Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hutch Tranformation

On Monday I related our absolute luck in snagging this hutch for a mere $15 at a community garage sale.

What I failed to disclose was that it was in pretty sorry shape (and it weighed a bloody ton), which helps to explain the $15.00 price. Even though I was told this beauty was a family heirloom, it had been in storage for sometime, and apparently a foam mattress had be kept on top of it. Over the years the foam from the mattress adhered itself to the hutch, leaving a lot of this in its wake.

Unfortunately, this piece has a thin veneer, so sanding it down and staining it was not an option. Enter my weapon of choice: a flexible putty knife.

I carefully (this is the operative word) used the putty knife to scrape off as much of the mattress material as I could without also scraping off the veneer or damaging it. I was still left with a lot of fuzzies like you can see below, so I needed a second line of defense.

I tried using a terry cloth rag soaked in Murphy's Oil Soap, but that did not have enough teeth to it, so I moved on to one of those green scouring sponges you use to clean stainless pots and pans. I really saturated it with Murphy's so it was nice and damp, and then again gently scrubbed. Wouldn't you know that it lifted the fuzzies without damaging the veneer? At this point I might have shouted in glee. 

With all the fuzz crud gone, it was time to remove the hardware and polish it up, as well as clean the hutch so that I could try to restore it to it's former glory with some Howard's goodness. 

First I used a handheld brush to get rid of all the cobwebs and creepy crawlies. Then I wiped it down with some Method Wood Polish and I let it dry for about a half hour. 

While the hutch was drying, I busted out some brass polish we had on hand and polished up the brass hardware. Here it is before. 

And I forgot to snap an after pic, so here it is all shined up on the hutch. 

Next it was time to bring in the big guns: Howard's Restor-a-Finish and Feed-n-Wax. 

I followed the directions for both products, but basically you wipe the Restor-a-Finish on with a soft cloth, let it absorb for about a half hour, and then wipe off any excess. Then you seal in the newly vibrant finish with the Feed-n-Wax by again applying with a soft cloth, waiting at least 20 minutes, and then buffing away the excess. 

After a few hours of elbow grease, the hutch was looking all shiny and refreshed. 

I liken my handiwork to good plastic surgery; she still has some character marks in the form of drink rings and a bit of broken glass, but she looks good for her age. 

I think that these battle scars lend her some history and show that she has been loved. It also makes me not worry so much about the wounds she might endure here with two stupidly big dogs and future kids running around. So while we only have plans to switch out that broken glass for tempered glass in the not-too-distant future, we might change our minds about all that charming character and paint her one day. Who knows. 

For now I am just dying to finish up texturing the dining room so we can paint, move her into position, and style her up with all our wedding china and crystal. 


  1. So when will we see future kids?

  2. Love that hardware! Beautiful job.

  3. I love it. Our mid century dining table was given to me by a friend. It had a hutch and we didn't take it because of space issues. My husband and I talk about it all the time...what a mistake.

  4. It looks great and you're right, all the "history" only makes it better. I say don't paint it.

  5. Thanks guys! @ jandjhome: Man, I feel for you. But at least you snagged the dining table! @ Robin: If you could see me right now, I would be shrugging my shoulders. We're still pretty attached to the idea of sleep around here, but we are bouncing the idea around.