Make-Shift Dining Room Hutch

Our kitchen is so teeny tiny that right after we moved in I realized that most of our kitchen items would need to be stored in the dining room. I planned on using the red credenza in there and I thought about painting it a really dark plum color.


Also, I didn’t have a place in the brownstone to put the HUGE bookshelf from the loft’s laundry room and it didn’t fit down the stairs to the basement, so we had put it out on the curb, but only for about 15 minutes.

As I unpacked all of our kitchen stuff, it was pretty clear that my plates and bowls and servingware weren’t all going to fit in the red credenza. So we hauled the giant (heavy) bookshelf back up the stoop and set it up on top of the credenza.

We were shocked and thrilled that it actually fit, but the ketchup/mustard color combo was not so appetizing to me. :) I thought about still doing the plum idea for the whole piece, but really, it is such a huge, huge piece and the room is so small, I thought a big block of dark color would overpower the space. So I decided just to try gloss white. But before I painted it, we secure the shelves to the wall and I added two pieces of wood to the base of the bookshelf to make the whole thing look less disjointed and more like a single piece of furniture. (We did a similar trick with our Billy bookshelves)

I used a 2×4 for the bottom of the base and a 2×6 for the tall part. I made a couple of 45 degree angle cuts with my miter saw, screwed the pieces together and caulked and filled the holes and gaps. 

I painted it all out with Rustoleum’s white gloss enamel and I used a bit of my favorite Penetrol to help reduce the brush marks (this stuff really does work – as long as you use the recommended amount!).

I decided to leave the insides of the shelves the navy color from before and I like the contrast. I know it’s busy – there are so many dishes in there! I’ve since edited and taken some of the things out, but really this space needed to be about practicality (isn’t every small space?). I’ve considered adding doors, but you don’t really see the contents of the shelves from any other angle in the room (and not at all from the entry). Mostly, it is SO nice to have easy access to all of this servingware and I love that my girls can easily grab the dinner plates from the bottom shelf to help set the table by themselves.

I like that the white sort of blends into the pale walls and helps to make the small room not feel even smaller. Though, some days (usually during breakfast, when the light is so pretty in here) I start to daydream again of painting the whole thing dark, dark, almost black, plum. We’ll see if my better judgement holds out. :)

It’s a fun challenge for me to figure out ways to make furniture from previous homes work in (very different) spaces. I’m usually tempted to get rid of everything each time we move, but it never really happens that way and I usually can find a way to make our old stuff work (which is probably for the best) :)

What have you done to make your old furniture work in new spaces?

  1. Love the chandelier and I really LOVE what you did with the buffet!
    It's completely different and so beautiful in black & white ♥

  2. I'm cracking up that so many of you are mourning the loss of the red!! :) I was so ready to change that thing, guys! It's been red for like four years, which is pretty much an eternity in my typical furniture finish lifecycle. I get antsy for change pretty fast. :) Plus the Safety Red secretary is about six feet away from the credenza, so it almost feels like an homage to the old finish.

    http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2012/12/entry-progress-bright-red-secretary.html?m=1

  3. What a great idea- and thanks for the tip about the stuff that makes brush marks go away.

    I would probably put quarter round on the top lip of the faux trim around the base of the bookshelf… what do you think?

    P.S. Where do you get your rugs?

  4. I'm loving it! Isn't that McDonald's line? However, they would have loved it before you painted it white. So organized–my kind of gal!
    Happy Nesting!

  5. nooooooooooooooooo!!!! the red credenzaaaaaa. i'm dying, i loved that thing and i was too afraid to scroll any further to see. so sad!

  6. This is pure genius, and the whole room is so, so lovely.

  7. debi

    While I applaud your ingenuity and skill in making the two pieces look like one…I'm kinda dying inside to see that amazing red credenza disappear!! Still one of my favorite inspiration pieces!!

  8. Dad

    While I applaud your ingenuity and skill in making the two pieces look like one…I'm kinda dying inside to see that amazing red credenza disappear!! Still one of my favorite inspiration pieces!!

  9. It's nice to know other people felt a little sad too when your red credenza became white! I love the new look in the dining room, but I'm a just a little bit sad to know that my favorite red credenza is no longer that bright red.

  10. Jenny

    I'm cracking up that so many of you are mourning the loss of the red!! :) I was so ready to change that thing, guys! It's been red for like four years, which is pretty much an eternity in my typical furniture finish lifecycle. I get antsy for change pretty fast. :) Plus the Safety Red secretary is about six feet away from the credenza, so it almost feels like an homage to the old finish.

    http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2012/12/entry-progress-bright-red-secretary.html?m=1

  11. Sally

    Wow! I absolutely *love* that light fixture! And the navy shelves in contrast to the white? Divine.

  12. Bec

    It looks great! I love love love that you think outside the box and work with what you have. That's true designer talent, I think!

  13. What a fantastic idea! It turned out beautifully! And I am madly in love with that light fixture. The contrast is just stunning!

  14. Anne P

    Looks great!! I especially love the "trim" between the pieces to join the two. What do you think about adding a *very simple* crown to the top? Just a thought. :) Maybe it will help it look even more like one, I-bought-it-this-way piece? Either way, still a fun makeover!

  15. Beautiful makeover! I love the white with the navy interior shelves. But I could see a dark plum being very tempting.

  16. Jenny this is so beautiful!!! My husband and I moved into a 500 sq ft efficiency (after only 2 months of marriage– yikes!) and I have had the same dilema. I have been torn over navy or coral for the inside and seeing the navy on your piece totally won me over. Love it! Thank you so much for sharing!

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