Battered Craigslist Hutch Turned Beauty

I don't think I've been this excited about a project.....EVER!!!  I probably say that a lot, but this time I really, really mean it.  I found a hutch on Craigslist on a Saturday night right after picking up a load of furniture.  It wasn't the best timing, but the price was right $30!!  I had to have it.  It was in terrible shape, but when I saw the picture on the listing it spoke to me.  Well, no I haven't lost my mind, but I swear I heard something say, "AWWWW (in a singing voice) You must have this!!!" Don't call the loony bin just yet, I'm totally sane.  Anyway, enough about my sanity....I loved this piece the moment I saw it's dirty (the dirtiest piece I've ever bought) and worn out state.

I was going to drive up and pick it up from the nice man selling it, but again the Hubby said probably not a good idea considering it's Craigslist.  So he kindly drove the 45 minutes each way to pick it up.  When he brought it home I was thrilled.  It was exactly what I had been looking for....except maybe a bit dirtier than I expected.  I've bought some pretty scary pieces that have been covered in spider webs, etc.  This piece was in a class all it's own!    

Have a look at the before picture.  Peeling varnish, a cracked door that won't close, a drawer that isn't even close to closing, broken hardware and coats and coats of dirt and dust.  The only great part was the fact it was solid wood and the glass was still in tact (I took the glass out before I took the picture).

This was one of the many things that drew me to this piece.  I loved all the curves and the detailing...just not the peeling varnish and dirt.

Aren't these some sexy legs?!  Well I thought so and knew they would be super, duper pretty when I was done.  

I had really hoped the hardware would be salvageable, but that was 
not the case.

The man who sold me the piece kept it in his garage and said it had been there awhile.  Can you tell?!!  

I took the drawer out for this picture to show you all the seeds and nuts that were in the back, but they didn't show up well in the picture.  Take my word for it, something had been cracking it's nuts in the back of the drawer.  Might have been one of the reasons it wouldn't close!

I decided to try something new with this one.  I knew where I wanted it to go and knew this idea would be perfect.  First I had toyed around with painting it Provence from Annie Sloan.  You can see in the picture below what it looks like without any wax.  It's a bit turquoise.  I changed my mind and decided to paint the inside of the drawer that color instead. 

Instead of using Provence on the entire cabinet I went with Paris Grey.  You can see how it looks on the drawer below.  I'm not a grey person, but I knew how it would all look when I was done.  I love how the detailing in the drawer pops out now!

This is the cabinet with 2 coats of Paris Grey.  The inside I painted with a coat of primer.  The reason I did the primer first was the inside of the cabinet was a very shiny shellac.  I didn't want to use 3 or 4 coats of the Annie Sloan paint so I figured it would be smarter to use the primer.....I was right.  $35 for a can of Annie Sloan vs. $10 for a can of primer....easy decision.

One coat of primer and 2 coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White (my old fav!). and I was done.

One thing I forgot to mention was I stripped this entire cabinet down to the wood, except the inside.  WELL....I learned another valuable lesson.  Don't strip the entire cabinet at one time!  Do it in small pieces like maybe do the sides first.  It was a huge, huge mess.  I was covered in old varnish, and slime.  After I scraped all the mess off I followed the directions on getting the residue off.  The directions lied....the residue wouldn't come off.  So I decided to sand it down and paint over the whole thing.  It gave me some interesting texture and made me wish I had just sanded down the rough parts to begin with.  You can see in the picture below the darker spots are where the residue stayed on.

You can really see it here.....

And here....but I knew what I was going to do and it went with my plan believe it or not.  I had originally wanted to keep all the texture, but the Hubby said not too.  I should always go with my gut.  It worked out fine in the end.  I could have saved myself, my nails and my clothes the mess and the time.

After I painted two coats of Paris Grey on the outside I was ready to wax.  I started with the clear wax then started to distress the piece.  I wanted this to have a TON of character.  This cabinet had been sitting in a garage for years and I wanted her to be pretty, but show her age.  So I gave it a lot of distressing.  Then I rubbed in a coat of dark wax to really bring out the character and darken the grey paint.  With the dark wax the paint turned a khaki greyish color that I love! she is making her debut as a beauty!!!  

I cannot get over this transformation!!  The cabinet is so beautiful now!  I go in to the living room every day and look at it and smile.  I feel like I rescued her from being neglected and unloved.

Now the drawer closes too!  Hubby helped me with this one.  He sanded it down about 1/4 of an inch and now it closes and the door closes too thanks to some more sanding.

Yet another detail I fell in love with.

Now isn't that a sexy leg?!!  All the details and dents show up perfectly now and it's nice and clean!!!  I should mention I did clean the entire piece top to bottom with Murphy's Oil Soap :-)

I like how the drawer turned out and how the color inside is so unexpected.  I couldn't paint the top of the drawer front because it was sticking and I like it looks now.

Here you can see the inside and how it turned out.  I only used the clear wax on the inside and distressed it.

Another one of the little details I love about this cabinet.

There are so many little details that show up the key hole in the door.

I forgot to mention how much I like the wheels on the bottom too!

The knobs I got at Home Depot for $7 each.  I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I had bought knobs while I was at Restoration Hardware for $15 each.  They were EXACTLY the same as the Home Depot knobs for less than half the price.  Anyway, I didn't realize until after I bought them at the store that they didn't carry the knobs in stock in the store.  I'm still waiting to get the knobs I ordered from the store!  I'm planning on using them on another project since I had to pay $8 for shipping...makes no sense to me.

