China Hutch Makeover

China Hutch Makeover

After a lot of hard work and a few moments of indecision, I finally finished the hutch late last week!  This piece needed a lot of work, and I probably could have spent a lot more time stripping and sanding, but as I knew it was going to take a few days, and we were due for rain, this had to be an inside project and I couldn’t spend days sanding and striping (and potentially ruining our floors). Just look at that peeling varnish!

“Before” hutch details; many scratches, broken and missing knobs, horrible peeling, marker, and a missing glass pane.

I took the door with the missing window to a glass shop, and started hunting down hardware. Some of it I knew I could salvage, and some I knew I would have to toss. I had (and still have) my heart set on anthropologie’s color swatch knob, but it seems to be completely sold out! (The bottom shelf of the hutch will house my fabric, and I always thought those knobs would pull the colors of the fabric so well… :). I decided to get a move on with the things I knew I was going to go with; turning that center window that was drilled shut into an operating door with a hing and a magnetic closure, and installing the lights. I went to Lowe’s and bought some furniture door hinges and a closure. They had to be the kind that you could attach to the outside so I could have the door centered over the opening just right. Just drill, drill and drill, easy peasy! Now we have a functioning door.

Attaching the interior lights and the hardware to turn the window into a door.

I went to IKEA and bought some LACK spotlights and installed them above the top shelf. I actually bought 2 sets as I intended to light both shelves, but one set was making a strange buzzing noise and we decided they need to be returned. I decided not to drill through the top of the hutch for the time being… I figured the wires are so thin it won’t be so noticeable. We’ll see if it drives me nuts or not!

I’m kinda really into shelf liner paper. I’m very specific about the way it accents the furniture that I makeover… I love the surprise when you open a drawer or a cabinet! It just helps everything to feel more put together. I found this awesome Con-Tact shelf liner on ebay for $2.99 a roll! A pretty gold and white, almost chevron print, but not quite, which makes me love it more for some reason… It was an instinct purchase, and when I was having trouble picking a fabric for the back, my husband said “I thought that was what the Con-Tact paper was for”, and I immediately was like “No!!! It’s for the drawers!”; but then, nothing else seemed to work quite as well as this, especially since I knew how busy it was going to look with the fabric in it, I was really leaning towards a two color print. It was such an easy fix, and SO CHEAP! I ended up using all three rolls, but it was worth it. :)

Pretty gold and white Con-Tact paper. Awesome eBay score! Also, always use a credit card to help you smooth the paper along the way!

At first I really did think I was going to paint it black w/ the ebony stain, and the turquoise interior, but I really fell for all of those light hutches with the wallpaper backings… And while I didn’t want to paint it black, I also didn’t want to paint it white, so I ended up mixing the bit of paint I had left over from the office/nursery with the paint we used in our bedroom, and a little off white, which made this color. The gold accents (I used model paint!) seemed to come organically, perhaps inspired by the existing antique brass hardware, but I’m sure it was also influenced by the contact paper. I don’t know which idea fueled the other, really. :)

In case you are wondering if that is an upside down birdcage attached to a ceiling, you are right; that is an upside down birdcage-turned chandelier. Maybe one day I’ll do a quick post about it. :) Anyway, I went with some knobs that were totally on sale at Anthro (and match a pair of teacups I have), but I can’t find the name of them anywhere… I only used two, despite having turned the middle window into a door because; 1) I thought it was more balanced this way, 2) there were only 2 of these knobs left, and 3) I’m still holding out for the color swatch knobs (/shakes fist!!!). My only regret is not installing a push-open magnetic closure on that middle door so it would be easier to open. Put that on the to-do list! The  cabinet pulls I used were the new ripe melon pulls, which I love as they instantly remind me of the Edland furniture set I love from IKEA, and I’m sure something else that I can’t think  of right now which is what probably inspired IKEA’s designer to use them in the first place. Check out the flickr photostream I have if you’d like to see more photos.

62 Responses to China Hutch Makeover

  1. […] Jesyka sent over this buffet and hutch transformation I was totally and completely wowed.  […]

  2. lesley says:

    wow, the hutch is adorable… !
    I came to you for the first time this evening via Centsational Girl. Congrats for all the traffic Kate will send your way, you deserve it !

  3. Aubrey says:

    Stunning. I am speechless (and if you knew me, you would know what a feat that is!). Love everything about it, especially the lines on the cupboard doors! I can definitely see why you rescued it! Brava…it is a masterpiece!

  4. Kelsey says:

    This turned out SOO beautiful! Really unique and creative! You did an amazing job. Stopped by from Centsational girl! :)

  5. Vanessa says:

    This is gorgeous!! What a wonderful job. You can see the love poured into this lovely hutch.

