dining room hutch—before and after

Remember this?

I'm referring to our dining room hutch. People seemed to either love it or hate it. It does have some midcentury clean lines and it stores a TON. My great grandfather had made it as a wedding gift for my grandparents, so it had sentimental value also. But it wasn't perfect. The doors are a bit crooked and the finish was worn. The finish was very orange. The wood is inexpensive plywood. 

Here it is before we moved in:

Just adding my own furniture and decor already made it look WAY more modern. But when we finished the kitchen remodel, it didn't seem fit to go back in the dining room without some TLC. So I set to work.

Now it looks like this:

Can you see the difference? I know it isn't a major change. I wanted to improve it while still keeping its character.

First I stripped, sanded, and refinished it. I took a lot of elbow grease because this thing is HUGE. 8 feet long, to be exact!

I first tried a medium walnut stain—I didn't want it to be too dark—but didn't notice any difference. Then I tried dark walnut, and still I didn't see a significant change. This type of wood didn't seem to want to soak up the stain very well. Finally, I tried to apply an ebony stain over the dark walnut, and the grain really picked up the darker color. I liked the look of the enhanced grain and thought it was worth the double application.


I also replaced the hardware. The old wood handles were glued on and left a mark even after sanding and refinishing, so I chose a handle that would cover this up.

The upper cabinet got the same treatment. Next, I repainted the inside of the shelves white to match my trim color, and then painted the backs of the shelves with black chalkboard paint to make my white dishes stand out.

I have one more thing I want to do. I would like to remove the kick base on the lower cabinet and add legs to make it look more like a piece of furniture and less like a cabinet. Because the cabinet is so large and heavy, my dad wants to custom build metal feet that would be stronger than traditional legs. I'll keep you posted on that, but since it might be awhile, I couldn't wait to show you how it turned out!