Complete with stuff on top.

Markus and I had been looking around for an entertainment center to hold our electronic peripherals (Apple TV, cable box, Wii, DVD player, etc.) for a while, but were not finding what we wanted from a budget or storage standpoint. We wanted to get something cool, not generic from Ikea. I was thinking something low and maybe with a Scandinavian sort of look – while he wanted something a little more, “Italian,” as he likes to put it. One day while searching Craigslist, I saw a dresser that would accomplish exactly what we were looking to do – with a few alterations of course:

At the yard sale in all of its former glory.

At the yard sale in all of its former glory.

I was able to bargain the seller down to $65 bucks for this fine Thomasville piece of furniture. I was so excited (as I really had been looking for probably 2-3 months), that I bought it without even thinking about how to get it home. It would not exactly fit into the trunk of my A4. Luckily, fate intervened and a man with a pickup truck arrived on queue – he took it to our place in Hollywood for a mere $20 fee. Good deal, I thought, especially when he didn’t murder me afterwards.

Once inside my apartment, it fit the spot almost perfectly. I went down to Home Depot and picked up the following supplies:

  • Clear, disposable drop cloth ($3)
  • Sandpaper (3M Pro Grade 100 grit and 320 grade) ($3/each)
  • Sandpaper hand sander ($6)
  • 1 Qt. Minwax Oil Based Espresso Wood Finish Interior Stain ($8)
  • 1 Qt. clear coat protector ($8)
  • 1 1″ economy brush ($1)
  • 1 3″ economy brush ($3)
  • 1 can of matte silver spray paint ($8)

Stuff I had:

  • Rags
  • Orbital sander
  • Electric Drill
  • Beach towel for padding on the knees while painting

Then I removed the hardware and sanded… by hand… for what seemed like forever.

Surveying exactly what needed to be sanded (under the TV's supervision).

Surveying exactly what needed to be sanded (under the TV’s supervision).

 

I used a coarse grain paper to start (both by hand and with an orbital sander).

I used a coarse grain paper to start (both by hand and with an orbital sander). Also note the fake side panel which I didn’t notice at first.

Unfortunately, the side panels of the piece were not real wood (although everything else was) – it was a cheap wood composite. While it did sand, it would not have stained. Therefore I sanded everything for nothing. I had to bring back the stain and clear coat and exchange for an all in one primer and paint (matte finish) from Behr Premium Plus Ultra. The color I chose was “Espresso Beans” (UL160-23). I picked up a quart of this for about $15.

Then I painted two coats on the entertainment center (it was quick dry, required 2 hours between coats – although I left it overnight to be safe). I also spray painted the hardware with about 4 coats outside so that it wouldn’t smell.

The first coat, midway through.

The first coat, midway through.

The first coat of pain is complete.

The first coat of paint is complete.

After that I reattached the original ugly hardware, which looks completely different in silver. I also ended up pulling out two of the drawers in the middle cabinet and using the shelves for the cable box, Wii, and Apple TV. I used my power drill to drill 3 large holes in the back of the unit to run cords into.

With the hardware reattached after painting complete.

With the hardware reattached after painting complete.

Then all I did was clean up! So for roughly $100 I have a very solid Thomasville dresser reborn as an entertainment center. I also went to Ikea and bought a cord management system to make the cords coming down from the TV easier on the eyes.

Complete with stuff on top.

Complete with stuff on top.

Notes:

  1. Sanding is awful. Seriously.
  2. The middle cabinets have to be open when watching TV as the remote doesn’t go through them.
  3. It was all totally worth it and I have received many compliments.
  4. I will be getting a soundbar on the TV to free up even more space on top.
  5. People like my homemade orchid planter, too.

Additional photos:

Close up of the spray painted hardware (sorry for the handprints - they are just dust).

Close up of the spray painted hardware (sorry for the handprints – they are just dust).

Closeup. Ram thing is from Target (shhh...)

Closeup. Ram thing is from Target (shhh…)

Plane!

Plane!