This monstrosity of an outdoor bar or potting bench is one of my favorite builds ever but it has a bit of a sad story. I am sharing the free plans to build this piece complete with a cooler compartment down below but first a little explanation.
My friend Stefanie over at Brooklyn Limestone had sent me a sketch asking if I would be interested in building this outdoor bar potting bench piece for under her back steps:
Yes of course I'm always happy to build custom for friends. We settled on the plan details and I got to work. You can see from her sketch I had to lop off the left top corner at an angle to fit under her stairs but the plans below have the shelves going straight across.
This is a very large piece measuring 60" wide by 36" deep with a large cooler space or hidden storage. My 9 year old son had plenty of space to wiggle around when he decided to jump in the cooler compartment above.
I used almost all cedar for this piece being that it will live outside in the elements. Long story short I got the whole piece built only to realize we wouldn't be able to fit it through Stefanie's back door (and there is no 'going around to the backyard' option in Brooklyn). So I disassembled it to get it in the car and then we had rainy weather. It was as if the gods were against us and I couldn't spend a whole day rebuilding on site so ultimately I stopped the project.
This would explain why I don't have any beautiful styled pictures of the final installation because it never happened. Thankfully I have these phone pictures to share and now I also have a lot of cedar boards and posts to use up so you can expect a few new outdoor pieces coming soon!
At any rate I still wanted to share to plans for Stefanie and anyone else looking to build a large outdoor bar or potting bench.
Please read through all steps prior to making any cuts. Always follow all safety precautions when operating power tools.
My actual build didn't quite follow the plan steps as I was 'figuring it all out' as I went along. Just be sure to follow the plans but I thought I would include my process pictures so you can see the carcass and building details.
When adding the slats for the shelves and top surface I suggest starting with the ends and middle piece and then lay out the remaining boards to determine equal spacing. I have about 3/8" between each slat and used my pinky finger for spacing.
The cooler compartment top is completely removable and you could add a finger hole cut out for easy lifting or hinges if you want it attached.
Below is the cooler compartment lid upsidedown, you can see the first and last board are stationary and only the middle portion is removable:
I hope you enjoy these plans and please be sure to share your builds, we all like to see your projects!
I'm linking up to: