29 March 2012

Drab to Fab Makeover: Hutch Love!

I used to think hutches were so dated, I could only imagine them in tacky old wood finishes that felt really gloomy and heavy looking. Either that or a little too country for my taste. But thankfully I’ve seen enough lovely ones to change my mind :) With a little inspiration, even a dreary old hutch can become a gorgeous addition to any contemporary design!

I’ve been hinting at my own huge hutch makeover for awhile now, so it’s about time I get this post out! This is by far the biggest project I’ve done to date. I was ready to give up several times, but I’m seriously LOVING the final results :)

It all started when I saw this piece sitting at my friendly neighborhood Goodwill. 

Not the saddest hutch you've ever seen, but nothing special. It did have great lines though, and really gorgeous details! The finish wasn’t actually that bad – the buffet looked pretty nice on its own. But as a whole it was pretty dull, literally crying out for a makeover! The original price was way high, but thanks to a sale and a little extra bargaining we brought it home for a song :) 

Refinishing this hutch was definitely waaaay more work than I anticipated. This mammoth (with all its doors and drawers) pretty much took over our apartment. And I'd get winded every time I tried to work on it. That makes me sound really out of shape, but you don't know what kind of body contortions were needed to get under all those non-removable shelves :) So I didn’t take any in-progress pics, but the steps I followed were pretty straightforward:

1. I removed all the doors and hardware, then patched + sanded any nicks with wood filler.

2. I primed everything with 1-2 coats of my go-to Zinsser Cover Stain - it’s my go-to mainly because I still have 1/2 a gallon to use up :) - but it adheres amazingly, even to veneers and glossy surfaces, which allowed me to skip sanding!

3. I painted the piece with 2-3 coats of Cottage White. Fab colour -not too yellow or pink or grey, just a really soft and creamy hue. To help minimize patchiness and roller marks I tried out a paint conditioner, which honestly worked wonders!

4. To protect and seal the piece, I went with a water-based product by Varathane - 2-3 coats, lightly sanding between each.

I was really worried about finding a sealer that wouldn’t create a yellow tinge, after my experience with my white goodwill dresser. Helen from Picked and Painted suggested using a wax, but I didn't want to try it for the first time on this giant! So I asked for some tips at Rona, and the paint guy was awesome! He tried out a bunch of different products on a white slab for me, and to my eyes this one gave the truest clear coat.

I kept most of the original hardware, simply updated the pieces (including the hinges) with a little Rub n Buff in Antique Gold.  

Since some of the pulls on the buffet doors were broken, I replaced them with matching knobs.

To add a little interest to the interior of the hutch, I wanted to line the back in a really glamorous gold wallpaper. But that plan was a little too pricey, so I opted for this great Morroccan stencil by Royal Design Studio instead.  

LOVE it! The stenciling adds that glam factor I wanted and really makes the hutch pop! 

To achieve this look my sweet husband and I removed the hutch backing, painted it a creamy-beige (a sample jar of paint was enough), then stenciled it in a metallic craft paint. You can't tell from the photos but the pattern has this gorgeous reflective shimmer, especially at night :)   

Deep rich hues are classic, but given the size of this hutch I knew I wanted this makeover to be really light and fresh. I think the final results are anything but drab :)  

I think this might be true love :)

I'm totally smitten with gold lately, and the sparkle of it against this crisp clean white looks so luxe :)  

I was blessed enough to have this hutch sell pretty quickly, but I'm already missing it! What do you think? 
Looking at the pretty pictures makes me almost forget how exhausting it was :) Although next time I tackle a makeover like this, I may invest in a sprayer first. Any suggestions?! 

14 March 2012

Easy & Inexpensive DIY Art: A Framed Scarf

Hey everyone :) Happy March Break! I had all these grand plans to go on a road trip with my friend and use the time off work to get moving on several projects, but half the break has come and gone and I’ve barely done anything :) Typical!   

I did come across a great idea on Pinterest last week though to DIY your own custom wall art!

I wanted a little something something to dress up a particularly bare corner, but I wasn’t loving anything in stores (at least not anything on budget :). I was looking for something in bright hues, similar to this gorgeous piece (by Nancy Ramirez at Cozamia)

Love.at.first.sight! I'd LOVE to order one of her prints someday, the prices aren’t too bad either, but for now – considering all the upcoming decor projects I have in mind – I needed a thriftier idea :)   

I searched the web for some free prints I could frame, and I found a few options, then somewhere along the way I came across this loveliness

I had a pretty phone like that once...then I got rid of it because it was impossible to hold between my ear and my shoulder...and now I wish I hadn't...*sigh* Well the picture was captioned ‘framed scarf’, originally via Design*Sponge. I’m not sure if it’s actually a scarf in the frame, but whatever, I was inspired!

So I went digging through my closet and found the perfect scarf in my own stash. You can find such pretty scarves almost anywhere, but if you’re anything like me you already have a zillion in your own closet :) Either way this can be a really inexpensive project.

The scarf I chose was one my Mom bought me years ago from India – I never wear it but I always loved the pattern too much to get rid of it. I ironed it, cut out the sections I wanted to use, and matted the swatches in a great set of frames I picked up at Homesense. I think it would look great without the mats too.


I love how easy and simple this was to do, and the colours are so bright and fun! You can't tell from the photos but the scarf has little flecks of gold in it too, which look great in the sunlight :)

If you're eying the stenciled hutch on the right, consider this a sneak peek - more on that soon! 

So have any of you used framed scarves in you decor? I'm thinking about a small gallery wall for our living area, so I'm on the lookout for more DIY wall art ideas which I'll hopefully share soon - any tips would be appreciated!