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Antique Stereo Cabinet – Before & After

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I’m sure many of you belong to one (or if you’re me, twenty) Facebook “garage sale” groups. Or you check out Craigslist regularly. Or you go garage sale/estate sale shopping. Or you go curb shopping. Don’t act like you don’t know what that is! A lot of times, I just glance at the items and move on. Sometimes, though, something catches my eye and I must have it. Now. This time, it was an antique stereo cabinet in one of my local Facebook groups.

Imagine my husband’s surprise when I texted him and told him he needed to pick up an antique stereo cabinet for me on his way home. He was out having a beer with a buddy, and reluctantly agreed to do it. Why so reluctant? Well, I have a garage full of “projects”. And here I was, adding a rather large piece of furniture to the collection – AND moving it to the front of the line! I got a great deal on it ($55), and it still works. (Loudly, might I add). I knew Kevin would eventually love my vision, since his parents collect antique stereo cabinets. Someday, we will inherit many, many, MANY cabinets like this. 

Luckily (or not so luckily?) I have a best friend that is not exactly known for just being a slacker. She likes to get stuff done. I like to dilly dally. You can see where this is going. She got wind of me having a new piece of furniture to mess with, and it magically ended up at her house. Britt does not turn down projects! Plus, she will ride my ass and make me finish something that I start. Since the stereo was not at my house while it was being worked on, I had to work on it nights and weekends. We had to work around both of our work schedules, but we managed to finish it in less than a month (which is HUGE for me)! 

We had some furniture rehab drama along the way, but I am so happy with it – I just want to sit and stare at it all the time now. 

Anyway – I know you want to see pictures, so here you go! 

This is not my stuff – this is the picture that was on the Facebook group. I knew I had to have it.

Stereo cabinet before | Queen of Everything

After removing the hardware I was able to remove (the front doors are “faux”, and I could not figure out how to remove the hardware – and the handle on the right? I couldn’t remove it without removing the record player – and I wasn’t about to get into that!), I removed the back “ledge”. I think the stereo looked more modern without it. I primed the whole thing with my beloved Zinsser 1-2-3 primer. I wasn’t worried about the fabric covering the speakers on the front and sides, since it was being replaced anyway. No, you don’t have to prime before using chalky finish paint – but I generally do anyway. 

Primer | Queen of Everything

I knew I wanted a light gray color for this, since my new living room curtains are gray/white, and I’m looking for a gray couch. I also knew I wanted to use Maison Blanche Furniture Paint, so I picked out Franciscan Grey. It was a little lighter than I wanted, but I was planning to use dark wax to darken it up afterwards. The below picture is of the stereo painted in Franciscan Grey. I love the way the Maison Blanche paint covers, and I love the way it feels! 

Franciscan Grey | Queen of Everything

I just should’ve chosen a darker color. It was completely my fault. I tend to lean towards dark gray, and I knew that wasn’t what I wanted – so I went with the lightest gray they sell. Go figure! I won’t scare you with pictures of the dark wax aftermath, but I will tell you that I was a little heavy handed with it. That’s when I knew I had to make a decision – do I go buy another quart of darker grey Maison Blanche? Do I just go buy a quart of latex paint at the hardware store a mile away? Brittaney (as usual) comes up with a solution. Well, OF COURSE she just happens to have a gallon of gray latex paint. And OF COURSE she just happens to have a quart of black latex paint. She mixed them until we came up with a suitable gray, and I didn’t even have to leave or spend more money. I knew I was friends with that girl for a reason. Bonus: She helped me repaint it! I didn’t realize just how light the Franciscan Grey was until I saw this picture. 

Dark vs Light | Queen of Everything

So… about an hour later, we finished painting it. While the paint was drying, I painted the hardware with Liquid Leaf paint. This paint is basically silverleafing without the mess. Seriously. I love this stuff. This little bitty jar will last forever – you have to use very little! It dries quickly as well. 

Hardware Before | Queen of Everything

Hardware After | Queen of Everything

This is how I left it the other night. The plan was for me to come back the next night and finish it. That horrible fabric covering the speakers HAD to go! I had the fabric (I had some Serena & Lily fabric from the store Kevin works at), I was just too worn out to finish. Also, I have T-Rex arms and couldn’t reach inside to unscrew the panels. 

