Gramz's Blog

Musings of a crazy quilter

Repurpose that old tv cabinet

A few years ago, my DH moved us halfway across the country because he wanted to get a graduate degree. At 2,400 square feet, the home we left behind was pretty big and since everything we would take with us had to fit in our one vehicle and one moving truck we had to pare down substantially. What was most difficult for me to leave behind was the dining table, chairs, and buffet we had purchased secondhand from a neighbor. DH promised that we would buy new dining furniture as soon as we settled into our new home. He is always the optimist when it comes to money, but I knew it wouldn't be so easy.

Despite the best of his intentions, I knew it would be a long time before we could get new furniture. First of all, neither of us had work in our new town. Secondly, we were both students again. Thirdly, the new house needed work. It would be a long time before we would have the money to shop for furniture. In the meantime, we made do with one of those plastic lawn tables. You know the kind; it comes in a flat box and you assemble it by sticking the four legs into the slots on the underside of the tabletop. We had four stackable plastic chairs to go with it. It worked great and was easy to clean after meals. However, it's one serious flaw was that it was not steady if you had something on your plate that required a knife to cut. Serving steak? Forget it unless you are willing to serve guests their steak already cut up like we did for the kids.

I was determined to get a pretty, quality set. So when I had any "free" time - between my responsibilities as mother to a 12 year old, a one year old, undergraduate studies, graduate studies, and part time job - I was on the lookout for a dining suite. I would have been very happy with the antique Duncan Phyfe sets I found at very reasonable prices at a store I discovered in town. But my DH doesn't like antiques, preferring items to be new and shiny. So although I haunted the antique store, I also scoured furniture stores for deals and popped in to every yard sale I could find. Many months later, I did find a reasonably priced set I could be happy with. It was at a furniture store. I dragged my DH kicking and screaming to look at it. He was unimpressed. The one he picked out was made by a good quality manufacturer, but it was one of those really pricey models. I could just imagine it's shiny dark surface covered with fingerprints. The home we lived it was very casual in style, so that highfalutin version would be entirely out of place in our home.

In the end, it was DH who found the ideal set for us. When we were finally ready to buy, he got two competing stores to try to undercut each other's prices. I thought we still paid too much, but I did love the red oak mission style. We bit the bullet and bought the table, eight chairs, china cabinet, tv cabinet, and end tables because the dining and familiy rooms opened into each other and we wanted both rooms to coordinate. I had dreams of filling our entire home with mission style furniture and I was convinced that the table was so beautiful that some future generation of the Quilts family would be fighting over who would keep it.

I never dreamed at that time that the tv cabinet would go out of style so quickly. A few years and a couple of moves later, we had acquired one of those huge, newfangled, wall-mounted, flat screen, plasma televisions. What would I do with my tv cabinet? It was expensive when I bought it and it matched the rest of my furniture, so you can bet your boots I was not going to give it up without a fight. So I used it to store (depending on the house and the need) linens, games, sewing stuff, or the kid's video gaming equipment. I had seen in a magazine that someone had converted theirs into a home office and I seriously considered installing some of those metal drawer glides to make mine work like that. But I knew there wouldn't be enough leg room for my tall DH to really use it. So it remained a storage cabinet until very recently.

I finally came upon the perfect use for my old tv cabinet when we moved into our current (and, hopefully our last) residence. There is not enough closet space in our tiny home; in fact, there is no closet at all in our bedroom. So I went to the hardware store to figure out a way to put a closet rod in my tv cabinet. Someone else must have had the same brilliant idea, because I found a telescoping rod with brackets soldered to each end - perfect for installing in a cabinet. Once installed, I had the ideal place to store my hanging clothes. My dresses remain in the back of my son's closet; I don't wear them every day so it is not inconvenient at all. And since the new wardrobe matches the dining furniture so well, I left it right where it was and it blends in perfectly. 

Here is how you can convert your tv cabinet into storage for your hanging clothes:

1. Get yourself a tv cabinet. Measure to see if it is deep enough to hang clothes in. Make sure the side walls are sturdy enough to screw your rod into. If not, see if there is a sturdy place to install a 1"x4" support on both sides.

2. Remove existing shelving. In my case, I used an allen wrench (that L-shaped, hexagon piece that comes with assemble-yourself furniture).

3. Paint it or refinish it if necessary.

4. Place it in it's final spot because it is probably pretty heavy and the following steps are not too messy.

5. If your cabinet has a built in power strip, plug it in now. It will be too heavy to move after you hang your clothes. It will be handy to use if you install a light or if you want to put a decorative lamp on top of the cabinet.

6. Install an inexpensive light with a switch that is designed for under a cabinet. A battery operated push light will work, too.

7. Purchase a hanging rod long enough for your cabinet. In my case, I found one at Menard's for $7 that telescoped and had end pieces attached and screws included. Mark where you want the screws to go; make sure the doors will still open and close.

8. Using a small drill bit, pre-drill holes for the screws. To avoid drilling too far and going through the cabinet, mark the depth on your drill bit with a piece of tape which can be removed when you finish the project.

9. Install the hanging rod using the screws that came with the kit. Check to make sure the rod is secure before you hang your clothes.

10. Send me a pic of your project. I'd love to see it!






Published Sun, Feb 26 2012 6:28 PM by Gramz Quilts