Hutch Makeover

Finally! Finally it’s done (um, eight months after I bought it?) and finally I’m sharing (six months later after I finished it…sorry!) This hutch was a beast to refinish and at times I wanted to forget it existed, which is probably why it took so long. And winter, there’s that, too. And only having an hour or two at a time to work on it. BUT, it did get done. And I’m so happy.

before and after

I was going to have a reveal post, and a detailed post, but considering it’s taken me six months to take pictures, we’ll just condense it.


The condition of the hutch was not good when I bought it. Well, it was functioning fine, but the paint job was 1. ugly 2. awful. It was peeling, cracking and had drips. So I started by scraping and sanding and scraping and patching and sanding. But there was still paint chipping off, especially by the moldings on the drawers. The last thing I wanted was my new paint job chipping off so I decided to strip it. Let’s just say I wish I hadn’t. It was awful, and I couldn’t get everything off completely, so it was an uneven surface all over. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. I did the best I could then gave up. More sanding didn’t help much either so I decided to coat the uneven parts with spackle (I used MH Ready Patch – and used about 1/2 of the quart, which is quite a lot) and then sanded it down. I did a couple applications (spackle, then sand) – aka spackled the crap out of it – and I was pretty pleased with my solution, it was a pretty even surface! Finally I could prime then paint it. I used Rustoleum’s enamel paint in gloss, which I love because it’s self-leveling and is a hardy finish so I wouldn’t have to put a poly on.

1st backing

To the back of the shelves I added paper since the previous paint job was so drippy and it saved me time sanding/stripping. First I used a gorgeous floral paper from Paper Source, but it just didn’t live up to my vision. You couldn’t really see any of the detail of the paper, and after I already glued it on I discovered that even though the pattern was the same, the sheen of the gold was different – which you can see in the photo above (the upper right four were a shiny gold). Wah wah.


Then I found this bamboo wrapping paper at Home Goods and I loved it, and how it tied into the navy blue of the rug in the family room right next to the hutch. Perhaps the greek key trim on the hutch and the bamboo look clash and are from different time periods, but whatever, I like it. The darker background makes the stuff on the shelves pop more, too.


after_cup pulls

So, the hardware – I’m in love. I searched a good long time before I found cheaply priced cup pulls that also had cheaply priced knobs I liked in the same finish so I could be sure they matched. I did NOT want to add spray painting brand new hardware to my to-do list for this project. I ended up buying the Giagni cup pulls and cone knobs from in satin brass. I just spray painted all the existing hinges gold, which matched pretty well – and you can’t see much of them.


While the stuff on the shelves is easier to see without the doors on, I love the details on the doors so I put them back on. I replaced three panes of glass as they were super old school and bubbled out around the panes while the 4th had been replaced and flat. Instead of using the old wood trim to hold the panes in – I wasn’t about to hammer a bunch of nails around all the glass I just bought, no thanks – I used a bead of silicone around the edges, and it holds tight. The doors are old and I added another layer of paint to them, so they stick but I don’t use them all the time. And because they stick some of the paint has come off where they rub, but you can’t see it unless they’re open. Ah vell.

after_desk area

One of my favorite features of the hutch is the secret desk area that folds down. It looks like a drawer – but no! It’s a desk! Though to be honest I don’t really use it down much. Ok, fine, I’ve never used it as a desk. Maybe some day. I love the door in there too, though I haven’t figured out what to keep in there – something super secret, but I don’t know what yet. Probably just candy to hoard from the boys. I spray painted it a dusty pink/lilac. Just because.

after_too long screw

Also, a tip/solution: the screws that came with the pulls was too long for the width of all the drawer faces – but a smaller one was too short – so I added a couple small washers that filled the gap perfectly.

And that’s it! It is done, finally. I’m super happy with it, and haven’t even filled the drawers and cabinets yet! Though I try to black out the period of time I spent working on it.

after_from side







I totally had a close up photo of the greek key trim at the top but it’s disappeared – boo. That, along with the already said super spy secret desk area and the panes on the glass doors, are my favorite parts. Also, styling shelves is not easy. They look fine, and I’m pretty lazy so they probably won’t change for a while, but I’m sure they could use some help. I probably also need to put stuff on top of the cabinet as well – though super hard to dust up there? (and therefore will almost never happen?) Maybe my dream of collecting cake plates will catch on. White paint makes everything better, no?




Happy Tuesday! Sometimes I want to wait to share things until they are all done and pretty and wrapped up in a bow but sometimes that’s just not going to happen. Either because it’s going to be a while until they’re done or it takes me forever to put the proverbial bow on it and take photos and edit and write and yada yada…I thought I wouldn’t wait this time and show you where we are with some projects, since it’s getting pretty busy in the Stuckenschneider household lately.

