Brass Bar Cart

LAST UPDATED: Sep 14, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Apr 05, 2013 | By: Julie Blanner
Since last Spring, I have been obsessed with adding a brass bar cart to our home. I don’t think my husband will ever understand it, but I feel bar carts are a classic and versatile piece. I envisioned using it as a “console table” and end table in our living room, and wheeling it into the dining room when hosting dinner. So, I began my search…
beautiful brass Beckett Bar Cart from Williams Sonoma
Cosmopolitan Bar Cart from Williams Sonoma {over $1,500 with tax and shipping}
Arteriors Brass Bar Cart
$600 “bargain” Bar Cart from Crate & Barrel
Best Buy Bar Cart from Ballard Designs for just $430
For a piece of furniture that my husband just doesn’t comprehend, they were all too expensive. I began a Craigslist hunt, created a wanted post on Facebook, asked around if anyone had one, and visited antique shops. A year later, I received a text from friend and florist Erin Volante. She had discovered one on Craigslist and I was first in line to purchase it at just $200. I knew I could update it into the cart I had been dreaming of! Here’s a before photo:
I knew the frame was something I could work with. So the DIY refinish began!
First, I spray painted the frame. I wanted a classic brass look.
I was going to change the casters, but after they proved to be difficult to get off, I spray painted them as well {which I would have to do to new casters to match the finish anyways} and saved myself $20!
Next, I replaced the antiqued mirror with traditional glass that I had custom cut. It was cut to be a better fit that the existing piece.
I’m so happy with the end result and at a total of just $220, so was my husband!
I love the handles!
I also love how the glass exposes our hardwood floors versus the original mirror. It balances the heavy frame.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing this piece a lot in my future entertaining as it makes a great bar, dessert bar and more! Learn how to style a bar cart here!
How to style a bar cart - the simple tips & tricks to great styling, while keeping it functional for entertaining!

Several years ago, I was in an endless search for a brass bar cart. I scoured the internet, but at the time, few options were available and those that were costly – at $600-1,500. It just wasn’t in our budget.

Thanksgiving entertaining tips - setting up a bar cart

I set an alert for Craigslist and eventually found a bar cart. I sent Chris to a somewhat sketchy location late at night to pick it up and it barely fit in my tiny SUV. It appeared dated to me with the same foggy marbled glass I remembered gracing the walls at our elderly neighbor’s house when I was a toddler. I was overjoyed to give it a makeover.

Maison Bagues bar cart

Oh I’d spruce it up, replacing the glass, potentially the wheels and a fresh coat of gold {spray} paint. I loved that bar cart. We used it to serve guests in the dining room of our home in Kansas, then it made the move to St. Louis and we used it in our breakfast room until…

Beautiful brass bar cart styled for effortless Christmas entertaining with a magnolia wreath

in the middle of the night, we heard a large crash. We were totally alarmed. Did a window just break? What could have happened? I was too tired to find out and thought it must be a dream. Chris wasn’t rattled at all.

The next morning I walked into the breakfast room to pour cereal for the girls and found broken bottles and alcohol scattered throughout the room – all over our brand new hardwood floors!

The glass couldn’t bear the weight of the overloaded bar cart and gave way, sending the bottle crashing to the floor and into one another.

After that, I considered replacing the glass, but instead replaced a bar cabinet. Eventually we started to clean out the storage room, listing the bar cart on Craigslist. At $100 {original purchase price $200}, it didn’t sell. I received the occasional offer for $25, but pulled the listing thinking I’d eventually find a use.

The other night, a reader commented on my original bar cart blog post alerting me to an earlier comment saying “Hi Julie, I think Karolina is right. That looks like a genuine Maison Bagues bar cart. They sell for about $3,000.” Say what? It couldn’t be true. I visited the link. My heart sunk. It is an original Maison Bagues bar cart – identical. It is what bar carts today are modeled after. It was valuable.

masion bagues bar cart
Notice a difference? Neither do I.

I did a little research and a similar cart is listed for $9,000 with taxes and shipping. $9,000!

Five years ago, I was quick to pick up a can of paint and transform anything, but I’ve come to realize there is so much beauty in pieces as they are. Sometimes you have to open your eyes to see it and embrace what you have. There’s nothing more beautiful than a piece in its original state in all it’s integrity.

I’m still dying a little inside, but as I did with our oak kitchen cabinets, I am going to resist the urge to paint because for me, there’s so much beauty in what lies beneath. PS, what would I do without you?


mini loaves of bread gift wrapped