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A Busy Girls Guide to Doing It Yourself

Creating the Coffee Bar

This project is my first big share on this blog, and although it’s not the first project we’ve completed in the house, it is probably the largest. It was a labor of love broken into bits and pieces over many months of work, completed in the evenings after working a 9-5 and on the weekends when I had a few hours to myself to really dive in and do the tedious stuff. I spent time going back and forth between finishes and brought samples home to set in place and stare at for days before making decisions.

Before
Before

It was a labor of love to create a space that that feels like my special relaxation place in our home. It is a space meant to be a dining room, but for our current family of 2 with an already large eat in kitchen space, it was a wasted room with an awkward set of lower cabinets and a countertop that was just waiting to become something better. This space not only creates a home for two things I really enjoy, wine and coffee, but it provides extra storage in our home and really anchors the room by creating a focal point. Below I’ll share some of the details about the products I used, where I found them and what they cost as well as tips and tricks I learned along the way, such as things to remember to do so you don’t electrocute yourself while tiling around outlet boxes!

After
After

20150608_215013I loved these coffee mugs that I found at Target for $2.49 a piece. They perfectly complimented the colors that we are using throughout the main living space (and they are really big so they hold my excessive amount of morning coffee). I really wanted to make them accessible and use them as a decoration to tie into the space, so I used white enameled hooks (also found at target), to hang them from one of the upper cabinets. Your get a pack of about a billion of these for around $2. Using a 3/32 size drill bit, I pre-drilled holes in the bottom front edge of the cabinet and then just screwed the hooks in by hand. Note: It is really important to pre-drill the holes. I broke one of the hooks off trying to just screw it right in by hand!

20150608_215117The tile we chose for the black splash was a big decision.We needed to choose something that coordinated with the current countertops, but I wanted something that would look more contemporary while also staying in-line with casual feel of the space. This natural stone mosaic, called driftwood mosaic, from Lowe’s was the perfect choice. The colors in the tile coordinate perfectly with the fireplace work we did on the other side of the room (I’ll be posting about this project soon), and the matte look was less flashy than a glossy ceramic or glass tile. The 12×12 sheets were around $12 a piece and it took about 12 of them to cover the space (not exactly cheap but it makes the statement we wanted). The hardest part was doing the grout work. It almost looked like it didn’t need grout, but there were tiny gaps that needed to be filled due to some of the inconsistencies of the natural stone.  It was easiest to buy a bag of dry grout mix and mix it in a small bucket with water until it was a workable consistency, not to thick that it couldn’t get into cracks or was too dry to stick, but not too thin to be runny. The cracks were so small I had to work them in by hand, which took a lot of time. Make sure that you turn the power off at your circuit breaker when tiling around the outlet boxes as you have to take the covers off when installing the back splash. If you don’t and you get your finger in there a little too far trying to get your grout  or mortar adhesive just right while tiling, you could get a little surprise in the form of a very unpleasant shock!

20150608_215134We were really lucky when we moved in that the previous home owners had left 3 beautiful Pottery Barn wine bottle shelves installed on this wall. They run about $119 a piece and are beautiful for both holding stemmed glassware and acting as shelving. We ended up only using 2 of them in the space once it was complete, and will be gifting the 3rd one to my mom. When I installed the tile, rather than trying to mount these on top of the uneven tile surface, I actually mounted them directly to the wall and installed the tile flush up to the bottom and in between the top and bottom rack so it still has the look of a solid tile surface running up the middle.

20150608_215038This lovely candle detail was such a fun project to decorate and help complete this space. I actually got this idea from Pinterest. I bought the glass dish from HomeGoods for about $13 as well as the candle, which is a salted caramel scent, for around $7. Then I bought about a pound of whole coffee beans from my local Fresh Market, which cost about $11. It was a lot of fun picking out the beans to use, because the aroma really provides an ambiance for the space. It’s like walking into a coffee shop! I chose to use a mix of french vanilla and caramel macchiato scented beans. They were a little strong smelling for a day or two but now leave just the slightest aroma of fresh coffee in the space at all times, plus they just tie in so well with the coffee theme of the bar.

The really tedious work was really in getting the cabinets painted and installing the tile (this is the not fun or pretty part). A few tips on these projects would include using a no-sanding deglosser rather than sanding the cabinets down. I really wanted to test this method as we may redo all of our kitchen cabinets next. It worked incredibly well and I would definitely do it again. I used JASCO Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser which I found at Lowe’s. Once I’d brushed 2 coats of this product over the cabinet bases and doors and let it dry, I applied a Valspar primer with stain blocker, and once the primer dried I sanded everything to prep for paint. I started the painting process doing everything by hand because it didn’t seem like that big of a job, but I quickly changed my mind on that. Although I did finish out all the bases using a small roller and brush, I ended up purchasing a Watile sealergner Flexio Sprayer from Lowe’s to finish spraying the front and interior of the doors. The paint sprayer was a life saver and saved so much time! I highly recommend it if you plan on doing a project like this. I purchased the 570 model for about $119 on sale and it did a great job for a project this size, even using the latex enamel paint that I had purchased for finishing the cabinets.

The tile was a pretty easy install using a basic pre-mixed mortar adhesive. I applied it directly to the dry wall in the area and applied the mosaic tile, cutting as needed to fit the space. I have a small tile cutter that I purchased from Lowe’s for less than $90 that has done a fantastic job on this project and the fireplace which I’d done previously. It’s a wet tile saw and while it was intimidating at first it’s actually pretty easy to use. Since I used a natural stone tile it was also very important to seal it to protect from any spills or splashes. I found a great easy to apply product at Lowe’s in the tile area that brushed right on and did not discolor the tile whatsoever once dry.

All these details added up to an amazing new wine/coffee bar area that I love to relax in on Sunday mornings, and even on weekday evenings when I get home from work and am browsing online for my next home project ideas. So if you have a wasted space in your home that has potential to become a space you love, make it happen! Make your home a place you love to be and can be yourself whether you are there all day long, or in between your 9-5 like me. GO DO IT!

– The Working Girl


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