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Vintage Radio Cabinet Makeover

Vintage Radio Cabinet Makeover

This vintage radio cabinet repurposed into a storage cabinet is like having a piece of history in our home. If this 87 -year old vintage Atwater Kent radio from antiques world could speak, oh the stories it could tell. 🙂 Follow along as we give this vintage radio a makeover & share some of its unique history.

We have had a long-lasting love affair with vintage furniture. But… you probably knew that from our vintage desk makeover & our vintage TV makeover just to name a few.

vintage radio cabinet - farmhouse vibes


I bought this repurposed vintage radio 8 years ago from Craigslist for only $40.00! Since this vintage radio was already repurposed, I never got to see it in its original glory.

vintage radio cabinet repurposed makeover


  • Thanks to the vintage furniture plaque, I was able to do some research. Here’s what this vintage Atwater Kent radio looked like in its original glory.
  • If you’re wondering why this once vintage radio resembles a piece of furniture more than an electronic device, it’s because the wooden cabinets were made for Atwater Kent by the Red Lion & Pooley furniture companies. {¹}
  • Atwater Kent’s 32 acre manufacturing plant was in Philadelphia, PA {¹}… basically it was made in the BEST state!

vintage radio furniture plaque

Do you notice the glaring difference? …

Yes, I promise, it’s the same Atwater Kent radio. Somewhere along the line, someone had CUT the beautiful, long & ornate legs!! WHY??!! Nobody likes short stubby legs! They’re simply not as attractive! I really hope that the legs were beyond repair, but something tells me that wasn’t the case.

vintage radio repurposed into a storage cabinet

Leg drama aside…

Although this is the perfect cabinet for storage, we hated the farmhouse/shabby chic vibe. Sorry, not sorry, it’s not our aesthetic. Why bother painting something just to fuck it up with distressing?! We. Don’t. Get. It. Before we could paint, we had to fix the busted door & fill some deep gouges.

top of old vintage radio



The Tools…

The Materials …

bottom of the radio cabinet


First things first…

We used wood filler to fix the splitting wood in the back of the cabinet & to fill-in any gouges & scratches.

fix split wood in the radio cabinet with wood filler

The broken door was next…

the damaged radio door

We cut out the damaged part with a cordless sawzall, leaving the {undamaged} door frame intact. After that, we sanded it with our palm sander.

removed damaged part of the door from the vintage radio cabinet

Door Dilemma….

When beginning any project, we never really have everything figured out. There’s 2 reasons for that….

Reason #1 – If we waited until we had every single detail figured out, we’d never begin any project…


Reason #2 – We prefer to actually work on the project & then think/plan as we progress through the phases of the project.

decorative sheet metal

This DIY project was no different. We initially had no idea what to do with the vintage radio door, beyond removing the damaged portion. Jonathan had the brilliant idea to use decorative sheet metal to replace the damaged part of the door. This would have to wait until we finished painting…


We primed the entire cabinet with 1 coat of Kilz Primer & gave it 2 coats of Valspar’s Chalky Finish Paint in Devine Ocean. We’re not huge fans of brush marks, so we opted for a small foam roller for a smooth & flawless application.

painted vintage radio cabinet

To keep this 87 year old vintage radio looking flawless for years to come, we applied 2 coats of this wax.

inside of the repurposed storage cabinet

Dramatic Door…

Doesn’t this decorative sheet metal add so much drama to the door? It was a bit dramatic fitting the metal into the door frame.

First, Jonathan carefully cut the sheet metal to size with tin snips & then using a big flat screwdriver pried off a portion of the door to slide the metal into the door frame. Once the metal was in place, we re-attached the pried-off portion of wood with wood glue.

I love that this particular decorative sheet metal has a modern yet vintage feel at the same time.

decorative vintage radio cabinet door

All about the hardware…

We repurposed the door hinges by cleaning them up with acetone.

clean door hinges with acetone

We were going to replace the glass knob, but we ultimately decided to keep it.

glass door knob on repurposed vintage radio cabinet


Forgive me for being #FFFFFF {hex color code for ‘white’} & nerdy… but the BEST part of this vintage radio cabinet makeover was learning all about its history from its tattoo {aka furniture plaque}.

Oh…. & falling even more in love with it, because it was made in the Keystone State. We’re in love with this “repurposed re-do”… short, stubby legs & all.

up-close view of the cut vintage radio legs

Although this piece of history can’t speak, the “before” & “after” makeover pictures speaks volumes.

vintage radio cabinet makeover re-do

If you’re searching for a unique & vintage piece of furniture to add to your home, don’t forget to use Craigslist as your resource! Craigslist is a valuable resource to source quality vintage furniture pieces at dirt-cheap prices. As always,






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