More casual than the dining room table and more intimate than sitting around the “grand room,” a row of stools or high-back chairs beckon guests as a natural place to convene. Belly up to a classier version of those primitive alcoves of yesteryear and sip a little cocktail, no matter what the clock says.
The Sunken Bar
Thought you’d seen the last of the step-down watering holes? Behold the “Vista Lounge.” Its fairway-view Bighorn Golf Club residence by architect Guy Drier took home a Gold Nugget Award for dramatic architecture.
This sunken entertainment arena begins with a curved fire-and-ice fireplace it shares with the great room and culminates in a boulder-accented bar. Panoramic views across the pool extend out to the mountains through glass walls. A glass door to the back patio invites the revelry to continue outdoors.
photo by scott van dyke
A piano bar guarantees a rousing party.
The Piano Bar
“It’s almost impossible to find a proper home in Palm Springs that doesn’t have a bar in it,” says designer Joel Dessaules.
This one by Joel Dessaules Design has two. He gave the Indian Canyons residence a full, color-saturated makeover that keeps its owners in perpetual vacation mode. Where the vintage white baby grand stands was once a superfluous seating area.
“They already had two living rooms,” Dessaules explains of the piano bar plan he presented his clients. “When they said, ‘Neither of us play,’ I said, ‘When you have people over, someone will know how. If not, hire someone.”
That’s exactly what they did when the home was completed just in time for a 50th birthday party they were planning. His design included polishing up the original bar, topping the piano with Blenko glassware, and refurbishing the ’70s chrome bar stools in a hand-rubbed antique bronze finish.
photo by liz reilly
This cabana bar was once a tool shed.
The Cabana Bar
Formerly a flat-roofed tool shed topped in corrugated steel, this turquoise beverage outpost has melted many a heart on homeaway.com.
When theatrical producer Liz Reilly bought the home in 2006, the listing read: “If you’re a handyman, you’ll love this work shed.”
She immediately opened up the front of the enclosed structure, which she believes may have been an extension of the original carport. The crowning touch was a new slanted roof to mimic the butterfly roofline on the main house: a 1962 Palmer/Kriesel design built by George Alexander.
“That made all the difference in the world,” Reilly says. “No one questions that the bar wasn’t part of the original house.”
She uses her Racquet Club Estates home part time and offers it as a vacation rental when she’s elsewhere.
“I think the bar is actually what helps me rent the house,” she says of her four-seat poolside refreshment stand. “Guests sign my guest book, ‘Our favorite part was the bar!’ It’s perfect for parties, of course. But even kids love to sit there and eat lunch. I think it makes them feel like grown-ups.”
photo by scott Van dyke
A wet bar behind a carved wood screen sits adjacent to a poolside courtyard.
The Hidden Bar
Slide back the Moroccan-style lattice screen and serve yourself.
In the same home as the piano bar, Joel Dessaules fashioned a former closet into a wet bar when he turned an unused bedroom into a “cabana room.”
Convenient to the pool, the breezy space is draped in white linen and features indoor/outdoor fabric on custom furniture that stands up to wet swimsuits.
Above the fridge, Dessaules added a white Caesarstone counter, mineral slab backsplash, a grasscloth wallcovering, and a vintage mirror and pendant lamp. The sliding door to the left, covered in yellow fabric, hides a plasma TV as well as the home’s other electronic components.
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