Creating Storage in a Retro Stereo Cabinet

Retro Stereo Cabinet Makeover - Filling up the shelves - #thissarahloves

On Wednesday I showed you how we made & affixed the wine racks where the speakers used to be in our retro stereo makeover.  Today I’m back to show you how we created some extra storage shelves where the record player and radio used to be.

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From Speakers to Wine Rack: Transforming our Retro Stereo Cabinet

On Friday I showed off our finished wine buffet, which started its life as a retro stereo cabinet, which we found for free on Craigslist!  Today I’m back to share how we made the wine racks to fit into the old speaker spaces.Retro Stereo Cabinet Makeover - In Living Room - #thissarahloves

I still feel like an awful blogger for failing to snap a proper before picture.  But that’s water under the bridge right.  Here’s what it looked like (from the back) right after Andy stripped the components (and insulation) out.  From the front it looked very similar to this one, except with more molding detail on the front.

Summer Projects - Retro Stereo Cabinet - StrippedOnce the components were stripped out we wanted to create wine storage where the speakers had been, and under the lid where the record player and radio had been, create deep storage for pitchers and other alcohol, and shallower storage for appetizer plates & cheese knives.  This may give you a better idea of our vision.

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Retro Stereo Cabinet Makeover

Retro Stereo Cabinet Makeover - Finished - #thissarahloves

It’s done!  Finally.  Of course, it wasn’t done until after the sun went down last night and OF COURSE we have a rainy overcast day today. I did the best I could with the pictures, apologies for the graininess – it was that or flash…  I’ll share pictures of the insides & talk more about everything we did to take the cabinet from a non-functioning, scratched-up, free-on-Craigslist retro stereo to a brightly colored wine buffet.

I’m having some trouble deciding how to style it.  I’d prefer to spend the minimum on styling it, so I’ll be shopping our house.  I might hit up the thrift store though, to see if they have any cool decanters.  I think they would look great on a round tray on top.  Of course, I also don’t have a round tray…  How would you style this?  Should I add a lamp (or two?)

Retro Stereo Cabinet Makeover - In Living Room - #thissarahloves

I hung our existing engineering prints (which used to be over the couch in the living room) over the buffet.  Ideally I’d love to add two long floating shelves over the cabinet to house glassware, but I don’t want to make big holes in the walls, since we rent.

The cabinet itself is Behr’s Cathedral.  The wine rack inserts are Behr’s Harbor.  I made DIY chalk paint with both colors and sealed it with Minwax Polycryclic.  (You can read more about my sealing disaster here).

Can you believe this used to look like this?!?

Summer Projects - Retro Stereo Cabinet - all the guts

Check back next week for photos of the inside, to hear how we made those awesome wine racks, & for a full cost breakdown!

Heart Sarah

Check out all of the details about this makeover by clicking on the links below:

Not quite done

Summer Projects - Stereo Cabinet - TwoStepsForward

I was so hoping that I would have a finished retro stereo cabinet makeover to show you today. Unfortunately, it’s not quite there yet… At least it’s not laziness that’s to blame. It is however an unfortunate mishap with my beloved wipe-on poly that is at fault. When my mom and I gave the cane love seat and coffee table a little TLC before they came to live with Andy and me, we bought this water-based wipe-on poly to seal them with. The application was super easy and forgiving, so I dug it back out when I started playing around with chalk paint & loved it as much.

While applying the first coat of poly to the buffet, I realized I was running low on Wipe-On Poly, so I was extra careful to do a thin coat, so that I wouldn’t run out midway through. While waiting for the first coat to dry, I looked on the big orange store’s website to see if they had any in stock at my local store, but they didn’t even have it listed on their website, so I checked the big blue store’s website too, with the same results. At this point panic started to set it. Amazon didn’t have any available through Prime either & the thought of waiting a week or more to finish up the buffet wasn’t exactly appealing. I headed to Minwax’s website to see if they listed any additional retailers, and saw these dreaded words “currently available in California”! BOO!

Okay, so new plan. Sand down the wipe-on coat and switch to my other favorite – brush on polycrylic.

Oh how I wish the story ended here!

