Roll-Top Bar

This is one of my older projects that I don’t have a lot of step-by-step pictures of, but here we go. This is actually the first piece of furniture I rehabbed after I moved into my house. I bought this roll-top desk from Craigslist for $50 – it took some patience to find one cheap enough in the style I wanted, but this one finally came along!


The pictures that I do have of this project are terrible iPhone pictures. Brace yourself for blurriness.

IMG_0591[1]I wanted to turn it into a bar for my stemware and whatnot (so much whatnot) and add a wine rack. The first thing I did was remove the pigeon hole shelf from the top part of the desk. Not to be melodramatic, but this seemingly innocuous task nearly destroyed my soul. That shelf did NOT want to part company with that desk. I tried every kind of cutting tool I had or could steal from my mom’s house. The problem was getting a saw into the space without damaging the roll-top. The thing that finally worked? Putting a 1″ wood boring bit in my drill and drilling into the shelf straight on. This broke it up and I could rip the rest out. Oh how I laughed at my fallen foe. Ok, I’ll stop being weird now.

IMG_0596[1]Next up, adding the shelves for wine in the open space below. I did this with 11″ wide pine boards cut to fit the width of the space, and strips of trim placed along the boards to keep the bottles from rolling. I screwed the boards in place from inside the drawer openings on either side.

The last structural modification was to ditch the drawer on the lower right-hand side. The slide was rotten, and while I could have replaced it, I decided to turn that space into a cabinet for the liquor. I removed the slide and put a piece of MDF board cut to size in the bottom, secured with L-brackets underneath. Then I cut the drawer front from the rest of the drawer, added hinges and made it a door for the space.

IMG_0593[1]After all this furniture butchery, I painted the whole shebang chocolate brown. I waxed it
instead of using Polycrylic. If I ever get bored enough to strip and refinish this guy, I’ll definitely go with the Poly for a more durable finish. I found some bargain cup pulls at Lowe’s and painted them gold and swapped out the old hardware. The pulls for the middle drawer and roll-top are crystal knobs I found at the Habitat Re-Store for $1 each!

I decided after all that that it needed some more color (I love color), so I took 1/8″ thick particle board and made panel inserts for the bottom and back of the roll-top area, and each of the spots for wine bottles. I sprayed each panel with adhesive and wrapped them in teal velvet fabric. In addition to adding color, the velvet keeps the glassware from rattling.

IMG_0597[1]I’ve definitely learned a lot about painting, refinishing and woodworking since I completed this project, but it’s still one of my favorites!


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