The “Southern Saloon”

In September, I was featured in what is called “small business Sunday” in a blog called If you are visiting Cleveland for the first time from out of town, or native Clevelander, this is a highly recommended recourse for local events, restaurants, and best places to visit.

TheBarMaker feature was primarily based around how I got started, about me, my shop, and my own local favorites. One of the questions was asked about the process of designing a custom bar and within my response, I made mention of a bar I had just designed & sent to the client for approval.

This particular bar, as I was written in the article, was a custom “saloon” style bar. Admitting, this was the first one I have designed and built. The uniqueness of this bar, coupled with the fact that it happen to be in Beallsville, OH also added to challenge I faced.

So often, I generally speak with the client, then visit the space and get a genuine feel for their personality and the environment. In past experiences, projects that took place out of town were a little more straight forward. This was a large scale bar going in a large scale room. The rest of the space was going to be designed to the nines.

The client had an addition put onto their existing home and was settling for anything second rate. The contractor, whom I’d give a shout out to if I knew the name of his company, did a fabulous job with all the different facets, and the client used the most unique elements to pull in this authentic “saloon” feel. They imported card tables, swinging doors, and a pool table hand delivered from Austin, TX … and the main feature? the bar.

No pressure right? I designed it having never met the client, never seeing the space, and really not even knowing what in the hell an actual saloon even looks like. Staying true to my own set principles, I got to work visualizing a bar that was what I pictured a saloon to be, but also adding elements that nudge the tone a little further but without hamming it up too much

The predominant wood of choice was knotty Alder. I chose this, bot only because it happens to be one of my favorites, but because it finishes so eloquently while still giving a rustic feel. Unlike pine, the species is extremely stable. Native to the pacific northwest makes the wood a bit hard to come by and a smidge on the pricey side, nonetheless, perfect for this project.

Custom Saloon
Custom Saloon

You’ve got to love it, yes? The client did, and so did I. This was a fabulous experience for more ways than just having the opportunity to work along side of great people.

While I look forward to all the custom bars I will someday design and build, & also without disregarding the past, my biggest take away was knowing I have the ability to create this scale of a project pretty much anywhere. That opens so many knew possibilities. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

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