China Hutch Remodel (turned Into Reptile Habitat)

I purchased an old china hutch at a yard sale years ago. It was solid oak and well made, but kind of a tacky eye sore. It didn't help that my daughters spilled paint on the side. I had been meaning to paint it for years. I finally got around to it. Please pretend the interior of my barn looks nicer.
To be honest, I was motivated by my son getting a ball python, which led me to getting one, which led to the need for an awesome epic snake enclosure that fit in with my decor. Large tanks aren't very pretty.
Time: 4 DaysCost: $17Difficulty: Easy
Step One: Gather supplies. For this project, you will need  paint in whatever colors you like (I used leftover paints I had on hand). For this project I used interior latex paint in medici grey and white and acrylic paints in canary yellow, black, and metallic bronze. All paints were originally purchased from Walmart because they have the cheapest paint prices ever. You will also need rough grit sandpaper, fun and funky cabinet pulls (I bought a pack of ten on Amazon for $12), polyurethane, and several paint brushes. If you need to order cabinet pulls, now is the time so you can paint while they are being shipped!
Step Two: Remove all the doors, drawers, hardware and any glass panels. Store all hardware in a ziplock baggy so it doesn't get lost! Store the glass panels somewhere safe where kids or pets cannot knock them over. I also filled in several hardware holes that I would not be using again with wood putty.
Step Three: Clean your piece of furniture with TSP or just liquid dish soap. After it's been cleaned, sand it down. Sanding is primarily to make the surface rough enough for the paint to stick to.
Step Four: Base coat painting! Yay! I wanted a distressed look. To accomplish this, I painted the exterior of both pieces (including the counter area of the bottom half) with a semi solid coat of black paint. Pictured below is the top half. I did not paint black on the interior because I wanted that part to be yellow.
I also painted all of the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and a shelf my husband made from scrap wood with the solid black paint.
Step Five: Next, I painted the inside of the hutch with a distressed coat of yellow. I allowed streaks of the oak to show through. I did two coats, but it still looks aged and fun.
Step Six: I took the latex paint in medici grey and lightly brushed it over all the areas that were black. I allowed parts of the black to show through. By this time, I managed to get my good camera out instead of just using my phone, so you can see more detail. I really love this distressed painting technique. It is so easy and fast to do. I made sure all of my brush strokes went in the same direction because it looks nicer that way in my opinion.
Step Seven: Next I painted the counter top section of the base cabinet. I wanted a fun pattern. I have always adored the Moroccan trellis designs, so I decided to make a stencil. I folded a piece of paper in half, then in half again. I cut out a quarter of the final design I wanted, so all sides would be even, like cutting out paper snowflakes as a child. I measured the top of the counter section and marked the exact center of the top. Then I traced my pattern, starting in the center. I just kept moving my paper stencil into new spots and tracing it, going outward from the center. I planned to leave a small border around the edge. I continued tracing the pattern until the entire counter top was stenciled.
  • china hutch remodel turned into reptile habitat
Step Eight: Next I painted a distressed coat of white over each of the stenciled patterns. I made sure my brush strokes went in a horizontal direction to match the rest of the piece. The edges don't need to be perfect. We will be hiding any edge mistakes with bronze paint.
  • china hutch remodel turned into reptile habitat
Step Nine: Using a small tipped art brush, paint thin bronze lines bordering each of the stenciled patterns. It really cleans up the edges and makes the entire pattern pop. After I finished, I also painted around the entire edge of the patterned section with bronze paint to frame my design.
  • china hutch remodel turned into reptile habitat
Step Ten: Don't throw out those paint brushes yet! I coated each piece with a yellow tinted coat of oil based polyurethane to seal it. This protects the finished product from kids chipping off the paint. Please allow several days to dry. I would NOT recommend letting it dry in the barn in December. It takes a lot longer. *facepalm*
Step Eleven: Almost done! Reattach all the cabinet doors, drawers, etc. Drill new holes if needed for your new awesome cabinet pulls. Make sure everything lines up evenly and you are happy with the finished project.
  • china hutch remodel turned into reptile habitat
  • china hutch remodel turned into reptile habitat
  • china hutch remodel turned into reptile habitat

Suggested materials for this project:

  • Polyurethane  (my barn (originally from Lowe's))
  • Interior paint in medici grey and white  (my barn (originally Walmart))
  • Acrylic paint in metallic bronze and canary yellow  (my craft closet (originally from Walmart))
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