July 22, 2024


Interior spice

12 sexy home bar designs

12 sexy home bar designs

‘In 2021, the home bar has come out of the closet!’’ Heather Vaughan of Heather Vaughan Design (www.heathervaughandesign.com) proclaims. Instead of tucking bars behind closed doors, clients want them out in the open, often with boutique hotel-type vibes.

Designers are installing speakeasies and sports bars in basements, morphing unused sunrooms into grownup getaways, and outfitting empty rooms over the garage with high-top tables and ice makers. Andra Birkerts of Andra Birkerts Design (www.andrabdesign.com) refers to such spaces as “lures’’ because they pull people into more remote parts of the house. “It gives people a cool place to go and provides a location for alternative interactions, like sitting at the bar,’’ she said.

Home bars aren’t always out-of-the-way. Nikki Dalrymple of Acquire (www.acquireboutique.com) is re-imagining formal living rooms in suburban homes as cocktail lounges. Since these rooms are usually adjacent to the dining room, the flow makes sense, she said.

In a condo at Millennium Tower in Boston, Meghan Shadrick of Meghan Shadrick Interiors (www.meghanshadrick.com) turned the second bedroom into a whiskey bar/TV lounge. “They had a massive collection of over 150 whiskey bottles and about the same in wine,’’ the designer said. “It’s a spot where they can sip a glass and watch a sports game.’’

For Nina Seed of Nina Seed Interiors, (www.ninaseedinteriors.com) cocktail rooms are such a regular ask that her team worked up a rendering for a concept and layout that she can show clients as a jumping-off point. “Of course, we make each cocktail room unique to the client and their budget,’’ she said.

It’s not just happening in New England. Analysts at home design hub Houzz compared searches on the site from April to June of 2021 with the same time last year and found that searches for home bars were up 277 percent. Searches for art studios were up 875 percent, which should make for some pretty interesting artwork in 2022.

New England designers shared 12 of their favorite home bars and cocktail lounge spaces:

A driftwood-colored pool table sits before a pair of windows. There are two orange ottomans to the right and a wooden stair rail in the shape of an X. To the left, tucked in a corner is a brick bar with bottles on top and three round stools in front. Two pendant lights with a bronze look hang above. The brick back wall has a mounted counter, open shelving, and a TV.
. —Michael J. Lee

When Virginia DesRoches’s sister and her fiancé built a home in Acushnet, an oversize rec room — a place where immediate and extended family could hang out, play pool, watch sports and movies, and grab a drink — was a must. Ironwood Studio’s principal designer went dark and moody to evoke a smoky, masculine vibe and a whole new experience. “The rest of the house is all white,’’ DesRoches said. “There’s a totally different mood when you walk into this room.’’

■ www.ironwoodstudio.co

A two counter bar setup with sleek, gray modern cabinetry and gold faucets drawer pulls. A stone top with a marble look holds a tray with several tall bottles of liquor on it. The second counter has seating for three, and a bottle of liquor and a mostly empty glass sit on top. There is a mess-like screen in the background.
. —Sabrina Cole Quinn

What to include in a 2,000-square foot basement renovation in Newton? If you’re John Bradfield’s clients, two dads with a pair of toddlers, the answer is a 12-seat, tiered movie theater with a full bar at the rear. Bradfield outfitted the bar with freezer and beverage drawers, an ice maker, and storage for movie snacks. Plus, there’s additional seating for five at the counter. “Since the pandemic hit, clients have been upgrading the entertainment areas in their homes,’’ the Bradfield Interior Design principal said. “I am currently working on a speakeasy lounge.’’


A bar with three stools sits in the background of a room with arched windows. There is a blue rug with a bright pink, bean-shaped design in the middle. Off to the left are green, zebra-striped chairs. The walls are white, as is the bar. There are pink flowers, a liquor bottle, and two quarter-full glasses on top of the bar.
. —Kyle J. Caldwell

“With our ever-changing world, my clients are searching for ways to bring entertainment back to their homes,’’ said Kellie Burke, principal of Kellie Burke Interiors. In response, Burke has been turning “underutilized spaces that we fill with nonsensical furnishings’’ into adult rooms with “bougie atmospheres.’’ For clients in West Hartford, she transformed a sunroom filled with toys and UPS packages into a glamorous lounge. “My clients actually dress up as if they are going out on the town, to entertain in their own home.’’

