I love repurposing retro furniture. With this old school stereo cabinet I found at a thrift store, the opportunity unfolded to upgrade both the look and usability of the piece.
This cabinet required major dismantling before being refinished. Inside, I found a dated turn table, 8-track player, and built in speakers. This was my second stereo cabinet re-do, and with lessons learned from my first project, I was able to tackle this project much faster.
My battery operated screwdriver was my best friend. As I removed the interior components piece by piece, space opened up for functional storage. The outer doors slid to the middle, and removing the speakers created front openings to the cabinet. I custom cut a board to place in the bottom.
This highly dated stereo has been completely converted into from an eye sore to an eye catcher that now serves as a flat screen TV stand. All internal electronics and cabinetry were removed, creating a large storage space accessed through the top. Includes original burnished brass hardware.
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I’m often asked where I buy used furniture, and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Bryan, TX is one of my favorites places to shop. I frequent ReStore often, along with several other local thrift stores like Goodwill and the Twin City Mission’s Second Chance stores.
Last summer while launching Facelift Furniture, I purchased this retro stereo cabinet at ReStore and saw lots of potential. I also realized a lot would need to be done to convert this piece into someone both desirable and usable. This was a major exercise in deconstructing a piece that was very well built. Let’s say this was also a great learning experience for someone who is better with a paint brush than building things with his hands!
First, I had to remove the old stereo components from inside the cabinet. That wasn’t too difficult, and fortunately my battery powered screwdriver helped a lot with that. I also had to figure out how to remove those curtains which covered the speakers AND replace them to look like the two inner faux doors. The faux doors with curtains were popped off by removing long wood screws from the inside.
Somehow, I also needed to remove the inner inset cabinet to open up the area below for storage. I have to admit, I kind of stalled out at this point. I wasn’t sure how to get that inset wood out other than by sawing and I wasn’t convinced that was the best way to go. Additionally, the speakers were still attached and I could not figure out how to remove them. So until about a month ago, this piece served as a painting stand for many other projects in my shop. But with spring at hand, I had an itch to conquer lingering projects and this was high on my list.
Having worked with furniture full time for over a year now, I’ve actually deconstructed a few other pieces, and discovered that heavy wood screws are often key to holding furniture together. Recently, I wondered if the inner cabinet was held in place with screws that could be removed. It was, and before I knew it, I had the inner cabinet completely out. Not so hard after all! I had to figure out the speakers next, and by accident I realized the speakers nuts tightened and untightened off the bolts the opposite of how we know must nuts and bolts to work. So off came the speakers. Finally, the cabinet was completely gutted!
Now came the last step before painting. The outer faux doors needed thin wood panels cut to size to fit where the curtains had been. A few weeks ago, I found wood in my shop that would work, and cut 8 pieces to size. I was excited to see them fit!
About a week later, I fastened them in place with both wood glue and small screws, and then reattached the doors back on the cabinet. In the photo at right, the left door is back on and the right one is yet to be reattached (you can see through the lower speaker hole).
Now all that was needed was paint. So late last week, I scuffed and scrubbed down the cabinet for applying grey tinted primer. Priming itself seemed like quite the improvement! Then came the actual paint, and my choice was Barn Red, a new addition to our line up. It’s brighter than than Chili Pepper Red, and I had an idea it would help this piece take a big leap.
Yet paint alone is not what makes for a great transformation. Glazing and distressing take it two steps further–they are like the icing and candles on the cake! So with a heavy black glaze treatment in the detailed areas, and distressing of wood edges, this cabinet underwent a MAJOR transformation! The original pulls were reattached in original condition, providing a nice throw back to it’s original design.