I like to think of this project as possessing Don Draper’s style on Peggy Olson’s budget. My lovely lady and I have been fixing up our St. Louis loft by finding items that have a distinct history and giving them a new future/purpose. It started with a card catalog we transformed into a wine rack (Gina is a librarian). The next project was to increase the capacity of our bar. I wanted to do this by converting a retro television set into a functional bar. Here anytime is prime time for a glass of whiskey.

The first TV I found was just too expensive at $145. I hoped I could find a more affordable option. A quick search of Craig’s List proved unfruitful. Many of the “retro” TV’s there were from the 1980’s (now I feel vintage). I eventually found a 1950’s Sears brand TV on the Facebook Marketplace for $10. Holy CRAP! After a quick thirty-minute drive, I picked up the perfect shell for the project.

Taking it apart was fairly easy. In less than forty-five minutes, and using a screwdriver, socket, and wire cutters, I had the entire unit gutted. SMART MOVE: I took the TV apart outside in our parking lot and then carried the empty shell upstairs. It was much lighter at that point.

I’ve seen a couple of other projects like this in the past and many stopped short of installing a clean interior. I took a quick trip to Home Depot and spent $14 on two rope lights (2′ each) and one power strip. I wanted the unit to have clean and balanced lighting. I constructed interior walls and shelves using foam blocks from Joann’s Fabric and Crafts. I think these blocks are used for floral projects. I liked them because they were sturdy and easy to cut (this part is really the only messy part of the project). Finally, I bought three yards of fabric to cover the foam blocks. I chose a fabric that would reflect the limited light and show off the bottles. Total spent for fabric and foam was $52 (I didn’t think it was going to be that much. With a little more research, I probably could have gotten that down lower).

Assembly was quick. I spent about two hours building out the shelves and wrapping them with fabric (I used a stapler to attach the fabric to the foam). The lighting took about forty-five minutes.

The finished product is bad-ass (if I say so myself). It fits perfectly in our fourth floor loft. Maybe next season we’ll host a Mad Men viewing party. Total Cost: $76. Even Peggy Olson can afford it.