A Sports Bar at the Family Room

Unique design starts with a dilemma. Keith Gregor’s and Sherry was twofold. For one, they’d spent 10 years trying to figure out precisely what to do with their 500-square-foot family room. Then one afternoon they sat down with their two teenaged sons in the area to watch sports and recognized their favourite football teams — the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats — were playing in the exact same time.

To solve the second dilemma, they hauled in an extra TV and watched both games side by side. “Out of laziness it remained that way for a while,” Sherry says. “I then got to thinking, ‘This could work. Why not just turn it into a sports bar?'”

Before Photo

Transformations Custom Wood Design

After all, while the decor exuded family on the outside — a large family photograph hung over the fireplace, and also the word “household” was exhibited on a shelf — the space didn’t quite function for their real needs. This really is. Keith was a championship point guard for the University of Cincinnati; his dad played in the NBA in the late ’60s and ’70s; Sherry had season tickets to the Cincinnati Reds rising up; and their 14-year-old son is a sports enthusiast, too.

“Everything we did, it didn’t seem like it filled up the space,” Sherry says. “I never enjoyed it. In 10 years it never looked decent.”

The only logical thing to do was build a sports pub.

Transformations Custom Wood Design

AFTER: And today … match on. The area has everything a sports fan could need: multiple TVs, a full bar, two fridges for wine and beer, stadium-style recliner chairs, a cushioned booth and memorabilia signed by some of baseball’s and football’s best athletes.

But while the Gregors had the eyesight, they needed someone to build it. They met custom wood designer Doug Roth in the Cincinnati Home & Garden show and explained their plan, not sure if they would be met with open or confusion arms. “I was like, ‘Sweet! ”’ Roth says. “I really like to do something no one else has.”

He explained he wanted to make it look like the Fox and the Hound Irish bar in Cincinnati, a dark-paneled, masculine-leaning area. “I immediately knew precisely what this must seem like,” he says.

After checking out the bar, the Gregors said “cheers” into Roth’s approach. “When those paneled walls went up, it grew much bigger and turned out quite awesome,” Sherry says.

Transformations Custom Wood Design

They originally wanted all the TVs on the fireplace wall, figuring because they never really made fires, they would simply tear it down. However, Roth found that if the focus was pointed the other way, they would get 2 extra feet of space behind the seats, giving them space to get a corner stall.

Now a 65-inch TV hangs over the fireplace mantel, which can be adorned with football helmets from several groups: the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Oak Hills high school and Ohio State University.

Transformations Custom Wood Design

On the primary viewing wall, two 60-inch TVs flank an 80-inch one in the center, over which is a ticker that continuously scrolls sports scores and news. The area includes two hinges on the left one for wine, another for beer and soda. Most importantly them LEDs illuminate spirits that are hard. Roth made the cabinets and additional columns for extra detail.

The wall panels are stained solid walnut 1-by-4s. The center is one big piece that Roth constructed in the living space, then hoisted up.

Transformations Custom Wood Design

The Gregors purchased this cushioned vinyl bench online. Roth then added trim to the bottom to make it blend in with all the millwork. He made the table, too.

The jersey, photos and little shelf of championship rings are from Keith’s college days. The large bobble head is your Cincinnati Reds mascot.

Transformations Custom Wood Design

The reddish chair back is in the old Riverfront Stadium’s seat. It’s signed by former Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, whose group number was 5. Pictures and bats signed by Cincinnati Reds players are also exhibited.

Transformations Custom Wood Design

Keith and Sherry met in a Taco Bell in college — she attended Ohio State University — and a neon sign reminds them of their early days as a couple.

Transformations Custom Wood Design

The space is installed using a raised platform and stadium-style seating. The Gregors’ oldest teenaged son loves theater and movie, so the space functions as an incredible movie-watching room, too.

But, needless to say, using a radical transformation similar to this, there are guaranteed to be naysayers questioning your own judgment. The Gregors simply plowed forwards as though they had been returning a punt.

“My father was like, ‘Why would you do this?'” Sherry says. “The neighbors said, ‘Why don’t you get it done in the basement?’ Since I don’t wish to go down to the basement,” she says. “Everybody hangs out in the kitchen. It simply made sense to do it all in one area. Obviously, all of them love it today. Now that they’ve seen it, their mind has changed. It’s been packed ever since.”

Next: London ambience in a New York basement

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