Penny Bar DIY

Hi friends,

How was your weekend? I spent mine in beautiful Tucson. It is hot as hell during the day, but the nights are FAN tastic.

Moreover, the landscape there is a modernist’s dream. And how cheap!!


For this golden barrel cactus that will cost me $125 in Austin, it is $40 in Tucson. I almost committed myself to renting a Uhaul and driving a truck full of cacti home. It’s only 14 hours, right?


 Well, as promised, I am here to give you some info on how to create your own penny bar.


First, get the bar cabinet base together. I decided to try to create a semi-custom look with wood cabinets from Home Depot.

Step 1- Buy these cabinets from Home Depot. I think these are 15” wide.


Step 2- Decide on your finish. I decided to use Erin Williamson’s awesome India Ink Method.


Step 3- Gather supplies.


Step 4- Sand the wood to get a smooth finish.


Step 5- Wet the wood to raise the grain to allow better penetration of the stain.


Step 5- Brush on the India Ink. It dries quickly, so work quickly.



Step 6- Apply the Osmo polyx wax with a rag.

Step 7- Pimp out toekick. I chose to apply wallpaper samples I already had to the toe kicks. I didn’t have to buy anything new, and it is a fun surprise to the eye where you least expect it.


Now, time to focus our attention on the bar top itself.


Step 1- Gather a LOT of pennies. To create the pattern, I contrasted brand new shiny pennies, and dark, dirty pennies. It is actually much harder to acquire the dark pennies.


Step 2- Get a piece of wood or MDF and paint it a dark color, because it will pop through the pennies.

Step 3- Play around with a pattern.

Step 4- Glue pennies on, one by one, with Elmer’s glue, drink in hand.



Step 5- Use a miter box and cut trim to fit around the edges to conceal those perhaps imperfect edges.


Step 6- Glue trim on with Liquid Nails.   I chose not to put an edge at the back, as this would be flush against the wall.


Step 7- Buy aluminum flashing at the hardware store and secure to back, and around sides if you please. I secured mine with duct tape. The purpose of the flashing is to act as a dam, keeping the epoxy in, and on top of the pennies, rather than running out the sides.



Step 8- Gather your supplies and mix the epoxy. You need a partner for the epoxy application. Follow the directions to the letter.


Step 9- One person pours the epoxy, the other spreads with either a putty knife or a paint stirrer. I used a stirrer.



Step 10- Level out the epoxy, and don’t pick up your spreader too much, as this introduces air bubbles.


Step 11- Use a butane torch to pop air bubbles. If you don’t have one (I didn’t), you can pop them, one by one, back- breakingly, with a toothpick. My husband is a saint BTW.


Step 12- Let the epoxy cure. It takes at least 48h before you can put something on the surface.


Step 13- Remove aluminum flashing, and attach the bar top to the cabinets.


Step 14- Add a beverage fridge, style to your heart’s desire, and step back and admire.






Happy Humpday!









Can’t leave well enough alone…

Isn’t that the truth?

After last Thursday’s One Room Challenge Reveal, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.


Despite this being a great wall to display my macrame,

macrame wall

I couldn’t shake the feeling that it would be more fun to be looking at the pool, while sitting in the hanging chair.

And so, it had to be. I just needed ONE MORE WINDOW.


So we cleared it ALL out. I know, it really hurt.

And my amazing handyman came over, and made it so…in just a few hours.

And here we are now…


aquahaus-window wall-2

aquahaus-window wall -3

Definitely worth the effort in my opinion.

And the view from outside. I have to paint the trim later this week.

Reminder of the exterior before:

Yay! Progress!

We did get to enjoy it.
pool time

Well, J & I anyways. Archie hates the water.
water dog

Have a great week!

I’m planning a post about the penny bar top later this week, so stay tuned.

Here is the full shot that didn’t make it into the reveal (I have no idea why).



Week 6- One Room Challenge- Aquasita’s Reveal!

Hello hello! OMG.  I did not think I would make it!

Welcome back to the One Room Challenge organized by Linda of Calling It Home, in which the participants had to make a space over in 6 weeks.  (It’s not as long as it sounds.) I have been linking along and it has been a grand ol’ time.  I have to say, I will miss the weekly updates, and I will miss having something to look forward to on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  I have found so many new blogs and talented ladies…it has been divine.

Anyhow, less talk, more pics.

The last 6 weeks, I have been attempting to make over my backyard shed.  Whereas it served previously to house unused garden tools and holiday lights, I had more grandiose visions- yes, a pool house to shade me from the sun, but in style- a rocker boho chic style.

I have to say, after the kickass reveals yesterday, I feel very trigger shy to show you what I’ve come up with, but I’ll put on my big girl pants and go on.

