Mid-century TV cabinet before and after...

Did you ever get a piece of furniture that you just knew from day one you didn't like?

That was the TV media cabinet in my den.  I bought a cheap little black media cabinet for my den 13 years ago.  It had shelving for the cable box, VH/DVD player and blu-ray.   It served the purpose...but honestly, it kind of sucked and I never liked it!

Side note...I know a lot of people put their flat screen above the fireplace...but I love my picture above the fireplace (here) and at Christmas I have this totally awesome HUGE wreath that I display there! 

Anywho...I have always disliked the black media cabinet.  I knew what I wanted but I also knew I would probably never find it.  I wanted a walnut "mid-century" type thing.  

That probably wasn't going to happen. 

And then it did.  At an auction...there it was.  

Now I must admit it was a hot mess.... 

There were no chips or major dings...the sides, trim and doors were in perfect condition.  But the top was a mess.  Someone had STUPIDLY used it as a plant stand (please don't put plants on wood!) and obviously thought little of letting it get wet.  There was a large dark water stain in the middle and several smaller ones all over the top.   

But it is walnut. It is in fantastic shape structurally. It has super funky doors on the front!!! It is the perfect size!

The doors are the neatest thing I have ever seen.  Little 1" fluted slats with strips of fabric glued on the back so that when you slide the doors open they "bend" into the sides of the cabinet.  That's the best I can describe them.  They are super cool!

Seriously, I have never seen anything like it...but it was exactly what I wanted. 

As you can see in the second picture, the old vanish was not tough to strip.  I used my old favorite...Formby's furniture refinisher and it melted right off.  The stains were another issue. This is one of the very few times I had to really sand on a piece.  But I really had no choice.  I tried mineral spirits and bleach to no avail.  So I began sanding....VERY carefully!

If you have to sand water stains, don't just start hacking away with a harsh sand paper...work "backwards."  By that, I mean start with a very soft grade...I started with a 220...then worked my way down to 80 grit.  Then I started working my way back up when I felt I had done all I could to remove the stains. 

Truthfully, unless you know where and what to look for, you would never see the water stains.  I would say I got 98% of them.  

And with the tv setting on the top, you honestly can't see any discoloration, even if you know what you are looking for! 


After removing all the old varnish, a light sanding with steal wool and tack cloth, I put 3 coats of Tung Oil on the piece. I sanded with 0000 steel wool and wiped it down with a tack cloth in between each coat.

I wish my photographs showed the true beauty and depth of this wood grain...it is gorgeous!  

Now...anyone want to guess how much I paid for this awesome mid-century walnut cabinet? 


This is one of those AWESOME auction finds.  They were trying to sell a little fat TV (vs. flat).  No takers...so then they threw in a little plastic kiddy chair.  Still no takers.  So then they threw in this cabinet.  

I bought all three for ONE DOLLAR. 


The chair and the tv will be going to Salvation Army.  

This piece is one my kids will probably fight over!