An Unexpected Project: Refinishing a Mid-Century Bassett Hutch

I love random lucky scavenging.  Some of my favourite or most useful pieces have been spotted on on the kerb when I least expected…  

mid century bassett hutch refinished

One evening this past weekend my husband wanted to take a walk, and we decided to snake through some blocks in the flat portion of our neighbourhood.  It was a stroke of luck for me that we did happen to walk that way.  I found a new treasure much to L’s dismay.  (L is embarrassed by my kerb-side pickings and is reluctant to even buy such items let alone take them when free.  Our agreement is that I can go back alone and not involve him.)  So, we were walking along, and right ahead of us was a mid-century bookshelf with a cabinet below.  I looked it up and down and determined it was a true find: great design and in very decent condition.  Someone could sell one on Craigslist or in a store for hundreds, I was sure, but more importantly I liked it and realised it could fill a suddenly apparent storage void.  It was a similar style to the dresser that I just finished for Mini, and I wondered if I could fit it in her room… or perhaps it could go along the short wall by the stairs in the media room if not?  Some extra surfaces and spaces to organise the baby items I’ve been arranging would be so nice!…  Meanwhile L was questioning the wisdom of it all and hurried me away.  As we walked home we joked about my inevitable return with the hand-truck, but it seems now that he still thought I might not go for it.  I texted a photo to a friend who was really excited by the find too and enthusiastically suggested the same storage potential that I’d argued.  I decided to go back, probably as early was possible in the morning, to get it.  Late that night I grabbed the hand-truck and set out to collect the piece in a light rain, because it turned out it was supposed to rain a lot during the night, (and I wasn’t certain I’d wake early enough either.)

kerbside Bassett mid century hutch.JPG

Wheeling it home like a nutcase at midnight:



I’m super excited about it!  While bringing it home I noticed that the logo in the drawer seemed familiar, and Google shows me that Bassett Furniture made both this hutch and my old dresser!  They’ll be a perfectly matching set.   Isn’t that fantastic luck?  Also, it has a small enough footprint that I think I can squeeze it into the room without looking terrible, and I could really use the extra storage to keep things well organised but accessible.  

Yesterday I stripped it and expected it to be a nightmare kind of a job, but it actually went fairly quickly and easily.  Today I dragged it upstairs to sand and stained it.  All that is left is to clear coat.  Woot!  I’d been planning to reupholster the rocker this week, but that project is turning into a complete pain in my butt.  I did work on it, but mostly it has resulted in a mess and more work yet to be done.  There are so many darned staples, and they are thinner and harder to remove than any others I’ve dealt with.  Additional layers have unexpectedly required removal too, because they were disgusting, truly disgusting, with cat pee, slime from stripping, and who knows what.  As a result I probably have to purchase and wait for supplies, but if I don’t find a way to make do with whatever I have then I cannot really work on it until August.  August!  Not great.  😦  I exhausted myself today with it (and the staining) then cleaned up before crashing for a nap.  I’ll see what happens with it tomorrow.  I’m really antsy at every moment that I’m not accomplishing the things on my list, and L took a vacation that is coming up which means an entire week is lost besides all the weekends per usual.  It’s distressing!

Stripped and drying in lovely and lucky 53% humidity:


Stripped Bassett Furniture hutch.JPG

After I dragged it upstairs to patch/glue, sand, and stain:


Carbon grey to match the Bassett dresser:

charcoal stained Bassett mid-century hutch

I still can hardly believe that all of this went so quickly and easily!  I’d almost passed on taking the hutch thinking all the surfaces and nooks would make for a nightmare project, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  Tomorrow I can brush on the sealer and it’ll be all done!  🙂  🙂  🙂  I’ll share a true “after” photo whenever I do a post on the completed nursery.  (That’s going to be a while!)

