Saturday, March 23, 2013

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

Recently I was asked to participate in a charity contest to benefit the Northern Virginia Habitat for Humanity Restore.  The basic premise of the contest was to shop either of their Chantilly or Alexandria VA ReStores using a $100 credit and find an item to Upcycle into a useable piece of furniture or decor.  Unfortunately, the notification email was somehow pushed into my Spam file (thanks Gmail) and I found out about the deadline about 3 days before.  Keep in mind, that Baltimore is a good hour from Northern Virginia, without traffic.  With that in mind, I headed down to the Alexandria ReStore to pick my item and hopefully find something awesome!

After sitting in traffic for 2 hours (I left my home at 2:00pm) I made it to the ReStore about an hour before closing.  I took my time, and circled the store several times.  They have a wide selection of furniture, appliances, building materials, kitchen cabinets, flooring, paint, lighting...I could go on.  The thing was, I didn't find anything that particularly caught my eye.  Don't get me wrong, there were some dressers that could have been painted and turned into buffets, some solid wood kitchen cabinets that I was contemplating turning into a TV cabinet (using some vintage hairpin legs I had picked up at an auction), a cool old maple farm table, and other easily Upcycled items.  But, nothing that really caught my eye.  

I approached the ReStore manager and laid out what I was doing and that I was having a hard time finding something that I really liked and I was contemplating just driving home empty handed and not participating.  He suggested that I check out their back room for some items that have yet to make it to the sales floor.  That's when I saw this beauty!

This was an old TV cabinet at one time.  Many electronics manufacturers (back in the day) would install their electronics (tv's, stereos...) into well made wood cabinets that you could easily close up and they would appear as just another piece of furniture.

This was my piece.  It appears to have been used to hold aquarium components, for either reptiles of fish.  There was quite extensive water damage inside and the previous owner added a plywood shelf and a power strip to the back (but it was missing the actual back)

I started by dismantling the cabinet, taking out the added shelf and worked on repairing the damaged wood using DAP's Plastic Wood.  This stuff is great, but you have to work fast.  Once it was dry, I sanded it smooth and with some paint, you couldn't even see the damage!

I then cut replacement panels for the bottom and top using 3/4" MDF and a back using beadboard paneling.  I decided to keep the original shelf with the original air vents to remind the bidder that this was once had a different use.  The TV would have sat on top of this shelf and the vents allowed air to circulate without the tubes getting overheated and destroying the world!

Now, since I was under the gun with a deadline fast approaching, I forgot to take a pic while I was painting the cabinet and adding the glass and wine racks.  I had to work at my monthly Barn Sale that Sunday (the piece was due on Monday by 5pm) and so I missed an entire day of Upcycling.

I had a gallon of oops paint I picked up from Lowe's a few months back.  I loved the color and at $5 a gallon, couldn't be more perfect.  It was the Glidden Paint and Primer in one in a great blue that was listed as "Kitchen Window".

I painted the inside 3 coats for durability and installed my racks and LED lighting.  The outside I painted with Old Fashioned Milk Paint in their Snow White color.  

I set up a quick staging vignette (this was only coat #1 of the white and you can see it was a bit thin and I hadn't begun to age the piece either)  We had some champagne, glasses, wine bottles, decanters and a drink mixer.  You can see here that I forgot to re-attach the doors!

After I got the doors on, the insides of which I painted in the blue Kitchen Window color, I added some Vodka and Absinthe and a mirror and snapped off the final pic.

Here is an interior detail showing how the LED's filter the hanging wine glasses.

Here is another interior shot of the wine rack on the bottom (I picked this one up from Ikea in their "As Is" dept for $4.)

Finally, I tossed the Wine Bar into the back of my Jeep and drove out to the Washington Convention Center to drop off and set up my item.  There were some great pieces upcycled, and the competition is pretty stiff.  I'm proud of the Bar (just wished they had some electric so I could plug it in).  I ended up scraping off the chipped Milk Paint and applying some BriWax clear wax for durability.  Here I staged it with a vintage silverplate pitcher and tray, glasses, wine, vintage factory tray and a couple of decanters.

Here's the link for the Ultimate Upcycle Challenge.  All in all, I think I did a bang up job over the 2 days I had time to work on this piece.  Sorry for all the crappy Cell Phone pics!!!

Click Here to Vote for my Wine Bar in the Upcycle Challenge!

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