I often joke that the Two Flat’s corner hutch was what sealed the deal for me. Chicago is full of rich history, yet so often, the beautiful vintage homes that we all wish for are hard to find; over the years, they’ve been stripped of the very things that make them beautiful, often times because it’s much – and I quote – ‘easier’ for the ‘newer, better’ thing. That charm is gone. Just gone. And so, upon touring our dear Two Flat for the first time, I squeezed Scott’s hand – hard. He knew it, I knew it. This was our next big project.
That’s not to say we haven’t touched the things that others may deem precious – to each homeowner’s choice, their own – but this hutch? You can’t touch my hutch. (And yes, you are getting the biggest sneak peek into our refinished 130-year-old pine floors!) I dream of this hutch. I dream of what color I should paint, what finish the hardware will be. I think about replacing the shelving inside with glass, maybe lining the back with paper, maybe not. As I scratch drywall mud debris off of that mirror, I smile at the silvering that’s happening along the edges. It’s in the dining room, and isn’t that an opportunity to be more playful? Or perhaps I shouldn’t force it – restraint is beautiful, too (and sometimes more difficult to nail).
I can’t help but ask: How would you refinish this hutch?
Other Things This Week
I started wearing nail polish for Lucy (Mommy. Paint. Polish, yeah!), which I’m actually loving! Another lifetime ago, I once picked up the prettiest glitter polish (a splurge, for sure), but it’s been her – and my – favorite so far. A real pick-me-up.
150K nature illustrations spanning hundreds of years are now free online. (Yeah, you read that right!) Reminiscent of our native bird prints, don’t you think?
I read and re-read this article, quoted below, and having been on both sides (and having had a child much later in life), so many things stuck with me. It was hard to pull just one quote, but this felt especially poignant:
If a friend were to move away, it would be obvious that extra care is necessary to nurture a long-distance relationship. When one friend has children, the same is true, only the distance is now an emotional one.– Hi From Your Childless Friend
I know I was just talking about winter candles, but I can’t stop wearing these summer jeans! They’re the perfect Mom jean, if you’re afraid of the Mom jean. The gateway jean, I think. Tip: Size down.
I went to a Sseko Trunk Show recently, and I left having ordered this skirt. It just arrived, and I plan on wearing it non-stop with my concert tees all summer long!
I dare you to not get sucked in.
The #1 new release in peanut butter. I AM DYING.
Number 3 speaks to me. Who remembers our pumpkin bedroom and grass green living room?! Oh, and I once had a school bus yellow bedroom, periwinkle bath and adobe pink living room, too. No regrets.
We were recently interviewed by Elizabeth of @cheapoldhouses (she’s the best, truly) and featured in the March issue of Country Living Magazine! Have you seen it? It’s a good issue, and I especially loved the spotlight on I Spy DIY‘s Barnhouse.
- CB2: Up to 30% off rugs
- Crate & Barrel: Extra 10% off select clearance
- Everlane: Choose What You Pay (yes, really)
- J. Crew: Up to 35% off your purchase with code WINWIN
- J. Crew Factory: Extra 25% off skirts, dresses and dress shirts with code WORKIT
- Loft: 40% off dresses and tops
- Madewell: Extra 30% off sale with code LIKEALION
- Pottery Barn: 30% off kitchen and dining
- Rejuvenation: 20% off kitchen and dining, lighting and hardware!
- Serena & Lily: 20% off upholstery sale
- Target: Up to 25% off furniture
- West Elm: Up to 30% off upholstery sale
- Wayfair: Up to 65% off upholstery sale
- Williams Sonoma: Free shipping on all orders with code FREESHIP
Wishing you all a happy weekend and even happier Leap Day! What are you up to? We’re headed to Cincinnati for a quick video shoot, and I plan to eat my weight in Skyline Chili, whenever and wherever possible. xx
If the hutch was mine, I would first burn off the paint with a heat gun. Then strip off any remaining residue with Kutzit piant remover https://www.homedepot.com/p/SAVOGRAN-Kutzit-1G-Liquid-All-Purpose-Stripper-without-Methylene-Chloride-and-NMP-01243/307940555. It looks like the hutch was painted on top of a varnished finish so the paint would not have penetrated the wood grain. Taking it back to the original wood finish would really let the hutch tell its story. I did this process to a 1914 house with lots of cyprus wood inside the house.
