During the pandemic, architect Christopher Brandon personally designed a wood-covered indoor-outdoor area by the pool that blends a surf shack feel with a hotel lounge. The over-the-top bar is an amenity, says the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based designer. It has increased explosively since 2020.
“People want fun and social interaction, and there’s no better or safer way to entertain family and friends than in the comfort of your own home,” said Brandon through his firm Brandon Architects. It reported that residential bar projects for customers are increasing.
“This allows people to feel transported to a more exciting and intimate atmosphere without having to step outside the premises,” he said.
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If you’re a homeowner with a passion for hosting, you’ve probably tried setting up your own home bar at least once. But when the pandemic forced people indoors from their favorite restaurants and watering holes, many discovered the joys of eating at home, preferably in moderation. And even as drinking habits and socializing return to normal, many avid hosts are investing in elaborate one-off home bars.
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Breegan Jane, a Los Angeles-based interior designer and host of HGTV’s “Dream Home,” says, “People are changing their homes so they don’t have to sacrifice the experience of enjoying the social side of entertainment.” “We started investing more in bars.”
“We are now realizing how much convenience and intimacy these dedicated areas offer,” says Jane, who says many of her clients are inspired by their favorite restaurants and bars. He said there was.
“They want the functionality and fun that this kind of bar provides, but they don’t necessarily want an engine that allows all the moving parts to work seamlessly. “It becomes a priority factor. People tend to splurge on high-end cabinetry that can accommodate their luxury home bar needs,” she said.
Perhaps the most common theme Jane has noticed is a focus on seating and layout.
“People want to give their guests the ideal way to interact, so everything from comfort to organization becomes a priority,” she said.
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next level bar
Britt Zunino, president of Studio DB, a Manhattan-based architecture and interiors firm, said owners want home bars to be on display rather than hidden in butler’s pantries or cabinets.
“We often have integrated refrigeration and wine storage, specialty ice makers for cocktails, dishwashers, and customized shelving to display beautiful glassware and bottles,” she says. said. “Our bar designs often feature decorative metal bar sinks, specialty wallpaper, tile and unique marble.”
Francis Nicdao, principal and chief creative officer at New York City-based interior design studio Pembroke & Ives, says he likes to look at luxury hotels and restaurants around the world for design inspiration. Ta.
“Every detail is so important that we even specify the type of ice the ice machine produces based on the customer’s preferences,” he said. “The challenge is finding the balance between sourcing beautiful materials that are durable.”
Susana Simonpietri, creative director of Brooklyn-based interior design studio Chango & Co., equates modern home bar design with the eye-catching lounges of hotels and restaurants.
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“Usually it’s a departure from what you’re doing elsewhere in the house. If your house is all cream and white, the bar might be a bold blue or black, or it might be fully mirrored,” she says. said.
Jessica Maros of Dallas-based MAROS Designs says even minibars are increasingly custom-made for homeowners with limited space.
“Minibars have been the number one request from my clients over the last few years. We’ve converted many closets into hidden bourbon bars and hallways into wine refrigerators,” says Maros. “Having a space to have a glass of wine and enjoy it during the day makes life at home much more enjoyable.”
In California, Brandon has noticed an increase in retractable and hidden bar elements.
“In my experience, a common theme is incorporating things like under-counter refrigerators, dishwasher drawers, kegerators, and even retractable walls and windows to give the space an element of privacy,” he says. Told. “One [client] There was a TV that could be rotated 360 degrees to pop out of the landscape and be visible from the bar and spa. In another room, we were able to lift part of the bar in the living room so the client could hide some of the bottles and stemware. ”
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create your own bar
Maros, who also has experience designing commercial bars, said the first thing he considers in the design process is a simple question: what type of drinker are they?
“The most important question to ask yourself is: am I a cocktail connoisseur or a wine expert? Both require different setups,” she said. “If you like cocktails, put in a sink and a fridge; if you like wine, you don’t need a sink. A cellar and a fridge is ideal.”
Maros said his next decision was simply a matter of space and budget.
“I think the hardest thing is finding space for a bar. A lot of people want it, but what they don’t realize is that it’s basically another expense in the kitchen. There is, and that’s why most of my clients add on or add on later. [implement it into] It’s a small part of the house,” she said.
In addition to space, cost is also the biggest hurdle for customers, Simonpietri said.
“They require plumbing, refrigeration, appliances, etc., and can quickly become large and expensive,” she says.
Manhattan-based interior designer Wesley Moon says the starting price for an upscale bar is $100,000, and “the cost goes up by your imagination.”
“Creating a customized home bar has a wide range, but can easily start in the five figures and reach six figures for something very elaborate,” Zunino added. .
Once space and budget are determined, clients often want a home bar designed in a way that reflects their unique personality, Moon says.
“They want high-end materials such as rare stones, carved hardware and gold-plated glass, all of which have a big wow factor and create the perfect showcase for their barware and glass collection. ” he said. As an example of an expensive next-level element, Moon cited his TopBrewer, which retails in the low five digits, as one of the most luxurious fixtures he’s ever come across. .
“Its simple spout may not look fancy at first glance, but its functionality is impressive,” he said. “The undercounter device can dispense a wide range of drinks from sparkling water to milk and boasts a complete barista menu that can be easily operated using an iPad.”
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Lighting is also important, the designer said.
“We like to treat our home bar like a jewelry box, focusing on every detail as well as the lighting elements that make the space sparkle,” Nikdao said. “It’s also important to think about what you want to display on your bar and design accordingly. Bottles come in different shapes and sizes, so it’s helpful to know what brands and materials your client wants to have on their bar .”
And in the era of maximalist interior design trends, Maros says luxury wallpaper has become the trendiest and most common request these days.
“I had a client buy Pierre Frey wallpaper for $500 a yard. If you’re covering a decent-sized room, the wallpaper alone costs about $30,000, no equipment needed,” she says. Told.
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As far as projects go, Simonpietri said home bars are popular among designers, despite the myriad challenges and considerations.
“Bar design is generally a lot of fun. You get a chance to talk to your clients, and most of the time, some funny conversations come out of it. You can find out about the hilarious things they did when they got drunk, or the wild parties they threw. “You can listen,” she said. “I enjoy working in a bar with clients because it’s a good opportunity to get to know them better and they get to hear your crazy stories.”