Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The China Hutch

The China Hutch Distressing Project

My husband has been carting his mother's china hutch around for the past 25 or 30 years. Its a Danish modern style hutch with a dark walnut finish. There is a top 3-shelf hutch with glass doors and cross-hatch embossed glass side lights. The base features two sliding doors with a stationary center section of wood with a diamond-hatch design.

I previously tried to lighten up the look by lining the back of the hutch with a white contact paper with black damask swirls. When we lived in our previous house with light gray walls, the dark wood worked pretty well. I had the hutch full of crystal glasses and bowls from both my husband's and my collections. Those things have been packed up and stored now, and I am not sure how much of it I will actually unpack now that we are in our new place.

But now, after moving into a new house near the beach, I wanted a completely different look. I decided to paint it a light sea-blue color (Harbor Lane 1044, Clark+Kensington, satin interior latex paint and primer combo) and bring out the details with a driftwood stain (Minwax).

The hutch is now the focal point of the entry to our home. The front door is located between the kitchen and dining areas, so when the door opens, this is the first impression one gets of our place. I really wanted it to look inviting, beachy, and crisp. A beach-scene original acrylic painting done by my former boss's wife sets the mood I was looking for in my entry and ties into the finish of the hutch just perfectly. I think I will just put in glassware that we actually use, with a few artsy accents like sea shells or objects-de-art, as I collect them. Mission accomplished!

How I did it: First I cleaned the hutch with a degreaser. The wood is a very thin veneer that I hesitated to sand much, so I simply sprayed it with a primer/bonder and then painted right over that with the Harbor Lane blue. I put on two good coats, then it was time for distressing! I sanded the paint back to the wood on all the edges, running the sanding block up and down and side to side to create different variances along the edges. Then I took a hammer and banged the sides and top surfaces, letting the hammer skip like a rock as I dented up the surface. This was really fun and strangely gratifying! Then I sanded the surfaces again, varying the pressure so the paint would be thinner in some places. Next, I applied a light coating of stain all over and let it dry for a few hours before wiping some off with a rough cloth. That way there were lines and streaks that resemble a subtle wood grain left in the stain coat. I let that finish dry for another whole day before sealing the entire hutch with two coats of polyurethane satin finish.

My husband took the hardware to work and cleaned it in an ultrasonic machine for cleaning motorcycle parts, then I put it all back on as it originally was intended.

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