Wet Bar Wipeout Part One

Close your eyes and image a 1970s party with everyone in their finest polyester, congregating around the swankiest wet bar you can imagine complete with women tossing their Farrah Fawcett hair as they laugh with a man whose shirt is open enough for the world to see his Burt Reynold’s chest hair.

Now open your eyes and meet our 1987 wet bar . . . about five feet away from the kitchen and not large enough for anyone to congregate around.wet bar

Our generation doesn’t find a need for a wet bar nor Burt Reynolds style chest hair which means only one thing–wearing shirts while wiping out the wet bar . . . and projecting themed boxers.

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The wet bar really serves no functional purpose due to its size and location. We’d rather have it as storage than an extra sink.

Ok, to be truthful, we already started using it as storage by just putting everything on top of the sink. It was our secret hiding place of crap for when we had visitors. You had already meet the wet bar when we got all Ghostbusters with the knob replacement but now it’s time to really see what hid behind our doors.

The time had come to turn it into something functional and a closet with shelves was our plan. We assessed our pile of crap and determined two shelves would be ideal for the closet. The first shelf would be at the current sink level since it allowed us to store our Wii guns under it and the second shelf would start right above the light switch.

Since this will be a two parter, here is the breakdown:

  • Today: Removing the sink, capping off the pipes, patching the wall.
  • Tomorrowish: Cutting shelves, installing shelves, painting, price breakdown.

Removing the sink/counter

What you will need:

  • Crow bar
  • Bucket
  • Wrench
  • Box cutter
  • Drywall saw/Dremel
  • Knowledge of house water value

First things first—turn off the water to the house. After you find the valve and close it, then flush all your toilets and turn on the faucets. I know this sounds very odd but you need to drain the system. You don’t want to have water gushing out of the pipes while you work.

While everything is draining, cut the dry wall around the pipes to see what you are working with. We recommend cutting a square shape because it will be easier to patch later.

We didn't do it in this order but after working, we realized this is the better order.

We didn’t do it in this order but after working, we realized this is the better order.

You can use a small drywall saw to accomplish this task. Another option would be to Dremel the wall. We used this option much to Hazel’s dismay.

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Side note: If you’re wondering what I was doing while he was slaving away, I kept checking the faucets to see if they finished draining.

Once all the water has drained and the wall is cut, detach the sink’s piping. Before you unscrew anything, position the bucket under the piping. You don’t want water going on the floor.

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Unscrew the water valves and then the drain pipe. You will probably need the wrench to help achieve this goal.

Now if you were Greg, you’d start trying to cap the pipes with a counter/sink above you. Don’t be like Greg. It’s easier to work if you remove the sink and counter after disconnecting it (which we did.)

To remove the counter, slice the caulking with the box cutter.

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I noticed that our counter was installed with the backsplash holding it in place. I used the crow bar to remove the backsplash—you just slowly work it between the wall and the backsplash until it pops off the wall.

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As much as we would love to have gone all crazy home renovation on the sink with a sledgehammer, we wanted to use the countertop as a template for our shelves. Once we removed the backsplash, the counter lifted out easily.

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While working we noticed the closet wasn’t perfectly finished—they installed molding around the inside edge to hide the fact that drywall didn’t go to the edge. We removed all the trim while popping out the counter.

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Capping the Pipes

What you will need:

  • Pipe cutter
  • PVC end cap
  • 2 Shark Bite End Caps
  • Hand saw/Dremel
  • A loving wife to run to the hardware store to get the piece she suggested you getting at Lowe’s during your original supply run.
  • A four legged helper

Before we even started, we watched this video on Shark Bite fittings. Shark Bite makes plumbing fitting so that you don’t need a plumber. Also, don’t head into Home Depot looking for Shark Bite and not realizing Shark Bite is the brand name, not the name of needed piece.

You live, you learn which is why you read us.

BIG OLD NOTE: If you don’t feel comfortable attempting plumbing yourself, please call a professional. We had one on speed dial if our DIY project didn’t go according to plan.

Greg began by trimming the PVC pipe back. This pipe led from the sink’s drain and he easily attached the end cap to the pipe. You can also use a Dremel to cut the PVC pipe which is the route Hazel and Greg chose based upon the desire to finish faster.

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The cap simply slipped over the pipe’s open end and cinched closed with a screw driver. Again, measure the pipes before you go to the store to ensure you have the correct size.

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Side note: we measured the circumference of the PVC pipe with a soft measuring tape before heading to Lowe’s. At Lowe’s we measure the PVC pipes until we found the correct size which allowed us to find the correct cap size.

Now it’s time for the big stuff—cutting and capping the pipes. The sink had two water pipes (hot water/ cold water) and we needed to cut the pipes back to inside the wall. To cut a pipe, you need a pipe cutter of which there are several options at Lowe’s. Do yourself a favor and spend the money on the big one that has the removable handle. We did this because you never know what the future may bring and it’s only $15 more than the non-comprehensive option.

We (ok, by we I mean Greg) placed the pipe cutter on the pipe inside the wall allowing enough room for the capped pipe to fit without touching the drywall or access panel.

The tool seems simple enough, spin it around the pipe, tightening as you go. Hahahahaha! This works well if you are standing in an open field with nothing around you.

wet bar-52See, it’s a tight fit.

Yeah, that’s what she said.

You just need to be patient and slowly spin the pipe cutter. Success will come, don’t worry. It might take a little time but you will succeed.

wet bar-56Up next is playing with the Shark Bite fittings. Please do yourself a favor and buy the orange lute looking piece because you will need it. The lute thing helps smooth the edge of the pipe to create a better edge for the Shark Bite. As you can see above, the cut pipe does not have a perfectly smooth edge. The lute also works as a guide for Shark Bite placement, you mark the edge of the lute on the pipe, and slip the fitting on to that point.

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The Shark Bite fitting is simple to install, position on pipe with all inside parts of the Shark Bite looking like the will side inside the pipe, and then push in on until you mark.

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Seriously it was that simple.

Patching the Wall

What you will need:

  • Return Air Vent
  • Astute Mother-in-law

We left the wall open a few days to ensure no water would be gushing out of the capped pipes. It sounds silly but we had this fear of water pouring out uncontrollably when someone took a shower. The original game plan had us building an access panel to hide the piping. Then Greg’s mom saw it and suggested an air vent.


Seriously, it’s so much easier than building an access panel and a simple way to see if water is dripping out because it would drip on the panel. One trip to Lowe’s and five minutes later, our piping was covered. We predrilled our holes for installation to prevent us having to do it after we painted. It’s easier to mark up a wall you want to paint than a wall you just painted.

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Next up—installing shelving and prettifying but first Hazel needed a nap after all our work.

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One thought on “Wet Bar Wipeout Part One

  1. Pingback: Basement Renovation: The Wet Bar is Gone | This Sarah Loves

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