So you may have read my previous post on my garden office that kind of turned into a bit more of a project than I anticipated! In fact it kind of took over my life for a little while and led to me transforming the whole backyard into a beach themed retreat!
After completing the garden office project I was able to relax for all of 2 mins before my brain started to go into overdrive again and the beach bar was on the horizon, after all you can hardly have a beach retreat without refreshment! Yes, we needed a beach bar and I felt my long suffering man could do with a man cave, so he could get away from me from time to time to gain some solace! Plus there would be the ulterior motive of freeing up more space in the fridge and cupboards by moving it into the bar.
So I already had a shed in the garden, not unlike many other shiplapped cladded shed which over time becomes a dumping site for anything you can’t find a place for in the house. When I say this shed was full to the brim I am not exaggerating – we have photographic evidence!
So the first step in creating Danny’s Beach Bar was to clear the shed! Not a job to be taken lightly when you have hoarding tendencies! I find it hard to throw anything out but luckily I had recently taken to putting stuff on ebay and was quite enjoying the buzz of selling so that made the blow a bit easier. This, coupled with the fact I no longer had a garden as such, I mean the type of garden with grass in, so things like the two lawnmowers and strimmers (yes, it’s always good to have a spare one) really were now redundant. There was also a couple of BBQ’s in there that I had never used but I’d acquired from someone at some point and a whole load of other stuff! Luckily we found a good home for some of the stuff in a friend who is a bit like me and doesn’t like to see anything going to waste!
In the corner of the shed there were a few boxes of Danny’s stuff from when he moved in with me and I was pleased to find a few bits and bobs that would fit perfectly into the beach bar, plus I also stumbled across his Porsche collection – yes toy cars but Danny is a bit of a petrol head and he loves Porsche’s – personally they do nothing for me, I’m much more a Lamborghini kind of girl but still it was going to be his space so I thought I would try and display them somehow in his little man cave.
Right so after the expense of my garden office and garden transformation into a beach retreat, Danny’s Beach Bar had zero budget but luckily I wanted it to have a rustic look and let’s face it most authentic beach bar’s are put together with driftwood etc and are not high budget. Well at least the one’s I’ve frequented on my many backpacker jaunts in far flung places of the world. I’m also a big fan of upcycling (see my other blogs I was raised to upcycle!, Turn your hand to upcycling – I did!)
I already had the idea of making the bar out of pallets and I had some leftover straw cladding so knew that would come in handy. I had initially thought of lining the walls with the straw cladding but then came up with the idea of breaking pallets apart and using the wood to clad the walls, I could then paint the bits of wood different colours to give the effect I was looking for. Right that was the start and once that idea sprung into my mind I was out there ripping apart pallets (Oh I really wish it was that easy and if you have ever tried to take a pallet apart then you will understand that it’s not as easy as the youtube video’s lead you to believe!).
Now at this stage with hindsight, I should have really invested in a reciprocating saw or at least a saw a bit more durable than the jigsaw I’ve had for years and was the cheapest one available. They say you pay for quality. Instead myself and Danny decide to do it the hard way with crow bars to try and prize them apart – do you know how many nails they use in pallets! We were lucky with some but we mostly had to use the jigsaw. The great thing about pallets is they are not all uniform and I’d accumulated several sizes and shades so once we’d dismantled the pallets I was able to lay down the wood for the flooring using different lengths and shades. The other thing I love about pallets is the holes left from the nails which really helps with the rustic look.
After screwing them into the floor – luckily we had invested into a good electric screwdriver – I made up some chalk paint (a mix of old emulsion I had kicking around the house, water and some plaster of paris) and I then painted the wood various colours – well I started painting it but soon changed tack and used a sponge to drag the paint along. I also watered down the paint in varying degrees to get more a whitewash effect on some pieces of wood, particularly if they had a nice bit of grain to show off – oooh I do love a bit of wood grain!
I loved the look so much that I then decided to clad the walls, the other reason was that it would provide some insulation and cover some of the holes you get in the thin wood cladding of the shed. Again I painted random strips of wood.
The next stage was to attach straw cladding to the ceiling of the shed which I did easily by hammering nails into the wood then bending them over.
Now it was time to make my bar out of pallets. I’d put aside a couple of good looking pallets for the job which were both the same size and they fitted into the shed perfectly, all I needed to do was screw them together and then screw them into the floor. I also used brackets to fix it to the floor to make it more stable. On the inside of one of the pallets I used the jigsaw to cut out parts of the pallet to make an opening so I could make a couple of shelves with plywood I had leftover from my shed build, I also made the top of the bar out of plywood and the side panel. Before attaching the top of the bar I decoupaged it with some of Danny’s car magazines, so basically ripped up the magazine and glued them on the ply board and then varnished over it.
After installing the bar, I finished off cladding the walls and then had some left over wood that I thought was perfect to make seating from and also had some posts leftover from my garden office build that came in handy. Again, a circular saw would have been better rather than trying to cut it straight with a jigsaw but hey ho, I managed to do a half decent job and since being built believe me the seats have had plenty of use and are still going strong!
Next up, I decided to make some shelves out of old decking I had hanging around and the block bits from pallets as the brackets, this worked well and was the perfect platform to show off Danny’s Porsche collection. I then started putting up a few signs we had accumulated and I bought Danny a man cave sign as a present.
I then put a drinks fridge I had laying about behind the bar and added a few small shelves here and there.
During the build I put a call out on Facebook for donations of any bar/pub paraphernalia and the very lovely Abi, proprietor of a local pub was able to accommodate me with a beer barrel which I was able to stuff a cushion in the top to make into a stool, a nice little bar stool, beer mats and beer towels. I would like to give a call out to the pub but I wouldn’t want her to be bombarded with requests for free bar paraphernalia so I won’t. Dan’s sister had also previously owned a bar so she was able to hand down a few bits. All in all we got many other cool pub donations including optics and I managed to get a yard of ale from the local tip for £1.
Fixing the optics was the next job and I just used leftover decking to mount them onto so they protruded out a bit. I loved the optics and had to have a play with them, in fact for several weeks after completion it became a bit of a novelty and we were in there most nights and for a couple who, pre beach bar in the back garden, hardly drank spirits we were doing a good job at catching up. It was like playing shop as a kid only we were playing bar tender!
Quite soon on I invited an old school friend around as I knew he was a bit of a mixologist and I wanted him to teach my man a thing or two as I’m a bit partial to the odd cocktail or ten! Matt came around with his wife and daughter and we had a great night, well what I could remember from it and we had some fabulous cocktails. I must say they were a lot stronger than I was used to!
And the rest as they say is history! We’ve now had the bar since August 2015 and we’ve had many a merry and fun night in it. It’s become a very popular place to hang out and even throughout the winter we’ve been able to use it as we’ve just put an oil filled radiator in it. We’ve also since installed LED lights and a disco light that is controlled by music – Danny has had his Bose system in the bar and likes to host music quizzes when friends come around. In fact we have noticed a sharp increase in the amount and frequency that people visit us these days and we have several friends and family members who wherever they go in the world pick us up beer mats which we have used to adorn the walls!
Danny’s Beach Bar has even become a place on Facebook where friends checked into it but unfortunately the person who first created it as a check in had had a few strong cocktails and missed the ‘s of Danny! Pop over and have a look!
I would love to know what you think to our Beach Bar so please do let us know by leaving a comment below.
Until next time, Adios x
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