Cottage Life - My Hutch Makeover, Fall Decor and More

Hello Cottage Friends,

I have some things to share with you today, but first I want to thank all of you who commented on my last post. You are kind, thoughtful souls and I appreciate all of you very much. 

This past week I received an email from a new reader named Ruth. She told me she had discovered my blog via a Pinterest pin, and that this spring her husband and she will be moving into a smaller home. She writes:

     My husband and I raised eight children in two different  four-bedroom homes. Now that my husband has retired, living in our current home is not financially feasible. This spring we will be moving into the house where I grew up. There are sad memories connected with this house, so I first had to work through those. Having done that, I have been thinking of the house as a cottage. I do love cottages. Before finding your blog I searched websites and Pinterest boards for inspiration. Now that I have found your blog, I am re-inspired! 

Ruth attached a photo of their new home, which they painted blue "as a first step toward re-imagining it as a cottage." 

Isn't her cottage adorable? It just thrills me to think that my little blog could bring encouragement to another person such as Ruth (a total stranger), and that she would take the time to write me and share her life. Wow! Thank you so much Ruth for the email, and for letting me share a bit of your story here, along with the photo. You are an inspiration.

Okay, so in my last post I mentioned that I would be making over this hutch.

I found this on Craigslist a while ago, and it's been sitting in our kitchen waiting for a redo ever since. When we designed our cottage I wanted room for a free-standing piece of furniture in the kitchen, rather than another new built-in cabinet. I felt it would add charm to the cottage. I had in mind to use a hutch, but it took some searching to find one that would fit the space, give adequate storage, and still allow for some shelves to display some of my pretty dishes.This piece is solid wood, probably from the 60's, with a maple veneer and has all the elements I was looking for. But, I'm not a fan of 60's Early American maple furniture, and since the hutch had been abused over the years, I felt no guilt in painting it.

Here you can see the damage that had been done by the previous owners; however, since both Dennis and I see open areas at the bottom of furniture as places to collect dust and spiders, we planned to enclose it anyway, and that helped solve the problem of what to do about the missing veneer.

Here's the after photo.

Isn't it cute? Dennis created and installed a simple molding for the bottom, which eliminated a home for dust bunnies under the hutch, covered the damaged area, and I think makes the piece look like it came from an old cottage.

I painted the hutch with three coats of Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Serenity Blue. Usually I make my own chalk paint to save money, but while shopping at Ace Hardware I saw this product and decided at $19.88 I'd give it a try. I'm very happy with the results, though it did take three coats to cover the wood. Still, I used less than one 30 oz. can so I feel it was money well spent. I've found that homemade chalk paint consistency can vary depending on the brand of latex paint used, and I didn't feel like messing around with a piece this large. Plus, I love this color. It's exactly the shade of blue I wanted.

It just so happened that I had some unused hardware in my stash that I thought would work well with this piece.

Now I have a place to display my mother's harp cake plate and pink depression glass, along with some pretty things I've collected along the way. 

This proves I'm not a total minimalist. However, I only keep things that I really love.

You'll notice I left the buffet's wood top natural. All I did was treat it with Howard's Restor-A-Finish and Wood Polish and Conditioner. I think the little pits and mars in the wood give it character and the feeling that it really is an old piece. The orange pumpkin is a print from an original watercolor Dennis painted 5 years ago and sold to the owner of a pumpkin farm. I bring the print out every autumn. 

I also changed out a few of the wall paintings to fall scenes. I've mentioned in past posts that I change the artwork with the seasons. (Having a an artist husband  has its advantages.)

The only other fall decor in the cottage is a handmade pumpkin I recently found at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store and a wooden bowl with rag balls in fall colors. The pumpkin cost me a whopping $1.69 and the rag balls were made from my fabric stash. I think I paid $1 for the bowl last year at a yard sale. The pansies were brought in from the porch this week. I'm amazed they've survived this long, as there have been some nights that dipped down to the teens, but they have made it and I'm now enjoying their cheerful faces indoors.

This simple, understated approach to seasonal decorating works for me. Besides, the real beauty of fall can be seen right outside the window in the garden. One can't improve on God's creation.

"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."
Psalm 118:23

There's more I could share, but this post is really too long as it is. I'll be back.

Make it a great week everyone!


  1. Nancy, your posts are so refreshing! I love your makeover of the buffet. I think that the color is perfect. I think of you and Dennis everyday! I have our beautiful artwork by Dennis to remind me of you, Dennis, and Burton! What a joyous time! Thank you for sharing your photos. Sending love to you both❣️

  2. Hi Nancy,
    Your relove of this beautiful hutch is amazing. You have given this piece a brand new life and purpose in your sweet cottage. Love the color. You and Dennis rocked it out on this piece. Great job.
    Happy New Week.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Cindy. I'm happy to have this project checked off. :)

  4. Happy to see a post from you tonight. Love your makeover on the hutch. I have a Maple hutch and table from 1948. It is in almost new condition so I have a hard time painting it. That was my original intention. Gorgeous view of your Fall garden. I agree no better art than God's. Hugs Debbie

  5. I love it! Looks perfect for a cottage.

    1. Thanks, Cathy. It's fun when a vision comes to fruition.

  6. Good morning Nancy! It's great to see a blog post from you again! Your hutch came out wonderful, and a good paint job does the trick. How lovely your blogger pal's little cottage looks as well, in blue! I hope you've been well and are gearing up for the holidays....can you believe it? Many wishes to you for a magical holiday season!