The next morning I started sanding the buffet. To my horror, the sanding left white streaks in the paint. My extra-fine sanding sponge was distressing my chalk paint & this was decidedly NOT the look I was going for. I freaked out a little, and then realized that my only option was to continue sanding. So I sanded down the whole piece, leaving white marks everywhere. If I was a better blogger, I would’ve taken pictures of this, but I was much too close to tears to even consider it at that moment.

Of course, I had used up all of my paint, so the next morning we headed back to home depot to pick up another sample of gorgeous blue paint. So this weekend I added two more coats of paint to all the large flat surfaces and two coats of poly to the whole thing. I still need to do one more coat of poly on the flat surfaces & finish up the lid (since you can only do one side at a time) which still needs one more coat of paint and at least three coats of poly.

We have guests arriving on Friday, so fingers crossed that we have no more mishaps and I can share the final reveal with you all then!

Heart Sarah


Check out all of the details about this makeover by clicking on the links below:

Picking Colors for the Stereo Makeover

Summer Projects - Retro Stereo Cabinet - ColorNormally, we don’t struggle to decide on a color for our makeover projects, but the old stereo cabinet had us stumped. My instinct was navy blue and I think Andy was leaning towards white. {Could we be any further apart?} So we grabbed a ton of additional paint chips & stood around staring at them, slowly eliminating ones for being  too light or too dark or too green or too gray or too baby blue etc.

We narrowed it down to 4 charts, but we just weren’t sure, so I started browsing on Pinterest & found this dresser from Thrifty Decor Chick that I fell in love with as soon as she blogged about it.  The color is Aubusson Blue from Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Lucky for me, Andy liked to color too!

{Please pin from original source}

Unfortunately Annie Sloan isn’t in the budget for this project.  Fortunately, I came across this awesome pin next, where Mandie color matched Annie Sloan colors to Behr and Sherwin Williams paints.  Apparently Aubusson Blue was a close match to Behr’s Cathedral.

{Please pin from original source}

I looked over to the final four color charts we hadn’t eliminated & Behr’s Cathedral was on one of those cards!  (What are the odds?)  Not only that, but Behr’s Cathedral is also just one color below our other favorite – Behr’s Harbor (which is the color I painted our Craigslist bench).

Now I’m trying to decide what color to paint the inside of the cabinet (for the hidden storage under the lid).  I’m deciding between a bright green or a saturated aqua.  I’m also contemplating just mixing up my own color using some of the leftover paints we have lying around.  Here are my current favorites – Dill Pickle and Scotch Lassie with Cathedral in the middle for reference.  What’s your favorite?

Summer Projects - Stereo Cabinet - Color Options

As you can probably gather, this weekend’s plans include picking a color for the inside of the cabinet, finishing the paint job on the outside, and figuring out how to create the wine rack inserts.  What’s on your agenda?

Heart Sarah


Check out all of the details about this makeover by clicking on the links below:

Summer Projects on our To Do List

Hi Bloggy Friends

I’ve been an awful blogger.  It’s not for lack of doing projects, but rather lack of taking pictures & writing up what we’ve been up to!  Andy’s officially on Summer break & although he won’t be home all day all Summer, he’s got a bunch more free time & we’re tackling some fun projects.  We already have three projects in the works, so I thought it was time for a proper update.

Summer Project #1 is another Craigslist Free find!  Andy spotted this retro stereo cabinet & we decided to take it on as a project.  Unfortunately, I neglected to snap a before picture – but it looks similar to this one, although with a bit more molding on the front.  Here it is before and after Andy ripped all the guts out.  On the list of things to go: nasty installation, six speakers, the record player, the enclosure for the radio, and lots of cobwebs!

Summer Projects - Retro Stereo Cabinet - all the guts

Summer Projects - Retro Stereo Cabinet - Stripped

Now that it’s been cleaned up and sanded we’re planning on painting it a fun color, adding wine racks where the speakers used to be & some hidden storage where the radio & record player used to be.  We’re so excited to share our progress with you.  For now, we’re waiting for wood filler to dry as we had some peeling / chipped veneer on the top to deal with.