■ www.kellieburke.com

A polyurethaned counter sits atop bright blue cabinetry. Several bottles of liquor sit on top of the counter, glinting in the sunshine spilling in from the blue-framed window above. There is a red, patterned rectangular rug on the floor. The walls are paper in a big-patterned floral paper.
. —Stephen Sheffield

Sheffield Interiors founder Alison Sheffield adores the butler’s pantry in her Cohasset home. During the pandemic, she enhanced the design, turning it into a full-on bar and the focal point of her kitchen. On March 9, 2020, with no clue about what was to come, the designer and her photographer husband, Stephen Sheffield, kicked off #sheffieldcocktailhour on her Instagram Stories. They’ve been concocting a classic cocktail from their home bar every Friday night since. “Initially it was meant to be a way to demonstrate how easy it is to make really great cocktails at home,’’ Alison said. “Then the pandemic hit, and it blossomed into a therapeutic way to entertain ourselves during some really dark days.’’ So far, they’ve shared 93 different recipes!

■ www.sheffieldinteriors.com and www.instagram.com/sheffield_interiors

A bar with a tiled, blue floral front is tucked in the back of the room next to a beverage counter with a fridge. The bar has two stools in front of it and tall, white-glassed pendant lights above it. The floor is a light hardwood. To the right is a grouping of four white framed black-and-white pictures, a gray couch, a wooden sofa table, and two white poufs. To the left is a pub table with two stools, set before a wide grouping of windows.
. —wearefreebird.com

What to do when your house has small rooms, but you want to throw a 40th birthday blowout? A family of five in Andover looked to designer Gina Baran to turn a cluttered rec room above the garage into a multifunctional space where the adults could entertain and the family could watch movies and play games together. On one side, Baran set up a sectional with a drop-down projection screen. On the other, there’s a pool table, a high-top table, and a built-in bar. “The wife loves geometrics, so we used encaustic cement hexagon tiles on the front of the bar and herringbone wallpaper behind it,’’ Baran said.

■ www.ginabaran.com

Light blue cabinetry makes up the bar in this space and matches the wainscoting and framing of the room. A fringed tea towel sits in a small sink with a metal faucet. An olive green armchair is in the foreground next to a small round end table with a bowl and a full glass with ice on it. There are blue glasses on the glass open shelves of the bar. The backsplash is a wallpaper with a gray cloud print. There are bottles of liquor and an ice bucket with a bottle in it on the counter.
. —Michael J. Lee

When Clare Wheadon’s clients purchased their dream home in Marblehead at the beginning of last year, she turned the formal living room into a grown-ups-only space with a bar stocked with their collection of bourbons, rums, and liqueurs. “It was a retreat during a time when the kids were home much, much more than usual,’’ said the principal of Clare Wheadon Interiors. Wheadon tucked the built-in bar, which she painted a glossy Farrow & Ball “Stone Blue’’ and backed with Cole & Son “Nuvolette’’ wallpaper into a cozy corner. “The room has a beautiful view of the ever-changing sea and nearby small islands,’’ Wheadon said. “It’s the perfect place for a drink!’’

■ www.clarewheadoninteriors.com

The ceiling and walls in this room are painted a dark sage green and so are the window frames, as well as the radiator that lines the back wall. The windows are tall, wide, and arched. To the left is a bright brown leather couch with a black throw pillow, a glass table with gold framing, and a bulbous, geometric lamp with a black shade. In the middle of the room in the foreground sits a glass, gold-framed coffee table. In the back middle is a wide armchair with an off-white cushion. To the back right is a modern, arched bar with two poofs for seats. Bar implements sit on top.
. —Lam Photography

Before Ellen Piccolo worked her magic on the sunroom of her West Hartford Colonial, it was a playroom. As the kids aged, she wanted to transition them to the basement and reclaim this room for grown-up time. So the designer, who was an associate at Camden Grace Interiors, installed black-and-white marble floors and painted the ceiling with a high-gloss finish that sparkles in the evening. “They listen to the Victrola record player and entertain small groups of friends over cocktails,’’ Jeanne Barber, the firm’s founder said. “The kids play happily in the basement.’’

■ www.camden-grace.com

Four, rounded, leather arm chairs with black frames surround a round coffee table with a glass bowl in the middle. A round brown light hangs over the center of the space. There are two 6-over-6 windows in the back. The walls and the ceiling are painted a moody blue, as are the doors of the bar found in the back left. The bar has a white waterfall counter and a black sink faucet. Bottles and flowers sit atop the bar. Backlighting illuminates the gray-and-white backsplash and two open shelves. A white rug demarcates the seating area.
. —Joyelle West Photography

Inspired by the conventions he attends in Las Vegas, Vivian Robins’s client suggested turning the unfinished space over the garage of his Concord home into a glam lounge where he and his wife could entertain. So the founder of Vivian Robins Design got to work. The result is a moody space with a fireplace and sofa on one side and a bar, high-top table, and four leather club chairs on the other. A crystal chandelier and a sparkly three-dimensional glass tile backsplash sparkle against the wall treatment hand-painted by decorative painter Pauline Curtiss of Patina Designs. “Everyone loves the sexy, bar loft that came into play,’’ Robins said. “When they have parties, nobody wants to leave.’’