  7. I love the hutch and I am going to look for one of my own. I have needed one for some time in our dining room. I like the story of the woman who found your blog and her cottage is pretty with the paint change.

  8. Great post Nancy. I love how Ruth and her husband changed the look of a childhood home into a cottage to love. I pray that they will have much love and happiness there and create lots of new memories. I hope to see more of her cottage as time goes on.

    I love the new look of your hutch. It is perfect for your cottage.

    The paintings by your husband are wonderful and add to your cottage's sweet, homey appeal.

    Love the colors outside your windows, glorious fall colors.

    Happy autumn ~ FlowerLady

  9. Fantastic job of refurbishing the hutch: the blue color is perfect.

  10. Your hutch turned out beautifully! and the paintings are wonderful. Have a happy week!!

  11. I LOVE your 'new' hutch! It's perfect and that color is amazing. Like you, I don't like places for dust bunnies to hide. The changes Dennis made are the right way to go. Your autumn décor is wonderful. I haven't done a thing for the autumn season. Plans were made but our hours have been spent doing repairs and painting at my dear, little mother's home and making ready for a big estate sale last weekend. Soon - quite soon - the buyer's will have the home and we can relax our schedule a bit. That will be just in time to bring out Christmas décor. It's SO good to hear from you again. I always love visiting you!

  12. How wonderful that your blog made such a difference on this new friend's life that she was inspired by your cottage dream! Her Cottage looks delightful painted in its new colors. I absolutely adore the new loving touches you gave to the hutch and I will have to check out that paint at Ace Hardware, that is amazing that one container completed the whole project! Your garden looks amazing all decked out in it's fall colors! So happy to see a post from you again and hope you are having a lovely week so far. Hugs!

  13. I love when I see you pop up in my feed, Nancy! I think that it's so wonderful that Ruth found inspiration in your blog. What you share is timeless and classic, I just know it will help a lot of people for a long, long time. Speaking of, that hutch is a classic, too. I love what you did with it, the color is perfect. I know you will enjoy looking at it and using it! xoxo Hugs@

  14. Oh my goodness Nancy!! You are my hero! I love seeing old hutches rescued and revived. It is so beautiful and for sure has a cozy cottage feel :)

  15. You have truly inspired me to get some chalk paint (probably after the holidays) and refurbish a sweet little old hutch that my sister gave me back in the 70's! It is similar to yours but narrower and a dark brown, and I have ALWAYS wanted to paint it white or off white. Your sweet oldster has a new lease on life now! I never even noticed the plate rails in the back until she got her new coat... love them! Was so glad to see a post from you Nancy... I always so enjoy hearing about your life. And that is just wonderful that your new reader discovered you (as I did a few months ago) and has named their new little home "our cottage". I love that blue color and it really gives the little house a cottage look. I'm sure she will be looking to you for more inspiration in decorating and simplifying. I wish I could simply more.... I love my "stuff" but sometimes feel too cluttered. That is neat that you rotate Dennis's paintings with the seasons. Where do you store the unused ones? I have the dilemma of nowhere to put the "un" rotated ones. After two years here, I still have a few pictures sitting on the floor behind chairs, and one box of them in the garage! Woe is me.

    I "decorate" for Fall about like you do. A little bunch of leaves here, an orange bobble there, a Fall tablecloth on the table.. that's about it. I DO want to make some pretty flannel fabric pumpkins one of these days.. but by the time I get to it, it will be Christmas! I'm always behind.

    And you're so right, God's art is better than anything we can create ourselves. The "art" outside my windows is mostly other houses and power lines! I have to take a drive to find it, but it's there for the viewing! Have a good week! Hugs.. Marilyn

    1. What a lovely comment, Marilyn. Thank you so much. Dennis has a gallery wall in his studio and also one in his workshop. It's from those walls that I choose the paintings for our cottage, so I just swap out whatever I want, thus no storage issues. :) I have also stored paintings under the bed in a pinch.

  16. I am totally in love with your new cottage hutch! The color is gorgeous and it does look so cottagey. Ruth's little house is adorable. How pretty your fall scenes are, and so comforting that they are from your own husbands hand. Life sounds like it is very peaceful and good in your sweet cottage.

  17. Oh, how wonderful! You did an amazing job on the hutch!!! It is just beautiful. And, your view outside your home is absolutely lovely! So nice to see a post from you, sweet friend. :)

  18. Hi Nancy, I so look forward to seeing the next cottage you feature here. It’s adorable in blue and Ruth has placed her stamp on a cottage she has had to work through beautifully. It reminds me of an Instagram account where Elizabeth @elizabeth_humble_house has used the brightest blue as Ruth did here to accent her home and it really added a lot of cottage charm.

