Before & After Bliss: Part 2

Ok, I’ve tortured you enough!  Here’s the other, more dramatic and back-pain inducing makeover tale!

Once upon a time, there was a knotty pine hutch:


The hutch was lovingly built by the Prince’s father in a faraway land known as Ohio.  It was handed down from Mother to son on the occasion of his marriage to a fairy tale Princess.  On that occasion, it was given a minor facelift into the piece above.  But this hutch didn’t quite fit into the fairy tale kingdom and so it was decreed that the hutch would be rebuilt.  Thus begins a daring tale of design, paint, and a lot of know-how to bring this hutch from Colonial revival, to modern updated chic.

(Back to the modern day)

The first painful step was to remove the drawer fronts and the doors as they were all going to be changed.  The curvy Colonial style of the doors just didn’t really jive with our style and so we decided to again take some influence from our favorite store, “Ballard-Barn”, and try to mimic their beautiful pieces, a la:

PBarn hutch


pbarn hutch 2Images courtesy of

We took note of the overall “square-ness” of design and lack of curvaceous details.  While they are both definitely more contemporary, the pieces are not austere or untraditional, which we loved.  Once the doors were removed, we removed the “baseboard” of the piece that was very much in the Colonial style:


…and we replaced it with some more square pieces of pine, which we sanded down to give it a more “weathered” look.


Then while I, the fairytale princess, was sanding away at the piece and priming, the prince was off building new drawer and door fronts.  But before we finished it, we had to take the occasion to ham it up for the camera:


Where to?

In the end, the Prince finished off the doors in a fashion that was largely incomprehensible to the Princess – let’s just say it involved tools that I can’t recall the names of, but it ended with us inserting some faux panels on the backs of the doors and then sanding everything, priming, painting, polyurethaning, and then re-hanging the doors back where they belonged.

Nailing the backers onto the doors

Nailing the backers onto the doors

After the doors were hung, drilling the holes for the hardware

After the doors were hung, drilling the holes for the hardware

So after a whirlwind weekend of surgery to a hutch, we managed to finally move it back into the house last night and finish off all of the last touches to this formerly oppressive piece of furniture into a lighter, brighter, and airier piece that serves as a much-needed storage unit in our home.  The big reveal:


…and all of that for the cost of lumber, a gallon of paint, and time lost on the weekend.  If you figure a similar piece from “Ballard-Barn” would run us anywhere from $1400-$3000 and we got ours largely for free + $100 for supplies, then that’s a bargain in my book!


Stay tuned for an update to this post in the coming weeks from Prince J on how he put the doors and drawers together!  You can also read more about this story as we gloat on The DIY Show Off as well as over at Young House Love when we were featured there as well!


33 thoughts on “Before & After Bliss: Part 2

  1. Very impressed L & J!!! I am loving the work and will call on your creativity when the time comes for Big Tuna and I to get our own house!!

  2. Heck, yea! We’re making changes bit by bit and it’s slowly starting to feel like home. Check back often for updates!

  3. WOW! I just popped over to say thanks for your nice comments to my tray-feature on YHL (thanks so much) and I see this amazing transformation! I LOVE IT! Looks like you should submit to The DIY Show Off! 😉 We love furniture makeovers!

    Thanks again. Nice to “meet” you!

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  5. The before pic is veeeeeeerrry similar to a hutch my FIL made for us for our wedding. And, now, 10 years later, I’m wanting to re-do it, but my hubby isn’t quite sure he wants to tackle that project. It’s still on my mind though, and eventually I’ll decide exactly what I want to do with it. I think expresso brown paint and silver hardware will be in its future though……. I think.

    • Tranabanana, that would be bee-you-tee-full! I’ve seen people paint things darker and then (now don’t quote me on this) put a glaze on it to give it a sort wood grainy/textured feeling to it. Definitely paint it a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish – much easier to clean and take care of! Good luck! Thanks so much for stopping by!!!

  6. Hey Lindsay, I saw your before and after at Younghouselove. I could hear you saying “Ahhhhhh much better!” Magnificent redo…….You have inspired me to tackle a project of which I have been procrastinating to do.


  7. Connie –

    Thanks for the nice comments! Don’t worry on the procrastination – it took us two years to finally get around to “re-making” this hutch because we knew it would be so much work and, boy, were we right!! But we are *Sooo* happy with the results!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    • Haha! Since we’ve started this blog, we’ve certainly had our fair share of offers! Ha ha! Thanks for stopping by, Ashley! Come visit us again!

  8. Beautiful! We are actually in the process of converting an old dresser into a vanity. I was curious as to what polyurethane did you use? And did you sand the polyurethane in between coats? How many coats? We will probably do at least three but we are trying to really cover the furniture b/c it will be used as a bathroom vanity and we do not want water to get on the top!


    • Hi, Krista!

      Good questions! We actually used a spray polyurethane (kind of like spray paint), and we barely sanded with a light-grit sanpaper in between coats – but only on the top, obviously. We didn’t see much need to do a lot of polyurethane on the sides, etc. If you are doing a bathroom vanity, then I would *definitely* go with a brush on type of application and lay it on thick, thick, thick!!! Of course, follow the directions. I’d probably go with a higher gloss finish and really any brand will do ya. Go to your local hardware store and they’ll walk you through it. And, hey, if you get it all done, definitely send us before and afters!!! We’d totally love to see them!!

      Good luck!

  9. So amazing, thanks for sharing your step-by-step process. I have a feeling I am going to be referring back to your post a lot. I LOVE the doors.

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    • Thanks so much, Nikki! I’ve sent a few other projects over to Cassity and she is going to highlight those in a few weeks! Stay tuned for more and keep coming back here to visit!

      Thanks so much!

  15. Hi,
    I found your project on young house love. Apologies if you already answered this but what exactly did you use to paint/finish? I am thinking of something similar for a large pine armoire but am not too sure which “white” to use.

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