1. We are getting our house painted this week (tomorrow!). And we are making quite a change – from light gray to navy blue. I’m so excited to see how different the house looks dark and dramatic with the brick and white trim.

house colors

(all Benjamin Moore)

Which do you think we chose?

2. The outdoors is also getting some a lot of love and we’re putting in a new patio! It’s a huuuge undertaking (for Ryan) that we’re hoping to get done by Henry’s second birthday party in June. First the existing cement patio has to be taken out (and hauled away), then everything needs to be dug out, leveled, filled, tamped, etc. etc. And not to mention we have to get the thousands of bricks to our house – Ryan has been going back and forth to Menards every day for a week now. But the new patio is going to be big and include a fire pit, so basically awesome.

fire pit layout henry helping

Ryan can count on Henry for help. We knew we had him for a reason 😉

3. We have also been in the midst of a laundry room update. Well, I say “in the midst” like we’ve been actively working on it, but really it’s been torn up for a while now (we removed the closet), and I just now got around to removing part of the wallpaper border. Turns out removing a border isn’t too bad! I’d say I removed half of it in less than an hour (but that is such a rough estimate. I have no idea. It didn’t feel like too long). There’s no less than one million tutorials on removing wallpaper on the internets, but in case you’re reading and you happen to want to know how and don’t want to use google, here’s what I did:

Lightly score the wallpaper with the wallpaper scorer you bought at the store. Spray with a mixture of hot water and fabric softener (maybe a few tablespoons of fabric softener are mixed in that bottle). Let sit for a few minutes, then peel of the paper. If any is left on the wall, spray again and then scrape off. Then clean the wall with some water and vinegar (which I have yet to do).

removing wallpaper

I’d show you a photo of the room as-is now, except it really a hot mess of mess. I took one and it’s awful. Sorry, I’m not that real.

We’ve also already bought the tile for the floor and I looooooove it. It’s in our garage and I find myself stopping to look at it all the time. Now I have to decide on what color to paint the cabinets and the built-in bench Ryan is building – so then I can decide what color to paint the walls. #toomanydecisions I’m leaning towards navy blue (perhaps one of the samples from the exterior) for the cabinets and a light wall color but we’ll see.

laundry room tile

4. And just because, here’s a picture looking out my front door. I am LOVING the buds and gorgeous colors and could basically stare outside all day. It’s finally spring!

front yard colors


Does anyone else absolutely love ferns too? I don’t know why I do. I picked that one up at Costco to hang on the front porch, though we’ll see if it ever gets hung.

Have a great week!


Home Tour | Foyer {After}

It’s crazy that we’ve been in our “new” house for a year at the end of next month. It feels like it’s gone quickly, but at the same time it feels like we’ve been here forever – except for all the updates we still have to do. Though when I look back at the before photos, I’m reminded at how much we have transformed this place to be more us in less than a year’s time. Since it has been a year and I’ve only shown snippets of our house I thought I would finally start sharing, even though a lot of rooms aren’t “done” (but will they ever be??). Today I’m sharing our new and improved entry, since it’s one of the most finished – and maybe most transformed – room. And who am I kidding, the room I have to clean the least to share 🙂

The foyer was my least liked room in the house when we bought the house. In fact, I hated it so much I didn’t want to buy the house the first time we saw it. It was just so…I don’t know. Blah. Yellow. Open. Especially open. There was no delineation between the entry and the living room and it drove me nuts. (and don’t get me started again on how there is literally no definition between the living and dining rooms. Still not fixed though.)

new house foyer_before foyer foyerliving room

So the very first thing we did after closing (like, same day) was tearing out a portion of banister, wall and floor in order to build out the stairway wall to give us more of a defined entry way. Things get worse before they get better, right? And when I say we, I mean Ryan and my very helpful Dad. He may have done more work than we did, coming over after work some days to drywall (while we were still living in the city) and stuff. #bestdadever Thanks, Dad! Once it was torn out, they built out the wall from the stairs, and dropped the entry way to a more respectable level. Ryan also replicated the trim work of the front door around the living/dining room entry way on both sides, and it looks amazing. It’s only primed right now, but it will be painted…some day. This freezing cold winter would have been a good time to get some painting done while stuck inside, but um, I didn’t. Also some day we will add the same moldings above the office doors.