  6. Wendy says:

    I’m here from Centsational Girl and want to tell you how gorgeous your hutch is. You did a wonderful job. I can’t stop looking at it. ♥

  7. Julie B. says:

    REALLY??? This is a stroke of genius. I want to know this creative person and see if your talent would rub off on me just a little :) So glad Centsational girl introduced me to you…

  8. I love, love, love this!!! So fabulous!

  9. Madame Meg says:

    I’m here from Centsational Girl, too! FANTASTIC hutch! It would have been really, really pretty if you’d just painted the blue and white with the contact paper background, but those gold accents are genius! Sent it (and me!) right over the edge…
    : ) Meg

  10. Shara says:

    OMG……love it love it love it. Just perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This makeover is really inspiring! We don’t quite have room for a hutch in our little apartment, but I can’t wait to take on a project like this!!! Awesome post! <3

  12. Oh my goodness, this is absolutely STUNNING!!!
    Just stopped by from Centsational girl!

  13. That’s so great, it’s just ridiculous!

  14. lynn says:

    Just found you thru Centsational Girl. This hutch is amazing!! You did a great job and I wish I could buy that paint color.

  15. laura says:

    this is amazing & so beautiful. I feel so inspired to makeover something! love it!

  16. Wow, thanks everyone! I’m so happy my hard work paid off. :) Oh, and our apartment is only 1,000 sq feet, but I think it’s the last piece of furniture we can squeeze in here with out throwing something out… lol!

  17. I came over from Censational Girl. This is really an amazing piece you made. I absolutely love it.

  18. Jane D'Arcy says:

    Me too, I discovered you through Censational Girl. I love the transformation on your dresser. Beautiful and inspiring thankyou. I’m adding you to my favorites.

  19. Allison A. says:

    I came over from Centsational Girl. Your china hutch is absolutely stunning! The colors, the paper, the gold, the drawer pulls…all of it….you did an amazing job. It is really gorgeous.

  20. Ryan says:

    Really fantastic job. Congrats.

  21. Rachel Gill says:

    Hi there! Just came over from Centsational Girl! I’m in love with your hutch makeover. You did such a fabulous job! And I’m loving your blog. I’ll be following ;)


  22. Beautiful Makeover. You are so creative. I love the blue and the contact paper! Congrats! Found you via censational girl.

  23. Susanne says:

    That is beautiful – what a great job you did:)

  24. LindseyR says:

    just found you from CG….way to go!!!!

  25. Victoria says:

    Kate sent me too! LOVE the hutch BRAVO!

  26. Vintage Beachgirl says:

    WOW! WOW! WOW!
    That is the best makeover I have seen in a good while!!!!
    Don’t know where to start……the color?? Scrumptious, wish you had a definite recipe….it is beautiful.
    The gold trim?? Such a great idea….I would have thought it would look tacky if you had told me about it but seeing it??…..Elegant, without a doubt!
    The contact paper….?? Your hubs is a genius for giving you the idea and your taste is exemplary for choosing it.
    I can’t imagine what you could change about the hardware that would improve it as it looks sensational as is!!
    Your Design Vision……?? That you could imagine that brown lump as something this elegant and lovely speaks for itself… glad you didn’t paint it black!!
    Again, WOW and congratulations on a wonderful transformation!
    I also came to see your blog via Centsational girl and will be sure to thank her for the tip!
    I will be a follower of your blog from today onward.
    Thanks for the chance to see this beauty.

  27. Stacie M. says:

    I popped over from Centsational Girl. Your hutch turned out amazing!

    I was scrolling through your blog, saw your post about naming the high chair and spotted the name Mares. My last name is Marez, from my husband’s family. It was spelled Mares until his grandfather changed the spelling as a young man. I don’t see or hear that last name often so it was nice to see.


    • Ha! Yeah, Marés is the Spanish way of spelling & pronouncing it (and it’s pronounced more like Marez so I totally understand why people change the spelling to help the American tongue pronounce it better. It’s similar to my Maiden name, D’Itri; a lot of my family has dropped the apostrophe and capitalization to make it Ditri since my great grandfather came over from Italy. I guess my families just like to keep it complicated! <3

  28. Deb Stafford says:

    This is awesome, you rock!! Love it!!

  29. Gorgeous! You are so talented! Love the robin’s egg blue with the gold. I came over from Centsational Girl and now I’m hooked! -Kat

  30. Natalie says:

    Beautiful! I originally saw your hutch over at Censational Girl’s website, and I just had to hop over here and see it. Awesome blog! Love it!

  31. Cathie says:

    Also here via Centsational Girl. I can’t believe how awesome that is! You are a genius.

  32. Stephanie says:

    Amazing! That hutch was a great find. I was drooling just looking at it, but you turned it something gorgeous! I love it! Visiting from Centsational Girl. Thanks for sharing!

  33. jo says:

    i too am here from centsational…bravo on this work of art!

  34. this was such a gorgeous piece that i’m thinking i wouldn’t mind taking a NEW hutch and re-painting it like this. the details are awesome. you did a great job!!

  35. Nikki says:

    Beautiful job … truly whimsical!

  36. Kathleen says:

    Hi- I just saw your project on What a great job you did. I love the blue. I see these on Craigs List for free all the time, and never saw the possibilities as you did. What a transformation; you have a great eye. I’ll be back.

