Much Hutch. (So Wow.)

Most major cities have some sort of salvage store. These are great resources for finding things and building materials for an old home. Sometimes you can even find great built-ins that were ripped out of an old house, as was the case with this project.

The thing about salvage is that it’s an “as-is” sort of scenario. The “is” in this hutch was that it was in very crappy shape. One of the worst sins was that someone had layered not one but TWO layers of wood-grain contact paper on the top.

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Word to anyone out there. Please don’t put wood colored contact paper on real wood. Just fix the damn wood. (This is the bottom half of the hutch – it came apart and was transported in two pieces).

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No really, DON’T EVER DO THIS PLEASE.

It looked as if it had been in someone’s shop – there were paint and oil stains all over it. That being said, the construction and condition underneath all that were quite sturdy, and its dimensions fit perfectly in an alcove in our house.

So we bought it.

At first, we were optimistic that we could strip it ourselves, but we quickly realized that we were no match for the layers of oil and contact paper. We took it to our ‘guy’ to have it stripped, then brought it back to do our own finishing. Sometimes you gotta just know when to call in the reinforcements.

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The top half, post stripping, pre staining and varnishing

We decided to keep it with a lighter wood tone for the room it is going into, so we used a very light golden stain on it to bring out the natural grain variation, and sealed it with a water based varnish. We chose water based this time, as oil varnishes will yellow things even more over time, and we wanted this to stay light.

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Dan hard at work refinishing the inside of the hutch.

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One stained door, ready for varnishing! Don’t you love how the stain brings out the wood grain patterns? That is why we didn’t just varnish the hutch and call it a day. Stain is helpful if you really want to bring out the natural variations in the wood.

Afterwards, we trucked the upper and lower parts into the house for final installation…

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Part 1 in…

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Part 2 in! Now we just need doors.

Remember that post I did about stripping old hardware? Part of that was for this project! We added on the hinges…

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Original and beautiful, with a time-worn patina

And unfortunately most of the cupboard turns on this piece had been lost to the sands of time. Luckily, there are a lot of reproduction hardware websites out there, so we found some nice replacements that look original, and they even look like they are a little bit worn from use over time!

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I love these cupboard pulls. We spent hours searching for the perfect ones.

The hutch now rests in what will be our breakfast nook/dining room, and will serve us well for years to come.

My favorite part is that new visitors to our house almost always ask if the hutch came with our house. It is such a perfect fit that you would never know it wasn’t there from the very beginning. And that is exactly what we are going for in this house.

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Finished! Now that it’s all fixed up, you can see how this piece was really worth the work. It is simple , but elegant and well made. This is a great example of real Craftsman style furniture, and to keep true to the piece we kept just about everything original, including the drawer pulls.

 

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