Summer Project #2 is this cute little side table we found at Goodwill last weekend.  We stopped in on a whim & found that they were having a 50% off furniture sale.  Although they barely carry any furniture at this Goodwill location these days, Andy spotted this cute little table.  Not even the cashier could believe the price!

Summer Projects - Five Dollar Goodwill Table

The plan is to go for a two-toned look.  I’m making some progress, although the white paint is giving me a little bit of trouble on coverage.  Fingers crossed that a good in-between-coats sanding and one more coat does the trick!

Finally (for now) is Summer Project #3.  We found two patio chairs & a little table at the Universal Donation Center (aka placed next to our complex’s dumpsters).  We happened upon the set just as we gave up hope of ever finding a cute little patio table for a reasonable price.  I carted the table home right away & Andy decided to grab to chairs too, even though we don’t really have space for them at the moment {then again, that’s pretty much the story of this post}.  Andy’s been sanding and repainting these guys to update our little patio & I can’t wait to show them to you!

Here’s a look at what they looked like when we found them.  Would you have carted them home?  Or are you more likely to have dropped them off at the universal donation center yourself?

Summer Projects - Universe Donated Patio Chairs - Before

Well that’s what’s going on around here!  You can follow our progress (and see lots of pictures of Penelope) on Instagram (thissarahloves).  What are your Summer plans?

Heart Sarah

How to make DIY Chalk Paint

I first learned about DIY Chalk Paint from a post Sharon at Elizabeth and Co did. She sold me on the convenience of working with chalk paint & the color she used on the buffet {linked above} is just lovely! While I would love to one day try the real thing (aka Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) it’s just not in the budget right now.

So here’s what you’ll need to make your own Chalk Paint

  • Plaster of Paris
  • Behr Paint and Primer in One
  • Plastic Spoon
  • Clear paint paint bucket
  • Paintbrush

You can get everything you need at the big Orange store. Except probably the plastic spoon – which you’ll use for mixing. Please don’t use a spoon you’ll be eating with later.

DIY Chalk Paint - Make Your Own

You want an approximately 3 to 1 ratio of paint to plaster of paris. Take your plastic container and add plaster of paris to the 50ml line. Add one spoonful of water at a time and stir until you have a smooth paste. Make sure there are no lumps. (I usually add about 3 spoonfuls of water).

Next add the paint. There is a 150ml and a 250ml line on the plastic bucket I have. I eyeball adding paint until it’s approximately halfway between those two lines. Stir everything well. Check the bottom and sides of the bucket to make sure that all of the plaster of paris mix has been incorporated.

That’s it! You just made DIY chalk paint!

Craigslist Bench with Grey Dot Pillow

Now, there are lots of rumors out there that you don’t need to sand or prime before using chalk paint. While I fully subscribe to the no-priming philosophy, I always sand. Mainly because the one time I didn’t sand, I ended up with a train-wreck of a project. So make sure to do a quick sanding of whatever it is you’re about to paint. Then wipe it down with a damp rag. When it’s dry you’re ready to paint.

  • Paint one coat. Don’t worry about brush marks or slightly uneven coverage.
  • Let it dry. (About an hour).
  • If you got so-so coverage, just slap a second coat right on top of the first coat.
  • If you got great coverage, skip to the sanding step.
  • Once your paint is dry, lightly sand with fine sand paper (220 grit or higher).
  • Wipe it down & let it dry.
  • Add one more coat of paint and let it dry. (About 1/2 day)

I like sealing my furniture with water-based wipe-on poly in clear gloss. I do 2-3 coats with a light sanding in between. Thin and even coats are the name of the game. Make sure to let it cure for 24-48 hours before using it!

Here are a few of my favorite DIY Chalk Paint Projects:

* Blue Chalk Paint Frame

DIY Chalk Paint Frame with Chalk Board Contact Paper insert

* Chalk Paint Chair

Chair and Guest Room After

* Chalk Paint Nightstands

Updated Nighstands

* Chalk Paint Craigslist Bench Makeover

Craigslist Bench - Sideview

* Green Chalk Paint Frame

Green Frame with Birdie Fabric

Have you tried DIY Chalk Paint? Have you tried ‘real’ Chalk Paint? What did you think?

Heart Sarah

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