Before and After: Amputee Hutch

Time and time again I fall victim to the pity buy. That sad, forlorn piece of furniture that really doesn’t seem worth the work of restoration but you just know will fall victim to the merciless wrath of the shabby chic army if left behind. That’s the story of this hutch.


I found it sitting in the corner of a thrift store. No legs. Back falling off. An unreasonable amount of leaves and grass clippings inside. It hadn’t lived a glamorous life, but for about the price of a two-person trip to Starbucks I just couldn’t leave it there to be almost-certain prey for an ambitious crafty person armed with chalk paint.

First it needed legs. I scavenged some blonde tapered legs from an old ottoman and painted them black to better go with the freshly polished dark walnut wood. Then I had to do something about that back. Though the whole hutch was wood, the back was woodgrain printed on Masonite. It really cheapened the whole look. Usually I’d cover it in grasscloth or a neutral fabric, but as I was looking at the fabric store something else caught my eye…


The end result is a little out of character for me. Ok, a lot out of character. But I do think the chevron adds some much needed pizzazz and still gives a nod to the era so it doesn’t feel too out of left field. Plus, unlike the chalk paint route, fabric is easy to change out any time you want. The total investment? $24, including the purchase price of the cabinet. Not too shabby—but still pretty chic.

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