Shabby bathroom hutch (or hen hutch in party dress!)

I was cruising Craigslist last week for a desk with a hutch to replace the itty-bitty little kitchen counter desk that I have next to my fridge.  One of the things that has always bugged me about Craigslist is that you have to OPEN every post to see what the item looks like and it takes FOREVER to look for stuff.

But then I discovered that Chrome has all of these cool plug-ins that allow you to do all sorts of funky things.  And one of those plug-ins is called “Craigslist Preview” and is pre-loads all of the photos in a post so you can SEE them without having to open the post!   I still spend FOREVER on craigslist, but now I can see more stuff faster.  Optimized electronic thrifting.  I love it.

Anyhow – my search didn’t come up with any good desks, but it did come up with a pretty awesome little hutch top that I just HAD to have since it was only $25 (omg) and has such awesome potential.

So what if I had to drag my husband to Rhode Island to get it?

It was together time.

Or so I said.

But it worked on him, so there.

Here she is:



Don’t your toes just tingle with how adorable she is?  Its like she’s wearing a little ruffled party dress..

She needs a little work (OK, a lot of work, but don’t hate, haters) –



And the back – well, I think either I’ll have to replace the whole thing OR just go backless.  The piece is wicked heavy and the backing doesn’t provide any structural stability, so I likely can go the easy way and just forego it.



We’ll see…

She’s about 30″ tall and 11″ deep.  I thought I might use her for the big empty space over the toilet in my 1st floor bath, but 11″ deep it might be a head-whacker.

If I can’t make it work there, I’m sure I’ll find some other wonderful spot for her…

The base has a nice, graceful line:



And do you see that absolutely wonderful, beautiful green peeking through the white paint?  My heart goes pitter patter.

But my husband’s heart goes huh?  Part of me wants to figure out how to save the patina, but part of me knows that hubb-o doesn’t like shabby AT ALL.

He may be right on this one – it does seem more shabby than chic:



I like that there is both a glass cabinet and a nice little shelf. I could use that space to store all sorts of bathroom necessities…

Inside the cabinet is some icky stuff that looks an AWFUL lot like chicken poop, but hey – that’s what sponges and hot water is for, right?  Cleaning up chicken poop?  Get with me on this, people.  I need some encouragement:

IMG_0190 ver2



Another shot of the top – the little medallion in the center is actually lifting off – that is going to have to go – no way to save that:



Here’s a good shot that helps illustrate just what a MESS this is – but it also shows layers of history, which makes it wonderful to me.



Someone crafted the wood…

and chose to paint it a soothing green…

and then decided to cover that with off-white and maybe even a tad bit of varnish…

and then – after all that effort – it was put into a barn in Rhode Island for years to serve as a perch for happy little hens!

But now its here with me and I get to decide what the next chapter will be.

What do you think?  Should I strip it down and start over?  Should I try to salvage some of the shabby?



What would you do with this old girl and her party dress?

The Shabby Nest

504 Main

Home Stories A2Z

A Diamond in the Stuff

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Ivy and Elephants





  1. She’s shabby all right. If it were mine I might get some hens and keep them in/on it. LOL
    But I should think health considerations would win out here and you would completely clean, disinfect, and insect spray it, then re-do it. I’m glad she’s yours and not mine, and my field was historic archaeology!

  2. I would try to leave as much of the shabbiness as possible….but that’s just me. I love history and revel in surrounding myself with it. I found an old, old mantel someone was selling for $25 along the road one day…with layers and layers of peeling paint so I sanded off the loose paint and I LOVE looking at it in my family room. Some people ask me when I’m going to paint it…others “get” it and love it like I do! Either way it’s a GREAT piece! Enjoy it!

    • Thanks, Sharon. Maybe I’ll start with sanding and scrubbing and see where that gets me. Did you seal your mantle to keep it from chipping any further? I’d love to know!

  3. Wow. That’s a piece my mom would take to in a heartbeat. She’d get out the sponge and everything to scrub away and then go from there. Probably peel off the backing and probably that old medallion . . before she washed it up. In the long run though, she’d probably miss the party dress b/c she’s pretty much always done practical. But oh what fun it sounds like you’re going to have with this piece. She’s definitely shabby but I think you inadvertently dubbed her the happy little hen (at least in my opinion). So, it seems she’s just going to be a happy little hen one day soon. I hope I get to see the finished product! Have fun!
    I loved your post – thank you. Here by way of Liz’s TTT. Thanks, Jenn

  4. I Play Outside The Box says:

    Can’t wait to see what you do with this piece. I think it would make a great addition to a kitchen.

  5. Save her in all her present glorious shabbiness. No one can fake that kind of patina. She is a beautiful piece.

  6. What a fabulous piece! I love the shabby goodness of it. You were featured this week. Please stop by and grab a featured button. We love having you!

    • Patti – Thanks SO much for the feature! I’ll head over tomorrow to grab a button – I’m trying to iPad my way through the world right now… xo Maggie

  7. what a great piece, though she does need some tlc. good luck and have fun!


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