Edit 14th July, 2017:

I clear coated the hutch twice yesterday and it is done!  I love how it turned out and decided to add photos here, because the clear coat makes it look quite a bit better.  Behold the after:

mid century bassett hutch refinished.jpg

hutch all done.jpg

On to the continuously updated to-do list.  I’ve completed quite a bit since the last post with it and have colour coded the remainder with red as high priority projects and orange for want to do but maybe/likely will not:

Mini’s room
-Brush final trim coat on nursery panelling.
-Remove storm windows
-Disassemble, and replace screens.  (Update: make new screens to install for summer instead of storms.)
-Scrape and glaze: (One,) (two,) (three.)
-Paint exterior windows.
-Install screens.
-Remove old security crap from windows.
-Paint windows (interior.)                                                                                                                             -Scrape and vacuum.
-Install sash locks.
-Change light switch and cover plate.
-Buy and install shades.
-Have crib sandblasted and finished or do a DIY clear coat.
-Attach casters to crib.  Create replacement hardware.
-Attach casters to walker and assemble.
-Bring dresser from Dad’s and refinish.
-Sew Kirghiz felted carpet to a dowel for wall-hanging.
-Strip rocking chair.
-Sand rocking chair.
-Stain rocking chair.
-Reupholster rocking chair and sew pillows.
-Fix leaky sink valve.
-Set up furniture, wall art, and organise.
-Strip new mid-century hutch.
-Patch and sand hutch as needed.
-Stain hutch.
-Clear coat hutch

Main living areas and stuff
-Replace certain outlets, switches, and cover plates.
-Paint dining/living windows.
-Scrape messy paint.
-Finish painting kitchen trim and panelling
-Repaint living/dining ceiling.
-Apply sealant on entry and hearth tile/grout.
-Sew back of sofa.
-Staple cambric.
-Sew pillow covers.
-Finish sanding dining chairs.
-Stain and wax chairs.
-Paint and Mod Podge antique travel chest.
-Touch up kitchen chairs and hoosiers.
-Repair coffee table.
-Repair and sand end table.
-Paint table.                                                                                                                                     –Paint main bath.
-Reupholster recliner.
-Reaupholster little round chair.

-Weed garden and path
-Stain east side of house.
-Stain or hire west side of house.
-Powerwash patios and chairs.
-and paint rusty table with hammered finish.
-Stain patios.
-Permanently attach umbrella to deck with bolts.
-Powerwash fence.
-Stain fence.

Front of house
-Patch broken front steps.
-Paint foundation a more pleasing shade.
-Buy new light fixture and install with sensor bulb.
-Last bit of patching.
-Last bit of painting.
-Wash exterior windows and skylights (uninstalling storms.  Make screens.)
-Finish glazing windows

Unfinished part of basement
-Finish painting walls.
-Rewaterproof spot on floor.
-Touch up floor paint.

-Organise storage area.
-Organise basement.
-Organise Garage.
-Organise attic.  Sort stored items again before sale.
-Organise kitchen.
-Organise sewing room.
-Organise baby items in closet.
-Organise master closet.

-Have yard sale.

Dressing room and spiral stairwell
-Touch up ceiling paint.
-Shift PAX and MALM to left.
-Brush edges.
-Roll walls.
-Paint trim.

Sewing room
-Remove sewing room door.
-Mark and chisel hinge mortises.
-Mark and drill door knob.  Install knob.
-Hang door.  Plane and sand to fit.
-Paint door.

Other kinds of non-house projects 
-Remake lamp shade for hanging lamp in Mini’s room.
-Remake a play mat and arches for hanging toys?
-Stain and make a busy board for Mini
–Sew dresses for myself; light coat for myself and Mini; dresses, pants, and quilted coats for Mini; a small and queen sized quilt; sew some soft toys; …
-Crochet or knit sweaters, hats, pants, and booties for Mini
-Make a mobile?

Pushed to later:

-Paint master ceiling.
-Touch up master bath vanity.
-Recoat walls.
-Poperly hang mirror.
-Install tub trim kit and drain.
-Install shower trim kit.
-New switches, outlets, and cover plates.

Storage room (now office)
-Remove stored items from storage/office.
-Rip out carpet and pad.
-Remove panelling.
-Patch and caulk.
-Brush paint.
-Roll walls.
-Paint sewer pipe with hammered finish.
-Paint ceiling.
-Change light fixtures.
-Change outlets and cover plates.
-Frame the two cinderblock walls
-Install foam insulation panels
-Drywall or panelling…
-Prime and paint newly insulated walls

Media room
-Get rid of giant speakers and console.
-Mount TV and sound bar.
-Rip out crappy laminate.
-Remove trim.
-Install DryCore.
-Lay insulating underlayment.
-Install vinyl planks.
-Reinstall trim.
-Paint touchups.  (I did re-paint a lot but need to finish since I ended up using a new gallon that doesn’t match perfectly.)
-Arrange furniture.
-Paint or replace stained ceiling tile.  (or ideally change to 2×2′)

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