before and after

before and after: barb’s hutch makeover

by Grace Bonney

today’s final before & after makeover comes courtesy of knack studios‘ barb blair. she found this fantastic wooden hutch and added a fresh coat of orange paint and new hardware to give the piece a new life. i love the bold color and those little star details in the door- the orange paint really makes them more noticeable. thanks so much to barb for sharing- you can find out more about her work with knack studios right here. [the painting inside barb’s hutch was done artist kyle buttram]

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  • I have to say in this cae, the wood version is more beautiful. I fully understand doing this to an ugly piece, but the wood here is not ugly. It used to be a design sin to cover beautiful wood like that with paint.

  • I keep telling myself I don’t like orange but I keep seeing ORANGE things I love. I even ordered ORANGE rain boots from Target!

  • That’s some bright orange! This reminds me of the kitchen counters my family used to have when we lived in Moscow: bright orange! And we had matching dishes: orange with white polka dots…good stuff!

  • this hutch is amazing! barb has such an eye for color and detail. can’t wait to see more from barb and knack studios!

  • I really like Knack Studio’s stuff yet is it too terrible if I like the “before” of this hutch better?

  • I’m with G and anonyonono- this piece was so beautiful to start with. Now it looks like something from Ikea.

  • i have to agree. the original piece looks great. might have been nicer to work on the wood to make its appearance richer. it’s a beautiful piece.

  • Oh that’s a shame. You can’t see the vertical lines on the doors after the paint job. Too bad, it was a classy piece to start.

  • Sigh. I love the concept and I’m totally into orange right now, but just not on this piece. I would have gladly given the original wood one a home. :-/

  • The before shot looks like a laminate wood to me! If it’s not it is an ugly stain. I much prefer the color on it now.

  • I said it once before and I’ll say it again…stop painting good looking furniture!

  • I like both versions. However, the before one was not a candidate for such a treatment. One should not paint nice furniture. Only really damaged, not savable wood or badly designed should get paint. When I was a kid, everyone covered things with shelf paper. Now look at all the wonderful pieces out there thrown to the dump because of this. This will find the trash heap sooner in it’s life now than had you left it alone.

  • “One should not paint nice furniture”

    I don’t understand statements like this- is there a law somewhere about this? I think anyone who owns something should feel free to do whatever they want with their furniture. If orange makes her happy, and makes her keep a piece of furniture rather than throwing it out- that’s a good thing.

  • Hey Grace,
    Don’t you find it amusing that more people are inclined to comment when they have something negative to say? I’m being a bit hypocritical, but it’s definitely true.

  • i look at the before picture and can’t believe my eyes. my mother had the matching buffet in our dining room when i was growing up. and i always hated it. even new, the wood was flat and dingy. take it from someone who spent years with those brown stars — they weren’t that nice and they’re waay better in orange! hmmm now i wish i had that buffet and some orange paint….oh well…life goes on. great job, barb!

  • I’m much more concerned with the finished effect of the piece — what a statement the beautiful orange makes – did anyone notice the fabulous ‘Vera Neumann” platter and vintage David Hicks design book? I’m totally moved by this piece.

  • okay. peoples.

    I just was able to visit Knack Studios myself while I was in Greenville. . .and I must say that this girl thinks so far out of the box, it appears that a few of you are jealous that you didn’t think of it first! I also must agree with Teresa and say that the finished effect of this piece is outstanding.

    Oh–and I happened to notice that Knack replaced the laminate top and raised the quality of the piece. I personally have never found laminate to be beautiful or rich in quality . . .I am personally glad that Knack chose to replace it and build up the piece. And I love the orange–way to do something bold and different!

  • i am actually lving the orange.. all that i care about is that this piece has been given a second life and that orange sure makes me smile.. i also love mangos.. so maybe i am biased?? and bad at spelling

  • Love the Orange Vintage piece….would love to use this in movie I am making with a retro theme….great color!!! Paint the wood for sure! I’m flipping over this piece! Great eye Barb!

  • Great job! I love the vibrant, energizing colour. Why don’t you try black hardware to make the colour ‘pop’?

  • the orange is bold and the beautiful, really makes the pieces inside stand out.

    however, I really do like the wood as it.

  • That is awesome!

    I must do something similar to a couple of chairs I have. They definitely need some life injected into them.

  • Hihi! I can’t stop laughing at the one trying to make a rule out of not painting furniture that is not “nice”.

    The piece is outstanding, I love it. The world needs more of this:):)

  • This looks like the same group my parents’ bedroom furniture came from (can’t check right now). I am waiting on my mother’s dresser, I have had dibs in for a long time, but she hasn’t moved or found a replacement yet. I am not “against” painting salvaged furniture so much as I find it faddish.

    How long are you going to want this orange thing in your dining room, and how do you plan to restore it to something you do want when you are bored of it? Who do you think wants it after you are through amusing yourself, with all the work to make it nice again, or paint it whatever color is popular when orange is no longer the fashion? I am getting tired of orange, and whoever said this maker thinks outside the box, I couldn’t get her website to work, and how far outside the box is orange in 2008? It’s about had its run, I think. Just because something’s cheap at the goodwill doesn’t mean it’s junk you can throw in the fire when you’re tired of orange.

  • First, I have to say the orange hurts my eyes!!! — but perhaps it’s my monitor. I imagine in real life this is more impressive.