Thank you for the link to the Cup of Jo article. Definitely resonating, especially having made the choice to be childfree. Can you strip the hutch and see if the wood is any good??? I love old houses..
We thought about stripping, but there are quite a few pocks and dents that need repaired. We’re thinking color is the way!
It’s funny what you mention about wearing polish for Lucy. My 3 year old is ALL that is girl. And I some times wonder where she got it from. I work from home, in sweats, don’t wear makeup except for weekends if we go somewhere, don’t brush my hair (it’s straight so why bother) and my inlaws who she sees the most are the same. But girl LOVES girliness. I fought it at first a little like no! Girls don’t need to be ‘pretty’ and be ‘princesses’ we are smart and capable and strong. But then I realized, hey, I was super girly as a kid and now I have a killer career, am great with power tools AND can dress up too if I want. Sorry. Random rant on that. But i’m totally going to paint my nails today and my daughter will be thrilled.
I love this.
I would paint it a quiet, muddy color (whatever fits best with the rest of the house – gray-blue, sage, even pale pink), then do a subtle and time-appropriate wallpaper behind the shelves!
That’s where I’m leaning…
You could put up removable wallpaper (or I’ve done wrapping paper and art paper!) and change it out when you feel like it! Keep the wooden shelves. Glass shelves show dust very easily, even inside a cabinet.
Good point (re: shelves), however, we installed a j-box for a light in there, and the glass will allow the light to shine throughout the cabinet. :)
THANK YOU for sharing this article from a childless friend! As a childless person, I feel this so deeply. This is a very kind and articulate reminder.
Did you see the post on EHD yesterday? They talked about restoring a craftsman home. So relevant for your hutch! They had a beautiful dark / muddy blue in one of the photos that highlighted a wood accent and I think something like that would be ???? Can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Oooh I’ll check it out, thanks!
Paint it Black. Bold.
Thank you for the childless article, there are several discussions on that site that were wonderful to read and share. I lack childless people around me so I seldom get to discuss the lifestyle choice. And when my hormones challenge my decision to not have children it’s helpful to remember why a childless life really is the better option for me and I’m not alone.
Digging this weekender, Kim! Re: the hutch, I think quiet is better. Painting it to match the wall color and/or trim, with a pretty wallpaper peeking through the back and some classic, petina’d hardware… I think it would look textural rather than statement. It’ll be beautiful no matter what!
My old house does’t have a hutch but if it did I would finish it the same as the trim in the room. If you want to try out wallpaper in the cabinet, Susan at House of Brinson has been lining drawers and antique cabinets with wallpaper (https://www.houseofbrinson.com/2018/11/07/fall-one-room-challenge-week-6/). Perhaps you have some left over from Tree House?
We were able to reinstall the original medicine cabinet in the bathroom though with its old beveled mirror that luckily the previous owners had just moved to the basement when they updated the bathroom in the 50s.
That hutch needs to be a juicy mahogany wood stain!! Let the pocks and dings and patina live. (I typoed live as love, which, also love). My 3 yo is also big into nail polish, now it’s something we do together every week or two. Her fine motor skills are progressing nicely with it!
That’s so sweet! Do you use regular polish with your kiddo? Lucy is still sticking her fingers in her mouth (those pesky molars are about to pop!), so I don’t want to do that just yet.
Yeah admittedly I just let her use my own polish stash. Fortunately she doesn’t have her hands in her mouth much.
What a super sweet article. I have two very dear friends struggling with infertility in different ways… and this really helps me see things from their perspective – me as the crazy mom to the 4 yr old who now only goes to happy hour 2x per year.