Hey, do you remember when I found that bar cart at an estate sale for ten bucks and had my husband stand there with his hand on it—like those Keep Your Hand On The Car competitions they used to have at state fairs, except with fewer deep-fried Twinkies—so that I could run and find someone to give me a price on it before another bargain hunter bought it first? And then I took it home and put it on my front porch like the classy broad that I am and took a picture of it to show you that it looked like this?
Well, now it looks like this:
Yay, gold! I love gooooooooold. This is what I think every time I see this bar cart—to save you from clicking on that link, I will tell you that this is a line from Austin Powers 3, which is so much less excellent than Austin Powers 1 and even Austin Powers 2 that it's laughable—and that is because I have made this bar cart way, way golder than it was before.
Now, I know quite a few of you told me to keep the wood intact and not paint it, and this is fully what I intended to do, I swear. Once I'd cleaned it up, I kept it in my living room just as it was for a good two months, until one day I realized that I wanted to do more. I liked it, but I didn't love it. Much as I wanted to keep the original finishes, they weren't in particularly great shape, and the whole thing didn't quite look as chic as I'd envisioned.
Has potential, but could try harder. Please see me after class.
And so I began a weeks-long trial and error experiment with this stupid bar cart that almost made me wish Sean had taken his hand off it that day so that someone else could have snapped it up and I wouldn't be making my third consecutive trip to Michaels—excuse me, Effing Michaels as we now call it in this family, after a particularly painful bout of wedding crafting a few years ago—on the offchance that they might have suddenly stocked up on more brass spray paint.
My original plan had been to leave all the wood parts wood and the chrome parts chrome, then paint the sides gold and the trays—formerly a weird plasticky wood veneer—a bright white. But I tried that, and it looked super 70s, and I don't mean a "wow, I'm going to buy that on Etsy!" sort of 70s, but more of a "huh, I think my parents had that in their basement" sort of 70s. Then I tried changing the panels from gold to white, but that just made it look like I'd picked it out of the catalog at IKEA, a design aesthetic I already have quite enough of in my house, thank you very much. So then I decided that the problem was the chrome—not my favorite, as they say in the South when they want to throw something off a bridge with ankle weights strapped to it with duct tape—and, on a whim, I spraypainted the chrome a matte goldy-brass, which immediately made me love the whole thing a lot more.
Once I'd done that, I was positively cavalier about going the whole hog and painting the horizontal wooden edges the same goldy-brass; as you can see from that first picture, they weren't really in the greatest shape. The handles were, however, so I left them as their original wood and just stained them a deep espresso; they're now lovely and shiny, and you can still see the wood grain.
After that, it was just a case of putting everything back on the shelves, including the set of six pewter-rimmed scotch glasses for which I searched high and low over the period of a year—they're monogrammed LDV because I got them at a flea market, but I like to pretend it just stands for Lo, Delightful Victory!—and the matching set of highball glasses I found irritatingly easily in a San Diego Home Goods over the recent Christmas break.
I wanted a few trays to keep the glasses and bottles together, but I couldn't find anything I liked enough to justify spending money on, so instead I just spray-painted some old baking sheets a slightly different shade of gold and used those. When I get sick of them being that color, I'll just take them into the back yard and give them a few coats of whatever spray paint I happen to have left over from something else.
I know it's not the most exciting thing I've ever done, and maybe all that gold is not to your taste—if it were up to me, everything in my house would be gold, but in a low-key, tasteful way, not in an Adrienne Maloof way—but I really love my sweet little bar cart, and for a grand total of $20 (ten for the cart, and ten-ish for the spray paint), it was a pretty affordable project. Plus now I have somewhere to put that bottle of Veuve Cliquot—which the very generous Mai brought over on New Year's Eve—while I wait several years for an occasion special enough to open it. College graduation of my non-existent, unborn child? Yeah, that should do it. We don't waste fancy around here.