The Top Half (Part the First)

Ah, the China hutch! Remember the bottom half?


Well, this week I (literally) dragged in the top half from the garage. By myself. The ability (and insanity) to do this type of thing comes from years of doing so. As a child, I moved my furniture in my bedroom constantly. I’d get on the floor and use my legs to push and use my head to figure out how. I still do it, but it takes a bit longer and I’m far more winded afterward. I digress…

I was so nervous bringing this into the studio because of its glass. Glass doors, mirrored back, and glass shelf. Of course once I got it into the studio and had started working on it I realised only then – all the glass can be removed (except the mirrored back)! Of course. Key word there – “after.” Oh well.

I wanted to do a small step-by-step for this piece for you. So this is Part One.


This was taken just after I got it into the studio. Note the red blanket on the bottom? There is a piece of glass wrapped inside that becomes the shelf of this piece. It is the entire length of the cabinet. It was wrapped in the blanket inside as you see it because the shelf didn’t come out. Or so I’ve always thought. I got it out with much ginger maneuvering and a couple of close calls.

In the process of taking off the doors, I realised the glass was held in with stays. All these years of moving this thing around and I never once took the glass out?! Imagine the stress I could have saved myself each time… “Sigh”


Tada! Glass out except for that top scalloped piece. I taped it with my Frog Tape.


I vacuumed off the top. I’m fairly sure this had never been done before. It was gross. Then I took off the doors and started to paint the inside in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® “Provençe.” I use a ladle to scoop out paint from the can into an enamelware bowl. Two scoops of paint. Then I use my spray bottle to dilute the paint just a bit. Ten squirts per scoop. Stir it up and start painting. You don’t have to dilute the paint. It just depends on how you like to work with it. I knew I would be doing two coats and since the piece is Oak I wanted it to seep into the grain quickly. Diluting the paint helps with that and it seems to stretch out the paint a little as well.

Once I had my head stuck inside the hutch and looked up for the first time, I saw that the lovely scalloped piece had glass stays, too! Of course. So I removed that finely taped piece as well. I also removed the catches for the doors. Depending on the piece you’re working on, you have to determine how much or how little hardware you want to remove. This is a high quality piece so I decided to remove everything except the door pulls and hinges because I’m going to paint over them. Truthfully, I feel a little guilty about not removing those, too, and painting the wood beneath then going back over the pulls once they are back on or doing them separately whilst off. Details matter. If I were selling this piece that’s how I would do it. But it’s mine so…. I’ll allow it. 🙂


As you can see, the inside bottom was not painted. This is because the mirror that goes there is hiding in my closet after being abruptly dislodged by the movers in the recent move hereto. And thankfully, caught just in time by my Sweet Chop! The memory of that moving moment causes anxiety. Let’s move on (pardon the pun).

Once the interior had its first coat, I cleaned my brushes (I’ve decided to do a short video how to on this in the upcoming days. Stay tuned.) and scooped out three scoops of “Old White.” I want this piece to look a little more. “refined” so I again added the water to make the paint go on a bit more smoothly and really soak into the oak’s deep, dry grooves.

If you look closely, you can see where I taped after I painted the Provençe just at the front where the doors go. This is to create a definite line between door and interior. I wanted the finished look of separation between the two with the Old White on the exterior.

Two coats of each colour. As I’m painting, part of the beauty of ASCP is it’s “movement” and “telling you how it wants to be.” There are natural spots where the paint just doesn’t cover. That’s where it’s telling you it doesn’t want to be! Go with it! When you wax and distress later, you’ll see the beauty of it. Trust me.


Stay tuned for the big finish and the reveal of both halves becoming one unit again!


Postscriptum: I had a LOT of help in the studio this day…



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