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.
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.
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.
Afterwards, we trucked the upper and lower parts into the house for final installation…
Remember that post I did about stripping old hardware? Part of that was for this project! We added on the hinges…
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!
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.