Designing Beverage Stations

Incorporating wet bars and cocktail mixing areas have been fairly commonplace for some time but the latest hot commodity are custom beverage stations. These designer drink destinations tend to focus around coffee, soda, and water, all of which can be enjoyed by the homeowners as well as provide a dedicated refreshment area when entertaining.

Coffee Aficionados

For many people, coffee signals the start of each day. And being able to prepare your favorite brew right in your own home is a luxury many homeowners desire. There are a myriad of coffee and espresso makers to fit every type of aficionado not to mention grinders, French presses, pour over carafes, and all the various accoutrements that accompany the creation of a truly memorable cup of coffee.

When designing a custom coffee space, some things to take into consideration include:

  • How much space will be allotted? For some, it will be a niche or built into a cabinet, and for others, it could be an entire dedicated counter area.
  • Will your brewing appliance be a focal point or do you prefer to hide it away?
  • What type of appliance will you purchase? Will it be a typical standalone unit or a gleaming high-end espresso machine? Will it be built into your cabinetry or will it be built into your fridge (yes, you CAN get refrigerators with built-in Keurig machines!)
  • Dedicated storage for cups, grinders, and other brewing utensils as well as coffee pods, beans, syrups, etc. should be considered. Storage should be in close proximity to the appliance to allow for easy, quick coffee creation.
  • Access to filtered water. Depending upon the coffee appliance, some will need to be plumbed directly to a filtered water source.

Harrell Design + Build designer, Gloria Carlson, has worked with a number of clients who are coffee lovers. “I’ve worked with several clients who’ve requested a dedicated space for a high-end espresso machine. These dedicated centers serve as a focal point for the barista of the family and generally have included nearby specialized storage and integrated plumbing for filtered water.”

Specialized Soda Bar

While coffee is the elixir for some, Gloria had another client who absolutely loved soda. They preferred fountain soda versus canned or bottled, and since they also frequently entertained in their home, they decided to create a soda bar for their own enjoyment, as well as that of their guests.

“A lot of thought and planning went into designing the space for this beverage center, especially the cabinet where the syrups, water filter, refrigeration unit, circulating lines and carbonation tank were stored,” Gloria explains. “It needed to be easily accessible and spacious enough to hold all of the ingredients and equipment but also hidden away.”

These clients had a dedicated beverage center that not only included the soda bar gun that offered eight different soda choices (the combining of carbonation, water and syrup is called “brixing” and each type of soda has its own unique settings), but also had a sink, ice maker, and beverage refrigerator to store beer and wine. There was also ample storage for glassware and a dishwasher drawer specifically for washing glasses at the soda counter rather than hauling them back and forth to the primary dishwasher. And, to top it all off, Gloria designed a custom backsplash with vintage soda bottlecaps that served as the focal point (not to mention conversation starter!) of the beverage bar.

Things to consider when designing a beverage center for soda include:

  1. Location: will this be within your primary kitchen space or elsewhere, such as a Great Room?
  2. Storage for glassware, ingredients, carbonation, etc.
  3. Appliances: Will you need a bar gun, ice maker, dishwasher, and/or beverage fridge?
  4. Water filtration system: To enhance the flavor of your beverage, filtered water is a must.
  5. Chiller: Mixing the soda with pre-chilled water ensures it isn’t watered down by ice

Sparkling & Still Water

And then there are the beverage purists, those who want access to filtered water that can be either chilled or hot, sparkling or still. Instant hot water has been around for a while, but built-in carbonated water is a relatively new enhancement to the kitchen. Creating a dedicated water center is made fairly simple when utilizing a specialized faucet such as the Grohe Blue, which provides both unfiltered water for tasks like washing dishes, as well as filtered water for drinking and cooking. Add to that a carbonation device along with a chiller, and you have yourself both filtered, chilled flat and filtered, chilled carbonated water.

Hydro Tap by Zip Water is another new alternative that creates chilled, filtered, sparkling, and hot water all from the same unit. The faucets are designed to be tall enough to fill pitchers and can even be used at an island without a sink beneath, since odds are, this will be providing drinking and cooking water only.

When installing a still/sparkling water beverage center, consider the following:

  1. Location: Will this be at your primary kitchen sink or on an island for easier accessibility by guests?
  2. Type of Faucet: Do you want a dual-purpose faucet (washing as well as consumption) or will it be purely a beverage area?
  3. Storage: If you do want heated, carbonated, filtered, and chilled water, these units will need nearby storage for the chilling or heating tanks, filters and carbonation tanks. It is also worth creating storage for glassware that is near the beverage center.

Do you love handcrafted coffees, perfectly chilled sparkling water, or maybe an ice-cold soda mixed just the way you like it? The creative, top-notch design team at Harrell Design + Build can make your drink-of-choice dreams come true! We invite you to set up time to meet with Certified Kitchen Designer, Gloria Carlson, or another of our designers at our Los Gatos or Palo Alto showrooms to discover the possibilities in your home!

Harrell premier designer, Gloria Carlson, has two degrees from Stanford University. She began her career in Speech Technology, but left to raise two children. After remodeling her home in 2001, she realized that design was her passion. She went to work for her contractor and returned to school to study Interior Design at Cañada College, where she specialized in Kitchen and Bath Design and Green/Sustainable Design. Gloria quickly realized that the kitchen was her favorite room to design, and decided to focus her years of training on this specialty, including multiple examinations from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and earned the title of Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Before joining Harrell Design + Build, Gloria worked as a Designer in a Kitchen and Bath showroom, and now she enjoys designing projects of all sizes, from a small bathroom update to whole house interior and exterior remodels and additions.

Gloria prides herself on listening to her clients and providing designs that are appropriate to their lifestyles and their homes. She possesses a practical approach to her projects, creative style, and responsiveness to her client’s needs. She also is very attentive to both budget and detail. “Remodeling one’s home can be stressful, so I try to make the process as fun as possible,” says Gloria. “I listen carefully to the homeowner’s desires, whether functional, aesthetic or budgetary, and come up with a plan that will work for them. Then, throughout the project, they know they can count on me to respond quickly to questions and help with decisions.”

Gloria has won multiple awards for her designs from the local chapters of NKBA, NARI, ASID and IFDA. Outside of work, Gloria loves to play tennis, and being a “foodie”, enjoys everything epicurean.