House Post: Dining Hutch Redo

I cannot BELIEVE I never posted this when I completed this project…a year ago. This was the first major cosmetic I tackled after we painted all the walls.

Our dining room has a built-in china hutch that was in kind of rough shape. The top was a weird faux-wood laminate that was peeling and chipping off, oh, and there was the minor detail that it was super ugly.

So I painted it. And replaced the top with butcher block. I initially wanted to paint it a nice darker gray version of what we had on the walls (Behr’s Halation, if you’re interested). But I got a coat of that on and it was just…blah. Instead of being a pop of interest, it just kind of faded away.

I ended up with a darker, much bluer shade of gray called NYPD Blue. Funny story, I thought removing the old top would be really difficult. I went to wrench it off, and it turns out it wasn’t even attached.

This is a pretty decent photo of the finished color with the uncut, unfinished butcher block on it. Note the new brushed nickel hardware, too.

And here is the fully finished product! It looks almost navy in this photo – it really just depends on the light. My husband cut the butcher block to size, but I installed it, conditioned the wood, hung the doors, installed the new hardware – everything.

The last step will be to finish re-upholstering the dining chairs! I’ve done two…like six months ago…oops. The fabric is a cream and blue-gray pattern that ties the room together nicely. Next pandemic project?

Overall, this is still one of my favorite pieces in the house. I love how it looks modern but cozy and inviting, and we have a little bar/buffet/sideboard when (if?) we can have people over again.

For those who are interested, this is the process I followed, after reading a lot about repainting old oak cabinets.

  • Remove doors and hardware. Make a numbered map of where each door goes, and write the number on the backside of the door, under where a hinge will go when finished. Put a small piece of tape over the number so you can peel it off and see the number when you’re done.
  • Light scuff sand to rough up the gloss.
  • Wipe it down really well. I used Dawn dishsoap in warm water.
  • Primer x2 coats. I used a high-quality acrylic primer for this project.
  • Paint x2 coats. I used Behr Ultra semi-gloss in NYPD.
  • Install cabinet hardware and hinges. Hang doors according to your map.
  • Cut butcher block to size. Condition all over, doing several thin coats. I use Howard Butcher Block Conditioner, which gives it a lovely glow.
  • Install butcher block, screwing in tightly from below.

We also installed under-cabinet lights that we got from Amazon. They are strips of adhesive, so the light is very even, not like little spotlights. They aren’t tied into a switch, but that works for us – we just use the little toggle that is hidden on the underside of the upper cabinets.


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