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Think Outside the Bar

A fresh twist of imagination helps shake up this classic amenity.

By Carly Scholl | Photography by David B. Moore

With the revival of the bar cart as a fixture of fashionable abodes, so comes the cascade of creative ideas that elevates this multifunctional furnishing to new heights. We asked three local designers to reinvent the stylish staple for the modern Southwestern home. 

Alfresco Accessory 

“I love the idea of taking a bar cart outside as a poolside beverage service,” says Jamilyn Fournier, interior designer and curator of The Collector’s House in Scottsdale. “Stock it with chilled juices, tequilas, fresh fruit and ice to make entertaining easy. Depending on where the party occurs, the cart can move with you on the patio, around the pool or into the garden.”

En Suite Style

A long soak in a bubble bath is a mark of true luxury, and a stylish caddy outfitted with all your “me-time” fixings is the perfect accessory. “The inspiration for the use of a bar cart as a bathroom furnishing is a sign of how we live in our environments today. Creativity, originality and functionality are important in any design,” explains Fournier of the serene scene she created. “Here, the focus is on meditation and creating a Zen-like atmosphere, allowing nature to be present in the interior space, as if the bathtub itself was under the open sky. An efficient yet beautiful caddy was a necessity to the meditative quality of the master bath, as it keeps all the essentials at your fingertips: bath oils, towels, candles, loofahs and, of course, a glass of champagne.” 

The Livin’s Easy

In a cozy corner outfitted with a hanging chair, fluffy pillows and throws, the finishing touch was a chic storage solution. “I designed this as a space for relaxing, and it only make sense to take a piece intended for organization, such as a bar cart, and fill it with things that cater to my desire,” says designer Tony Williams, founder of Local Trade. The result: a “relaxation station” that’s decked out in ahh-inspiring items, including potted botanicals, air plants, crystals, scented candles, sage and plenty of books. “I wanted to add calmness to the area with these elements,” he explains. “But your personal idea of unwinding is unique to you. Maybe your reimagined bar cart would include music, word puzzles or, in the case of my wife, a chilled bottle of wine.” 

Fashionable Fixture

“We love a boozy bar cart as much as the next person, but with a piece this gorgeous, why should libations get all the love?” asks interior designer Julia Buckingham and the team at her shop, Modernique. “Given that the original bar carts were actually used as tea trolleys during the Victorian era, we loved the feminine flair of turning this beautiful electric blue-shelved number into a minivanity—an unexpected place to display glamorous perfumes, statement jewelry and designer handbags.” Because of its relatively small size, the bar cart is a perfect fit for cozy settings, making it not only chic but stylishly versatile as a welcome addition to a fashionista’s closet. “On this vanity, we included a few necessities for the fabulous type: crystal perfume bottles, stacking zebra dishes, vintage necklaces and a few dainty purses,” she continues. “Choose your items thoughtfully for a result that delivers functionality and panache. If you’re not into jewelry but love scarves, use the cart arms to display your collection. If you want the look of greenery without the upkeep of fresh-cut flowers, swap out the vase for a small plant. The rules are, really, that there aren’t any rules.”

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