Antique Hutch Project

11 Materials
4 Days

I was lucky enough to find this stunning, vintage, two piece hutch locally and I knew as soon as I laid on my eyes on it, it had to be green. Not just any green, but specifically...basil milk paint by General Finishes. Homeright Finish Max paint sprayer and General Finishes milk paint go together like peanut butter and jelly!

I love how this beauty turned out!


You gotta love when the piece you’re working on still have the original papers taped to the back! This piece came from the San Francisco Furniture Mart. Pretty cool!

Taking off the hardware:

The first thing you'll want to do is take off all the hardware...including the cabinet hinges if you're taking your doors off. Remember, if you leave the doors on and spray, your hinges will get painted. I personally don't mind the look of painted hinges, but if you'd like to keep the original metal look of your hinges you can always put the painted hinges in boiling water with baking soda and it will easily remove the paint as well as bring your metal hinges back to life. One thing I find helpful is using ziplock bags with labels to avoid losing anything, especially if you're planning on reusing it!

Taking off the doors\drawers:

At this point you can decide to take the drawers and doors off your piece, or leave them on, its really up to you and the approach you'll be taking with your piece. Because I sprayed my piece i was able to leave the drawers and doors on the base of my hutch on and do touch up with a brush on the areas that got missed, but I opted to take the top doors off the top for ease of spraying. I also took the glass out of the doors which made spraying and distressing the piece much easier. 

Next step is cleaning your piece:

You're going to want to clean the piece you're painting, you'll probably get sick of me saying this but, PREP IS KEY to a beautiful me doing the proper prep work will make your life so much easier in the long run. If the piece you're painting has layers of gunk or grime I would suggest using TSP, follow the directions on the back of box for usage directions on wood. If your piece is in pretty good condition, without any gunk or excess build up you can skip this step and just wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth. 


I always scuff sand my pieces down, because no matter how many coats of paint or polyurethane protective finish that you apply without breaking through that old top coat that is on your piece, most likely it will end up chipping and wearing. Like is said this is just a light sand over the whole piece to assure that the new paint adheres properly. After your done sanding you'll want to make sure you do a reallllllly good job cleaning up all the dust. If dust gets left on your piece the paint will not go on properly and it will ruin that gorgeous finish you're going for. I have a soft bristle brush set i use, as well as an attachment on my air hose to spray all the dust away...again be vigilant with this step, it will you save you a big later on. I like to use a tack cloth as my last step when cleaning up the dust. 

Because i chose to sand the top down and do a fresh new stain treatment on it, at this point after you've sanded and prepped it you can mask and tape the top off. Be sure you're careful with process...the spray gun supplies a lot of air power and if you don't tape things up carefully the masking material will blow right off.

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I'm a huge paint sprayer advocate...they are intimidating but honestly have been a game changer for my business. The sprayer I used for this project was my Homeright Finish Max, so any direction or advice I'm giving is directly related to that sprayer. If you're using a spraying make sure to use a paint filter and thin the paint to an appropriate ratio with water. I would recommend doing this is a different container than your sprayers canister, it'll make mixing it a lot easier. Its really hard to say how much water to use because not every cans consistency is the same. Honestly, sometimes I don't have to thin it at all. I know that's probably not super helpful to you, but its the truth. The best advice I can give you with this is slow and have an area where you can test your sprayer before starting on your piece. If your spray nozzle starts to "spit" or get clogged up, your paint is too thick and you need to add more water. Again, this something you'll have to feel out and you'll learn to recognize with time and experience. Once your happy with the consistency of your paint, put a strainer on your canister (you can never be too careful) and fill it up. You'd actually be pretty surprised, a little General Finishes milk paint goes a LONG way, so don't overdo's easy enough to add more paint to your canister if needed! While you're testing you're sprayer out and getting the right mixture, this is also the time to play around with the dials on your spray gun and find right power level or dial setting. Again, this is something you'll have to personally feel out, and will come with and !

Once you start spraying make sure you're doing light coats...coverage that's too heavy will start to drip and wont cure properly in the suggested dry time. Typically I do at least 3 coats of the General Finishes milk paint with my sprayer, sometimes 4...again its all situational based on the color you're using, the material you're spraying and the look you're trying to achieve. Make sure to refer to the back of your paint can to see how long you'll need to wait between coats. Each coat must be dry before the next. Be sure to check the paint in between each coat (after it dries) so you can decide if you will need a light sand in-between coats. Make sure your hands are clean and swipe your hand across the piece...if it doesn't feel like and smooth with no texture or bumps you're good to go. If you do feel some, go ahead and take a light grit sand paper and do a light all over sand where you feel like spots. After your piece is smooth and fully dry you can start distressing your piece. If you aren't distressing it you can skip the next step!

Depending on what type of distressed look you're going for will determine the material you're going to use. Because i wanted a light chippy distress on the edges I opted for fine & medium grit sanding blocks. For this piece in particular I really just focused on the curves and edges...and I have to say, i love the way the contrast of the wood pulling through underneath compliments the body of this piece.

After the poly on your body is fully dried and starting to cure you can tackle the top of your piece if you're choosing to re-stain it. Because I get all the top prep done with the body prep, it makes things a lot easier. I took all of the masking off the top and wiped it down with tack cloth to ensure there wasn't any dust particle left over. I used minwax prestain product before i applied my stain..I always suggest using this before stain! And for the stain I chose Minwax in ispwich pine, and the same varathane polyeuratane top coat as the rest of the piece. Make sure to let the top dry, for as long as you can before placing the top of the hutch back on it or before any heavy use. Remember there is a difference between dry time and cure time...again, please refer to the back of your can.

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Poly top coat:

The sprayers I use supply an unbelievable finish, especially with polyurethane.when done correctly its a smooth finish like butter...looks as if it's straight from the factory. The poly I use and swear by is, Varathanes poly in a satin finish...but depending on what type of finish you're wanting is up to you, they have a few options. The reason I love Varathane is because it doesn't yellow over time like a lot of other brands. The key here is not over applying...when you over apply and it starts to "puddle up" thats when you'll experience yellowing. With the application of the poly, again, its really light definitely don't want to pile this stuff on. Make sure you follow along with the back of your can for cure and reapply time for this. 

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Finalllllllly my favorite part...putting the doors, drawers, and new hardware on! I love reusing the hardware that comes on my pieces, but for this basil hutch I knew I needed white shabby chic hardware to help "soften" the look and add the the chic touch. This is where those labled zip lock bags come in should know where everything goes when its time to reinstall it.

The stained top turned out EXACTLY as I was imagining it to!

Instead of reusing the old shelf insert we opted to go with a wood shelf to add to the contrast and match up with the stained top. This was locally sourced and milled by my family!

Obsessssssssed with the chic look of the white hardware!

One of the biggest challenges you'll face is waiting for your piece to fully dry before you bring it inside and make it your own!!!!

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2 of 17 comments
  • Sidney Rippy McLaughlin
    on Nov 19, 2019

    Very nice. It looks so much better. I think I’d have cut the top off straight across. It might mess up the integrity of the original design, but I’m not a fan of the ornate top.

  • Carol Ann Thomas
    on Jan 23, 2020

    Just finished this China cabinet

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