I'm sure you're wondering to yourself, "Why on earth are there so many pictures Melody?"  I will tell you why, because I fell in love with this piece and there were so many details I wanted to share with everyone that I had to share lots of pictures :-)

I have a lot of favorite pieces I've done like Hunter's desk and my childhood china cabinet, but my all-time favorite has to be this piece.  Mainly for the transformation from ugly duckling to gorgeous swan.  I get such a sense of satisfaction when I'm done with a project like this.  For $15 worth of knobs and $30 for the cabinet I have a gorgeous one of a kind piece that I'm truly proud of.  I hope you like her as much as I do!

PS-I must apologize for the lack of light in some of the pictures. The living room is one of the darkest rooms in the house and once I moved it in there I couldn't ask the Hubby to move it back out so I went with what I had.



  1. I really, really love you know! Amazing job! I have been toying with ordering provence from Annie Sloan, but I was kind of scared of what it would look like. I am not a blue girl, so I am sure that you see my hesitation. However, I love that it is turquoise. What does it look like after you have added some wax to it? Does it change the color a lot? I am totally jealous of this gorgeous piece as well. I would walk in and look at it all the time! I also love how you styled it! I won't leave any more stalkery comments! Just know that I love you, in the non-weird, totally natural way! Happy week!!

  2. Tuasha....I'm not worried that you're stalking me, that's what the blogs all about, right?? I'm so happy to know that you love the hutch and me...LOL. And your comment really did make me laugh out was great!! :-)

  3. OH, I forgot to answer your question about the waxing on Provence. I didn't wax the drawer and honestly I haven't used the color on anything else. I love color, but I tend to go for more neutral colors in my furniture. I recently got Duck Egg and Old Ochre and haven't used them yet, but will definitely use them in some drawers. I did use the Louis Blue on the inside of a cabinet and loved that color together with the Coco. Love Annie Sloan paints and now looking at trying some milk paint. Have you tried any other paints like Cece Caldwell or Milk Paint?

  4. I love it! It looks so fabulous! Can you tell me a trick to the wax? I have used Annie Sloan and love it, but am hesitant to use the dark wax. I love the way it looks on other peoples projects I am just a chicken when It comes to mine... any hot tips? or warnings of what not to do? Thanks

  5. It looks amazing! What a great project! I love how it came out! Thanks so much for sharing and I am a new follower!
    Hope you have a great day!

  6. Elizabeth....don't be chicken with the wax! My biggest tip would be work in small areas with a wax brush then wipe the excess before you move on. If you're really worried, try on some scrap boards. The other thing to remember is if you put on too much dark wax or it looks splotchy then put some clear wax on top. It works a bit like an eraser. I LOVE using the dark wax because it really brings out the character and details in a piece. And the only warning would be don't put on too much...if your cloth gets stuck when you're wiping it off then you've used too much. The Annie Sloan wax is very easy to use. Thank you for stopping by!!

  7. Michelle, Thank you for becoming a follower and for stopping by. Also thanks a lot for the kind comments. I will make sure I stop by your site as well. :-)

  8. Oh what a beautiful cabinet! You did an amazing job saving it!

  9. It came out great....I love when I am able to rescue something. You did an amazing job. I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me back. Thanks,
    Thanks, Sherron

  10. Thank you! I will pop over to your blog and follow you too! Thanks for the kind words and the follow!

  11. It's so pretty! I actually just scored a piece almost exactly like this and couldn't decide if I wanted a clean line painting or distressed. Now I know I have to distress, it looks great!

    1. Thank you and I'd love to see pictures when you're done Rebecca!

  12. that looks gorgeous- love the distressing- very rustic and warm!

  13. What a great rescue! They just don't make furniture like this anymore!

    1. I agree! I love all the curves and the detailing of furniture from that era. Thank you for stopping by :-)

  14. Melody, Melody, Melody. I am reading your posts and each one amazes me more and more. You are so talented. You definitely have a gift for making furniture look outstanding. I am still learning, but I guess with this kind of stuff everyone is always learning new things? I love how you decided to paint the interior of the drawer in the turquoise, nice change of pace:)
    (I would love to try the Annie Sloan paint but am a bit nervous. Plus, how much does that quart of the paint cover, am I able to get a bunch of uses out of it or does it only cover one large piece of furniture?)

    1. Melissa, you're incredibly kind :-) Thank you so much for the awesome comments!! You definitely made me smile. The Annie Sloan paint is wonderful! Yes, it's a small container, but a little goes a very long way! I'm currently testing some other paint, two kinds of milk paint, and I'm missing the chalk paint! I painted my entire childhood cabinet in the ASCP Coco. It's a big cabinet (in the blog you can see). I painted the body of the cabinet in the Coco and the inside in the Louise Blue. I still have half a can of Coco left that I was just using tonight. I painted 2 nightstands, a bench and a dresser in the Old White and still had 1/4 of a can left. It has great coverage. You should try on can and see what you think. I live in CT and there isn't a stockist here so I buy my paint from these women in NJ They ship really quickly and have spectacular customer service. They're even having a workshop in June to teach how to use the ASCP and other techniques. I hope this helps answer some of your questions!!

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