Chicago Blogger Network




Blogs to Love

ABCD Design
At Home with Kim Vallee
Celebrations at Home

The Daily Basics
Everyday Celebrating
The Gracious Girl
Housewife Bliss
Hostess with the Mostess
It's in the Details
The Party Bluprints Blog
Pepper Design Blog
Thoughtfully Simple
Unchained Kitchen


« Aperitifs vs Digestifs | Main | Summer Sippin' Rose »

Vintage furniture - the Stereo/Dry Bar Console

Yesterday, Apartment Therapy wrote about obselete furniture, and along with telephone tables and pie safes, the entertainment cabinet was featured. It reminded me of something I've been meaning to show you.

In the 1960s, my grandparents bought this fabulous all-in-one entertainment center. I thought it was the coolest thing when I was a kid, and I'm happy to say it's now in my house. For lack of a better term, my friend Heather christened this swingin' piece of retro furntirure The Swell Bar. What makes it so swell? First, behold the high gloss finish, decorative panels on top, and panels with red velvet and faux brass lattice on the bottom.

Let's look behind the top right panel...

A stereo! We have an AM/FM radio, and formerly, a phonograph. I'm not sure when that was removed, but one could easily place a freestanding phonograph in the space.

Note pneumatic arm on the side, which ensures that the panel does not unfold too quickly. Indeed, waiting for it to go down is an exercise in exquisite torture, but then, good things come to those who wait.

The lowered panel also provides a nice place to queue the records. A good hostess plans her party music! And speaking of music, this is a SOLID STATE STEREOPHONIC radio. No mono or un-solid state music for us!


"But where are the speakers?" you might wonder. They are cleverly concealed by the two small panels at the bottom. Note ample storage space for LPs. The divider is handy should you wish to split your collection into genres.


While music is an important part of a party, what we really need are some cocktails!

Behind the left panel is a dry bar, with spots for bottles and small cocktail glasses. Please note decorative gold fleck and mirrored backsplash.

It slides out...

...and lights up! Now it really is a party.


But what about ambiance? As Greta notices, that space at the bottom looks suspiciously empty...


Never fear, ambiance is here, in the form of the finest plastic molded fireplace logs. Note embers in the center.


Do the embers glow? Oh yes they do, thanks to this tumbling mechanism which reminds one of a glowing (and crackling...it crackles!) fire. Toasty!


Below are photos I found online of a similar model, in its unaltered state. Swell Bar used to be quite a bit taller, until sometime in the '80s when my industrious grandfather tired of it as a living room piece and decided to shorten it to credenza-height and put it in their front hallway. Upcycling before upcycling was cool!

Should you come upon a Swell Bar of your own, I invite you to listen to Henry Mancini while you sip 7 and 7s. The Swell Bar does not serve mudslides or bacon-infused vodka-tinis.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (2)

Ha! When your home bar is "swell", you know its a classic.

July 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarina Craft

You have to get it restored to its original state. Make the furniture the centerpiece of your living room. We also had this old box-type television set, but my dad decided to throw it away. How I wish we had it restored.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...