Part II: Carolyn vs. the Hutch

I’m sure you’re dying to hear who won the ugly hutch battle of 2015! So here’s some more on what’s Carolyn’s been up to…. a bit of a cliff-hanger. If you missed Part I, click here.

Phase 1:  Shellac

A very wise DIY diva extolled the virtues to me of going the extra mile and applying shellac to furniture before painting to ensure the finish doesn’t bleed through.*

I spent an afternoon cleaning the hutch with a damp cloth and then applying shellac to the exterior and interior of the hutch.  What you need to know about shellac is that it starts to dry very quickly.  Do not attempt to go over areas where you have already applied shellac before it dries thoroughly – at least 1 hour.  Even going back over areas you “just” painted will result in clumps, bumps and ridges followed by the need to sand to get rid of same, then, reapplying shellac.   Take your time, do it right. You will be glad you did.

It was during the cleaning/shellac phase of the hutch transformation that I discovered approximately how old the piece is.  Wedged in the back of the hutch behind one of the drawers was a metal ruler.Carolyn Ruler

The ruler was a commercial give-away from a butcher shop in Pennsylvania and is in pristine condition. It is a multi-functional piece that includes not only measurements but also names of the presidents and their terms in office.  Kennedy was still president when the ruler found it’s way into the inner recesses of the hutch.

 Phase 2:  Spray Painting

Carolyn Hutch Spray Paint

 An important, tedious, part of “the hutch job” was painting the inside of the cabinet frame where the drawers go.  My arms are fairly long and skinny, but not enough so as to use a paint brush in such a small space.  My advice for painting narrow spaces like this — use spray paint.  Be sure to use it in a well ventilated area and take care to cover the floor, walls and any objects in the area with drop cloths. Spray paint tends to spray here, there and everywhere, no matter how careful you are.

Phase 3:  I am allowed inside. 

Hutch Painting

The first of many extreme cold snaps to hit Delaware this year came in the midst of my painting the hutch in our garage.  My husband very kindly invited me to continue my work in our beach version of the man-cave.  A sun room.  If you are able to paint indoors, a sun room is a great place to work. The light facilitates the thorough application of paint, which leads to less need for touch-up painting down the road.

I decided to start the actual painting of the hutch with the top portion because it was easy to maneuver.  I settled on ivory as the color for the interior of the shelving as well as the cabinet interior.  I mixed a batch of chalk paint using 3/4 quart of Benjamin Moore flat latex with 1/3 cup plaster of paris and 2 tablespoons water.

Chalk paint applies very smoothly to the shellac surface.  It is ideal for painting at odd angles because it doesn’t tend to drip, and it dries relatively fast.  If you do notice drips once the paint has dried, sanding it lightly will remove the drip and you can then paint over the spot – the paint will blend.  While chalk paint is easy to apply and relatively forgiving, on a dark surface (like the hutch) it still takes a lot of paint to prevent dark areas showing through.  It took three coats of paint to thoroughly cover the areas of the hutch that I wanted in ivory.

*Ali here with a quick note. I only suggest Shellac if you have red bleed through on something with a red-ish stain or cherry wood, this will stop the red from bleeding through the paint! 

Coming Soon… Part III: Handling the Hutch Hardware! 

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