Mum transforms garage into cosy pub during lockdown

We’re all missing a good trip to the pub, but one woman is making everyone jealous with her cosy home tavern.

Mum-of-two Emily Barratt, 36, gave up her pottery painting shop to renovate an old school and church building into a forever home for her family.

Among the first projects Emily undertook when doing the work was transforming the property’s rundown garage into a cosy pub.

Emily, who shares her renovation journey on Instagram @our_big_renovation, told money-saving community “We had no use for the garage, it had no ceiling and a barn style door that didn’t lock.

(Image: Emily Barratt)

“Plus, it was full of spiders. At our previous home, we had a garden shed bar and loved having parties there.

“We definitely wanted another bar area to host in and, as the garage was directly accessible through the hallway to the main house, it seemed like the perfect place for it.”

Emily set aside a £1,000 budget for the renovation job and managed to stick to it perfectly.

She added: “I sold lots of items I already had in there to fund it, such as my pottery kiln, as well as a huge amount of reclaimed parquet flooring that came with the house from when it was a school and church.

“We had already replaced the windows throughout the house so that was one thing we didn’t have to factor in.”

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However, as with many DIY projects, the time estimated timescale for the renovation was quickly surpassed and ultimately Emily spent two months on the work.

She said: “I thought the project would take a week, but in the end it took around two months. The room needed plastering and we decided to add two radiators so we could use it all year round.”

Emily called in tradespeople to tackle these jobs, which took a £600 chunk out of her budget.

Next on the list was sorting out the floors.

Emily added: “I hired a concrete floor grinder to smooth the floor – the dust it created was horrific – and then sealed it with concrete floor sealer.

“I then painted on the dance floor using garage floor paint and a stencil to spray-paint on the bee design.”

(Image: Emily Barratt)

The walls were given a lick of paint with a dark grey shade of B&Q GoodHome emulsion. For the feature wall behind the bar area, Emily used a two-step artisan paint from Craig & Rose to give it a rust effect.

Emily added: “To achieve the look I wanted, I painted the wall in crisscrosses using a brush and then went over it using an activator solution to create the rust effect”.

She continued the theme by using a permanent copper metallic marker pen to write song lyrics on the walls.

Emily said: “Everything is handwritten, my handwriting is usually atrocious, but it doesn’t come out too badly on pottery and walls, or so it seems.”

(Image: Emily Barratt)

Next, Emily set about building the sleeper-topped exposed brick bar. She built it using bricks from her garden, which were going spare from her renovation work.

Mixing the mortar to build it with was hard work, but Emily took a handy shortcut.

She said: “I used ready-mixed mortar from B&Q, using a big bucket and a drill to mix it with, which made my life a lot easier.

“We found the sleeper in the garage when we moved in, and I thought it would be perfect to use as the top of the bar, so I built the brick wall to size to support it.

“I sanded and varnished the sleeper before fitting it on top. My husband helped me to lift it up as it was so heavy, and we fixed it on with No More Nails.

“The shelves are from my old pottery painting shop, which I’d kept knowing I’d find a use for them, I cut them to make them slimmer and then painted them grey, with copper metal brackets to match.”

(Image: Emily Barratt)

They were illuminated with stick-on lights from Amazon, which cost £20.

Emily added: “For the fireplace, I painted the existing tiles with FrenSheen natural mineral finish in Cool Copper, I then used the leftovers to paint some empty wine bottles to put in there, and dressed them up with fairy lights.

“The photos on the wall are of my late granddad back in the 50s. They are super cool images of him taken in clubs during that era. I thought they were fitting, as this would have been his favourite part of the house.”

Emily found the trunk in the loft and converted it into a characterful table by attaching some table legs.

She said: “I upcycled one of the chairs by painting it black, another was from our lounge and the leather one was a gift from my mother in law.

“The side table was my granddad’s. He’d had it for as long as I can remember so I wanted to upcycle it into something special.”

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Emily turned it into a penny table by painting it black with copper legs, sticking pennies onto the tabletop with extra strong glue, and adding a craft resin glaze.

The bar is also home to Emily’s husband’s drum kit as well as a rug bought from Ikea, priced at £20.

Emily added: “I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out, I still have a couple of things to finish and add to it, such as a bar beer pump that a friend gave me last year. I’ll be able to do this once the shops are open again after lockdown.

“Our friends haven’t been able to see it in person yet, but are desperate to come and have a drink as soon as we’re allowed. We spent Christmas Day mainly in the bar, singing and dancing, so we’ve already made good use of it.”

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