during during_raising wall during_raising wall 2 drywalling during_drywall

The next order of business was the floors. We were not a fan of the honey oak color throughout the house, and we definitely were not a fan of the completely different wood and staining in the living/dining room. So the living/dining room floors were ripped out and matched to the rest of the floors, and then the first floor and stairs were stained an ebony (some day we hope to do the upstairs). LOVE the difference the color of the floors make. While it is true that the dark color shows a lot of dirt and dust, I’m still happy with it – and glad we have a black-haired dog. Wouldn’t recommend going ebony if you’re anal about cleaning or have a light-haired dog that sheds a lot, because you would be cleaning the floors every. day. But if you don’t mind that, go for it! And come over and clean mine for me too.

new floors

We also hired a painter for the living/dining room, foyer/stairwell and upstairs hallway. Best decision ever – there was no way I was going up two stories to paint and it got done so much faster than I would have. We would basically still be living in the jaundice house. For the foyer and upstairs hallway I went with Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl at 50% lighter. I love it, it’s such a great neutral. It’s very light but not almost-white so there’s contrast with the trim, and it’s gray but has some beige to it (though let me be clear, I hate beige, and it’s not a greige as they say these says. Definitely gray). It’s hard to capture the true colors because the lighting isn’t great and my photography skills are not professional.

stairwell Foyer_door into dining room

Let’s see, I also painted the banister black, which I may have to do again since the color is still not black. Even though I bought black paint. Like, the blackest swatch I could find, and then even went back to the store to get more black added after the first coat. And it’s still a grayish black. Pretty sure it was the paint I used, but I’m not sure why/how (Ace Hardware cabinet & trim paint). The office doors are black, railing is not. Very frustrating. Ryan removed the turned spindles and replaced with squares spindles (let’s not discuss how long with lived on the edge, literally, without spindles).  We’d like to replace the newel posts but that is a larger project we weren’t ready for…and let’s see if it ever actually gets done, it’s low on the priority list since just the spindles and black banister look 1,000 times better. We still have to fix all the nail holes in the spindles and then paint them, along with the risers and the skirt board; speaking of which, Ryan could not find it anywhere to match where we added onto the wall, so he had to custom make a router bit and it ended up matching pretty perfectly.

hallway to front door stair rails railing into living room

I also painted the office doors black, as I already mentioned, and the transom window white (which reminds me, it’s only primed right now…#typical). I’m in love with the black office doors and have plans to paint all the doors on the first level black. It just gives them such a pop and looks so expensive and pretty.

living into entry dining to front door dining room to door new doorway

My favorite pictures from our travels were hung in the hallway after I spray painted the weirdly silver color I never liked to black, and I added the pretty popular raspberry and gold bench/ottoman from Target and my favorite mirror from West Elm to the little corner that I didn’t know what to do with. The bench is used for time-outs and for putting on shoes – pretty versatile 🙂 Speaking of the bench, there was literally one left in my surrounding area and none available online so I hightailed it to the store and bought it, loved it, but since then Ryan has pointed out that the legs totally slant and now I can’t unsee it. And it makes me angry, and it’s unfixable, and none left to exchange with, but it’s pretty so whatever. I *try* to ignore it. I love how the pink ties into the painting on the landing of the stairs, which is from HomeGoods. It was quite the decision of where to put it (over the living/dining room entrance? over the door?) but I’m glad I put it where it lives now. Oh, and the entry rug which is only really visible in like one photo is an indoor/outdoor rug from Dash & Albert, ordered from a store here in town. It really stays pretty clean, and if it gets dirty, I can hose it off or wash it, which was important for an entry rug I think.

photos mirror benchfrom upstairs into living

foyer from above

Still to-do is replacing the hideous chandelier, painting/repainting all the trim, painting the front door and new door hardware. And adding a humongo gallery wall up the humongo staircase wall. But it’s come a long way, baby! From yellow on yellow sponge painting and too open to soothing and defined.

foyer after_stairs

foyer after_from FR

foyer after_from office

foyer after_towards door

foyer after_towards office

foyer after_from above

It’s pretty great to see a vision come together, and I’m so thankful for my husband’s, dad’s, painter’s (and my) hard work!


