Introducing elegance to a tired old bar

By Helen Crooks

IT ALWAYS starts with: "Ant, how hard would it be to..."and, because the Ant in question is our resident contractor, with his own company, you can be sure the answer will be evasive.

Not because it can't be done, but because he knows that we expect to be offered family rates, not the going rate, for our latest DIY project.

In this case the task at hand was to transform what has become the communal living area of the home we share in Villiers Road, Walmer: A home that was perfect at the outset but one on which we have now put our personal stamp.

The mission:To transform the bar area into something a little bit more elegant, and to get rid of one of the three large windows in the adjacent TV room (one too many in a room with too few walls – well, no walls, actually). The brief: To keep costs as low as possible, and to get the work done as quickly as possible in view of the fact that it is the communal living area in which the family meets for the evening meal.The contractor:Antony Vlok of avrenovations.To make life easier during the transition, one of the first tasks was blocking up the window facing the driveway, while at the same time providing access to the sliding window which at that stage was blocked by the TV. This is a hot room, so having two windows open to provide a cooling breeze is a necessity.

The work was done with a minimum amount of fuss, the unnecessary window boarded over and plastered, the TV moved onto that wall and the lounge suite repositioned so that both sliding windows could be opened.

Sweet relief from the summer heat! A coat of pale blue paint was applied and – hey presto, the room was complete.

At the same time work was moving along rapidly on revamping the bar area. There wasn't cash to replace the pine units so Ant's solution was to sand them down and paint them an elegant white. Being a bar area prone to spills, the use of good quality paint was a necessity, and a worthwhile investment.

So that's the units given a new lease of life. But the bar itself was built from fairly unattractive bricks. Solution? Plaster over the bricks and paint.

By this stage we had pale blue flowing from the TV room through to white in the bar, which worked really well, but what colours would we choose to get rid of the red on the walls, and to cover the actual bar?

While the walls would definitely benefit from being painted a lighter colour than the current dark red, the plaster on the bar needed to be somewhat darker.

While pale grey is not a colour I have ever used before, Ant provided some inspiration by painting a test area with some of this paint which had been used in a previous project. Surprise, surprise it looked really elegant.

The drying plaster on the bar gave further inspiration: a pale silver grey would be used for the walls, while a slightly darker, more durable grey would be used on the bar.

The look was coming together, but the final problem was the need for cost-effective shelving in the bar.

Solution: simple sheets of wood were painted in the same durable white, with a floating effect achieved by the use of threaded rods as support which were also painted white. Completing the look we bought a silver bar fridge and tossed out the old pine barstools, replacing them with three modern ones which, at a combined cost of R2800, probably accounted for the largest part of the budget.

Fridge and barstools in place and we were done.

By using a little bit of imagination the whole area had been transformed into a pleasant communal space with a minimal amount of fuss and at a budget-pleasing price.

And, as Ant conceded at the end of a job well done, it wasn't actually all that hard.

On his pocket maybe, but not on mine!

For inquiries and quotes contact Ant at [gallery ids="16829,16828,16827"]