    I think the reason people are bemoaning the loss of the wood is just that the wood is more visually interesting than one flat color across the board (especially one this overwhelming….). I’m sure in real life the wood looks too retro & not modern enough (even though it really does look cute in the photo!!). But at least the wood is more interesting. What about using a couple tones of orange? or a contrasting color? Or just orange trim and back panel, and contrast it with the wood?

    Design sponge readers are a tough crowd. We’re looking to be inspired, and any of us can cover an old wood item with a solid coat of paint. In the Before&Afters section especially we’re interested in different ways of approaching a refinishing job. At least this project didn’t just paint it plain white. But if they had maybe decoupaged orange FABRIC onto this, or SOMETHING different — even if it looked exactly the same in the end, it probably would have been given a warmer welcome.

    That’s just my theory.

  • Good to see some honest opinions on this piece.
    “Each to their own.” I say.
    Not personally my cup of tea but glad it has stimulated some comments other than the usual – “luv this!”

  • yuk…if you had to mess with it why not line the interior and shelves with an orange lining paper. When you’ve grown tired of this orange paint job it’s going to the dump.

  • I haven’t felt the need to respond to the comments …… until now! Thanks to all of you for ALL the comments;)

    I find it amusing that this post created such a stir! For all the peeps who thought or think that this piece was/is real wood, it is not. It is merely wood veneer /laminate over particle board. I respect that you would prefer that it not be painted and you are completely and utterly entitled to your opinion:) I just so happen to paint furniture for a living, and so it’s what I do, and I LOVE it!! I’m so glad that I live in a country that fosters that kind of freedom!! Do what you love and love doing it;)

    I would like to respond to KTG, sorry the website didn’t work for you, never had that problem before, but you must have caught it on a bad day;) I hope you’ll try again and if you still have problems you can let me know at barb@knackstudios.com. I don’t personally claim to “think outside the box”, that was a nice comment from someone who loves me, but what I do claim is that I take old cast off pieces of furniture and redo them and make them desirable to my market. I understand that my market is not the whole world and that is okay! As far as who will want it after my amusement…I don’t know ,I guess you have to ask the person who buys it! I sell all the furniture that I produce and the great thing about paint is that you can paint it again, to suit whatever room, year , fad…… it’s the gift that keeps on giving Clark !! I have a favorite quote from a very successful interior design friend here and I’d like to end with this…” be happy. be grateful. mostly be kind” Best wishes to ALL!!

  • I’m all for coloured furniture when colour makes sense, but this just turned out cartoonish!

    The before, be it restored and refinished, is much better.

  • Ops didn’t read it was just wood veneer… in that case I’ll hold any comment other than the colour is a bit trippy.

  • My family is Swedish and French, and there are many pieces of old painted furniture in our possession (and some in mine). Granted, it’s not for everyone, but this idea that wood cannot or should not be painted…well, let’s play nice, and just respond to the design and not react. Cringing is seldom helpful.

  • Thank you, Barb Blair/knack studios, for explaining your painted laminate piece.

    I have been painting/repainting and stripping furniture for years and I don’t get why people got so upset about your work. The orange isn’t a choice I would use but I love it. It’s cheery and fun and done really well. And a million times nicer than the laminate. Some one will love it. And if they get tired of it they can sell it or have it redone.

    Great job!!

  • This is the first time in a long time i dont like the after! The wood was so beautiful the way it was…

    well, one in a million. keep up the good work
    ( and excuse my bad english, i am a Brazillian)

  • i love this! tangerine is my absolute favorite color (a tangerine mixer, blender and even a tangerine purse decorate my life) and i am now inspired to go completely tangerine all over! great job!~

  • The b4 was nice but wow does the after pop! you certainly have to have the right space for it and if you do…what a winner!

  • Late to the party, but I love the after. It’s spectacular. I don’t like the before at all and feel vindicated that it’s laminate. I’m just checking old before and afters because I’m considering painting an old cabinet I just bought and that I find I don’t like so much in my place–it’s rather mousey. It’s hard to decide what’s worth keeping as is (or restoring it) and what’s ok to paint.

  • I am late, too, but I don’t understand the furor. The before looked like laminate, not like beautiful wood, even in a photo. I think the orange is fun, and sheesh, people, it can be repainted again!

  • I’m late too, but omg I love that orange!! The wood was beautiful, but very… plain? Nothing wrong with it, at all, but I think the orange is fantastic too.

  • I know I’m late in replying but..I was just looking on craigslist and this before hutch is for sale in the Dallas, Tx area for $250.

  • I like this a lot better in orange. It had possibilities before but didn’t
    stand out. An excellent paint job brings it into the room and into the imagination.

  • I have to say veneer or no, the first piece is better because of the visual interest brought by variegations in grain, stripes, and the stars. With the gloss orange, these qualities were lost. That is what I think many of us are lamenting and I wholeheartedly agree…and normally I prefer bright colors and modern design over wood or natural looks.

  • the dialogue here is a great example of how most people do not read through the comments before posting their two cents… get over it people – this piece was not real wood, and even if it had been, (as a few people also suggested) to each his/her own! i LOVE the orange!

  • really nice job. furniture is not sacred – it looks much more vibrant with color. i love the glass and knobs too. great work.

  • I like it they have brought it back to life,and noticed after it has been painted that is what thinking outside the box means,to see things and coulor diffrently,it has caught attention!

  • This is a piece of Broyhill(Premier) Saga line from the 1960s. I have it and the matching dining table and chairs – fabulous!

    No comment on the paint:)

  • Love the bright Orange!!! I think the wood looks cheap & dated, the paint gives it a fresh new look!! Great Job @BarbBlair :-) #loveDIY