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