Before I decided to paint, I made one small change that started it all...
I bought this hutch from some family friends years ago at a yard sale. I was actually pregnant with my now-12-yr-old when I bought it. A couple months ago, I was reading over a blog that is always inspiring me to *want* to do some things in my house. And one of her posts was about repainting a hutch. Well, I haven't been too thrilled with how my hutch looked for a while - just not my style - but it's what I had. She said something that stuck with me, though...
If you don't like it - change it!!!
So simple, I know. I looked at the hutch and thought, "I hate those panels in the windows." There are three windows on the top piece that have these panels in them - they are hard to clean and make it look more cluttered than it already is... I had been looking at those things for how many years now (12!) and never thought to see if they could come out.
They could. And they did. What a difference!
But that wasn't enough. The wheels were turning.
I've never been one for white furniture, but something about this house just calls for it. And I knew this hutch needed to be white. And distressed. This house is changing me, folks.
I have plans for our dining room. Lots of plans. First we tackled the table, refinishing the top, which needed it badly. Another yard sale find from neighbors of my parents years ago. Not necessarily the table I want to have right now, but again...it's what I have already, and until I can get the one I really want, I can at least make the one I have better. We used a darker stain on the top to match parts of the chairs and put LOTS of poly on top because I have a toddler who likes to bang the table with his silverware. Once that project was finished (for now, at least), I jumped right in to working on the hutch. I wanted to get started before we lost motivation!
We didn't fully sand it. The top of the bottom piece we did because it had a different finish. Sorry, my husband did. :) The rest was just lightly sanded by hand. Very lightly. We then applied a dark brown primer. Few coats of white paint. Distress. Polycrylic.
Ok, it wasn't that simple. It was easy but took a while. Naptimes were devoted to working on this instead of cleaning, blogging, responding to emails (sorry to the many that I still owe!), etc. My husband did the sanding and started the primer on parts of the hutch, but I did the rest, including some heavy re-sanding (using rollers for primer in certain areas does not work well...). Most was done during naptimes over a couple weeks, which meant it took a while.
And as with most projects, something had to go wrong. Or not as planned, at least. I had planned on replacing all the knobs/pulls with something a little more simple, clean, but still different. But someone noticed that a few parts were nailed in, even after the screws were removed. They thought prying those parts off might damage the wood. Halfway through, I realized, nope. Pulled them right off. BUT like most mistakes like that, it ended up working better than new pieces would have. They look completely different with the new color and go really well with the distressed parts. Where it looked old and outdated before, now it looks like it belongs (and looks old in a good way). Even the color looks different. (Thanks babe for the mess-up!) ;) I think maybe he really just didn't want to dish out money for new pieces, but I love how it turned out.
I got the final coat of polycrylic on just in time to leave for vacation. The timing was perfect, giving it a week to completely dry before putting anything on/in the hutch or before putting the pieces together.
When we got back, we hadn't even unpacked our clothes before I jumped on the chance to put the hutch all together in the dining room. It's exactly what I had envisioned. I love seeing it in my house!
It looks even better in person!
The only thing new (other than painting supplies) we purchased for the hutch re-do was the magazine files. Set of five from Ikea for $1.99. They're just cardboard, but they'll do for now! I hope to someday make these that Ana White put on her website recently. Then I could make them to fit my recipe binders. To make the Ikea ones go with the room better, I used scrapbook paper that I already had and followed a little tutorial over on one of my new favorite blogs. (Very inspiring. Anyone want to fund a shopping spree to The Container Store so I can organize my kitchen and a few other rooms?)
I still need to find places to put all the junk we had in the hutch, but I want to keep the hutch nice and neat like it is right now. I hope to find some nice ways to organize the drawers (see above comment about that Container Store trip...ahem. Really, I'm just kidding. Kind of.). Hopefully when we get around to making the new desk for the dining room, we'll be able to put some of that junk in it (we used the hutch to store some of our desk items before). We'll see.
And another favorite part of the hutch....
Since it's meant to look old and worn, there's no telling the kids "no!" or to be careful when playing on it! Aiden immediately found two spaces on each side of the bread box that made great "garages" and had a blast running his cars all over the hutch. Actually, the first thing he immediately did was put his hands all over it and say, "I can touch it now!" (he heard a lot of, "Don't touch it! The paint is still wet!" so he loved being able to touch it and took advantage). Then he moved on to the cars. Our home is not full of off-limit pieces of furniture. It's a place for playing, a place for kids to be kids.
Hopefully I'll get to play around some more myself and have even more "new" pieces of furniture to post about again soon! ;) I think dear hubby is ready for a break with all the home improvements. Not sure it will be too much of a break, though. Once you get started...it's hard to stop. For now, though, I'm going to enjoy looking at my "new" hutch. It is such a difference, and now it feels like it belongs in this house. I was a little anxious about putting paint on it, but we are so happy with how it turned out. Very thankful!