Blue Onion Bliss > Furniture > Antique Mini Bar

Antique Mini Bar

Someday, we’re going to build a “real” bar in the basement family room. For now, we love our Antique mini bar that’s used upstairs.

antique mini bar
Here’s our Antique “mini bar” in the upstairs living room.

The wall cupboard is really super old, I’m not sure what year it’s from, but the owner we bought it from guessed its origin to be about the 1920’s. All those lovely wear marks are from genuine everyday use. I fell head over heels for it instantly when I saw it at a flea market a few years ago. That’s how I decide to buy an antique or grab a free old piece of junk…there’s a very sophisticated criteria that has to be met. If my hearts leaps and my stomach gets the tell-tale “old stuff” butterflies, I just know my soul has some kind of connection to it.

Note: Do you like the “Wine & Cheese” tray sitting on the bar? Check out how I did it.

antique mini bar
I love to imagine who may have owned an old piece…way back when. This cupboard was obviously well used, which just makes it all the more beautiful to me.

Who knows? Maybe it was mine in a previous life…maybe that’s where the feeling comes from? There has to be SOMEthing about pieces that have this affect on me!

antique mini bar
I house our cocktail glasses (antique blue, Ball canning jars) in this old cupboard-turned-bar. I can’t stand to use a “normal” cocktail glass, you know…

antique mini bar
Here’s a shot from the opposite side…showing those gorgeous brass knobs, complete with genuine dents…and the beautiful worn off paint. Dents, scratches…even marks that look like someone took a knife and “hatcheted” the shelf fronts, just makes this piece more special.

All our barware lives a happy life inside this old cupboard. It doesn’t even have any glass left in the doors…just makes it better, in my opinion. Although, we have been meaning to put some chicken wire in place of glass inserts, but just haven’t gotten around to it quite yet.

antique mini bar
Now with the right-hand door opened. It even has a bit of duct tape, for some reason…I can’t remember why. I love love love the painted wood in the back of the cupboard. Probably just some scrap board pieces used up by whoever created this beauty…maybe it was my husband in that previous life…who created it with whatever he could find…just for me!

Now…a bit about the lower cabinet that does the heavy duty work at our antique mini bar. This piece actually isn’t all that old…I am guessing the oldest it could be might be 1950’s…which is still pretty old…just not anywhere NEAR as old as it’s upper counter-part. Haha…I just realized… “counter” …bars have counters…puns are fun!

I’m sorry, I got side-tracked off the antique mini bar point…I tend to do that…but only occasionally.

The other thing about the lower cabinet/dresser/buffet piece is that it originally was stained a dark brown. The wood wasn’t anything particularly nice and was rather cheap looking, actually. But…it was the perfect width to stand proudly underneath its senior partner. So, what to do? It certainly didn’t look very nice…it was just all wrong…but…

…No problem for a fearless painter…yep…that’s me.

A quick look through my stash of old paint and I found a flat white latex…perfect. The first (and only) brushed on coat was easy enough to do because I didn’t want total coverage. Any dark stain showing through was fine with me.

Once that flat white paint was dry, I used some leftover walnut stain (oil based) and wiped it over the white paint with a rag. Again, I didn’t care if it was evenly covered or not…not is better! I let that stain sit for just a minute or so, then wiped it off with another rag. Flat paint takes stain fan-tabulously (another one of my technical terms). I’ve used this antiquing method so many times before, I can’t even count!

On a piece like this, I don’t even worry if I paint over the hinges…in fact, I paint over them on purpose! Have you ever really looked at truly old painted pieces? Most all of them have hinges caked with layers of paint. Back in the day, folks didn’t have time to concern themselves with keeping paint off the hardware. Their main goal was to clean up the surface…a very practical purpose of painting. I really doubt there were very many people in the early 1900’s who labored over choosing a paint color. They probably either used any leftover they had or purchased whatever was available, for CHEAP…or maybe a generous friend had some leftover to donate.

OK, back to the “how I did this” antique mini bar part.

After the stain dried enough, I took some fine sand paper and roughed up any areas that would have received natural wear over many years. I HATED the knobs this piece had, so I bought some “repro” glass pulls and…DONE!

antique mini bar
See where I sanded to let the dark under-coat show through? Just imagine where years of normal use would be. Oh, and leave some stain un-wiped (another term of tehnicality) off in grooves…that’s where years of DIRT and GRIME settle. Looks like the real thing, huh?

So far, nobody that admires our antique mini bar has ever realized that these 2 pieces weren’t born together. Once I tell them to have a closer look…then…OH!

My common theme in all these years of blogging has been that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the country look. I do have to admit though that the upper cabinet here was fairly expensive, at least to me…I rarely spend much on my old stuff! But it spoke to me…and I had the money at the moment…so I bought it. But the lower cabinet was cheap…again, at least to me (see? everything is relative!)…but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be transformed into something that looked and felt like a really old piece with tons of character. I probably spent $10 on finishing it, which all went to the knobs. And now that I’ve completed this post, I’m thinkin’ it needs to have brass knobs that I can bang the crap out of (which is free) to better match the upper cabinet.

Want to see some more fun furniture stuff from my other website, Real Country Living? Enjoy!

Now, live a little and have fun turning something you kinda like OK into something you love!


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