My wife and I found an old sewing machine cabinet at a flea market and decided to turn it into a cabinet to hold iced beverages on our patio. Although the cabinet was in bad shape cosmetically (much of the veneer had peeled off) , it was structurally sound. Someone had already removed the sewing machine which was fine, since we didn't need it for our purpose.
Step 1: Preparing the Cabinet
The first thing I did was to finish removing the veneer that was barely hanging on. Using a scraper, I simply ran the scraper blade under the veneer and that which remained came off easily. The veneer on the top and the lid was still tightly attached, so I re-glued a few loose edges to keep it from coming loose in the future (photo 1).
The next thing was to build a platform for the cooler to sit in. I selected two boards from my scrap pile and screwed them into the bottom of the cabinet (photo 2).
Step 2: Making the Cooler Fit the Cabinet
The cooler I used was an old metal ice chest from the '50's. The outside was rusty, but still sound, and the inside was still in very good shape. I was initially going to sand and repaint this old ice chest, but my wife preferred the rusty look, so that worked for me!
Using a jig saw, I enlarged the opening at the top of the cabinet (photo 2) so the cooler would fit.
Next, I measured the height of the cooler and made a pair of risers out of scrap wood (photo 3) to lift the cooler high enough so the lid would open (photos 4 & 5). When the cooler is not being used, the risers are removed and stored inside the cooler to allow for the lid of the cabinet to be lowered. Photo 6 shows the cooler in its lowered position.
Step 3: Painting
I painted the cabinet with an outdoor paint. This will be used on a covered patio where it will not be rained on. But since it will be exposed to humidity, I painted both the outside and inside of the cabinet. I also painted the risers, and put some rubber pads on the top of them to keep the cooler from scratching through the paint.
I painted the inside of the folding lid (and the top of the main cabinet) a contrasting color, which is shown in the next step.
Step 4: Add Some Trim
I purchased a couple of pieces of decorative wood trim, and painted the trim and the original knobs with a contrasting color. I used this same color on the inside of the lid and the top of the cabinet.
Step 5: Ready to Party!
The final step is to set the cooler inside the cabinet and have a party!