Paint: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl at 50% lighter
Rug: Dash & Albert
Pink ottoman/bench: Target (no longer available)
Mirror: West Elm (no longer available)
Painting: HomeGoods

I hope you enjoyed an “after”, finally! I need to work on more for you…”some day” seems to be the phrase around here though.


art table: ikea latt hack

{So I’ve been wanting a new site design, including a logo, for a while. I’ve been farting around on my computer and have gotten a bit frustrated at not being able to do exactly what I want due to lack of skills but have it in a better place. Instead of waiting and spending a million more hours trying to teach myself not only illustrator but also website shenanigans (and spending lots of money customizing stuff) and maybe never doing it, I decide to just go with what I have so far. The logo might change (I have like four more and can’t make up my mind – big surprise) and some day I might figure out how to customize the CSS so I can get the layout right (like, why aren’t my things getting centered on the sidebar? Sooooooo annoying. And I don’t want the polka dots but don’t know how to get rid of them) or even the whole layout again. Anyway. Welcome to a new you’re so martha! For now.}


Back in, oh, August, during my birthday IKEA run, I bought the LATT table for Henry. I wanted to hack it into an art table like Freckles Chick but couldn’t decide what color or colors. White? Might get ruined too quickly. Natural wood with a pop of color? What color? It sat in my garage for months and I finally got my act together late December and decided to stain it ebony, to match our floors. At the last minute I decided to spray the seat and table top with the leftover dark teal spray paint from my kitchenaid mixer update. (I still think a bold and bright pop of color would look great but have no idea what color!)

I stained all the wood pieces before I put it together, front and back. If I had read the assembly instructions through first, some pieces only needed one side stained (or even not at all, since they were on the underside). Oh well. For the seats and the tabletop I  spray primed first and then did a couple coats of the teal.  Then I put it together and was going to spray it with clear poly but was too excited for the kiddos to use it New Year’s Eve when it was finished so it was used as-is. Don’t be like me, make sure to do the poly before use! (The paint got scratched in a couple places and I had to touch it up) A couple days later Ryan helped me add a dowel rod underneath the table to hold the roll of paper; he used a couple plumbing pieces secured with heavy duty glue to hold the dowel rod underneath the table, with a notch cut out of one of them so the dowel rod could be taken in and out. A couple pieces of flat trim just over an inch wide were cut to the width of the table and stained. To raise the trim up so the paper could be fed through Ryan put a washer at each corner between the table and the trim before he screwed them in through the washer.  Finally I did a couple coats of spray poly, which I should have done before use!

Here is the LATT table au naturale.


And stained and painted:

IMG_9509 IMG_9514

Bam, an art table:


Here’s a couple detail shots of the trim and underneath so it’s more clear.

trim bottomIMG_9524

Henry loves it. I will say that the table and chairs are very light, so they are able to be pushed around very easily (we put the felt pads on the bottom of the legs) and Henry toppled over a few times while trying to get on the chair. But he’s mainly figured out how to get on and off pretty well without incident now. He’s had snacks there, and him and friends have enjoyed dinner there. Henry requests to draw everyday, and is turning into the next Van Gogh (but hopefully less tortured, his ears will stay intact and he’ll be famous before he’s dead since I could use a vacation house ;)) – or maybe Picasso from the way his drawings are so far, but let’s go with VG since he’s my fave.

Henry at table henry coloring

If only I hadn’t waited so long to do what was a pretty quick and easy project.

Art Table-IKEA LATT hack |



a kitchenaid mixer makeover

when i was getting married i really wanted a brand new kitchenaid mixer in one of their fancy new colors. but i already had one that was handed down to me in perfect working order, so it just didn’t make sense to request a new one. i lived with the old standard issue almond color for years until i decided to simply paint it! though i was definitely nervous since i didn’t have money laying around to go buy a new one if it didn’t turn out well. i bit the bullet and just did it (back before we moved since i knew it would never get done with all our house projects), and it ended up being a fairly easy and quick project, and it may be my favorite project to date!

how to spray paint mixer

first i removed all the removeable parts, including the silver band, back cover, front disc and bottom plate. everything had screws so it was easy. i also removed the black side screws, but don’t do that! they have something to do with the motor, and it’s safer to just tape them off. (when i put my mixer back together it didn’t turn on! talk about heart dropping to the floor. it was because the parts in the black screws had to go back in just so and it wasn’t done correctly. fixed by ryan, phew). then i gave it and the removed parts a really, really good cleaning (i used a tsp substitute  on the body of the mixer which is supposed to remove some of the glossy finish, then followed it up with soapy water). next i taped everything off that shouldn’t be painted. for the back motor area i covered it with a bag held on with a rubber band. i wrapped the beginning of the cord in tape and the excess was put in a plastic bag. then it was a thin coat or two of primer (i used gray since i was going dark) followed by a couple thin coats of the dark turquoise color (i used a gloss enamel paint thinking it might hold up better).

spray painted mixer_6

spray painted mixer

spray painted mixer_3

spraypainted mixer_1

spraypainted mixer

spray painted mixer_5

i am seriously in love with it. it almost looks factory made (nothing is absolutely perfect when diy-ing).

from blah to beautiful!

