Archives for category: home

hutch restained

So I bought a two-piece hutch on Craigslist for $50 including the seller delivering it to our house. I knew it needed some work on the drawers (the seller had tried to repair lots of the inside parts). I also soon realized that it came from a smoker’s den (ha!) when cigarette butts literally fell out of it.

I took all the drawers out and aired everything outside for a few days. I also wiped it down many times with vinegar. When I brought it inside I placed big bowls of baking soda in the drawers and cabinets to try to suck up some of the smoke smell.

hutch door

hutch before

My dad fixed all of the drawers (thanks, Dad!!!) and we had a functional, albeit dated-looking dining room hutch. Think 1980s antique brass handles and knobs and a light finish with dark speckles. And an occasional smokey scent when it got humid or warm…

Fast forward to a couple years later; I bought some wooden dining room chairs and 20 yes TWENTY soup bowls yikes from a closed restaurant auction (here’s my post on spiffing up the soup bowls). The chairs are a darker wood, and it was like those “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” books – now that I had dark chairs I wanted a darker hutch. And a darker hutch needed updated knobs and drawer pulls. And a nice hutch and chairs called for a matching plant stand/table and then I wanted a new tablecloth, etc, etc, etc.

Anyway, here’s what I did to update the hutch. I took out the drawers and removed the doors and hardware. I wanted to get the top layer off and not go all the way to the wood, so I sanded all the surfaces with 220-grit sandpaper (I used a 1/4-sheet electric sander for the large surfaces, and sanded the smaller details by hand). I wiped everything with a damp rag to get all of the dust.

hutch sanding

I applied one coat of Minwax PolyShades Bombay Mahogany (Satin) and let it dry overnight. Then I lightly buffed over the stain with Extra Fine #000 Steel Wool and wiped it down before adding a second coat of PolyShades.

After the second coat dried my favorite step was next: adding new knobs and drawer pulls. I decided on satin nickel, and used Liberty 2-1/2″ drawer pulls and Liberty 1-1/4″ round knobs. I put satin nickel backplates behind the knobs on the two doors.

I scoured the internet and local home improvement stores for replacement hinges, but they are some weird style that’s impossible to find. I didn’t want to fill in holes and drill new ones, so I ended up spray painting the original hinges and screws with Rust-Oleum Satin Nickel Metallic Spray Paint.

hutch hinge

The smoke smell is definitely gone for now (hurray for varnish fumes, ha!) and I am very happy with how all the different pieces our little Frankenstein hutch came together. Who’s ready to eat some soup?!?

hutch restained



Our house has a beautiful front door. But guess how often we use it? Basically never. Instead, we park our cars in the garage, and enter the house through our laundry room and into the kitchen. So, I decided to spruce up the door and stairs in the garage since we see it all the time.

This door was plain white, and the stairs were gray, though scuffed and missing lots of paint. We also had an old almond-colored light switch plate cover. Here’s what I did…

easy DIY garage makeover


I added a few coats of black paint to the stairs. I also bought some black vinyl tiles, which will be a project for later. I plan on attaching them on top of the stairs with some floor adhesive.

Our oldest son helped paint the door a khaki color, and then I added a vinyl “Welcome” decal that I bought on Amazon (have I mentioned how much I love Amazon Prime?!?).

I also added an over-the-door wreath hanger and attached a wreath.

little helper {}


Below is the light switch cover plate that was next to our door. It was an old plastic thing and I considered buying a new, oil-rubbed bronze plate to match the doorknob, but decided to take a cheap thrifty/creative approach, and used Mod Podge and scrapbook paper to add a custom look. I just followed the directions of a tutorial at

use ModPodge and scrapbook paper to make a custom-designed light switch plate cover

just 2 supplies needed to transform an old plastic lightswitch cover to a custom plate

garage into house - needs some TLC - added custom paint colors for the door and steps, then added a vinyl 'Welcome' decal and a wreath

garage - entry door - after

DIY garage makeover - custom colors for the steps and door, add a wreath and a vinyl decal