Thursday, June 7, 2018

How I Gave My Vintage Hutch an Update

We hear it all the time in the shop where I work. "I inherited this (fill in the blank with a useful and sturdy piece of furniture) but the finish is just so..."

"Ugly." I like to help people out when they're struggling. Not like doing CPR or anything because ew...mouth to mouth on strangers, but if you need someone to cut to the chase, I'm your girl.

They hesitate to say that Aunt Rhonda's dining room table where they have so many happy memories of her arguing about nursing homes with Grandma, is just plain old ugly. They use"outdated" or "not my style."

All code for ugly. I feel ya, sister. Everything I inherited was maple. What the literal fun with paint was with the maple finish in the 40s and 50s? Every. Single. Piece.

Did you miss the recent China Cabinet Makeover? 

Now even I, the queen of "all it needs is a coat of paint to be fabulous" have some trepidation over some pieces which is why the hutch was the last to undergo the brush. A coffee table? No problem. Chairs? Gone.

But I really do love the style and shape of this piece, plus, did I mention a retired husband is always around asking what I'm doing? I used to get so much done...

I've been putting this off for years.  No, Y'all. Seriously for years.

But I decided to do it before I pull up the carpet so I could use the carpet as a drop cloth. Yes. This is how lazy I am. Or brilliant. It kind of depends on who you ask. 

So this weekend I finally tackled it. I used Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in both Farmhouse White and Grain Sack. I wanted it to look layered and fabulous.

As I meditatively brushed the milk paint onto the hutch I said a little mantra for creative energy and good vibes. "Die maple finish, die! " You can totally borrow it. You can also replace "maple"  with "cherry" or any other finish that is un-feng-shuiing your humble abode.

I was hoping to have some crackling here and there but...Y'all! It was a crackling masterpiece. It belongs in the Crackling Hall of Fame!

Now if you aren't familiar with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint here's a heads up. You aren't in control. Well, you are, kind of, but not compared to Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint. Did you miss it when I painted my cabinets pink? With milk paint, you might get some chipping, some crackling, or a solid finish. So much depends on what you are painting. In the photos, you can see that while the main part of the hutch crackled up a storm the doors and drawers would have no part of it.

If you want more control there are steps you can take to prep the piece but I like to live dangerously here in The Land of Let's Paint All The Things. Plus I love me some chipping and a good old-fashioned crackly finish. So I was totally down with it.

If you want a tutorial here it is: brush the paint on.

No kidding. You brush the paint on. Let it dry. Put on a second coat. I added a third coat because I was changing colors to get a two-tone finish. After you let all the paint dry, you wax it with clear wax and you are done unless you want to distress or add a colored wax. I used white for this piece because I was trying to keep it bright. That's it!

Oh fine. You want more.

You might be noticing the shelves. The shelves I taped off and stained with General Finishes Java Gel Stain. I did this first and I have to tell you that for a hot minute I actually thought about just staining this whole piece. But the point of painting it was because I needed more light and airy and less dark and serious.

The beauty of this stain is that it is just as easy to use as the paint. I literally did no prep. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I wiped on the stain with a rag and wiped off the excess. One small caveat about this product compared to other stains that you may have used in the past, is that this stain takes a few days to completely dry. But when it is dry it's hard and durable with a beautiful sheen. No need for a top coat unless you think you might be juggling knives over your kitchen table.

That's it. Go forth and paint all the things! Don't forget to write, kids! And send pics!


  1. I love that. I've come to the place that a favorite piece or heirloom would be better with a faceift that fits your home than stuffed in a closet.

    1. Absolutely. It also alleviates the guilt of not appreciating something you've inherited. So much better to change it and be able to enjoy owning it.


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