In this DIY tutorial we will show you how we built our coffee bar base.
Some of our projects we prepare for months in advance. We draw up plans ahead of time, we set budgets and save to put money aside for the project, we make a list of the supplies we need and then depending on the scope of the project we spend several weekends working on it since we both work during the day.
And then there are some projects, like our coffee bar, where we throw all that out the window and just jump in head first with the intention of finishing it in a week. We were so passionate and into this project that we just threw ourselves completely into it which led to some really late nights.
This post is less of a how to and more of a behind the scenes look at how we put together our coffee bar because to be honest, we kind of just made it up as we went along. This strategy led to a few hiccups but also allowed us to exercise our problem solving skills. Always look on the bright side, right? But in the end it turned out perfectly, is very solid and beautiful and is definitely one of our home’s statement pieces.
We wanted to design our coffee bar to look like it should belong in an actual coffee shop so we searched through hundreds and hundreds of photos of coffee shops from all over the world and narrowed it down to the three above. We really liked their vibe and felt like they matched the aesthetic we are going for in our home.
Then we designed our own hybrid home version coffee bar based on the photos. We liked the light gray countertop in the first image, the open shelf in the middle of the counter in the second image and the reclaimed wood and steel legs in the third image. After we nailed down all the design elements we wanted to incorporate, we started to build.
If you are interested in making your own coffee bar base, feel free to download our free plans.
How We Built Our Coffee Bar Base
1. Fun Fact: the legs of the coffee bar are actually made of wood! Did we fool you? This trick saved us a lot of money. To make each leg we combined two 2x4s by screwing them together. After we got them all assembled, we realized we could have just bought 4x4s. Oops.
Oh well. A little extra work never hurts. After we combined the boards together, we ran the boards through the table saw to square them up.
2. To make the legs appear as if they are steel we wrapped each wooden post in sheet metal. We didn’t have access to the actual tool to bend sheet metal so it was pretty difficult to get it formed into the right shape to cover the wooden post.
Brent improvised and made his own version of a sheet metal brake out of some scrap wood and a piece of angle iron. By clamping the sheet metal in between the wood and the angle iron, Brent could bend it around the edge of the angle iron creating the shape we needed. After we wrapped each leg, we secured it to the wood with screws.
3. Next we prepped the legs for paint and then spray painted a primer on them. Yes, they are hanging from the reject hooks from our metal hook towel rack on our garage door track. We are so official. The next day we spray painted them an oil rubbed bronze.
The legs are held together by two pieces of 2×4 lumber and they are secured together with pocket screws.
4. The support structure for the coffee bar base is made of up 2x4s. Most furniture does not use 2x4s because they would make the piece super heavy.
But for this project it helped us save money. Plus, I’m not sure if in any capacity you could make a 7 foot bar with a concrete countertop light, so the extra weight wasn’t a concern of ours. This thing is not going anywhere.
5. We though ahead and knew this thing was going to be massive and impossible to move very far so we built the entire thing (concrete top and all) right in place in the breakfast nook.
After we got the main structure put together, we added vertical supports to add strength for the braces that would support the concrete countertop and to frame out the recessed opening and shelf that would go in the front of the coffee bar.
6. Next up was my favorite part, staining! We wanted to tie the breakfast nook area into the living room area since it is one big open space so we thought bringing in the weathered wood planks from the wall in the reading nook would be the perfect solution.
7. We ran through our whole process of creating weathered wood by varying the degree we would rough up the pieces to alternate shades and patterns. But this time we did it rapid speed.
We cut, roughed up and stained all the boards for the entire bar in a matter of maybe two hours. It was a whirlwind of staining and in the process I managed to get stain all over myself, including on my face and in my hair. I don’t know how that happens. We laid out all the boards on the ground this time so we could easily create a nice pattern of varying colors and lengths.
8. By the time we finished staining all the boards and they dried, it was already getting late. But we were so passionate about this project that we were in the zone!
We pushed on and started attaching the wood planks to the coffee bar structure. To do this we screwed through the 2x4s into the wood slats.
9. We added the planks to the bottom, the back of the recessed area and even the sides between the legs to give the allusion that it was wrapping around the entire bar. I love how the sides turned out.
10. Finally Brent built the front of the hidden storage area that opens on a hinge to a shelf where we can store extra coffee supplies and mugs. We then covered that piece with the weathered wood planks as well.
11. To finish the coffee bar base we added more wood planks to the sides of the recessed area to complete the look. Then we attached our concrete shelf (which we will cover in our next post). Brent installed lights below the countertop and I decorated with these cute bottles I found at Ikea that I then filled with coffee beans.
The plants are also from Ikea and add a bit of color to a very neutral and industrial design. I think the shelf is my favorite part of the coffee bar. It adds so much depth and interest and we think it really makes the piece look unique.
Like I said before we finished this project in record time. Especially because of the scale of the coffee bar base and all the details that were involved. It was a crazy week but the finished product is so worth it. Jumping right in and figuring out how to build a large piece of furniture as you go with no definite plan can be a bit scary and frustrating at times but if you roll with the punches and keep adapting it can turn out better than you ever imagined.
As we completed each part of the coffee bar base I would step back and say to Brent, “this is turning out exactly how I imagined”. Brent really made my vision come to life. When I suggested we go bigger, he didn’t flinch and went out and bought more wood. I don’t know how he does it but all the plans just float around in his head and it turns out amazing!
You can see the entire finished coffee bar here. Next week we will be sharing how we made the concrete countertops and you will not want to miss it because if we thought building the coffee bar base was intense, making the countertops was even crazier.
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