Saturday, November 27, 2010

DIY Outdoor bar

I posted a few photos of our new outdoor bar on Facebook, and both Bike Boy and I have shown them around at work as well. The feedback from women has been very complimentary, but the mens' reactions have unanimously been along the lines of "Wow! Hmm, where could I fit one of those in my back yard?" So I thought I'd share a few details of the construction process, in case anyone cares to have a go at something similar.

I can't take credit for any of this project - it's all the work of my husband, Bike Boy (aka The Mad Brewer). I did contribute one teensy design detail, and do the timber finishing work on the counter top, but the rest was all his hard work.

We had the bulk of our landscaping professionally done in February-March this year. We didn't fancy laying 70-odd square metres of paving, or constructing planter boxes and so on, because we're just too time-poor (and frankly, waaay too old for this crap now. Funny how these things never seemed a big deal when we were in our twenties). Our budget was limited though, so some of the things we wanted to include had to be put into the "do it later" pile. An outdoor bar for our BBQ area was one of those things. But finally, the time had come to do something about that particular project...

The bar was built in two sections - once finished, it was incredibly heavy, so it was easier to build the two pieces of the "L" and then move them into place before joining them up and attaching the counter top, all done using galvanised brackets. I don't have many photos, unfortunately, since I was at work while most of the construction was going on.

The photo below shows the main section. The frame is treated pine, the cladding on the front blueboard (heavy!) and the end piece a sheet of ply. The counter top is made from two pieces of kiln-dried hardwood. Luckily my brother-in-law has mad woodworking skillz (and all the necessary tools) and was able to biscuit-join the pieces, then get busy with his router, to create a nice rounded edge.

The counter top was given two coats of Merbau stain, to match our timber feature screens. Then I got stuck into it with my sandpaper and clear outdoor sealer to give it a beautiful smooth finish that would withstand the weather.

The ply end-piece and some trim strips were also stained to match. You can see the shorter section of the "L" lying on the ground to the right there.

Before attaching the counter tops or any trim pieces, the blueboard was painted with Dulux Acratex, a textured finish that looks like render, but without all the mixing of cement and so on. This is messy stuff to work with! We had it tinted to match our Colorbond Ironstone spouting etc, which is the same colour we had the landscapers use on the rendered section of our feature screen. The render effect was my sole contribution to the design. :)

Nice match:

The inside has space for ice-filled eskies (that's coolers for most of the English-speaking world...), one to hold bottled drinks, and one for a keg of home-brewed beer. There's a spot for the essential gas bottle and a slops bucket, and some shelving will be added to hold glasses at some point in the future.

Brother-in-law came to the rescue again with some stainless steel he had left over from his kitchen renovation, which was used for a small splashback:

I must have done a good job of sealing that timber - it's been raining for days, and look how it's repelling water (be sure to admire the beautiful colour and grain while you're at it):

The built-in beer tap may seem a bit grand to some, but they obviously don't live with a brewing crazy craftsman... At our old place, we had a custom-built shed at the bottom of the yard. As well as providing storage, this was Bike Boy's brewery - he'd salvaged our old laundry sink, kitchen breakfast bar and fridge after we renovated, and had a nice little setup down there. He'd fitted a Guinness tap to the door of the fridge and kept his kegs in there. He actually drilled a hole through the side of the fridge to run a gas line to the keg, so all he had to do when he wanted a drink was grab a glass - No need to even open the door.

When we moved house, the beer fridge had a bit of a mishap and it gave up the ghost shortly after we settled into our rental. That was a sad day... So a crucial part of the bar design was a built-in tap. The local home brew shop owner sourced a font (the upright bit), and Bike Boy was able to resurrect the Guinness tap once more, and voila!

That's my almost 15-year-old, having a fun time playing barman. He's drinking Coke, in case you're wondering; the Bulmer's is mine.

There are a few finishing touches to add still - I've filled nail holes in the trim pieces, and need to give them one more coat of stain and then two coats of sealer. Unfortunately, I've been sick all week, and now that I'm feeling better, it's pouring rain. Hopefully there'll be a break in the weather so I can get it done before the big party...

Our old kitchen bar stools have been re-purposed and work beautifully out here - they need to be sanded, re-stained and then sealed with an outdoor product, but that can wait till after Christmas when I have holidays scheduled. Meanwhile, we'll just keep them under cover when they're not in use. The bonus is, I got to go shopping yesterday for new stools for our breakfast bar. Yay!

I'm linking this post to Remodelaholic's Friday link party:


The Reluctant Blogger said...

This is just awesome! I need one of those in our new backyard for sure!

stormygirl said...

LOVE it!!! Looks fabulous, Kek! Well done!