Build your own transforming bar desk

Designer Jonathan Odom has come up with a rather clever design for all you shoebox dwellers out there: A desk transforming into a bar. In Jonathan’s own words:

“I’m always looking for ways to live a high-end lifestyle in a small space. Living in the Bay Area, owning a home is out of the question for me, and the best apartment I can afford is 700 Sq. Ft. Watching Mad Men makes me pine for the days of Mid-Century Modernism, when people actually had room for all the awesome furniture they wanted.

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I love to entertain friends, and a home bar is a great way to get people over for pre-dinner cocktails. With all the available space in my apartment filled, I needed to replace something essential to be able to fit a bar. Since my furniture selection is already about as minimal as it gets, I needed to combine it with something else- my desk.

I went through a lot of design iterations, but the one I finished with was as simple as possible. I wanted the transformation to happen in one quick movement, and for gravity to keep the bar top in place when it was folded down for bar mode, and folded up for desk mode.

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After multiple tries, I found a pivot point on the side of the desk that would allow gravity to keep the bar top in place while making sure the bar was 42″ high when in bar mode. This is important because it’s the standard height for a bar. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of designing furniture, it’s this: DON’T MESS WITH STANDARD DIMENSIONS! The amount of play when it comes to familiar ergonomic relationships (size of a chair, height of a table, etc.) has very little room for play. You’ve really only got about 1/2″ of maximum deviation from the norm if you want your products to be comfortable and usable.

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The design includes a cork-backed wall at the back of the desk that pivots on wooden dowel posts on the sides of the desk. Simply pull the desk away from the wall, fold down the back wall, and it becomes a bar with seating for 3 at stools. A trough at the back of the desk (hidden by the bar top when it’s down) has room for 20+ bottles, a shelf for bar wear, and a recessed nook for an ice bucket or cutting board.

You can download the instructions here.

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