New paint | Queen of Everything

Later that night, Kevin and I were watching American Dream Builders on the DVR. I was going to bed soon, since it was 10:30 pm. Imagine my surprise when the doorbell rings. It’s kind of like when your phone rings late at night… it’s generally not good news. All sorts of crazy scenarios are running through my head at this point! 

Well, it was Brittaney. I should have known that she wouldn’t be able to leave it unfinished for one night. She finished it for me and delivered it to my house! I was shocked. (Also, I should not ignore my phone in the other room – she had been texting me about it, but I was involved in the TV show). I quickly made room for it and we moved it in. 

You guys, I can’t quit staring at it. I love it! I’m so glad that Brittaney helped me with this and pushed me along – and then she finished it for me! So happy that we have been friends for 20+ years. Life wouldn’t be the same without her. (PS: She made the Scrabble frame for me a few years ago. Love it.)

Front view | Queen of Everything

Stereo side view | Queen of Everything

Side view | Queen of Everything

Scrabble Sign | Queen of Everything

Flowers | Queen of Everything

What a difference paint and fabric make, huh?

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26 thoughts on “Antique Stereo Cabinet – Before & After

  1. Mrs Major Hoff (Sara)

    So pretty! I love that I am not the only one with a garage full! Sometimes it’s hard getting the color you want-but kudos for you for sticking with it!
    I also love the scrabble art!

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  3. kokotg

    very nice! love the fabric over the speaker openings. And I’m kind of cracking up that your in-laws collect antique stereo cabinets–they’re really cool, but what a big thing to collect! Stamp collecting is so much more space efficient 😉

    1. Heather Post author

      You are correct – antique stereo cabinets are not small! To be fair, they also collect antique radios. So…. yeah. Lots of electronics that probably won’t work 🙂

  4. Mike Green

    Can you tell me more about this paint you used on the hardware. Why did you use that pain and not use some type of metal spray paint? BTW, thank you for posting it beautiful.

    1. Heather Post author

      Hi Mike! The main reason I didn’t use spray paint (because that is normally what I would do) is because most of the hardware would not come off of the cabinet! The front cabinets are fake and I could not figure out how to remove the hardware – so I took off what I could and had to leave the rest on. We used tiny little paintbrushes and brushed the silver leaf paint on, and somehow didn’t get any on the wood! The silver leaf paint also dries really quickly, so that was a bonus. Does that answer your question? Thank you so much! Glad you like it – I do too!

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  6. Miriam JA

    Great transformation! I’m painting a cabinet to hold a record player as we speak. Well, I’m waiting for it to dry. The surface on your cabinet looks so nice and smooth. Do you use a sprayer? or just rollers?

    1. Heather Post author

      We actually used brushes! I love spraying (not a huge fan of rolling), but brushing worked best for this project since the stereo was inside the cabinet. It was just easier.
      We used Purdy brushes, that’s the brand I recommend! They last forever if you take care of them 🙂

  7. stephanie

    Hello!,absolutely love it!…can you explaine to me what you used to paint it!? im a…newbie 🙂
    Thank you.

    1. Heather Post author

      Hi Stephanie! I used plain old latex paint – started out using Maison Blanche Furniture Paint, but in the end decided to use latex.

  8. erin

    Hi! This is great! I have my grandparents old cabinent and I am considering updating it. I’m a bit nervous though. How did you do the fabric? Did you cut out the old fabric? Has it been holding up well? Thanks!

    1. Heather Post author

      My best friend and her husband did the fabric (they finished it for me as a surprise!). As far as I know, they removed the speakers and just covered the existing fabric with the new fabric – that’s what we had talked about doing. You can still hear the speakers just fine, and it’s been holding up well. The fabric we used was not quilting cotton – it was pretty thick home decor fabric, so I would suggest that. I still love it and am in awe of how different it looks, and it’s been months! Good luck, and I would love to see pictures when you do yours!

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  10. Stacy Hester

    I can’t figure out how to get the fake cabinets/panels out to replace the fabric…please advise

  11. Ashley

    How did you remove the faux doors? I’m working on a similar project and am stumped. Your piece is beautiful!

    1. Heather Post author

      I didn’t remove the doors. The faux doors hold the speaker, so we removed the speakers by going in through the top, covered them with fabric, and put them back in! Eventually I want to replace the fabric with a punched metal, but that is another project for another day!

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