Small Spaces Photo Credit: Eymeric Widling

Small Space Magic: An Elegant Home Bar That Makes the Most of 75 Square Feet

Our new favourite bar is… in somebody’s basement.

You have 56 pieces of glassware to store. You’ve got a wine and a beverage fridge to incorporate. Oh, and you only have 75 square feet to work with. This is officially not a basement renovation for the faint of heart.

“It was as difficult to nail as it sounds,” laughs Karen Attwell, creative director of Form Interiors and the brave soul who dared to tackle the design of this Calgary basement bar. But nail it she and her team did, crafting an elegant home bar area that maximizes every square inch of an awkwardly laid out basement, and never once dips into the neon-Budweiser-sign territory so typical of rumpus-room watering holes—practically a design miracle.

“Our key to success was the Marie Kondo equivalent of space planning for joy,” Atwell explains. “We dumped all the wishes for the space onto the studio worktable and began puzzling out how they could all be accommodated without feeling crammed and making best use of the windows.”

The finished project includes a sink area, side-by-side wine and beverage fridges, pullouts for garbage and recycling, an ice maker, a mix of open and closed storage, display space and a social pull-up seating bar… but it still feels spacious and open. That spaciousness is due to a contrast of finishes—stained-wood millwork is showcased alongside lacquered MDF and quartz counters—and a gleaming, vertically installed iridescent backsplash. “It’s amazing just how much we fit into it.”

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