How an Awkward Game-Room Corner Became a Custom Built-In Bar

To turn a corner of their game room into a well-stocked bar, a creative couple built a wine rack, countertop, and even stemware holders.

Rather than fight or ignore the clipped ceiling in their Cary, North Carolina, game room, Zoe and Andrew Hunt took a different angle. They used the ceiling slant to their advantage, building in a bar unit that's a perfect fit. The wine rack shelves were tricky, Andrew admits. "Our walls are not close to square, and we learned that the hard way," he says. "Each shelf ended up being a slightly different shape and size to fit into the space." Their math skills and diligence paid off. "The matching slant makes the rack feel like it was always meant to be there," Zoe says.

zoe & andrew hunt corner bar beverage station
Brie Williams

The couple bought the base cabinet at a home center and adapted it to accommodate the beverage cooler. They made a countertop and floating shelves from pine boards they burned with a plumbers torch to accent the grain. "It created a unique look that you just can't get with stains or paints," Andrew says. Including the fridge, this bar cost Andrew and Zoe about $450 to build.

Andrew and Zoe spent about four days building and installing the bar components from the bottom up. Fitting the setup from wall to window frame and to the ceiling slant gives it a polished, custom appearance.

The Hunts framed in a standard door-and-drawer cabinet, adding a side support panel and a base for the freestanding beverage cooler to make it look built-in. A vent installed on the panel allows air circulation. Blue paint (Sherwin-Williams Naval SW 6244) unites the pieces.

floating bar shelves wine rack
Brie Williams

Three boards secured with glue and pocket holes along their long edges form the countertop. After sanding the top and practicing their burning technique on scrap wood, Zoe and Andrew scorched the grain by moving the plumbers torch back and forth, working in sections, and keeping the flame about 6 inches from the surface. After the wood cooled, they sealed it with spar urethane, a sealer often used on boats.

floating bar shelves
Brie Williams

The Hunts repeated the burnt wood finish on shelves. For one, they designed wineglass holders from square dowels and scrap wood then painted them black to match the metal shelf brackets.

leather pulls on a blue cabinet
Brie Williams

For each cabinet pull, Zoe glued together two leather strips and punched a hole at each end with a rotary hole punch, then she attached them to the door and drawer using screw posts.

Updated by
Kendra Surface

Kendra Surface is a photo stylist and home design professional with more than 10 years of experience. She works with photographers to create beautifully curated spaces to be published in magazines and in advertising campaigns. In addition to styling a space, she also scouts locations and curates the space for her clients. She has worked with brands like Garden & Gun magazine, Belk, Hunter Douglas, and more.

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