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Repurposed Upcycled Philco AM Radio & Turntable Clothes Hamper

Can you imagine if the employees that originally made this Philco console piece of furniture were told back then that this would become a clothes hamper one day, what their comment would be.  It might not be too nice.  But, because this radio console had already seen all of its better days, I still stand my ground and say that what I do is give things an afterlife by repurposing them.  So here goes the next chapter of this fine piece of furniture's next chapter...

After taking all the broken, spiderweb-caked, bad pieces and parts out, I got the piece back to structurally sound again.  I used several different layers of Annie Sloan chalk paint and then went to work distressing it to the degree I wanted.  Annie Sloan wax was used to finish it.

I back-painted the plastic dial face to match the aqua teal color.  I fabricated a "stand in" manufacturing badge where the broken push buttons were previously that called up each station.  I used a vintage HotPoint glass and metal badge with a vintage yardstick behind it.  A retro drawer handle was mounted on the front to open the facing where the turntable used to be.

OPEN SESAME!!!  Now you can see where the clothes hamper is!  I bought a wire-framed clothes hamper body and recut the inner wire skeleton and resupported the new cuts with copper tubing to fit the exact shape I needed to open and close the door.  The hamper basket is mounted on the interior of the door with some copper plumbing hangers that I modified.  I used an old tension spring to keep the door closed when shut.

My daughter (the new owner of this piece for her room) chose the vintage ephemera printed fabric to replace the old, rotted burlap material that used to cover the speaker.  

Vintage garden faucet handles now resides where the old dials used to be.  And you can see a closer view of the newly fabricated badge.  

On to the next project!!!

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    GadgetSponge.com - Repurposing, Upcycling, Birds & Nature - Repurposed Upcycled Philco AM Radio & Turntable Clothes Hamper

Reader Comments (23)

That is THE coolest hamper that I have EVER seen!!! If you sold them, I would most definitely buy one! <3

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelanee

Thanks a million Melanee! Your kind words are fuel to the creative fire!

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergadgetsponge

By any chance are you willing to sell all the parts that you take out in order to make this project? We restore radios like these here in Michigan and finding parts is the hard part. Thanks!
Enjoyed your website.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike DeBruin

How sad to destroy a console like that.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Grant

Mike, I will definitely contact you and these resources in the future if I ever take on a project like this again.

David, I make no apologies for the functional repurposed/upcycled art I make. The pieces that I find are beyond their original intent and require "furniture surgery" to bring them up to the function that I use them for. I feel strongly about my art because the things I use have only a limited time before they are hauled off to the dumps from their previous situations and conditions.

This particular radio sat in someone's booth for over a year with no interest.

I hope that my new purposes for my pieces give them more than a double life.

January 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian Carlisle

So basically what you're saying is the things like this would be beyond the ability of being properly restored cosmetically, right?

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjmcinvale

jmcinvale, my position is I do this for art. If you don't like it, you don't have to spend time on my blog. I could have sold 10 of these if I had wanted to and found more radios by the responses and direct emails I've had on this project. This particular one went in my daughters room. I still see plenty of the models out and about there and there are plenty left for folks like you to save. I just chose this one to make it the way I wanted to based on its deteriorated condition. We all have differences in tastes and that's what makes the world go around.

That's as far as I plan to "defend" my creations. There's no reason to continue this conversation because you don't have to like what I do and you don't have to spend another second on my blog.

I can appreciate the folks out there that like to restore these. Please appreciate my difference in this one circumstance.

Brian of GadgetSponge

January 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian Carlisle

Oh Brian... you never cease to amazing me. I ADORE this project! It's so cool AND beautiful! We need two.. .one for each bedroom! haha I've featured this fab project on this weekend's Party Junk on Funky Junk! Cya Friday! :)

Thanks so much Donna! I can't wait to see it! I always enjoy strolling through everyone's creations on Friday.

July 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergadgetsponge

I love it! It is stunningly beautiful & Useful.....love your post!
Keep the faith!

August 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSelina

Thanks a million Selina!

August 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian Carlisle

Awesome!! Simply awesome, what a great idea and just think how long that puppy has been around. Now your lucky daughter won't have to look into getting another hamper for years to come because you seen the potential in this piece and took the time to breathe new life into something that was awesome to begin with. I must say that the original maker of this piece would more likely appreciate what you have done because unfortunately the glory days of this piece are long gone but, because of what you did the craftsmanship that went into this piece will now be here for people to enjoy and appreciate for many more years and how can any great maker of such beautiful work not love that?

August 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDee

I am attempting the same project w a 1942 philco radio. I removed the guts safely which i have saved for anyone who might have an interest and am taking loving care to repurpose the beautiful piece

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

What a waste of a perfectly good console that could have been restored.

My advice is don't turn that console into a clothes hamper unless it is a very common model.

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRadio

Karen, good for you! Great that you saved the internal components. There wasn't really anything to save out of mine. Looked as if someone had ratted out what parts they wanted previously. I'd love to see the end result when you finish!

December 28, 2017 | Registered CommenterBrian Carlisle

And if you do turn it into a clothes hamper don't sell it for hundreds of dollars like some on etsy do. Nothing you can do will make it worth that much aside from restoring the electronics and selling it.

December 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRadio

Radio -- please just walk away. Why would I create my art for free or hardly anything when I have so much work put into a piece and it's a part of how I make a living??? This is a one-of-a-kind creation. Not to mention, I see these all the time in antique/collectible stores in working condition and no one is buying them.

December 28, 2017 | Registered CommenterBrian Carlisle

Thank you Brian. It is turning into an amazing piece with a useful purpose. As far as Radio's comments this is a piece that has been sitting around in a dingy shed for years with no hopes for an authentic restoration and like you Brian I put a lot of love and care into my pieces and if I can make a bit of money on the side and make someone happy as well it's a win win

December 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

There may be someone who would pay $100s for a re-purposed radio, but to someone who is a radio collector it is basically made worthless by the conversion.

Karen, it may have been sitting and if no one wanted to buy it to restore then I can understand what you are doing.

All that said the best option is to use the low end cheap consoles that are already not worth anything to a restorer due to the low quality.

Or figure a way to incorporate the original radio into the design.

How cool would it be to have a clothes hamper that can also play your favorite tunes.

December 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRadio

I was looking how to upcycle an old Philco Radio that has been sitting in my Antique Store for over 1 1/2 years, priced at $40!!! and no-one has even looked at. For those that have commented on your blog that it is a shame to re-create, or that "someone" would buy it to fix it - they have NO IDEA what they are talking about. These big oversized radios are cumbersome, and they only play radio, so no-one is interested in them.
Got to your site off of Pinterest, I hope you don't mind if I use your idea - maybe make a similar trash can. Good for you, and am so excited to see what else you come up with!

February 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterThe Old Trunk

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