    As for your China buffet and hutch what a world of difference a little time and paint can do for a piece... and how lovely it looks in your home. I love more floating pieces rather then built-inns it allows you to layer and add and take away when need be. I love the new shirt you gave the buffet part closing it in, that also worked for your reasoning as well as up-dating a piece to a cottage piece and less 60’s. I love when a piece takes on a whole different look and feel with a minor change and some paint.

    See you and all you inspire soon.
    Cant wait to see the holiday decor accent your lovely piece.


    1. Hi Dore. I appreciate your visit and kind comments. It is fun to restyle furniture. It's something I enjoy doing. I love the pieces you have given new life in your charming home. xo

  19. The hutch came out beautiful and I love the color. It never ceases to amaze how much paint can change something. I like the bottom of the cabinet too...I love decorating with paintings too and I've been lucky finding some great ones thrifting...but it must be nice to have your own "artist"!

  20. I love that hutch! (I don't want it for myself :) but it is a wonderful piece and beautifully restored.)
    And, oh my, how I love those paintings--and how you switch them out seasonally...I read your comment about how you get them from Dennis's studio :) Sweet!

  21. Hello Sweet Nancy, I can not believe that I didn't notice you posting again. I am so happy that I came to visit. Everything you did to this hutch is wonderful . . . the color, the wood surface, the trim around the bottom, the way you rubbed the paint off the edges and of course your collect of dishes and the things you have displayed. It screams hominess and comfortable cottage. Isn't it sweet too that you inspired a new blogger and made a new friend.
    I know you mentioned redoing your garden, but just look at how amazing it looks. Think it over more before you start pulling things up . . . it is gorgeous!!! Before I close, I want to invite you over to join in on my give-a-way . . . it's just a little something I made.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Connie :)

  22. I love the hutch makeover, Nancy! What a brilliant job and so beautifully styled with your treasures! I've yet to use chalk paint for anything but I love the texture. Also, I always enjoy seeing Denis' paintings. A big hug to you both.

  23. That hutch looks amazing, Nancy! I love having freestanding furniture in a kitchen, it definitely adds to the cottage charm!

  24. Hi,
    I like the hutch. It is great, Nancy.
    I enjoyed the story of the sweet cottage. I love the blue color.
    As always, love your husbands work.
    Happy Thanksgiving,

  25. So much to comment on here. Hope Ruth posts "inside" pics of her sweet blue home someday. That hutch redo is so nice. Great soft color and with the new dust bunny barrier just perfect for storage and sweet displays. Shelves are perfect for cottage life so we can then rotate our 'must keeps'. Wonderful makeover and perfect cottage piece. The art by your husband is lovely, lucky you. That lil pumpkin was a score and just perfect to not distract from that amazing garden you have. Looks totally magazine worthy. Wow.I could happily dwell there for hours at a time.

    1. You're a dear. Thank you for your kind words, sweet friend. xo

  26. The hutch looks lovely. The colour is really soft and creates a very serene atmosphere. It's nice that there are some open shelves to display your china. And it adds much more charm than kitchen cabinets would have.

  27. Great job done!! I love the color you have in the hutch! Hope this is a lovely Thanksgiving for you Nancy!!! Blessings!

  28. If I had not taken some time this morning to scroll through Bloglovin
    I would have never seen your November post.
    Starting off with the person inspired by your cottage posts,
    contacting you, sharing her story and the picture of her new
    “Bright Blue Cottage” has made it a wonderful visit.

    And then seeing the hutch makeover was a huge treat.
    Oh my, how charming for your cottage.
    Love the color, all the touches, leaving the top natural,
    Dennis coming up with a solution for the bottom was a great idea.
    And seeing some of your older porcelain, depression glass pieces
    and Dennis’ exceptional art pieces . . . Oh My!
    What charm the two of you bring to your cottage and one another.

    Love your color views from outdoors.
    Wonderful post . . . thankful to be refreshed once again by you.
    Happy upcoming December Days . . .

  29. Your hutch is gorgeous Nancy and I love the paintings.

  30. What a poignant story from Ruth. I wish them many years of happiness in their darling blue cottage.

    I would not have known this was the same hutch if you hadn't told us, Nancy. A work of art for the home of an amazing artist, and his wife!

  31. What a poignant story from Ruth. I wish them many years of happiness in their darling blue cottage.

    I would not have known this was the same hutch if you hadn't told us, Nancy. A work of art for the home of an amazing artist, and his wife!

  32. That hutch turned out beautiful, my friend! Very English cottage :)

    Ruth's home looks adorable painted blue. Don't you just love it when you've inspired someone?

    By the way, you posted this on my birthday lol Hope you're doing well :)


  33. I don't know how I missed this post! I love your hutch! The color is delightful. Your husband is so talented.

    Isn't it wonderful when people are helped or inspired by something we post?

    1. Yes, it is wonderful, and in turn these wonderful people inspire me!


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