Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What do to with a 1930's vintage Philco radio? Why chalk paint of course!

I know I have a million of things to do to get ready for school which starts next week; but I keep finding myself getting sidetracked by various small projects around the house. While the idea of sorting closets and cleaning out dresser drawers thrills me to pieces, for some reason I can bring myself to do it. I started this little gem yesterday during nap time. By the time I caught up on my last 3 episodes of True Blood, it was finished!

My grandmother had this lovely 1930's antique radio in her attic or third floor as she called, for years. I always loved the piece. It reminded me of the scene from The Christmas Story where Ralphie and his brother are both listening anxiously to Little Orphan Annie and it's snowing in background and the fireplace is lit up all nice and cozy. It's such a different time. Boy #2 wanted to know where the picture came out. When I explained it was their modern day ipod he lost all interest. I inherited this piece and it's been in my bedroom for years. Yesterday I dusted it off and decided to give it a fun new color. Cue my chalk paint in Antibes Green. 

The radio I was working on was a Philco Model 71 and the 22L series. It had the model number and series stamped inside. I did a little research and found that it was from the year 1932. The Philco Compnay tried to expand its radio-phonograph line but it was the wrong time for this. It was the worse year for the Great Depression and only sold 3,100 models. The original selling price was $129.50. Knowing my grandmother and her sense of saving a buck (I'm sure she inherited that too) this was probably bought on sale! Anyways, it was neat to read about it.

Inside stamp.

Before. The finish was bleached out in spots and covered in scratches. It was missing a knob and the material over the speaker rotted away. I love the details in these old pieces. The fluted edges, scrolled legs and all the details in the moldings. Working on antiques really reminds me how crappy a lot of today's furniture is made.

Some before shots.

The first thing I did was give it a good rub down with a wet cloth and let it dry.

Followed by 2 coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Antibes Green.

I lightly dry brushed 2 coats of paint working from the corners out.

Instead of sanding the paint down this time I used a wet paper towel.  I concentrated on the darker parts to even out the paint some. With a little bit of applied pressure it worked the same way as the sandpaper (which I was out of) and you don't have to clean up the green dust afterwards. Bonus!

When distressing, I always pay attention to where the wear and tear will most likely happen naturally. Corners and edges.

The last step is sealing the paint. I used Briwax furniture wax in light brown. Work in small sections applying with a clean rag and then buffing to a shine.

I replaced the rotting fabric by unscrewing the back and replacing it with more of my scrap burlap. I tighten the screws back into place and put the knobs back back on. It's missing a knob but I moved them around so it's not as noticeable now.


I love it! It's in front of my bedroom right now in a little enclave. I can't decide where it will go permanently. I hope to have hubby J, hang our TV over the fireplace to open up our family room and give us more space in there. I might use it as a end table or put it in the foyer. I want to show it off and enjoy it! Such a simple project and now it looks like a brand new piece! 

1 comment:

  1. Looks good, and it's nice to have something in your house that's been passed down from family.