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Tuesday, 19 May 2020

French Provincial hutch makeover with stamped design

Take one drab brown 1980's/90's faux country buffet hutch and convert it to a sweet French Provincial inspired craft room cabinet - all for under $100!


I picked up this hutch from Gumtree 2 years ago or more, it was cheap at $50 and I thought it would make good storage somewhere in our new farmhouse. It turned out to be a mixed materials piece, with a faux wood grain MDF top to the base, some vinyl wood grain effect on some areas and stained wood in other parts. But it was solidly made and when I finally got around to decorating and organising my art/craft/sewing room it was the perfect piece for my fabric storage.

But it was not the perfect piece in the looks department, it was a drab dark brown, had some of the ugliest drawer knobs I've seen combined with some cheap additions trying to make it look authentically 'country' that didn't work for me. So here is how we transformed this little lady into something a little more stylish, but in a more French country way! 

Here she is before we started her French makeover. We removed the munton bars on the glass doors - too fake country for me and hubby filled in those awful routed borders on the drawer fronts, what were they thinking by adding those - ick. Lastly, those ugly plastic gold backed drawer knobs with faux wood effect were removed. I replaced them with aged brass drawer handles I had in my stash that matched well with the rest of existing hardware which was staying, as it was simple and in keeping with the desired look I wanted to achieve (plus lots cheaper if you don't have to buy all new hardware).


First step was to remove all the hardware, including the hinges and then the glass from the doors. We removed the shelves as well as I had a plan for the inside that needed good access to the back of the inside of the hutch.

Hubby then removed the munton bars and filled in the little indents where they sat into the door frame, they were not set into the frame in the proper way but in a cheap 'lets make it look country' way from a few decades ago. He used panel beaters bog to fill the indents and also to fill in those awful routed borders on the drawers. Those were I think meant to simulate a drawer that would have been made with a framed edge, but they looked awful and panel beaters bog is a great product when you need something tougher than wood putty that can still be sanded and painted.

Here is a close up - sorry to do that to you, but now you can see those over deep knobs on the drawers as well, followed by a much more soothing close up of the new handles and flat drawer fronts. 


After a quick roughen up all over with a kitchen scourer to add some 'tooth' to the surface for the paint to adhere, followed by a wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any dust, I set about painting all the doors, back and front, and the drawers, but left them unpainted inside as often paint on the inside or edges of any drawer or door that is inset into a piece of furniture makes them hard to use, as the extra millimetres or two added by the paint can be enough to make them no longer fit correctly.

TIP: When removing hardware and doors etc from a piece prior to painting make sure to mark which goes where so they fit correctly when added back.  

I painted the whole piece inside and out with Berger stain blocker paint to prevent the dark colour bleeding through.

I then mixed Rustoleum Aged Grey and Linen White chalk paint to achieve a soft dove grey with a hint of blue - I used 1 part Aged Grey to 2 parts Linen White for the hutch exterior. The chalk paint adheres well to most surfaces without too much preparation. I use a small foam roller to paint with as I like the flat smooth finish without brush marks I can achieve with the roller. It's soft enough to squish into the corners and then softly roller over to get rid of any drag marks.

I did 2 coats of the grey paint, always finishing each coat with a very gentle rolling without much pressure to remove any roller lines. I allowed each coat a day to dry but you can usually recoat within a few hours if you are in a hurry. I added some light distressing with a 120 grit sandpaper to the piece to simulate the wear you see on vintage furniture, it's a look I like a lot, just subtle distressing where the passage of time and many hands rubbing over a piece of furniture give it character often missing from new pieces.   

For the hutch top interior I used some left over wash and wear white interior house paint I had as I wanted the surface to take the wear and tear of the future contents being taken in and out. I did 2 coats of the white paint.

Now to the fun part!

I wanted to add some charm to the piece by adding some pattern on the hutch top interior. Originally I had considered fabric or wallpaper, but then I saw a lovely large decor stamp design made for furniture and other decor - not your normal stamp, but wonderful clear, flexible sticky stamps. The one I chose was from IOD (Iron Orchid Designs) called Rose Toile (I didn't know the name of it when I first saw it online - but how perfectly suited to my French Provincial makeover!).

Here is a close up of the stamp which measures approx 30cm square and each stamp peels off the backing sheet providing endless options to combine the stamps to make a unique design. It had roses, text and a dragonfly in the mix.



I stuck each stamp to the flexible acrylic sheet provided and used my foam roller to add a light layer of the left over grey paint to each stamp and pressed it onto the hutch back, in the position where I had previously planned out my stamping layout. Repeated the process for each stamp, cleaning off excess paint with a baby wipe cloth every now and again to stop too much paint getting into the finer details and losing definition when stamped.

The see through sheet allows you to see where the stamp is being placed, but due to it's being flexible you have to be careful not to let the stamp move once you have placed it, which can be a bit tricky at first on a vertical surface, but any blurred stamping I just wiped off with a damp cloth, let it dry a minute and restamped. I wanted a time worn effect so I wasn't too concerned with pressing every part of the stamp to ensure full coverage, so parts of the stamped images are lighter than other parts which gave me the effect I wanted.






Let me know what you think of my French Provincial makeover in the comments below.

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3 comments:

  1. That looks so good, like an entirely different hutch. From old to new. I love it!

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  2. Your makeover turned out so nice! I really love the stamps on the inside! I use a similar piece in my craft room, as well. They make for really great storage, don't they?!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Cynthia, I love the stamps as well, really adds an extra something to the piece I think. Definitely great storage - can never have enough! :)

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