Resurrecting 67 Year Old Sound!

Do you remember our last picture of the built in’s speakers? If not, here they are again….

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67 year old speakers in our attic, buried under roof debris, blown insulation and rat nests. (Oh yeah, our house originally came with a bad roof and a family of rats).

For those of you new to the blog, in the last two years we’ve been “respectfully” renovating a 1948 home. In the beginning, it felt like the house was just one huge money pit. (New roof, water heater flooding our basement, evicting rats, etc) Yet in the last year we’ve managed a few fun projects, and finally feel like we’re making progress towards “beautifying” a house versus just “maintenance”. Some of the fun projects has been uncovering little surprises, like our Midcentury built in with speakers!

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We also found out our home was once a designer “showcase” house on the block. Hidden cabinetry, unique mid century details and amazing craftsmanship. In this case we chose to restore versus demo the built-in. Even though open concept is the popular thing our hearts (and wallets) weren’t in it. Now we’re glad we never picked up that sledgehammer. Especially when your electrician friend comes over to help replace the speakers. What we didn’t expect was this (ps. I apologize ahead of time, my voice sounds so annoying through a cell video. Quoting my brutally honest husband, “no hon, your voice does not sound like that in person, I think our readers will understand, and not want to punch you in the face๐Ÿ˜‰”)~thanks hon, and hopefully you all don’t… Thank goodness hubby and friend were curious enough to test if the original speakers still worked! We expected (just based on first glance) there was no hope for them, that we’d have to pry off the built-in speaker grills and buy completely new ones. Instead we’re blown away Tony Bennett can still hold a note on these 67 year old speakers, despite years of abuse and neglect.
Even though the quality could be improved we decided in the short term, use them till we lose them. Why replace when the point was to try to keep the original vintage qualities of the built in?
Hence our friend shuffled around in our attic for an hour, cleaning and rewiring at least one speaker on each side. image
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He placed a couple thin boards over each temporarily (just to keep the dust away). We really will need to replace these old girls, just for sound quality alone, but for now we’re content to listen to the warm tones created by 60+ years of age. Add the tube receiver and vinyl, it’s like taking a trip back in time to the 40s and 50s. Here is my attempt to recapture the listening experience of our grandparents since many of us youngsters have never heard it…
(FYI the clicking sound in the beginning is not the sound system but the puppies in the kitchen, they were curious about the sound coming from the attic and were enjoying it too)
We are really happy with keeping this vintage piece. All I need now is more vinyl and some staging ideas for the shelves. (Admittedly I have a severe “styling bookcase” disability) Any suggestions will be gladly appreciated๐Ÿ˜‰. Happy Sunday everyone!

Give it Light! (A Semi-Reveal of Our Midcentury Built-ins)

One of downsides I’ve learned from living in a 1948 home, that there is a severe lack of lighting.

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Especially the midcentury built in we’ve been attempting to restore. However I have been hesitant to install permanent light fixtures to highlight the built-in.
What if we move or change our minds? What about cutting or ruining more vintage details just to hang a light? To say the least we were in a bit of a quandary…In the end hubby was the brilliant one and said,”what if we’re living in a rental, how would we install a light fixture or run cable?”
STICKY BACK CORD COVERS!

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We figured we could run the conduit down the sides and paint it to match the built-in. Also there are two working outlets on either end, perfect for light cords. Next we settled on two Ikea Hektar work lights. Then using rustoleums gold spray paint, color matched, to the built ins original brass fixtures, we changed them from ugly brown to a soft gold.

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Next we primed the conduit by painting them with some of the leftover shelf paint. Once dried we cut the conduit to size. We then installed the two Hektar lights; 1) on the wall with wood paneling, light 2) was screwed into the brick fireplace wall. Quick tip, if you have to use screws that do not match your light fixture, (like the blue masonry ones we had to use) keep a gold or silver sharpie around. You can color the screw to match your brass or nickel fixture.

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Once lights and conduit were installed I protected the built-in with painters tape and gave the conduit another coat of paint.

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Last step, I tucked and hid cords away, (painters taped the excess cord, so they’d be out of sight).

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Once conduit paint dried, we pulled off the painters tape, and, “Let there be light!”

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I still need to learn how to style a built-in properly (I’ll admit “styling” is not my strong suit) Nor do I really want to fill it with knick-knacks, I’d rather fill it with vintage records. Someday I’ll figure it out, but for now we’re just happy for the added light and a 1948 home feature restored to its original purpose. Happy Sunday everyone!