design 101: how to style a hutch

i am hardly a design expert.

i just play until i think it looks good and when it’s to my liking, i call it a day.

lately, i’ve had a few people ask me for help or advice on how to style shelves, layout a room, or pick paint colors, so it got me thinkingโ€ฆmaybe it would be fun (and helpful?) to do a design series on the blog of some of these topics?

ya know, kinda like design diy.

we can pretend this is trading spaces circa 2001. and i’ll pretend i’m Paige Davis!

what do ya think?

okayโ€ฆhere it goes.

welcome, to design 101: how to style a hutch.

i, unfortunately, did not get a before picture. i’m quite bummed about it. truly, i am. ย (i think i’m already fired from trading spaces. oops). however, imagine a built-in hutch, in a kitchen, filled with only crystal goblets.ย when my client called me for immediate help on how to make her hutch pretty for the holidays, i headed right over.

this is what we came up with:

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first, we pulled everything out of her cabinets (the bottom cabinets, too! that’s where i found most of the dishes, platters, and pitchers.)

then we slowly worked from the bottom section and worked our way up.

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i found her big platters and leaned them against the back wall of the cabinet. then, i stacked all of her plates to give the pitchers, teapots, and creamers some height.

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we had to move the bottom glass shelf up to allow room for the big platters, which left us with a tiny shelf space.

that’s when i noticed her set of tea/coffee cups. the tiny shelf space allowed just enough space to showcase each cup.

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on the next shelf, we added the leftover dinner and salad plates. i wanted each shelf to be a little symmetrical, but i tried to add some interest in the middle section by adding the teapot and creamer to offset the dishes a little.

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we then added the crystal goblets to the top shelf from tallest to shortest to give it a little uniform. this also let the light from the cabinet shine through the crystal and on to the lower shelves.

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and there you have it. styling a hutch never looked easier, right?! just remember height, layers, symmetry, with a bit of asymmetry thrown in, group like kinds and you’re good to go.

now, all you have to do is pull all of those plates out and serve up the pumpkin pie. ๐Ÿ˜‰

wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! xo

diy refinish furniture {for only $2}

i love the rustic, farmhouse look.

but not when it’s on a piece of furniture that is neither rustic nor farmhouse.

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my son so lovingly decided to help distress this piece of furniture in our dining room when he found a screwdriver that was accidentally left out.

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it’s inevitably going to happen when a three-year-old is in the house.

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a couple of years ago, i remember thinking i was going to have to probably sand down and refinish this entire dresser and the task seemed a bit overwhelming.

then i stumbled upon a pin on Pinterest about refinishing furniture with a couple of simple household items. i tried it and couldn’t believe my eyes!

i thought i would share this (probably not so secret) advice.

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here’s what you’ll need: 1.) white vinegar 2.) olive oil

seriously, that simple! i bought each from the dollar store and came home and did half and half in a bowl and then used a soft cloth to wipe the concoction on (a little goes a long way!).

this is what the dresser looks like now:

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what a difference, eh?

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the shine will last for about six months and then it’s time to re-oil it again.

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so, before you take that old beat up piece of furniture to the refinisher….grab yourself some oil and vinegar and give your furniture some love.

it’ll shine and say thank you!

finding furniture

i have always loved furniture.

i know. it’s kinda weird to love furniture, but i do.

when i was younger, most of my friends were saving up their babysitting money to buy clothes.

i was saving mine to buy furniture.

i bought my first big piece of furniture when i was fifteen. it was a solid pine armoire and i was smitten. it had hinge doors that revealed the closet portion (or the tv area…whatever i was using it as) and two giant drawers on the bottom.

it weighed a gazillion pounds.

when i got married, we took it with us to every place we lived. it first traveled with us to our move to Colorado and was carried up a flight of stairs. and then was brought back down those stairs, out in the snow and loaded up in the u-haul for our move to Chicago. we carried that gazillion-pound-armoire down a steep flight of back stairs, then up four more flights of stairs at our Chicago apartment. it was a lot of stairs. i nearly lost some fingers.

it was worth it.

i loved that silly piece of furniture. and though my husband didn’t have quite the affection for it that i did, he kindly helped carry it into every home we have lived in.

after moving back to California and moving the armoire with us for two more moves (and three more flights of stairs), we finally parted ways when my husband and i bought our first home. you would think that would be the time to keep it, right? well, after nearly twelve years together, it was time to let that cute, big,ย gazillion pound armoire go.

the kicker? i didn’t want to have to move that thing down two more flights of stairs and out of our apartment. the new proud craiglist owners did it for us (thank you, whoever you are. and i hope my big baby is doing well!).

well, since buying my first piece of furniture, many other pieces of furniture have come into our lives.

for example, this teak patio set:

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i love its weathered grey finish.

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and i had just mentioned to my mom that i would love to have Thanksgiving at our house.

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now we’ll have enough room for everyone! (as long as it doesn’t rain.)

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wanna know the kicker of this teak table set? (if you follow me on instagram, then you already know. cheater.)

it was free.

i didn’t even pay a penny. except for maybe gas to pick it up two blocks away from my house.

my sweet neighbor around the block sent me a text that someone had this on her curb and was trying to get rid of it. i thought for sure it was gone when i finally checked my phone and saw her text two hours later. my son and i jumped in the car and i found the house and the table and offered to pay for it, but the owner of the table said, “no, we are trying to get rid of it. please just take it.” um. ok!

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i could hardly believe it.ย it fits perfectly in our backyard with our other free curbside finds.

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like this old galvanized bucket that houses the fern. i found it in a neighbor’s free pile at their garage sale.

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and our old chippy black farmhouse bench that another neighbor put out on the curb during their move.

i realize this look isn’t for everyone, but i love it!

people ask me all the time how i find this stuff….i’m really not sure. it just happens. maybe it’s our neighborhood.

or maybe i’m like the neighborhood cat lady who loves cats, only i love furniture. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(side note: finding things runs in the family. remind me to tell you the story about how my husband finds things, too! like ten thousand dollar cashier checks in the middle of the road that he returned to a sweet couple that were about to buy a car. it’s a great story!)

happy looooong weekend, friends!