Today, we’re sharing the French Linen Hutch Makeover we recently completed for the breakfast nook refresh. Let me just tell ya, this post is a fantastic lesson in how a simple color change can make a huge difference with the way a space comes together. Especially, if you find yourself in a pickle, when your original plan does not turn out the way you thought it would.
Some of you might remember, I started the summer totally ready for change. I don’t know what it was…maybe I was tired…or maybe I read too many decorating magazines…or spent too much time on Pinterest. Whatever it was, by the beginning of June, I was ready to give our little island cottage, Journey’s End, a complete modern farmhouse refresh.
We decided to start with the breakfast nook and brought together a no-fail design plan I was beyond excited to execute. The walls on the breakfast nook were barely dry when I started repainting the childhood hutch we had given a makeover a few years ago. This is what it looked like before…
Not bad at all but given we were going for a modern farmhouse look, I immediately thought this hutch makeover would be uber fabulous painted in Graphite by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
and two full coats of Graphite and one coat of Valspar’s Du Jour later,
I was all but high fiving the transition on the hutch.
My mom is the Queen of Shelf Styling, so I simply switched out the plate and antique breadboard for a thrifted hunting scene and replaced the garlic keep with a tarnished loving cup. Once those two pieces were in place, I added a few faux boxwoods I picked up on sale at Hobby Lobby to the large white pitcher grouping and hello, good to go.
Or…so I thought…
I’m just going to be honest with you guys, THE MINUTE, I hung the black and white buffalo check fabric on the curtain rod I started to slightly panic. Yes, it was pretty. Yes, it looked like the dream home boards I had created on Pinterest that I was so excited to start executing.
But something was “off” and it just did not feel right. The buffalo check print actually framed an area of our property that drives me bananas and I don’t know…it was kind of busy given the Bistro White walls, in a “Hey, look at me!” kind of way that is just not appealing.
For weeks, I worked with the color palette I had been pining over all this time. I tried scads of different fabrics to make it work. But…nothing.
In a pickle, I finally polled my closest friends and asked a simple question, “What three colors do you think of when you think of my signature color palette?” to see if they could help give me some perspective.
You know what they all said? Some variation of white, gray and camel. So, after three weeks of not being able to make it work (by white knuckle and will ha ha), I finally surrendered to the next best thing to Graphite, French Linen.
And guess what? Things quietly fell into place for the breakfast nook refresh from that point forward.
There were four key things I learned from this French Linen Hutch Makeover I want you to keep in mind whenever you get stuck or feel like something is just not quite right…
- Your Home Will Tell You What It Wants To Be So Work With It, Not Against It – I’m not trying to be “woo-woo” here or anything but I realized no matter how much I wanted Journey’s End to be the coolest modern farmhouse this side of the Mason Dixon, it’s not going to be.
This house is a classic cottage surrounded by pines, oaks, magnolias, native shrubs, acres of marshland and feeds directly into the Atlantic Ocean. I literally hear Ospreys calling to each other every time I walk out the back door.
It’s not that we can’t incorporate our favorite modern farmhouse style elements into the mix, we absolutely can. It’s just that it doesn’t make sense for our entire house to be that way given we have layers of family heirlooms and vintage finds mixed with classic plaids, stenciled floors and soft neutrals established in almost every room already.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to give the wheel (or in this case the breakfast nook) a fresh look, just sayin.
- Consider an Alternative Fabric and/or Paint Color Choice – While I was searching for fabric and paint color alternatives, I left the hutch painted in Graphite for weeks. After all, it was my original choice and I thought I still might be able to make it work.
Once I settled on a different fabric for the curtains though, I was able to pull out the darkest shade in the fabric (in this case French Linen) to still achieve the dark/light contrast we love about modern farmhouse style while at the same time providing a solid color choice for repainting the hutch.
- Ask for Help When You Need It – Sometimes you just have to get out of your own head and ask for advice from others. It wasn’t until I polled my Mom and friends asking for their style impressions that I understood I already had a signature color palette and honestly, so did our home.
Every time I would say, “I just can’t understand why this isn’t working out. I loved this on my vision board!” someone would say, “because you haven’t tried gray or camel yet.” And they were absolutely right!
- Don’t be Afraid to Mess Up – I will be the first to admit it’s hard to mess up sometimes. But the truth is, it’s probably rare we’ll mess up painting a piece of furniture so badly, we can’t repaint it and fix it. You might not get the color or the tone right the first time and that’s ok. Give yourself some grace and get started again knowing you’ve gotten it right 95% of the time and this one piece fell into the 5% you didn’t get right.
Just remember, your fabric choice will almost always be a helpful guide so make sure to use it as a resource.
I hope these lessons and tips on the French Linen Hutch Makeover help! I mean, what a doozy, right? I’m still looking for a French laundry basket to add to the top of this piece, but the size is kind of tricky. I normally don’t think you need to add anything extra to the tops of hutches like this but it’s about 3 feet from the ceiling making it all but necessary. I’m still on the fence so I’ll keep you posted.