE on 12/15/2010:

      There are a few folks and places who custom mill slabs around my area, particularly in Joshua Tree and Anza. I’ve gotten in contact with a couple of guys and just need to bite the bullet and buy one.

    4. Brismod on 12/15/2010:

      Now that is a great idea!

    5. GoVintage on 12/15/2010:

      I agree…I think is a very nice idea and a natural/obvious solution….you always need a bar for your parties ;)

      Ciao!

    6. Siobhán on 12/15/2010:

      Great idea – maybe you should consider running power & water ducts to it so that you can use it in the future as an external kitchen as well…

    7. Tonia on 12/15/2010:

      Fabulous idea without a doubt.

    8. Dan @ Manhattan Nest on 12/15/2010:

      super duper sexy! Do it!

    9. Appletree on 12/15/2010:

      awesome, a bar is always appropriate imo

    10. avimom on 12/15/2010:

      I love the look, but would the grain on the slab be exposed? I know you’re in dry conditions, but I would worry about rot. I guess you could shellac it super glossy to protect it…

    11. Gaidig on 12/15/2010:

      I’m not so sure it was hacked down. The walls on either side are so pristine, though the pointing on the end of the wall is rather cruddy, and there are those cut-outs. I suspect there used to be a gate there.

      Personally, I think a bar is a great idea. I think it will be very useful, even for days spent hanging out in the pool.

    12. Jen on 12/15/2010:

      yep

    13. janine robinson on 12/15/2010:

      mojitos!

    14. yhbhs on 12/15/2010:

      giving good slab! where do you source these slabs by the way?

      or you could go fiberglass, all yellow or blue? i’m thinking a horizontal john mccracken? welcome to the alien bar!

    15. cajeta on 12/15/2010:

      what about a concrete counter top? an outdoor kitchen is a great idea too! Smore’s & drinks!

    16. erin@designcrisis on 12/15/2010:

      Yes! Get slabby with it… or you could always use part of your old fence.

    17. emily on 12/15/2010:

      Great idea, but if you are thinking about other options this could work nice: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/gardening/modern-diy-outdoor-planter-093540

    18. Jason Hudson Dot Com on 12/15/2010:

      Could you please host a blogger cocktail next summer?

    19. THE BRICK HOUSE on 12/15/2010:

      Yeah, like we will be finished by next summer. HA!

      Avimom – that’s what Penofin is for, and the slab is covered by the shade sail.

      I would like to d a kitchen, but cost is prohibitive. What I really want is a built in BBQ, but again, cost is a factor. Plus you are literally steps from the real kitchen.

      Oh, the other reason i know it used to go all the way up – there were paint lines around where it would have been and holes for rebar that we patched.

    20. Aida on 12/15/2010:

      Hey Morgan, there’s a place near you near Anza called Tule Peak Timber ( http://www.tulepeaktimber.com/site/main?page=Home)
      They’re amazing. It’s all reclaimed wood, like BEAUTIFUL wood, and they’ve got 10 crazy wild dogs running around the place. You have to call and see when is good to stop by, but it’s definitely worth the trip. It’s where I got the wood for that huge 12 foot table I made last year. Really reasonable prices, and Im sure they’d drum sand whatever piece you pick out. Go see them. Seriously!

    21. Jamie on 12/15/2010:

      Looks like a great idea. Just recently found your blog and I love all of your ideas.

    22. Kelly@TearingUpHouses on 12/15/2010:

      I think it’s a perfect idea. Not as sure about those stools, though. Too bad Bellini’s aren’t bar height.

      Kelly

    23. THE BRICK HOUSE on 12/15/2010:

      oh, he stools are just stand ins. Maybe I should have mentioned that. Just for height and spacing. I think I might go Tolix or something more industrial. Haven’t thought that far ahead…

    24. CLdesigns on 12/15/2010:

      a live edge on the slab would be awesome, like this http://www.redwoodburl.com/bars.htm But does is have to be shellacked to a plastic-y sheen visible from outer space?!? I hate that look, but not sure you can avoid it outside.

    25. seriously on 12/16/2010:

      Isn’t the front of the house behind the bar? What are you planning on doing to cover up the rear of the bar? Just curious.

    26. Darren on 12/16/2010:

      FYI…..cedar slabs are available up here in Idyllwild:

      http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/mat/2106675423.html

      Might be worthwhile checking them out.

    27. Liquid6 on 12/16/2010:

      Pretty awesome idea. I have been watching your blog for some time now and I really like how stuff has been progressing along with the house. I am living my clean and modern lifestyle vicariously through you and your blog as this style would never go with the type of house I have.

      BTW, I see you are using sketchup; is it the full or free version?

    28. Allan on 12/16/2010:

      The slab rendering looks very Nakashima. I “heart” the idea!

    29. Sue on 12/16/2010:

      I don’t think a bar works with seating only on one side [in my experience anyhoo – tried it, and always ended up with people gathering around, not all in one line] I’d get a bigger slab to extend on both sides. This would alleviate the need for the support rod and you’d have a funky outdoor dining area too :)

    30. Lauren on 12/16/2010:

      Check and see if you have any local granite or marble fabricators in your area…..Fabricators have tons of remnants that they like to unload. Bring them your own dimensions and install yourself and I bet they’ll give you a killer deal. Then you can add some color and/or texture without having to worry about maintenance like you will with wood.

    31. Lauren on 12/16/2010:

      P.S. – there are awesome granites that even look like wood!

    32. Pam on 12/16/2010:

      If you centered the bar top over the wall, could it be stable enough? (Some major angle irons underneath and invisible, maybe?) I’m thinking more of a serving spot than a sitting-and-eating spot. Having four people lined up in a row staring straight ahead is not terribly convivial (you can see I never go out) and I’m assuming you’ll someday have an outdoor dining table and chairs.

    33. becca on 12/17/2010:

      …so many cool ideas, but somehow I don’t like that whole slab thing… always makes me think of an old mountain cabin :/
      anyway…maybe you could do a concrete top like cajeta mentioned. or metal. nice, red, rusty, heavy metal?
      that might be easier to handle (or alter later) for a sink (you’ll only need a barbeque there, when the kitchen is just steps away)
      I’d also build it to sit on both sides, you wouldn’t necessarily need a pole… or just continue the top down the end angle (no ugly side :) )… or double the pony wall, so there could be storage underneath? maybe with sliding doors?
      …or build a planter instead?

    34. Martin on 12/17/2010:

      Bertoia wire stools….

    35. Tami on 12/20/2010:

      Great idea. There was a big roughcut slab of walnut left in the barn when I bought my house and I’ve been wanting to use it as a similar bar in my kitchen.

      But what’s happening in that space behind the chairs? Would people really want to hang out in there? Or would it be better to have the barflies on the other side with that interior space an outdoor kitchen/staging area? Is the opening wide enough? Great opp to frame a view – what’s going to be out there to look at? Decisions, decisions.

      I bow in homage to your sketchup skills, mistress. Any chance we could get a blog post devoted to how you’ve done that, where you find your digital bits & pieces, etc?

    36. Justin Butts on 12/21/2010:

      Anyway to secure it such that the black support on front right side is no longer necessary? It’s like 98% perfect as is, imho.

      Love the blog! You have much talent and I look to call upon your archives and maybe even you personally once I’m a home owner.

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