before and after spray painted mixer

before and after 2 spray painted mixer


when we were getting married i would have chosen a green apple color. now, not so much. right now i’m loving the deep turquoise, but who know in a few years – but since it was fairly easy, i can change the color once i change my mind again! i’ll say it again, this might be my favorite project to date! the power of spray paint…


jewelry and closet organization

sometimes you need a quick and easy project to get your creative juices flowing and have a victory when things aren’t going so well on other projects. this was mine. the master closet is fine, not great, but the organization is definitely lacking with only wire shelves and two angled walls not being utilized. i had an overflowing jewelry box with necklaces that kept getting tangled, and in a corner of the closet a pile of worn-but-will-wear-again clothes (like a pair of jeans, pjs and a robe) and small pile of special-wash laundry. so i put to work one of the angled walls for a jewelry display and clothes/laundry organizer.

here’s the non-utilized wall before:

vacation 232

i made a jewelry display by stapling leftover fabric i had around a bulletin board and adding leftover nailhead trim (from this tv stand redo).

IMG_8342 IMG_8348

once it was hung on the wall i added hooks below for my re-wears and a ‘dipped’ basket from homegoods for my special wash laundry.



the pretty turquoise and brass hooks are from anthropologie (no longer on their website).


i used t pins to hang my necklaces, bracelets and hanging earrings.

t pins

for my stud earrings i simply stuck them in the cork carefully. i don’t have many studs, and some started to bend when i pushed them in, so i might pick up a ceramic egg crate to put them in instead , along with rings and such, and keep it on my dresser.


before and after:

before and after

hopefully we’ll upgrade the closet system one day, but for now this quick little project not only upped the organization but also glammed it up a little (even though it’s a closet it still deserves some love) — and gave me a sense of accomplishment, finally.


spring pinterest challenge {gold striped votives}

spring edition

i did it! i finished my pinterest challenge project just in time. i had no time to even think about it over the weekend, and still had to figure out what pin to get inspired by sunday  night. i really wanted to do one related to henry’s first birthday party, as we’re moving soon and once we do i will have so many house-related projects i don’t know when i’ll have a free moment to think of anything else….but guys, he turns one next month, and like, i have to throw a birthday party for him (which i’ve never done). i need to get on this. but i didn’t have time to go to the store for supplies, so i decided to use supplies i had at home and revamp a few votive holders that i had recently spared from the trash when their coating started peeling. the victims before:

votives before(i had already started taking off the film, but it had started peeling on it’s own before…the green hadn’t as much, and were a pain to remove. lots of scraping.)

and the after:

gold striped votives

here’s how i did it.

my pinspiration was a recent pin of gold and white striped cans-turned-bud vases:


{image from pinterest; original source: two delighted – super cute blog btw!}

my supplies:


cleaner, primer, gold spraypaint, frog tape, votive, cutting mat (and a rotary cutter and ruler not pictured).

first i prepped the votives. i scraped all the colored film off (starting off with ready-to-use, plain candle holders would cut the time for this project in half at the least, making it super fast) then i used the cleaner and rinsed with water and air dried.

next, i cut strips of painters tape into varying widths for my striped designs on a cutting mat with my rotary cutter and a ruler to ensure straight lines. i applied them to the votives, carefully eyeballing the spacing, and rubbed hard on the tape to help get crisp lines. because my votives were tapered, thicker tape lines creased a little on the bottom when stuck, creating a slightly less than straight line – a straight side or thin tape lines solve that.

creased tape

to prevent spray paint from getting inside (it is flammable), i sprayed them upside-down and taped the bottom (because i didn’t want gold on the bottom since it might rub off) or had a bag taped in the inside.


to help the gold paint adhere i did a quick, thin coat of primer spray paint. once dried, and henry was down for his nap, i did about three light coats of the gold spray paint. a couple minutes later i carefully pulled the tape off and let dry for a bit.


i’m glad i decided not to throw these away. now i have modern and glam votive holders.

gold striped votives 013

or even small bud vases.

bud vasegold striped votives 021 bud vase

this one is currently prettying up the bathroom.


simple and small but a big impact. i can’t seem to get enough of gold these days (though i’m sure that won’t always be the case). the paint adhered well the the glass – though i wouldn’t put it in the dishwasher and risk it – so i think i may need to add design to some other vases i have lying around.

gold striped votive

as always, thank you to katie and sherry and their guest hosts for another pinterest challenge. it gave me the push to do something that i wouldn’t have gotten around to. who knows how long the chipped votives would have sat around for in my new house before being thrown away. now i can’t wait to find a place for them!

did you participate in the spring pinterest challenge too? let me know what you did!