  37. toni walick says:

    Was averted to you from Censational Girl…..WOW! WOW!….you got me at the BIRDCAGE LIGHT!!!!!

  38. Tracy says:

    Okay, the hutch transformation is awesome and I may just incorporate some of the changes you made into my hutch. BUT I have to admit I am absolutely drooling over the birdcage light and MUST know more about it!

    Oh yeah, I came by way of Censational Girl! I am now following you.

    ~ Tracy

  39. Pat says:

    Genius! I, too, came over from CG and so very glad. You have such vision…the piece is gorgeous. I hope you do share about the birdcage light. That is something I would love!

    I am a new follower and look forward to more “reveals”.

  40. wendy albrecht says:

    Oh Jseyka, that is so beautiful!!! I love the blue. I would absolutely love to have that in my house!!!


  41. Annie Lohnes says:

    Hi Jesyka,
    What a small world! I also jumped over here from Centsational Girl, but I have just realized that you are in fact one of my dearest friend’s sister (in law). Lindsay has mentioned so many times how creative you are; what fun to get a glimpse into your world. You did an exquisite make-over on that piece & your blog is lovely! Guess I can’t use the “young bebe in the house” excuse fore delaying attaching my furniture refinishing projects, anymore. Totally inspired!
    -Annie L.

  42. QingyuanMama says:

    I’m here from CG too. Love the blue shade you mixed! And yes, please do write the how-to for the bird cage chandelier if you can!

  43. jodie says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your hutch! WOWZA girl… love what you did with the gold paint. We just inherited an antique hutch from dh’s grandparents and I’ve been wanting to paint it. This is the PERFECT inspiration… now I know that it CAN work and it CAN look wonderful! THANK YOU! Came over from CG (seems to be a theme around here! :)… ).

  44. Dianne says:

    Hi Jesyka – did you by chance g that awesome hutch off Craigslist from man in Rancho Cucamonga?

  45. a says:

    GORGEOUS. I’m in awe. Even though I tend to lean toward darker furniture and prefer natural wood; lots of “Tuscan” colors (gold / reds / oranges), I appreciate the work you’ve done here. The way you transformed the hutch is just brilliant and soooo pretty! Well done!

  46. Bethel says:

    What a fabulous job you have done…
    We did up a old cupboard of the 30’s but we went the other way by sanding it back to it’s basic light coloured pine, removing at least 6 layers of paint & I painstakingly chipped the paint out of the pressed timber trim… it is our pride & joy just like yours will always be…
    Congratulations on a job well done…

  47. […] the hutch makeover was featured in Craftzine’s flickr pool weekly round up on April 17, which was cool and […]

  48. jamie slay says:

    That looks 1oo,ooo times better!! Worth the effort.

  49. […] the work it would take to strip and sand this thing isn’t the kinda time a WAHM has (*cough* hutch *cough*). It’s been painted for at least a month and a half, and we’ve just been […]

  50. Sasha says:

    lovely piece.. :D I wa just wondering, how did you not get the lines on the back of the middlesection to show trough the contact paper? (hope this makes sense :S)
    Thanks for posting this it is wonderfull..

    • The lines on the backing board are actually concave, so I just held the paper tight enough and moved across them, so you can’t see shape of them now. I suppose if they ever got poked it could cause a tear, however…

  51. […] about whether to paint an inherited piece?  Maria shares some sage advice at Colour Me Happy.Jesy Kaditri Recreate this clever and chic circle brass pendant with The Almost 40 Year Old […]

  52. […] before and after from Visual Vocabulary is really awesome. I love the gold detail and the wallpapered back. The lines are very similiar to […]

  53. […] 1) Our Hutch: Yep. The starting point. Gotta make it work with the curtains. […]

  54. […] Our Hutch: I’m thinking of turning this into a […]

  55. Lovely job on your hutch – it’s gorgeous! Your blog is beautiful too, it’s so fun here! I’ve got this linked to my dining room hutches post as well today, for inspiration!

  56. […] has changed! A lot hasn’t as well. Since my last full post about 3 years ago, we have sold our hutch, our chairs, the expedit we used behind the couch, and Laelia broke the old coffee table. I gave […]

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Welcome to Visual Vocabularie! My name is Jesyka, and I am a designer, artist, mom to Laelia and Luca, wife to software engineer and UX designer Tyler, coffee lover, and all around enthused person. This is my blog; here I share my personal projects, whether it's a furniture makeover, a new painting, a birthday party, an invitation I designed, or a favorite outfit for my little. You’ll also catch a glimpse into our family life in Los Angeles.

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You are free to pin to pinterest, or post my photos on your blog, but please give proper credit to my full name Jesyka D’Itri Marés (I know, I know, it's not the easiest name!), and you link back either the home page of this website, or the permalink of the original post (although, I'm sure your followers will thank you for the permalink!). I would LOVE to know if you enjoy my work enough to share it, so please don’t be shy and drop me an email!