DIYer Turns Rundown Garage Into A Cosy Home Pub For £1k
- Emily Barratt, 36, transformed the garage full of spiders into a cosy home pub
- The industrial style private tavern, called The Buzzing Bee, has a dance floor, exposed brick bar and dazzling copper fireplace
- Upcycled furniture and personal touches gives it a lived-in look and friends are “desperate” to come for a drink
If you’ve been missing your trips to the pub, you may feel a pang of jealousy over this amazing home tavern that was made on a £1k budget in just two months.
The industrial style pub is the brainchild of Emily Barratt, 36, who gave up her pottery painting shop in order to renovate an old school and church building into a forever home for herself, her husband and two children aged 7 and 6. Turning the property’s rundown garage into a cosy pub is one of the first projects the self-confessed serial DIYer from Manchester, who is charting her renovation journey on Instagram (@our_big_renovation), has turned her hand to.
“We had no use for the garage,” she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk. “It had no ceiling and a barn style door that didn’t lock. Plus, it was full of spiders,” she says. “At our previous home, we had a garden shed bar and loved having parties there. We definitely wanted another bar area to host in and, as the garage was directly accessible through the hallway to the main house, it seemed like the perfect place for it.”
Emily set aside a £1,000 budget for renovating the garage and managed to come in bang on target.
“I sold lots of items I already had in there to fund it, such as my pottery kiln, as well as a huge amount of reclaimed parquet flooring that came with the house from when it was a school and church,” she says. “We had already replaced the windows throughout the house so that was one thing we didn’t have to factor in.”
As with many DIY projects, however, the time estimated timescale for the renovation was quickly surpassed.
“I thought the project would take a week, but in the end it took around two months,” she says.
“The room needed plastering and we decided to add two radiators so we could use it all year round,” she says. She called upon tradespeople to tackle both of these jobs taking a £600 chunk out of her budget.
Next on the list was sorting out the floors.
“I hired a concrete floor grinder to smooth the floor – the dust it created was horrific – and then sealed it with concrete floor sealer,” she says. “I then painted on the dance floor using garage floor paint and a stencil to spray-paint on the bee design.”
The walls were given a lick of paint with a dark grey shade of B&Q GoodHome emulsion. For the feature wall behind the bar area, Emily used a two-step artisan paint from Craig & Rose to give it a rust effect.
“To achieve the look I wanted, I painted the wall in crisscrosses using a brush and then went over it using an activator solution to create the rust effect,” she explains.
She continued the theme by using a permanent copper metallic marker pen to write song lyrics on the walls.
“Everything is handwritten,” she says. “My handwriting is usually atrocious, but it doesn’t come out too badly on pottery and walls, or so it seems. The idea reflects my love for music. Before I opened the pottery shop, I was an accountant at the Manchester Arena. I also love the Manchester bee, which is why I’ve incorporated it into the design of the dance floor and elsewhere.”
Next, Emily set about building the sleeper-topped exposed brick bar.
“I built the bar using bricks from our garden. We had hundreds of them going spare from our renovation work so I had already earmarked them for this very purpose.”
Mixing the mortar to build it with was hard work, but Emily took a handy shortcut.
“I used ready-mixed mortar from B&Q, using a big bucket and a drill to mix it with, which made my life a lot easier,” she says.
“We found the sleeper in the garage when we moved in, and I thought it would be perfect to use as the top of the bar, so I built the brick wall to size to support it,” she says. “I sanded and varnished the sleeper before fitting it on top. My husband helped me to lift it up as it was so heavy, and we fixed it on with No More Nails.
“The shelves are from my old pottery painting shop, which I’d kept knowing I’d find a use for them,” she says. “I cut them to make them slimmer and then painted them grey, with copper metal brackets to match.”
They were illuminated with stick-on lights from Amazon, which cost £20.
“For the fireplace, I painted the existing tiles with FrenSheen natural mineral finish in Cool Copper,” says Emily. “I then used the leftovers to paint some empty wine bottles to put in there, and dressed them up with fairy lights.
The photos on the wall are of my late granddad back in the 50s,” she adds. “They are super cool images of him taken in clubs during that era. I thought they were fitting, as this would have been his favourite part of the house.”
Emily found the trunk in the loft and converted it into a characterful table by attaching some table legs.
“I upcycled one of the chairs by painting it black, another was from our lounge and the leather one was a gift from my mother in law,” she says. “The side table was my granddad’s. He’d had it for as long as I can remember so I wanted to upcycle it into something special.”
Emily turned it into a penny table by painting it black with copper legs, sticking pennies onto the tabletop with extra strong glue, and adding a craft resin glaze.
A drum kit sets the stage for future karaoke parties and gig nights.
“The drum kit is my husband’s,” she says. “It has been in the loft for 10 years, so he’s very happy to have it out again and have a play.”
The rug, from Ikea, cost around £20.
“I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out,” says Emily. “I still have a couple of things to finish and add to it, such as a bar beer pump that a friend gave me last year. I’ll be able to do this once the shops are open again after lockdown.
“Our friends haven’t been able to see it in person yet, but are desperate to come and have a drink as soon as we’re allowed. We spent Christmas Day mainly in the bar, singing and dancing, so we’ve already made good use of it.”
Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk says: “If you like a trip to the pub, this home bar is the stuff that lockdown dreams are made of.
“Emily clearly maximised her £1k pot to create a cosy setting that's aced with character.
“Making the most of the furniture and accessories you already have by upcycling them can go a long way to helping you stay on budget.”
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