Here is the exterior before:



Not bad, but sterile.  

And here is the after:


The equipale chairs make their debut…

And the “bird-tender” is ready to serve you some bubbly.


It’s a fun place to hang out, have a cold one, and admire the pool. 

When it’s hot outside, and the shade from the room overhang isn’t enough, don’t can go inside the pool house.

Here is a refresher of the horrid interior before:



And drumroll….here is aquasita- a space to hang out, watch sports, and put down a few (or many). 







The sofa is a lounger for sure, and the lovely pillow is from The Shoppe.  Jeez, God Bless America is all I can say when I look at that flag. Did you know that there is an etiquette to displaying the American flag when it is hung vertically? This formation seems counterintuitive to me, but I looked it up.

Nerd alert.

Every pool house needs a bar, and aquasita is no exception.  This bar was a labor of love, but I love her so.  And check those toe kicks!


Look at those pennies in the shiny epoxy; they’ll survive the Zombie apocalypse.  





The hanging chair is a vintage find, and made all the prettier by the vintage beaded pillow from Stone Textile.  It is part of a new vintage collection, curated in collaboration with Kelly LaPlante


The brass bucket holder is also vintage.

Like most others, I love me a gallery wall.  


I particularly love this one because it is filled with images that are meaningful to me…pics from trips to Cinque Terra and Peru, original paintings, gifted posters.  I particularly love the Cactus print from The Aestate


Can’t forget my original macrame piece I MADE at a workshop..

and I love these mounted sombreros.  We wore these last weekend during our Derby de Mayo party.  Yes, me and my husband, and the tiny one belongs to my dog.



Well, that’s about it for me.  Stick a fork in me!  I’ll be here just hanging out (pun intended), drinking rose with my dog.


Thank you again Linda, this has been an absolute blast.

Until the next One Room Challenge, aquahaus out!



p.s.- Special thanks to my awesome friend, Jason of Table4 for taking these kickass pics.

Week 5 of the One Room Challenge- A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned…

Until you think about how many hours you’ve lost gluing…

Hello hello!

Welcome back to aquahaus, and this week’s progress in the One Room Challenge, an endeavor to re-decorate a space in 6 weeks, hosted by Linda of Calling it Home.  This is the most fun internet party I’ve ever been a part of.  Please check the amazing line-up here

First off, let’s all stand and do a slow clap for Amal Almuddin, the beautiful and smart barister (lawyer in British speak) who hooked Clooney.
A + G

And let’s congratulate him too, for he apparently designed this 7 carat of a stunner himself.

Well done Georgie. (both images from

Back to the ORC. Well, to make up for my slack-tastic last week, I hope to make it up to you this week, with pretty pictures, facilitated by my numb fingertips and aching biceps.

Enough teasing, here is the pool house in all its white- walled, empty glory.  


When you paint those walls white, and take out all the crap, it’s a pretty nice room.  I should probably just stop here and call it a win.

But nope, I decided the room would probably be more useful with furniture.


I moved in all my prized thrifted finds:  the vintage sofa, chrome/ wicker rocking chair, drum coffee table…

I also hung this vintage rattan hanging chair on a stand from Pier 1.  


I’ve been hoarding this chair FOREVER (more than a year) since picking up a pair off Craigslist (yes, Craigslist).  And I’ve been waiting for the perfect place to hang it. 

You may have noticed those black cabinets in the corner.  They will serve as the base of my new bar.  Of course there would be a bar.  What pool house doesn’t have a bar?  Where else do you go to refill your gin & tonic?

I picked up these 15″ base cabinets from Home Depot.  


They got the genius Erin Williamson India Ink treatment.  (Yes, I copied her in the SAME ORC)  Because as I said before, she’s a genius!  I mean, can you blame me? How else can you get the perfect black, with visible wood grain, for $4 a bottle? 



But cabinets alone do not a bar make.  You need a countertop, dodo!  

I had lofty ideas, but too little time and $ for custom countertops of marble.  

Easy, cheap solution with big impact?  The answer is right in your change jar.


You want to paint the back a dark color, because it will show through the gaps in the pennies. 


Then you get to have fun and come up with a design.  I went through some iterations.



Version 2 was too pricey.  Those dimes add up quickly!



I decided to stick with version 4.

I stuck them down with plain old Elmer’s glue.



Finally, after many hours of mindless gluing…here she blows in all her glory.


I like the gradient of all the different shades of copper. I still have to work on the edging around the bar top, and I plan to seal it with epoxy.I hope the dark cabinet/ penny bar top combo turns out okay.

I have a ton to do in the next week, and too bad I’m not doing anything this weekend since I’m hosting a Derby de Mayo party.  

Can you say Mint Julep Margarita?

Have a great week!  I see some late nights ahead for me next week.