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October 2009

Mini-Makeover: Rolling Bar Cart

Whether you’re looking for a specific piece or just out there to get your vintage on, the secondhand scene in Charleston is a trove of useful wares. Take this old English Oak drop-leaf gaming cart, a throwback to the days of parlor games, that we found at Roumillat’s in West Ashley. It’s not super special, but it had precisely what we look for in a salvage shop find: a cheaper pricetag than catalog counterparts, versatility of use, and loads of potential.

What made this flea-market find a winner

  • Hinged leaves on either side open to extend work area and close to become more space efficient.
  • A removable tray offers ample storage cubbies underneath.
  • Two framed surfaces are perfect for fitting patterned fabric or paper for a simple style upgrade.
  • Casters allow it to scoot from room to room, or even outside.
  • A $140 pricetag: modern service carts we found are upwards of $250!


Step 1: A Cart of a Different Color After sanding down a few nicks and scars, we applied oil-based primer followed by a couple coats of orange paint in a satin finish. Step 2: Fine Print We covered both the table surface and lower shelf in a pretty fabric found in our scraps pile. Step 3: Raise Your Glass Settling on a primary use as a portable bar, we had a local hardware store cut two panes of glass to fit both the bottom shelf and top tray. This also allows for a quick change of the accent fabric. Step 4: Stash Your Supplies We stored cocktail napkins, swizzle sticks, bar recipes, and more in the felt compartment underneath the tray, formerly used for game accessories.


Photographs by Christopher Nelson (1) and Zach Suggs (1)