Monday, February 13, 2012

Elbow Grease and Paint Pants: Hutch Top No More

We built our house in 2007.  Someday I'll have to recount that drama, but not today.  There aren't very many things I would change about my house, but there is one mistake I knew I was making the instant I made the decision:

Our master water closet has no storage--nowhere to keep toilet paper or other sundry necessary items while using the facilities.  When we were ordering cabinets, I knew we I would regret not ordering a cabinet to go over the toilet, but at the time it seemed too expensive so I didn't.

We had lived in the house less than a month when my mistake was confirmed.  Dangit.

This hutch top and the two shelves I talked about in this post were all one lot at the notorious "I-ended-up-with-FOURTEEN-pieces-of-furniture" auction.  Who wants a hutch top with no base?  Why me, of course!  I knew this cabinet would be the perfect fit for the void above my toilet.

Here is my water closet before:
Poor lonely little vase atop the toilet tank.  I tried to make it cute in there.

And this picture, just to keep it real:
We had tried to use that hamper to hold toilet paper, but it was always piled so high with magazines and books that it quickly deteriorated into just being a shelf. (Funny side note:  my kids were in my room watching Star Trek--see this post on Lenny's--when I was taking these pictures.  Micah said, "Who takes pictures of a toilet?"  Why your mother does, dear!)

After painting and distressing and waxing the cabinet, it was time to address the back of it.  I had planned to cover the back in either fabric or paper, so I didn't paint that area, and because it was a quality piece and attached well, I didn't remove it either.  This fabric was my first attempt:
It is nearly the same color as my wall color, and I liked the pattern, but I wanted something with a little more pop, so back to the store I went, where I settled on a more subtly printed coral.  I stapled the fabric to the back piece, fully thinking I could edge it well.  I was wrong.

I tried everything to get those edges to look good, and I couldn't.  I had to take a third trip to the fabric store, purchase another yard of coral fabric, then come home and wrestle the back off that cabinet.  It took me almost an hour to get the back off, then a mere thirty minutes to stretch, staple and reattach the back.  

Here's the finished result:
Closed view and open view
Aside from the fabric, this plate was the only thing I purchased to fill the cabinet.  I fell in love with the colors immediately, but the thing I loved the most was the tag line "Mondays," written across the cream leaf on the bottom.  I've always been a Monday--new week/clean slate--kind of girl, and with the small hints of coral, I knew this would be perfect in there.

 I got these little flowers in the mail when I won the 2011 Review Extravaganza (wish I could remember which blogger sent them, so I could thank her and link to her blog!).
 My sister and her family came to visit in December, and she brought me these three little books--perfect size for this shelf.

I saw these twin guys in HomeGoods one day.  They were on the clearance shelf because they were separated from their bookend bases--I didn't want bookends anyway, so score for me.
 This card has always cracked me up--for Mother's Day a few years ago, Brad pasted Hyrum and Micah over the original picture, and the caption reads, "Behind every great kid there's a mom who's pretty sure she's screwing it all up."  Hyrum made this frame with a babysitter one day, and I love having it where I can see it often.  That fantastic white pot--auction find, my friends.
This basket has a story--a story of intrigue and adventure:  when I ventured to Lucketts last October.
I bought six of these vintage locker baskets with the intent that they would find homes in my kids' mudroom cubbies, but they're too rough and scratchy on the bottoms.  A few weeks ago, Miss Mustard Seed herself posted her bathroom renovation and she had hung THE IDENTICAL baskets in her bathroom.  I shamelessly copied her, placing one on top of the shelf and employing two more here:
The numbers have significance to me (stupid, huh?): 644 are the first three numbers of my phone number, and I was 42 when I bought them.  If you can make out the titles of the books and magazines, you'll be able to guess who spends the most time in here.

Lessons Learned:
  • Always remove the back if the plan is to cover it.  I can't cut that straight, but the shelf can disguise a multitude of mistakes.
  • Hide the bag of removed hardware so you can find it again.  When I removed the hinges and knobs, I left the bag on the counter in the garage, but somehow, my kids got into the bag and lost the original pulls, which I loved and had planned on using.  Luckily, I had these glass knobs left over from another project.
  • Use things you love to fill a space, not what you think will look perfect.  I'm so happy every time I see those two stinky little boys I love smiling back at me.
  • Copy shamelessly, but don't be so selfish that you take the credit.  Someone will always know the truth. :)

As a side note, I purchased this lot--the two shelves and the abandoned hutch top--for $30.  I sold both of the shelves ($65 and $50), so I only ended up with the piece that I wanted.  Cool, huh?

Now the floor is free of clutter and stuff is all within reach. Happy me!

Until next week,
Going once, going twice . . .
Linking up to Tuesday's Treasures and Take-a-Look Tuesdays.


  1. What a pretty room you've made, Jen. I really like it! That hutch-top-no-more is inspired!

  2. I am in awe Jen! Holy smokes! That was one heck of a transformation girl! I think I have gone back and looked at the pictures 4 times! How did you know coral would look amazing in there?! Love the way it looks, love the baskets, and I especially love what you said about filling your space with things you love...I need to do more of that.

  3. Darling! Makes me wish you lived in CO so that I could go shopping/auctioning with you and find something wonderful!

  4. your talents are truly UNREAL - this looks amazing ... i'm actually speechless!! W.O.W. is all i can think to say ...

  5. I love the remodel. We live in an old victorian and I take on 1 project a year, with the help of my darling husband.

    We've agreed never to wallpaper together again so we won't end in divorce...but that was at the begining of our marriage.

  6. LOVE it! I don't have any storage in my main floor bathroom, either. I've got a basket for TP on the floor, and I tend to hide cleaning supplies and the plunger in the shower. Classy, right? I love the fabric on the back. But I'm wondering HOW you take the back off a piece like that, and how you get it back on.

    Want to come to Utah and help me redo my bathroom?

  7. I think it looks fantastic!

    And I especially love those three little books and your cute boys.


  8. you've got a knack, my friend.

    Love lookin' at your loo.

  9. LOVE! Seriously perfect- scale, color, light distressing. The post was worth waiting for.

  10. Well...shut the front door. I do believe this is my favorite thing you've done. I LURVE it! I'm laughing at you a little for the fact that you needed "storage" and yet it's FULL of cute little decorations and just a few toilet paper rolls. hee hee Don't get me wrong, I'm lovin all the decore. Anyway, GREAT job!

  11. Seriously amazing. I don't know how you do it. You set your mind to it and BAM!, it's done.

  12. Wow, Jen! I have often seen those hutch tops at garage sales and auctions and wondered what anyone would ever do with one. I must say I am very impressed. That was a perfect use. I think one would pay a lot of money for the same thing at Pottery Barn or a similar store. Nicely are an inspiration!

  13. love, love, love it! How awesome and clever and wonderful! You are brilliant!

  14. love the white. crisp and clean.

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