Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bar Carts

Good morning!

I'm still struggling with what to do with my fourth wall in my new living room set up! I moved the yellow arm chair from the den up...no dice. Moved the couch from the long wall to the windows in the front of the house....nope. Tried putting the chord organ along the windows...whatever I tried, it was weirdly out of place, and I ended up having to move everything to its original position by the time I was through. Half an hour, wasted, turned into an hour, wasted. Scraped knuckles and aching-of-back, I called my mom to lament the disharmonious situation going down in one of the most important rooms in the house, when she suggested I bring up my seventies' bar cart (which looks pretty much identical to the one below). Genius, woman!

Ain't she a pip? (Source)
 I picked this guy up at an estate sale in Bordeaux for $15, attracted by the art deco shape of it, and had been using it pretty much as a glassware shelf in the den. People, among the many things I have problems collecting, I would put glassware at the very tip top. It is well nigh impossible for me to see a sixties' sour cream glass or a Tang pitcher or a souvenir cup from Mammoth Cave and resist taking it home with me, and the bar cart had been a victim of this historic injustice.

I'm not getting rid of them... I just have to figure out another place to put them!

I took the cart up to the living room and removed each and every piece of glass from it, then windexed the glass panels, then looked dumbly upon it trying to figure out what one puts on a bar cart (other than the aforementioned items, which, by the way, were all on the cart before I moved it). I knew immediately that two things have to go on the cart: this ribbed cocktail shaker and stainless steel Penguin ice bucket. I also have some nice whiskey tumblers, an assortment of wine glasses, and a number of vintage books on entertaining...but after that, I'm stumped! Do you put actual booze on the bar cart? I've never been a gimlet or martini girl myself, but should I go out and buy fancy bottles to put on the cart and give the Dorothy Parker lifestyle a go? How does one dress a bar cart?

I KNEW I'd picked these up for a reason...
 I dimly remembered seeing someone's Pinterest posts on how bar carts were coming back in style (here's a particularly good one), and boy, when I googled "bar cart", did I come up with some faaaancy ideas. From professionals, no less! Let's take a look at the inspiration board, shall we?

Via Emily Henderson
1) Emily Henderson bar cart:
  • Overview: I love Emily Henderson and her HGTV show Secrets From a Stylist (the day I figured out that HGTV has full episodes of a lot of their home decorating shows was a very good day, indeed). How cute is this cart?!
  • Bar inventory:
    • Booze (including glass skull bottle of vodka!)
    • Stainless steel carafe
    • Tumbler set and tray
    • Deer's head ice bucket (!!)
    • Three empty decanters
    • A vase with cherry blossom cuttings
  • Verdict: I think I like the cart and the wallpaper better than the cart-dressing itself. The cherry blossom thing would be too "I copied this from a magazine" for my taste. But it does add drama! And my house decorating aesthetic is alllll about the drama.

2) Christian May bar cart:
  • Overview: I don't know who Christian May is, but I am bugging out about his swank bar cart, so I might have to do some investigating around his website for more interior design ideas. This 2009 blog post, from his website Maison 21, features tips on how to stock the blamed thing! Bless him!
  • Bar inventory:
    • Booze:  "vodka, gin, scotch and vermouth, maybe a bottle of red, and a few random liquor bottles just to prop it out"
    • Mixers: " It's important to have multiple bottles of mixers to keep the bar looking welcoming, yet not junked up, so keep the variety slim, but lots of each"
    • Accesories: "bucket, a carafe or shaker to mix, tongs, knife and bottle opener on the table at all times, along with a selection of double old fashioned glasses and stemware"
    • Lemons and limes (which he says, if unsliced, don't go bad for a long time...I didn't know that!)
  • Verdict: It's probably the alcoholic in me, but I LOVE this fully-functioning dry bar set up. It looks swank and actually serves a purpose at the same time. 

3) Deborah Needleman's bar cart 
  • Overview: This bar set up appeared in several tumblrs/Pinterest boards/etc that I came across, but Apartment Therapy finally clued me in to its provenance. Deborah Needleman is the editor in chief of WSJ and has worked for/created/helmed several other magazines. That's not important-- what's important? How fresh and inviting this bar cart looks!
  • Bar inventory: Extremely similar to M21's bar, but add
    • Mini bottles of club soda/tonic
    • Tabasco sauce
    • Stacks of books (! It's like she already knows what my house looks like!)
    • Extremely tall carafe made of such clear glass it almost looks invisible (can you spot it on the bottom shelf?)
  • Verdict: Close tie with the last one. I think the mini mixer bottles would serve a better purpose but I like the look of the skinny ones better. I'm counting the number of glasses so my cart can have a similarly reasonable number (so not eighty? Why not eighty?).
Soooo, what do you think? Is it too "magazine-y" to have a bar cart, even if I promise to use it? Do you have one in your house? What kinds of things did you put on yours? Which of the above designs do you prefer? I need your advice!

That's all for today... I'll take a picture of the finished product sometime this week. See you tomorrow!


  1. i too cannot resist the siren song of vintage glassware. i have more tumblrs and mugs and pictures than i know what to do with! i was rearranging yesterday and realized i have NINE cake stands. NINE! haha.
    i am torn about bar carts. i think the last one looks to much like you are setting up for a party taht night (but maybe that is a good thing?) i'm not much of a drinker though, except for my twice yearly cape cod when i drag myself out to the motown night at the five spot so my opinion really means nothing.
    also, if you love emily, do you read her assistant/friend's blog, hommemaker? it is SO FUNNY. one of my favorite of all time.

  2. LOVE the bar cart idea...I say make it your own! I found the cutest glass cocktail shaker and glass set with a 1950's oriental motif last week that would be perfect for a bar cart scenario. My house is very small and I have a 4-year-old so all of my vintage barware stuff goes straight into my booth at this time. Looking forward to seeing the results!
    Lauren T--www.apronstringsvintage.wordpress.com

  3. Bar cart, what an hilarious name!!! We call them drinks trolleys, so yes, of course they should be full of alcohol...but do you seriously NOT DRINK??? I have one in my lounge, not dissimilar to those you've shown, posted it on my blog ages ago. It's only not full of alcohol because I have a small child.xxx.

  4. Now I want a bar cart! I think just having a few cool looking bottles of booze and your vintage barware on it would fit your style. That's what I'll do if I ever get one, I'm not much of a drinker but I have lots of booze related items.

  5. I have a bar cart (actually a Cosco metal cart) but I keep my stereo equipment on it. Actually, that kind of sums up a lot about me right there...

  6. Do you also have booze on your cart or just the stereo equipment?



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