Repurposed Floating Bar

Over a year ago we pulled up to my sister’s in-law’s house and found a dilapidated cabinet they had left at the curb. To my left I heard, “Oh-what-do-we-have-here?!” and I knew it was going home with us even if it meant there was no room in the car for me (this thing is massive).


It had been in my brother-in-law’s family for decades, but no one remembered where it came from or what its original use was. It’s from City Built Refrigerator Company, but I couldn’t find a stitch of information on it. We both suspect it was used as some sort of pharmacy display case. We had something different in mind for it, but first to remove the layers!



My husband brushed coats of Klean Strip, a very effective paint stripper, and then scraped away the years of lead paint with putty knife. Now, my man is used to working with dangerous materials and equipment and always exercises  the utmost precaution. Until the day he was about halfway through the project and got a little careless. While brushing on a layer of the toxic liquid, the brush bristles got caught in a wood groove and splashed him in his unprotected eye. I’ll spare you his stream of consciousness and cut to where he and his red, puffy eye were done for the day. Wear your protective gear, folks!


Mr. Detail, having recovered from his little setback, returned with scabbed eyelid to the refurbishing and gave the cabinet a good sanding and smoothed out some of termite damaged areas.


It has sliding glass doors and shelving, which needed replacing. He cut door tracks to fit, removed the rust from the hardware and then stained them a light green.


We opted for stain instead of paint because we liked the pattern in the plywood. Then we sanded the green stain to mute the intensity and replaced the sheet of glass shelving. As it turned out there was a lot more work to be done, but I won’t bore you with minutiae.

Fast forward to a year and a half later and we were finally ready to put her up! We found the studs in the wall and made sure this beast was secure with 3 sturdy L brackets and added a few screws behind the metal tracking and drilled those into the wall.


We dressed it with some of our midcentury glassware and crystal and filled the decanters with our favorite liquors: whiskey, tequila and vodka. Any recommendations for the fourth?


This poor project was a long time coming due to interruptions and setbacks, but I am so happy with the way it turned out and think it was well worth the wait! Cocktail anyone?


11 thoughts on “Repurposed Floating Bar

    1. you’re so cute, you little wordsmith, you. thank you! i hope you and your family are doing well. happy holidays to you!!!

  1. YAY, I’m so excited!!! I’ve missed your awesome posts of fabulous finds and transformations. And trust me when I say…it was worth the wait. Dang, that thing is SO cool. Richie would have left me there and come back later (in a few days or so) if he had to. Ha Ha! I’m glad it fit and found a home with you.

    When I read that about Jordan’s eye I can’t lie… I squished my eyes up so tight so nothing would get in them. EEEEK… that’s scary, isn’t it. Glad you’re okay J. We’ve used Klean Strip many times and it’s pretty toxic (but most thing that work well, are)

    The final reveal is amazing. Your attention to detail on projects like this just make me proud. Does that sound stupid? I love it when people take pride in what they’re doing and don’t skip steps or half-ass things. You guys NEVER do that. It’s really impressive.
    And you end up with something so unique and special. THIS IS REALLY SPECIAL! Love it, love it, love it! And it’s all bling’d out with pretty glass and my favorite liquors. Hey bartender, I’ll have a martini, please. How about scotch for the fourth. Are you scotch people?

    Great post, guys. I’ve missed you so much. This is just in time for a Christmas party!!! xo

    1. yay! stacey’s awesome thumbs up of approval! so glad you like it. i have to give most of the cred to jordo gabordo. i just bitch, boss and encourage. haha. although i did do a little of the staining. yay, me!
      i’m pretty forgiving of anything boozy, but jordan isn’t big on scotch. i’m a jameson gal myself. maybe we’ll make decanter #4 a rotating bottle, eh? keep them guessing.
      i’m glad you missed me. it’s good to be missed, hehe. hopefully my next post won’t be a month away again :/ thanks for always being my muse. now go get that tree up! 😀

    1. lol nicole. of course you’d say gin! i’m not a big martini gal, but i think i should give gin a chance more often 😀

  2. This turned out amazing! You have an eye like no other (no pun intended!) Thank you for giving a family piece special meaning and purpose. Such talent!

    1. so glad you approve, debbie! we love it so much! spiced rum is not a bad idea! especially for those summer beverages 😉

    1. thank you, annina! 😉 and, no, booze doesn’t need a showcase, but she sure deserves it one in awhile. ha! glad you approve!

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