“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13
They say necessity is the mother of invention. My need to save time while preparing for a Mother/Daughter Bible study in my home led to this organized Hospitality Bar. This saved me an easy hour of pulling all the drinks, condiments and mugs out of the cupboards and then organizing them into a centralized location. Add to that my incessant need to have seasonal or holiday decorations placed at this centralized location and—well—no matter how I tried not to worry myself about having everything just right; the hostess in me had no peace until everything looked pretty and was fully functional.
I did not care so much that my house was clean and picked up perfectly for other guests but Bible study was different. I desired for participants of the study to feel at home, relaxed and safe to share their needs and their hearts. I wanted them to feel pampered by me but more importantly, by their God who is crazy-in-love with them. I needed my attention off of the refreshment details so I could welcome, listen and interact with the mothers and daughters as we discussed and studied God’s word.
Between homeschooling, driving to doctor and therapy appointments and keeping up with extracurricular activities I was finding it difficult to fully prepare for leading our study, cleaning the house and prepping the kitchen for refreshments. Thus I decided a central location was essential for storing all the refreshment items. Function was all I had in mind.
I began searching for cabinets that would match or coordinate with our current kitchen but could not find an equivalent or anything to bring together the old with the new while remaining within my budget.
Then one day while pulling in our driveway, a neighbor’s garage door was up and to my surprise I saw cabinets sitting against the wall of their garage that looked just like our cabinets. I did a double take. No. Yes. No doubt, they were a perfect match. Hmm?
A few weeks later I saw this neighbor and told them about my search for matching cabinets to install in our kitchen and my dilemma because the particular line of cabinetry was no longer available. I mentioned that I saw cabinets in their garage that looked like a perfect match and asked, “Do you have plans for those or are you interested in selling them to me for (a disclosed price)?”
Our neighbor was willing to sell them to me for the disclosed price and I found out the reason they were an exact match was because they were a hutch that came out of our house. We bought a foreclosed home and during the time of the foreclosure; friends, relatives and neighbors were allowed by the previous owners to take whatever they wanted out of the unlocked house. This explained why some appliances, some cabinets and all closet hardware were missing from the house.
Next, I planned how to use the hutch then took it apart piece by piece and gave all of it a good scrubbing. 2 X 4 lumber was used to build a frame behind the cabinets so I could acquire more depth for a deeper countertop. I also pulled the shorter center cabinets out front more to add dimension to the unit. Bead board was added to the sides for decorative purposes and to hide the false depth. Since these are upper cabinets being used on the floor I added a one inch toe kick at the bottom to keep the doors from scraping the floor. I wanted to place feet underneath the cabinets but that would have required moving an outlet, changing the windowsill and making the countertop out of reach for young children. So, no pretty decorative feet but it overflows in functionality.
I no longer have to prepare for guests’ arrivals. Relatives and friends know where to go for a drink when they come to my house. Below: Ice water and a carafe of hot water. I also keep hot water in the tea kettle on the stove and in the coffee pot. This allows three separate areas for a large group to fill their mugs.
Left: I keep this 3-tier tray from William-Sonoma on the bar for seasonal and holiday decorations. And I always have a candle ready to burn. A guest will rarely come to my house without finding scrumptious looking chocolate on display. The only problem is that the chocolate usually isn’t real and I have offended a dear friend, and fellow chocoholic, on multiple occasions with my inedible treats.
If budget and space do not allow for a hospitality bar in your home; you could use a portion of your countertop, a buffet, a re-purposed dresser or a shelving unit to accomplish the same objective.
Right: This is a bamboo utensil holder turned sideways for holding tea bags and coffee singles.
Left: Flavorings and droppers for mixing flavors into drinks (3-4 drops does the job). Sprinkles – top cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles or Cappuccino Accent Toppings; Cinnamon, Sweet Nutmeg, Vanilla, Chocolate.
I buy my Stash teas and bottled flavorings at the Old Towne Spice Shop, Main Street, St. Charles, MO. http://www.oldtownspices.com/ The Cappuccino Accent Toppings are from Main Street MarketPlace, St. Charles, MO. http://www.mainstreetmarketplace.com/
Right: Drinking straws. Small shelves: Sugar and sweeteners on top. Extra coasters on bottom. Hot Cocoa Mix and Hot Cider Mixes. (The compartments are a desk caddy organizer.)
Left: Flavorings and droppers. Sprinkles and Cappuccino Accent Toppings. Single serve coffee. Small shelves: Creamers on top. Napkins in bottom. Stir straws on right.
Right: Extra tea supplies, extra sugar, Mullin spices for cider, pink and regular lemonade, drink pitcher.
Left: Oregon Chai Tea Latte (Wal-Mart), Peppermint Hot Chocolate & Barra Mexican Chocolate (both need mixed into hot milk), Cappuccino Double Mocha (Aldi’s), Extra coffee singles, Cocoa, Diet-Sugar Free Swiss Miss Cocoa, French Vanilla Cappuccino (SAMS)
Below: To go/travel cups with lids (collected from Hotel stays), Hot water carafe, cold water carafe.
Above right: Mexican Lava Rock Molcajete with coffee beans. Sometimes used for decoration but my favorite way to use it is for homemade Guacamole.
Left: Windowsill decorations
Below: The rest of the cabinets that were not used for the Hospitality Bar were hung in the utility room. Instead of using wood filler for the dead space (on right) I had a bottom shelf and right side panel added for storing trays and cookie cooling racks. We added crown molding at the top to dress it up. I considered using the top for storage but only considered. It looked much prettier decorated with the gourds A.J. grew and I painted.
This new set of Whirlpool Cabrios replaced my Frigidaire front loaders. For a host of reasons I would give both sets back to have our older model Maytags! Newer is not necessarily better.
2 thoughts on “Hospitality Bar”
Carolyn, I was happily surprised to find your blog (via Darlene McDonald). I had a clue it might be you behind the “chocolateorelse” title when I saw it!
How interesting to see how you both found and used the cabinets! I remember you discussing the missing doors when you were still working on your “new” house!
Best wishes in this endeavor and I hope all is well with you and yours- Mary Bowler
Thanks for taking a look at my blog. Our family is terrific. I hope yours is too and that you all have settled in nicely to your new community (and college). I’m sure it has been much longer than I realize since you moved.