Antique White Hutch Transformation

Jenni Ingram
by Jenni Ingram
10 Materials
6 Hours
My friend Amanda recently re-did her dining room, adding a shiplap wall, and repainting the space in a new color scheme. She had a custom table made, but still needed a hutch. She found and bought a hutch that would be the perfect size for her dining room, the only problem – it’s a big project to tackle alone.

I’ve been refinishing furniture of all shapes and sizes for a while now, so I told her I’d teach her the process, and before we were done she would not only know how to do it herself, but also have a finished hutch! The other thing is this – to go out and buy a brand new step back hutch like she envisioned would be too costly, but finding a used one that just needed a makeover was much more in her budget and would add the character she wanted for the space.

I was excited to show her how to do it. I find the process very relaxing to do, I love to paint and get lost in a project. Also, when you are finished there is such a sense of accomplishment, I was excited to share that feeling with her! If we got stuck, we were able to talk through it and keep going, the nice thing about wood is you can’t break it! One step at a time and we got it done.
So here’s how the hutch started – beautiful, classic lines, but locked away in a storage unit.It had seen better days. Here’s what we did.

Step 1: Remove the hardware

Step 2: Scuff sand the piece with 220 grit sand paper.  Clean it with a mixture of denatured alcohol and water.
Step 3: While I was scuff sanding the piece, Amanda sanded down the top to raw wood.  The wood of the hutch matched her brand new table, so she wanted to leave the top wood.  
Step 4: Pick new hardware and fill holes.  Sand the spots down once the filler is dry.

Step 5: Stain the top with oil based wood stain. Let it dry overnight.

Step 6: Prime the areas to be painted.  Because this was cherry wood, I knew it had the potential to bleed through the light cream paint.  So we needed to give it all a coat of primer to be sure that wouldn’t happen.

Step 7: Begin applying the topcoat to the wood top.  We decided to use Arm-R-Seal, it’s a fantastic product that will enhance the look of the wood and protect it from any water stains that may happen in the dining room.  This topcoat does take a few coats and with dry time between, this was done over the next few days.  
Step 8: Once the topcoat process began, we started painting using a good brush.  We used General Finishes Antique White Milk Paint – a beautiful creamy, not-too-yellow white.  Painting took a while, but it was worth the work!  
Step 9: When the paint was all dry, it was time to re-install the hardware.  We had to drill new holes for the hardware, but the new hardware really fit the style of the piece perfectly.

Step 10: After touch-ups, we brought the piece into her dining room and Amanda decorated it with her great grandmother’s china, and décor.  It’s the perfect fit for her dining room, centered on the wall it looks like it was meant to be! 

I unfortunately broke a corner of the glass when I was working on one of the doors, so we did have to replace that (oops)!

Here's what Amanda said about the process:

"Never having painted a piece of furniture before watching my friend Jenni turn old rough pieces into gorgeous outcomes, I did not think I could possibly achieve the product she produces. I was extremely nervous to mess up everything. Jenni offered to help me with every step along the way. So we began by simply preparing the pieces to stain and paint."
"And then we began painting. I thought, 'This does NOT look good. There are visible brush strokes everywhere.' I was even following Jenni’s specific instructions of long, even brush strokes. But after that first coat, I knew I wasn’t good at it. But before we began her specific words were “hang in there after the first coat, it gets much better.” And so I did. When I was applying the second coat I immediately started to think “This is really starting to look good!”

"There are so many steps to taking an old piece of furniture and transforming it into a brand new masterpiece ready for my home. If you want to achieve a great outcome, the work has to be done. I realized that using a paint designed specifically for wood furniture as well as a good paint brush are crucial for success. Also having a friend that is a professional at this is a major advantage as well! I am extremely excited with out this piece turned out and can’t wait for it to be used well over the years in our home!"

Don't forget to check out my blog, using the link below, for more furniture makeovers just like this one!

Also, be sure to subscribe to my emails for the latest tutorials, helpful tips and creative support and follow me on Facebook @rootsandwingsfurniture!

Until next time, stay creative!! 
Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Jenni Ingram
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 9 questions
  • Heide Heide on Apr 30, 2019

    Did you tape off the glass, or if not - how did you remove the paint? Thanks.

  • Joanne Joanne on Apr 29, 2020

    This is to the lady that helped you and has been refinishing wood products for a while. My dinning table is a soft wood(wish it was oak) it scratches really easy. If I sand it down and restain the top, what can I put on it after the stain, that will make it harder and less likely to scratch.

  • Debbie Rose Debbie Rose on Apr 29, 2020

    In looking at the before and after pictures it is evident that you physically altered the piece. How did you do that and what did you do with any leftover wood?

Join the conversation
2 of 71 comments
  • Linda Abate Linda Abate on Apr 30, 2020

    The transformation of your hutch is very pretty. I am glad that you left the table top part stained. Goes to show that a little bit of paint and time can do wonders to an old piece of furniture. BEAUTIFUL.

  • Annette Annette on Oct 03, 2020

    OMG! This totally got me thinking.....For starters, I have the exact same hutch...Pennsylvania House ...It was part of my parent's dining room set which I now have. I can't tell from your photo, but mine has the original blown glass windows which have a slight curve effect....I am planning to take it to my next house which will be a log home and haven't decided if I will paint it or not. The wood is actually in excellent condition except for one scratch that occured on the top of the buffet section as they were reassembling it in my house. ...LOVED seeing this idea!