Bookshelf Repurposed from an Abandoned Hutch

How a discarged maple hutch was repurposed into a bookshelf - Before & After from Facelift FurnitureOne of my favorite things to do with furniture is to repurpose pieces destined for the curb.  This maple hutch top was a great candidate for the garbage heap, but I found it instead at a thrift store.

Separated from it’s original cabinet, it was in an awkward state, left to linger without much a life ahead of it.  But I saw the potential for a bookshelf, having previously repurposed an old hutch in a similar way. So out came my circular saw.  I drew a straight line along it’s sides and back, and then cut away the lower leg supports.

I then painted it Antiqued White, used Tea Stained glaze to provide a weathered look, and then distressed the piece.  With it’s original adjustable shelves, a  “new” bookshelf was born!

Distressed Sea Blue Bookshelf

Sea Blue Bookshelf Before & AfterCurvy Bookshelf in distressed Sea Blue and Black Glaze.

I found this pine bookshelf at a thrift store, and added thin press board backing to give it a more complete look.  The backing was painted and glazed prior to attaching to the refinished bookshelf.  I like how the distressed wood tones popping through provide a nice contrast to the new finish.




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Ornate Bookshelf Refinished in Turquoise & White Glaze

For their custom refinishing order,  Laurel & Stephen wanted a new look for a tall hand crafted bookshelf going in their daughter’s bedroom.  Previously painted white over lots of molding, they chose turquoise with white glaze.  These colors, along with distressing down to the original white and wood tones, gave the piece a whole new life to this ornate piece!

To find out more about how you can your furniture custom refinished, visit our Custom Refinishing page.

Hutch Repurposed into a Bookshelf

Hutch Repurposed Into Bookshelf - Before & AfterI nearly threw this one away. As a dated hutch with no matching base cabinet, there seemed no good use. Just taking up space, I finally set by our curb for trash pick up–from the photo, you can probably see why!

I did salvage some hardware and even small cabinet doors for future creative use. As I removed those items, I noticed how the piece was made of solid wood.

So….I couldn’t resist, and started wondering if there was any hope of converting this into a usable piece. Before I knew it, it was off the curb, back on my driveway. I pulled out my circular saw. I began to see potential for a bookshelf, but there some issues with reaching that destination.

First, the legs which held the hutch up on it’s previous matching cabinet. Those had to go, and I removed them with my circular saw, downsizing the piece in height. The thin press board backing was still in good enough shape to use again, so I also cut it down to size.

Next, I had to deal with the middle support running up the front side of the hutch. In the shelf area, that wood rod went up through the front edge of the second shelf, creating a square sized hole when removed. I pulled out the Durham’s Water Putty, and filled in what was missing there, as well as in holes where previous hardware had been. I also filled in a gash to the press board backing

Hutch to Bookshelf Before

Next came priming the shelf. One of the greatest discoveries I made when learning how to paint furniture is Zinsser Bulls Eye primer. It’s water based, and sticks to almost anything–even glossy surfaces. I still sand those kind of surfaces lightly with a medium grit sanding sponge. But after vacuuming (shop vac) and then cleaning, the piece is ready to go.

Being water based, the primer dries fast. After an hour, it can be recoated. If a white finish with tea-stained glaze is my final goal, I’ll often apply two coats of Zinsser primer and hour apart. Then another hour later, I’ll apply the white latex paint. It’s great, because I can get 3 coats on within 3 hours (latex requires 4 hours dry time between coats, so I just do one coat of latex on top of 2 coats of primer).

Then typically, I’ll wait a day to apply a finish such as tea-stained glaze. I’ll then wait another day to apply polyurethane. I use Zinnser’s water base poly, which just requires 2 hours dry time for recoating.

Hutch Bookshelf After FLF

Here’s to the big red bookshelves

Yesterday, Julie and I celebrated 8 years of marriage.  With the kiddos in bed, we marked the occasion over brownie sundaes.  Then we did something that was, strangely, a bit sad. We decommissioned one of our tall red bookshelves from the house to the garage.

When Julie and I were married, we were in a tight budget.  Yet  we made the best of what we had and created a warm home in the process.  Back then, I worked for a non-profit ministry, and in my home office I had these tall, narrow, sturdy bookshelves made of very sturdy composite wood.  Initially an unattractive grayish-beige, Julie had an idea of what they could become.

Red paint in hand, Julie recruited me to the project. She showed me how furniture can be painted and given a new life. And those two bookshelves became a mainstay in our home. Photos on them captured the story of our new life together.  We’ve since lived in 4 different homes with varying amount of space, and they’ve always been a bright focal point in any room.

Since those early days, we’ve continue to make the most of what we have.  Recently, I surprised to count over a dozen pieces of furniture in our home we’ve painted.  They are in every room of the house.  Initially Julie was the furniture painter, but I’ve taken it up, largely due to seeing what she’s done with several pieces in our home. 

The number is growing, which is why one of the red shelves has been bumped from the play room, to the garage.  I recently found a $12.99 entertainment cabinet at Goodwill that, well, looked pretty bad–AND had lots of potential as a new addition to the play room!  It will hold books and toys, and once the walls receive their new paint this weekend, I’ll show you how it looks in the playroom.

In the mean time, I am very grateful for my wife, who has embraced making the best of what we’ve got, verses feeling like we’ve got to have the best in life to be happy.  Julie, you make our marriage all the sweeter for approaching life that way.  Thanks for trusting God through thick and thin.  I’m so grateful for you!