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Hi.

I'm Bri Garbani, a designer + photographer living in San Diego, California. It's here that I express my passion for dogs, design + DIY through writing + photography. If you like what you see, you'll want to check back often as I have a constant need to create + Native Blonde is my prime creative outlet.

Backyard Bar + Grill

Backyard Bar + Grill

When the hubby and I bought our house, we hadn't the slightest idea what we would do with this monstrosity in the backyard...

It was a huge eyesore and served no purpose to us other than provide privacy from the neighboring apartment building, that is until we decided to transform it into an outdoor entertaining area. We imagined creating a fully operational bar, complete with running water, electricity and a grill to really take advantage of outdoor living in San Diego. And that's just what we did, plus some. Here is our backyard bar as it is today...

It's quite the difference! To get to this point, we put in a lot of time, sweat, muscle, swear words and used our persuasive powers to have my handy, project-driven in-laws assist us. Although it took several months of working away at it strictly on the weekends, the payoff on this project was everything we had hoped for.

At the start of this overhaul, we laid out a foundation to build on by scaling the entire structure back.  We removed lattice work covering the interior walls, squares of mesh steel sheeting on the exterior, we tore down a ceiling that connected the roof of the structure to the outside wall of our house and took down the orange fabric canopy.  In the center of the brick floor we removed a dead tree stump and also scraped off layers of rotted roofing material. After tearing it down to this level, we basically had a blank canvas to start with for our backyard bar build project.

To build the structure back up, we treated for termites, added a waterproofing rubber sealant beneath sheets of new roofing material, sourced matching bricks and filled in the hole we made in the floor, ran wire for electricity, installed sockets and switches, rerouted water lines to incorporate a sink, put up heat protectant tile behind the grill, extended the roof line just a tad to offer more shade, built out a frame for where we wanted the bar area to be positioned and added shelving underneath. After these things were done, we were able to focus on the aesthetic appeal of our outdoor entertainment space.  This included cladding the walls in a random pattern with reclaimed lumber - all from our very own backyard I might add. I could probably operate a nail gun blindfolded after that work day! Once we hooked up some basic pendant light fixtures, we hired out the final stage of construction - pouring the concrete counter top and sealing it.

Our cement color choice for the bar counter will be concrete.
As in permanent. But also concrete, literally.

Finishing touches included installing a faucet, bringing in the grill we refurbished that the previous owner had left behind, adding a fifty-five inch television on a pivoting mount and a kegerator with upgraded beer tap handles which has pleased the hubby (and myself!) to no end.  I added some filament light bulbs of varying shapes, sizes and vintages, a collection of industrial bar stools and chairs and our old dining table made of reclaimed lumber and plumbing pipe to finish it off.  We opted to keep some of the charm that the space had before we began renovating it such as the water spigot leading to nowhere and we didn't fight the fact that nothing was square (or level for that matter).

Kitty + Kegerator = Caterator

Now we have a space fit for hosting parties, one of which we already did with 30+ people to reveal the makeover that our entire home, indoors and out, has already gone through. What a transformation it has been! And what better way to fully enjoy the exceptional outdoor living that Southern California has to offer than this - cheers!

Outdoor Sectional Seating

Outdoor Sectional Seating

Bohemian Fringe Curtains

Bohemian Fringe Curtains