Real Solutions: the Repurposed Credenza Bar

April  6, 2015

Every home is filled with unique design puzzles, from figuring out how to make do with a tiny room (or fill a giant one) to finding that rug, wall-hanging, or piece of furniture to bring it all together. Here's where we share real solutions, through design success stories in the homes of Food52 team members.

Today: Michael Hoffman, Food52's Product Manager, tells all about his refinished credenza that he turned into a bar.

Shop the Story

When my wife and I decided to move from a three-story duplex in Pittsburgh, PA to a one-bedroom walkup in Brooklyn, we started hunting for furniture. This might seem counterintuitive, but let me explain.

In the middle of the twentieth century, Pittsburgh was a thriving, wealthy place. The people who lived there bought nice furniture. Then industry took a nosedive and the population dropped. People left, but their furniture stayed (furniture is heavy, I guess?). Today, Pittsburgh is on the rise again, and some of that old furniture can be purchased at estate sales, on Craigslist, or from grad students moonlighting as furniture dealers. (True story. I know of several.) If you bring this same furniture to NYC, the price tag multiplies.

We spotted this credenza on Craigslist, I believe, while preparing to move from Pittsburgh. It’s not in perfect shape: There are nicks and scratches, the knobs aren’t straight, and neither are the legs. But it’s real, American-made furniture, and after some windex, brass polish, and furniture polish, it started looking pretty spiffy, too. We bought it to replace the Ikea sideboard that did not feel like it was worth moving hundreds of miles to Brooklyn, and trucked it there ourselves.

One of the reasons it works well for us it is that we like cocktails, and making cocktails is a hobby that takes up space. The bottles, the glassware, the paraphernalia...we needed somewhere to stash it all. The good news about cocktail stuff is that lots of it—like decanters, pitchers, coupes, and bitters—is worthy of display. Nice-looking bottles go in the hutch; less attractive ones live down below in the cabinet. Problem solved.

What closed doors in your home are you brave enough to let us see inside? Tag pictures of your well-stocked shelves, shoe storage, and inspiring freezer drawers with #f52home. 

Photo by Michael Hoffman

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sameshirt
  • TheSlyRaven
  • mrslarkin
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
I used to be a software engineer at Food52. Now I'm just a super fan.


Sameshirt April 7, 2015
I don't tweet, so I can't share a photo of our gorgeous mahogany medicine cabinet, handcrafted in Brooklyn by my husband Jerry. But you can see his cabinets at
TheSlyRaven April 6, 2015
HOLY MOLY. I am in love with this.
mrslarkin April 6, 2015
I spy Montenegro. Gotta get me some of that.
Kenzi W. April 6, 2015
I love this. (Also: Where are those booze bottles from -- top left, middle?)