Vintage Dry Bar to TV Cabinet: Almost There!

You’ve been so patient… and we’re almost there!

My repurposing project, a cabinet turned into a TV stand for Kaleigh that started back in in early September, and hit a few road bumps here and here, is on its final stretch. All the painting is as done as it’s going to be, the brass hardware as cleaned up as it’s going to get… and today was the moment of truth. We started to reassemble all the parts and pieces of the cabinet, and put it back together again. And I’m thrilled to say it went back together without a hitch. But remember, I also said this was a repurposing project – so that means we made some ‘structural’ changes to the piece, and changed the intention for its use.

So, way back when we started this project I said there was a story behind this piece that I couldn’t wait to tell…

Here’s the piece in its original form.

Looks like a standard cabinet, right?

But it’s not…

This cabinet is actually a dry bar… dry because there’s no sink.

But a bar because of this insert inside…

The insert is meant to hold glasses. It, along with the shelf you see, is covered in arborite – easy to wipe clean, and can withstand liquid spills 😉 And, note the locking mechanism in the center. Back in the day there was a time when alcohol was kept under lock and key!

And the bar itself is not as cumbersome as it looks to use.

Because the small front face is actually hinged to flip down.

And it has a catch to hold it closed when it’s flipped up…

Pretty cool isn’t it?

This piece is made of solid wood – maple, I think.

Check out the vintage hardware…

I love the hardware, but Kaleigh is not keen on it at all. In fact she has gone so far as to say it’s ugly. Seriously… what’s up with the perspective of our youth? 😉 If you look closely, you’ll see the two front doors also have locks in them. Definitely a dry bar!

So the story…

After all the yard work we did when we first moved in here, we had a bunch of organic waste to take to the local waste management drop-off. And it was with this trip that everything changed! After we dropped off all the weeds we pulled around to head out, and noticed the ‘FREE SHOPPING’ sign. Now you have to remember, this is basically the garbage dump, but in a managed kind of way! So we figured there was nothing to lose by taking a gander. This isn’t normally something we would do, but the more blogs I read, the more inspired I am to give this kind of ‘living on the edge’ a try! And I’m so glad we did.

Since the cabinet would be for Kaleigh’s TV, we had to check in first. So my hubby snapped a quick pic on his phone and sent it to her…

…while I called her to say, ‘Check your phone – are you interested in this cabint? I’ll paint it out, change it up, but would it work for you?’ I really thought the answer would be like, are you kidding? No! Mom, I can’t believe you’d bring something home from the dump. OMG!!!

But Kaleigh surprised me and her answer actually was, ‘Yah, sure. Why not.’

I have to be honest, the FREE SHOPPING was free for a reason! There wasn’t a whole lot I saw that day that I’d depart with… other than this vintage treasure. Honestly. Who throws things like this out? But then, who puts Cherner chairs beside a dumpster (read story here)? What caps this story is we barely navigated the cabinet’s exodus from the FREE store! For the little time that it took to pull our vehicle up and position it for loading, was all the time it took for someone else to be checking this piece out. Imagine their startled look when we scooped it up and loaded it in!

So that’s the story behind how we acquired this cabinet. And, oh yes, we cleaned it up big time. There were remnants of splintered glass, dried and super stuck residue from spilled who knows what, and of course years of built-up grime. What didn’t come with the cabinet were the keys for the three locks. Do you think I should return it?

Stay tuned. Tomorrow will be its make-over reveal. Here’s a little glimpse…

I can’t wait to show you the results!

What have you repurposed lately? Where did your piece come from? Are FREE pieces on the side of the road… or at the local dump an option for you?

Related Posts You Might Like To Read

DIY Distress: Repurposing A Cabinet Set-Back

Brass Part I: Are You Cleaning Plated or Solid?

Brass Part II: Cleaning Solid Brass Pieces

The Cherner Chair Story

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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15 Replies to “Vintage Dry Bar to TV Cabinet: Almost There!”

  1. I’ve got a big dresser in our room that is screaming to be painted – I just haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. This piece reminds me of it somewhat though – same types of details and similar hardware. It was FREE. When we bought our house, the former owner’s niece left it for us – I said sure! Probably left it because it’s so darn heavy. Well, this is a bit of a motivator I needed to get my butt in gear and start painting. Looking forward to your reveal!

    1. You know, I used to think heavy was a bad thing, but now I’ll take heavy any day. It usually means solid construction and no particle board! I hope you do tackle it. The thing I learned from this project was to use the oil based Zinsser for priming. I experienced some bleed-through even though I used Kilz latex primer for stains, and that was enough to almost end the whole undertaking because I had done both coats and was putting the finishing gloss coat on. I had to start all over! 🙁

  2. I can wait to see the finished piece. Did you end up using the Bartender’s Friend? Thanks for stopping by my Arco floor lamp post. It’s such a beautiful piece and this weekend when I was helping my son move, guess which lamp was in my son’s apartment lobby? It really suits any room.

    1. Thanks Lisa! No, I didn’t end up using Bartender’s Friend, but that’s only because the vinegar worked out. But I still plan to pick some up to have on hand, because it seriously looks like the way to go compared to how I tackled the cleaning!

  3. GREAT job from what I see so far. I love it! Can’t wait to see the reveal. Now that I have been painting furniture with the new chalk paint I am always on the hunt for free furniture. You indeed found a gem.

    1. Thanks you Linda! I SO want to try chalk paint. The next time I’m in Vancouver I want to pick some up- it’s not available here where I live. I can’t wait to see more pics of your makeovers. The last ones were awesome!

  4. I am SO glad I found your blog. I was pretty sure this was a dry bar but not 100% confident. I just bought one LITERALLY exactly like it today. A great deal but not nearly the STEAL you got! I can’t wait to paint it. The shelf is missing on the bottom so I am happy to see you had one and now I know what it looks like!! Thanks again- I can’t wait to paint it and see what happens!!

    1. Hi Scottie!
      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment! How totally cool to connect with someone else out there who has this very same piece! I just popped over to your blog and saw the matching dresser you redid. It looks incredible – great job! And I also popped over to ‘like’ your Facebook page – was so much fun to see this very same dry bar model looking back at me in its original state!!! My daughter is still loving her repurposed cabinet – the hardest part (emotionally) was putting the hole in the back for the TV/PVR cords! I can’t wait to see what you do with yours 🙂

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