China Hutch or Kitchen Pantry?

11 Sep

Hi! I love my little house from the 60’s. The one thing I don’t love is the fact that the kitchen doesn’t have a pantry. Yup… that’s right… no pantry. For those of you living in an older home, such as myself, this comes as no surprise and I’m sure with no sympathy. So what to do. Well when we first moved in we bought this from Target for like $25 to fill the need:

Then when we got him:  and I started trying to cook more to save money, that went out the window. What to do? So I went to one of my favorite antique malls and was browsing and I found a 1970’s style china hutch. No frills; just solid wood with 3 glass doors, closed storage underneath… and wait the booth has a 30% off clearance! Hold on… could it really be ONLY $20!!?? Done and done. My new pantry.

So I had the piece but I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do with it; but I knew I wanted it white and that I didn’t want to be able to see through the glass doors since it was being used for food storage. I saw a couple really neat inspiration pieces online (none of which I can find now honestly).

And this is what I ended up with:

Here are a couple of things I learned while doing this project:

  1. Don’t do painting projects outdoors (in the garage) in the winter
  2. Don’t be lazy. Use oil based primer and paint and you’ll save yourself HOURS. Zinsser primer is amazing!
  3. Silver leafing is NOT as easy as it looks. It also works better when you have the visible side that you can “buff” and make smooth vs. having the visible side up against glass.
  4. Hobby Lobby has the best selection of knobs and pulls… just wait… they are on sale every other week pretty much.

So these are going to be the short steps since I don’t have pics of the process (since it took like 3 months b/c of the weather…oh well).

Step 1: Lightly sand entire piece and wipe down with a damp rag.

Step 2: Use an OIL based primer like Zinser Oil Base Primer. Try not to do it too thick b/c this is a pretty thick medium. You may need 1 or 2 depending on the stain previously used on the piece. (This is the reason I say to use Oil based on furniture pieces like this. I had painted 2 coats of latex primer and 2 coats of paint and you could still  see a yellowy stain coming through. Soo …. I had to strip it and then repaint. Huge pain.) Between each coat you’ll need to let it dry at least 24 hours and will have to use mineral spirits to clean your brushes and pans.

Step 3: Use an OIL based paint (I used high gloss because it was easy to wipe off if it got dirty) and paint 1-2 coats depending on the thickness that you would like.

Step 4: Apply silver leafing. I purchased my materials from Hobby Lobby, and while I could probably try to give you step by step instructions on how to do it, they have them on the label too. NOTE: this is not as easy as it looks or any show makes it seem. It’s a messy, slightly irritating process that can give mixed results. That being said; I love how it made this little china cabinet look. I will say tho, that it is easier to use silver leafing on a surface that the silver will be on the outside than on the inside (as I silver leafed the inside of the glass doors to help protect it).

Step 5: Replace knobs and enjoy! When the piece you are refinishing has odd curves, be aware of what kind of knobs or pulls you purchase to make sure that they actually fit. The ones I originally bought for the top of this cabinet wouldn’t fit, so I ended up (you guessed it) priming and painting the old ones and just replacing the bottom ones.

This has seriously doubled our storage in the kitchen and I love it!

Not too shabby if I say so myself. 🙂


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