Inspiration can come from anywhere, and sometimes it comes when two worlds converge, just as it did when Mimi Fong, founder and principal designer of Luminosus Designs, created this hidden bar for her clients in Rye, NY.
Since this was the first project Fong was doing with her clients, she met with them to review their wish list and preferences. The family room and bar were part of an entire first-floor renovation that included a kitchen and breakfast area, family room, living room, office, mudroom and front hall. The doors next to the bar in the intimate living room open to the family room to create lots of flow from room to room for parties and put the bar at the center of the action. “Listening is a very critical skill to adapt to your clients’ wishes and dreams,” says Fong, who begins each relationship with her clients by holding a two-hour meeting to learn their tastes and preferences. “Each project isn’t just what I like to do, it’s what they love.”
In this case, her clients loved entertaining. The husband is a partner in a major investment firm and frequently hosts gatherings with clients and colleagues and the couple wanted to have a home that served well for entertaining. With young children at home, they also needed a space that was family friendly. When returning from a trip to Europe, they approached Fong with an idea for a hidden bar just like one they had in their hotel while visiting Italy.
“I was inspired by a wardrobe,” says Fong of the idea behind the look of the hidden bar. “I used panes of individually cut smoked mirror to give it an Old World feel inspired by their trip to Italy.” The doors slide into pockets when the bar is in use and slide closed when it isn’t. “You can’t even tell there is a bar behind it when the doors are closed so that’s a nice little surprise,” says Fong. When opened, they reveal the custom mirrored shelving and cabinetry.
“The biggest challenge when designing anything very specific like this is negotiating space—making it seamless and satisfying its functional needs while blending the aesthetic into the overall design of the room,” explains Fong. Underneath, cabinetry provides ample storage for glassware, appliances like a blender, cocktail shakers and other accessories. Glass behind the bar and downlight LEDs that change colors depending on the festivities up the glam for the space. On the counter, a pop-up outlet serves as a hidden tool for powering the blender. “The drawers were designed specifically store additional bottles and mixology tools,” adds Fong.
The homeowners of this shiny hidden bar had an extensive collection of barware already, but for those starting from scratch Fong recommends something elegant and understated with a hint of glamour. She loves the Baccarat collection. Here are a few of her selects to elevate the style of your bar.