■ www.vivianrobinsdesign.com

A detail shot of a home bar that is white with two cabinets and sits on two wooden legs. There is wooden open shelving above that holds plants, bottles, and other assorted items. The flooring is wood. The paired photo shows the entire room, which consists of, to the left, a modern wooden dining table for six with brown cushions under a wide, white geometric light fixture and, to the right, a pair of gray stuffed armchairs. One has a gray throw on it.
. —Autumn Aguiar Photography

Not every bar needs to be built-in. Leah Hook and Sonia Brady, the design duo behind Gray Oak Studio, added a freestanding, fluted bar and wall-hung shelves to the open concept living space of their client’s Lynnfield home. “We wanted it to feel cohesive, like a natural part of the great room rather than an island,’’ Hook said. “The end result is a mini cocktail scene that bridges the dining room and living room, bringing personality and color into the coastal scheme.’’

■ www.grayoakstudio.com

A detail shot of a home bar with a rounded farmer's sink that just out from the counter. There is a cutting board with limes and lemons on the counter. At the top of the counter sit two blue wine glasses. The back of the bar is lined with blue-and-white tile. The paired photo is of the room itself and shows two stools, a navy blue bar, and a navy blue back wall with open shelving holding liquor bottles.
. —Joseph Keller

Christine Tuttle was discussing finishing the basement of her clients’ Lexington home when the pandemic hit. “They mentioned getting a Foosball table, and suddenly the husband said, ‘Let’s put a wet bar in the corner,’’’ the owner of Christine Tuttle Design recalled. In order to fit four stools on the front and two on the end without impeding the flow from the stairs to the sofa, Tuttle designed the bar in a curved silhouette. Then she wrapped it in wood tambour paneling painted in Farrow & Ball “Hague Blue’’ for a classic New England feel. The hammered metal sink adds style on the flip side. The couple hangs out at the bar after dinner with a different, fun cocktail each week. “It’s like a night out on the town,’’ the designer said.

■ www.christinetuttle.com

The coffered ceiling and the walls in this space are painted a moody dark blue. There is a wing chair in the foreground with a blue checkered print and a teal, patterned pillow. The bar is in the back. It has a white counter, four hard-backed metal stools, and a brass foot rail. There is a window behind the bar, and the sunlight is bouncing off the glass backsplash behind open shelving filled with liquor bottles. There is a carafe on top of the bar.
. —Sarah M. Winchester

Rather than preserve the cherry coffered ceiling in the library of this Wellesley home, Kim Tosi painted it Farrow & Ball “Stiffkey Blue’’ with a high-gloss finish. “When we initially walked through, the husband said: ‘I don’t need an office. Let’s make it into a bar,’’’ the Gather Home principal recalled. In addition to the new color, which was inspired by a boutique hotel in Charlottesville, Va., she removed the French doors that opened to the living room and widened the opening for an easy flow between the spaces. Nantucket-based cabinetmaker Jeremy Trottier crafted the walnut bar. “During COVID, their pod was regularly at the bar,’’ Tosi said. “It’s their safe place.’’

■ www.gatherhomedesign.com

Red bar and cabinetry. The red counter has a silver tray with bar glasses and a round bottle of liquor. There is a short vase of pink flowers. A lantern on a stand is to the left. The wallpaper is gold leaves and red berries. The side shelves are full of liquor bottles.
. —Jared Kuzia

Linda Weisberg, founder of LWInteriors, created this bar nook off the dining room of a 1790 Federal farmhouse in Sudbury. The owners, who produce Goodnow Farms Chocolate in a barn on their property, wanted a special place where they could easily mix cocktails for themselves and friends. Weisberg lined the back wall with Farrow & Ball “Rosslyn’’ wallpaper and did the ceiling in gold leaf. The finishing touch? An original photograph of Abraham Lincoln that the designer found on eBay. “The husband loves Abe Lincoln; his wife gave it to him as a birthday present,’’ she said.

■ www.lwinteriors.com

Marni Elyse Katz captures good design @StyleCarrot on Instagram and Twitter. Send comments to [email protected]. Subscribe to our newsletter at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes.