1. Enjoying the fruits of my labor… Cheers!

    November 14, 2011 by Felix

    Enjoying the fruits of my labor... Cheers!

  2. Day 1

    July 15, 2011 by Felix

    With no carpentry skills whatsoever and no actual plan,
    what I did have was a desire to build my own bar
    on our patio by the pool!

    Spent $126 at Home Depot on twelve 2X4s, outdoor deck screws, metal joiners, Tapcon screws, and a Tapcon drill bit. I then got to work for the next 4 hours.

    Something I learned about was gunite, which is apparently what my outside walls are made of. This matters because when I thought I’d simply Tapcon screw the side up against the wall, the wall started to crumble around the drill bit and then the screw. Went back to Home Depot and came across Gary, probably the most knowledgeable guy about homes I’ve come across, and toggle bolts is what I’ll try next!

  3. Day 2 – A day of reinforcements

    July 17, 2011 by Felix

    On day 1, I built the frame… or so I thought!

    What’s the most important part of any structure??? That’s right, the foundation! I want a 400 pound drunkard to be able to stumble straight into my bar and have it not move any more than the wall of my house! How do I accomplish that? Reinforce WAY more than necessary! Is there really “too much” when it comes to this stage? My opinion is NO!

    So a ton of this bar’s strength is going to come from it being anchored to the wall. When the wall is made of gunite (see yesterday’s post), it is a real b%&ch to drill through it. But, as with everything else, when you’ve got the right tools, you’ve got the right tools. In this case, it was a 3/4″ masonry drill bit that chewed through the gunite like I didn’t think was possible after attempting it with all the wrong drill bits.

    After anchoring it to the wall, I wanted more stability. I basically didn’t want it to wobble at all! Even if there were no other anchors in place. As you can tell from the pictures, I went nuts on placing extra pieces of 2x4s, metal braces, and screws to strengthen this bar. Something else I learned was the POWER of a reinforcement that takes advantage of a 45 degree angle! Add some 1/4″ Tapcons into the concrete underneath and now we’re talking STRENGTH!!

    Running total: $200

  4. Day 3 – Build dem Walls!

    July 23, 2011 by Felix

    Frame done, time to put up the walls. Duroc? I actually went with 1/2″ HardieBacker board. Regular coated deck wood screws did great for this.

    My frame wasn’t 100% perfect as far as alignment goes, so I was concerned about the board cracking when screwing certain parts of the board that might have made the board bend too much. Well, I guess I was better than I thought (or maybe it was the Hardie board) because there was no breakage, although there was “bendage.”

    At some huge gaps, I used shims or even some more HardieBoard. I just want to have a nice, straight surface area because at this point, I’m thinking tile will be lining these walls.

    Running total: $270

  5. Day 4 – No Longer Topless!

    July 25, 2011 by Felix

    Of course, all bars need a top. Where all the magic happens. Well, at least where the elixirs that make the magic happen are consumed!

    3/4″ pressure treated plywood will do it. 8 feet for the long side, 17″ wide which gives me a 9″ clearance underneath for stools, knees, & such. Short end will be a bit deeper because sink will go under there! (oooh… foreshadowing!)

     Running total: $315 (Brew not included)

  6. Day 5 – Prep the top

    September 17, 2011 by Felix

    After a bit of a vacation from this project, I decided to finally get to the tiling (something else I’ve never done before)! I went to Home Depot and bought 1/4″ HardieBacker board, cut it, and screwed it to the top which was just the thick plywood.

    A shout-out to Alex Lopez for lending me his angle grinder and wet saw… you saved me time and money! ¡Muchas gracias amigo!


    Running Total: $335

  7. Day 6 – “Cutting Corners”

    September 18, 2011 by Felix

    I knew, going into this, that deciding to go “diamond” with the bartop was going to mean extra cutting. Then, I decide to add the blue accents using the left over pool tiles and that really added to the corner cutting.

    Running Total: $455

  8. Day 7 – A Perfectly Level Surface Would’ve Been Nice

    September 24, 2011 by Felix

    You’ll see in the pics how I had to first lay everything out, cut what I needed to, place the whole puzzle on the floor, spread mastic, and put it all back together.

    I quickly learned how difficult it is when the surface you’re tiling is not perfectly flat! Add to that, the fact the accent tiles were about half as thick as the black granite and it left me with finding creative ways to figure it all out. I used extra mastic, washers, cement board, and whatever it took to get the accents as flush as possible.


    Running total: $485

  9. Day 8 – Stuck tiles to the short side. No biggie

    September 28, 2011 by Felix

    This was easier than I thought. Spread, stick, repeat. Just had to cut the ones closest to the wall. Piece of cake!

    Running total: $535

  10. Day 9 – The Wall

    October 1, 2011 by Felix

    Today I finished the tiling on the long side plus the edge at the end. Had to get another bucket of mastic for this and now have plenty left over.

    When I went to Home Depot today, I found the edges I’m going to use which was cool but darn expensive! $6.95 isn’t much… until you need 14 of them! Still, all in all, there’s no less expensive way to have a bar built.

    Watch a video of the Goodyear blimp checking up on my progress!


    Running total: $570

  11. Day 10 – A tribute to Johnnie

    October 3, 2011 by Felix

    There’s something about black that’s just… bar-like. As you saw yesterday, I started to paint the underneath of the bar black and today I (almost) finished painting the back, inside all black. I think it looks great and takes away the focus from everywhere except the parts that I want people to notice. Namely, the top and walls.

    Running total: $602

  12. Day 11 – Got the EDGES Finally!

    October 10, 2011 by Felix

    Finally got the 14 one-foot black granite edges I needed! My challenge was how they were going to stay put as the mastic got hard enough to hold them in place. I had an idea of what I needed but wasn’t sure if it existed and sure enough…. the 3-way clamp! At $8 each, I did NOT want to buy 14 of them to get it all done at once so I just bought 3 and will just have to do 3 at a time. If I get up 1/2 hour earlier each day, I could then do 6 a day if it hardens enough in 12 hours.

    Then, I grouted the walls with just plain white, non-sanded grout. Nothing to this really. Mix, spread, wait, wipe, wait, wipe, wipe, wipe.

    Running total: $745

  13. Day 12 – Done with outside edges

    October 11, 2011 by Felix

    When you’ve got the right tools, it makes things so much easier! The 3-way clamps really made things easier by holding on to those edges which were quite heavy!

    Thanks to this photo I found, I was cut the edges for the angled corners precisely at 22.5° so they’d meet perfectly at the 135° corners.

  14. Day 13 – Inside edges

    October 16, 2011 by Felix

    Yup, cheap bathroom tile! Spent $13.58 on black ceramic tile for the inside of the bar as opposed to the $105 it would’ve cost to use the same trim as on the outside. Stuck those suckers on with mastic and because they were nice and light, I didn’t have to use clamps or anything.

    Once this dries, I’m ready to grout the top!

    Running total: $759

  15. Day 14 – Top grouted… End in sight!

    October 17, 2011 by Felix

    Followed the instructions on the grout box and all went smoothly. Wish I had another sponge or two. Found myself rinsing the one I had every 2 minutes.

    Running total: $771

  16. Day 15 – Let there be light!

    October 18, 2011 by Felix

    You gotta have atmosphere in a bar setting!

    Running total: $804

  17. Day 16 – Stools by… Craigslist!

    November 14, 2011 by Felix


    I learned this fact once I was ready to start looking for 6 new stools. They definitely had to have backs and the swiveling type would be nice but not necessary.

    After checking all over the Internet, from Target to Carl’s, Ikea to Lowe’s, I was pretty discouraged at the thought of spending more for 6 stools than the total for all the materials of the entire bar!

    Then fate struck… I found FOUR beautiful, wrought iron and wood bar stools for only $50 total on Craigslist!! This was a case of sounding too good to be true and actually being true!

    If that wasn’t awesome enough, a few days later, I found two more of the exact style, also on Craigslist, for $60 for both!

    $110 divided by 6 = $18.33 per stool!

    Grand total – Phase I: $915

    Enjoying the fruits of my labor… Cheers!

  18. Fencing an eye sore

    December 21, 2011 by Felix

    The bar, pool, yard, lawn, playground, tiki torches, lights, etc. are all nice things you can see when sitting at my bar. The two things that were not so sightly were the trash can and recycling bin just to the right of the bar.

    So I built a wooden fence to get them out of view but at the perfect height where you could just reach over and not have to walk around.

  19. Thank you, Maye!

    December 27, 2011 by Felix

    My first bar sign.

    What a cool Christmas present!

    Thank you, Maye!!!