Quick & Easy Projects: The Dining Room Hutch.

So, you might have picked up on the fact that there’s a lot going on right now that all adds up to my life feeling like non-stop chaos everywhere I look. I’m sure you know the feeling no matter what you do, but in the midst of multiple renovation projects at once on multiple houses, the quite literal mess and feeling of so many things sitting in some state of “progress” but still a ways away from completion can get kind of…wearing. I’m so lucky to get to do all this fun stuff that I like to do, but like everything else it comes with some little downsides that can make you crazy if you let them.

This week I actually dedicated a *little* less time to the stuff that feels very very pressing and a little more time to getting off my ass when I’m tired and just want to lay in bed and watch Netflix and moan in the service of trying to check some things off a loooongggggg list of little things that have been bothering me for what feels like forever. Finally hanging some art that’s been leaning on the mantel for 4 months, switching that rug with this rug, cleaning out closets…small, approachable tasks that I can complete in an afternoon or two and have a pretty immediate affect on my rapidly slipping notion that I actually have things under control. It feels GREAT.


Case in point? The big antique hutch in my dining room. I still love that thing and still consider it a steal at $400 (I wrote that it was $450 when I posted about the dining room, but I recently found the receipt and turns out I was wrong!), but probably since the day I set it up, a few things about it have bothered me. The whole thing is really old so the doors don’t always stay closed, and the shelf spacing always struck me as kind of…wrong.


It only had two shelves (three, counting the bottom obviously), which sort of made everything I put inside it feel too small and awkward. The other problem—which isn’t so much a flaw as much as something I just endlessly stared at and obsessed over—is that the shelves have no spacial relation to the mullions on the glass-paneled doors, which may or may not have originally been someone’s storm windows or something. At some point I thought to myself, “self, you can fix that,” and them promptly added “fix hutch shelves” to a truly appalling number of to-do lists I’ve written and ignored over the course of the past year.


So the other day, I did do something! I opted to go the quick-and-easy route and just GET IT DONE instead of obsessing over every single tiny detail and making my quick dumb project overwhelming with steps.

I took a rubber mallet (so as not to bruise the wood) and gently released the top shelf from the cleat holding it up. It wasn’t nailed down so this was very easy. I thought of prying the cleat off and raising it an inch to line up with the top mullion, but then I said fuck it! and just ripped a 1″ piece of scrap 5/4″ wood down on my table saw to add to the top of the cleat. I attached it to the side of the cabinet with wood glue and 1.25″ brad nails, smeared the holes with caulk, and used the rubber mallet to lower the shelf back onto its supports. FANCY.


For the second shelf, I did pry off the old cleat, pulled the nails, and planed off the back to get rid of any remaining glue schmutz so that it could be re-glued and re-attached at the right height. More wood glue, more brad nails…done. BANG. The cabinet is 14″ deep so I kept a 12″ level handy to make sure my cleats and shelves were level and nice.

The bottom shelf had to be made because it didn’t exist before. The shelves are 14.75″ deep, and I happened to have a piece of 14″ cabinet-grade plywood leftover from something that I could just cut down to the right length. Easy. Then I just ripped a 3/4″ piece of 1x scrap and face-nailed it to the front of the plywood to add a *little* rigidity and cover up the raw plywood edge. The cleats are made from scrap 5/4″ lumber (so they matched the thickness of the originals) that I just cut down to be the same width, which I think was 2.75″ or something. Not sure. At this point the bourbon was taking over.


The next afternoon, when the caulk had all set up, I spend roughly two minutes with my orbital sander smoothing down the areas that hadn’t gotten painted the first time around or were covered by the old locations of the cleats. Then I wiped everything down and gave those spots and the new shelf two coats of the paint I used the first time, which is Martha Stewart’s Bedford Grey. For about .5 seconds I considered taking the opportunity to do something different with the color but I still really like this one and I don’t care if it gets more pins because I painted it emerald green or some shit. Sorry!


Andddd, YAY! Don’t worry about the “styling” because there is no real styling. This is called “I want this shit off my dining room table, so I’m putting my crap away” styling. So pro.

THE POINT IS, the shelves now make sense with the doors, AND I got another few feet of storage space out of this thing, which I’ll never turn down. It also did give me the opportunity to weed out some items I was keeping around that are pretty but weren’t really serving a purpose for me and just taking up space. I’ll always have stuff like that—pretty for pretty’s sake—but keeping it to a reasonable minimum feels alright.



The only other major improvement was that I added some cheap little cabinet door clasps to the inside of the doors/shelves to keep the doors from flopping around all willy-nilly. I found them at Lowe’s for a dollar a two a piece in the cabinet hardware section, like where the knobs and handles are. Changes EVERYTHING. This upgrade took maybe 10 minutes and makes me feel like this one thing in my life doesn’t have any stupid little outstanding work to do on it. I briefly considered switching out the original clasps on the outside of the door with something more substantial/functional but still reasonably historically appropriate, but this was easier, cheaper, and allows me to maintain the original look of the thing. Win-win-win! They’re not visible at all except when the doors are open. YAY.


That’s it! Does everyone else have stupid projects like this, hanging over their heads for months or years that would realistically only take a couple hours of work to fix? I have so many that I could make a regular feature out of this stuff. We’ll call it…I Was Lazy for Months and Months and I Finally Got My Act Together to be Less Lazy. Or something.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 8.28.15
    Sterling said:

    That is a vast improvement, especially the tension clasps. Really it’s these kinds of simple, high-impact/low-effort changes that make what we do worthwhile. Grinding out big projects is exhausting and quickly becomes no fun for those of us [me] who have an instant gratification problem, and they can feel like you’re just throwing all your energy down a black hole which only expands. I’m pretty terrible at balancing these things, but that’s because I’m bad at adulting. I hope you have better luck than I do!

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      “throwing all you energy down a black hole” <--YES! Especially working so much on the yard this summer (and olivebridge, and a little on the cottage...), they're all huge projects with very little instant gratification, and I sort of need that to stay motivated. I'm bad at the balance too, but I want to do more stuff like this just for that reason alone...as long as I feel like I'm getting SOMETHING done (like, DONE), I can feel better about the huge stuff that still has a long ways to go.

  2. 8.28.15
    Elisa said:

    Daniel you are awesome. This is just the motivation I needed to get off my lazy ass and start crossing that little shit off the to do list.

  3. 8.28.15
    Claudia said:

    I absolutely love this. Especially the “real-ness” of it, as I do not style my dishes either. I’ve been working on projects like this for a few weeks, ever since my laptop died and I’m not devoting my evenings to watching every show ever streamed on netflix. And holy crap, it makes a difference. Who knew?

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Haha! Maybe I’ll throw my laptop out the window and my house will be done in a month? ;)

  4. 8.28.15
    Bee said:

    It feels sooo good when I get off my sorry ass and complete some projects that have been on my to-do list soooo long that they were on a different page entirely. Especially something that I have to look at all the time and mentally make some kind of lazy ass excuse whenever I see it. Just do it; it never takes as long as I think it will take. So kudos to you–I feel empathy right now. I <3 your blog.

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Right? I’d built this up so much in my brain as being some huge deal, but it was really FINE. I think I’m overcompensating from all the times I’ve thought something would be quick and easy and it turns out to be hard and terrible, but maybe that brand of delusion is sort of helpful in case it’s actually true.

    • 9.8.15
      Kristin said:

      Looks like I am not alone in thinking something will take forever & it’s actually pretty quick. My to do list is so ridiculously long :( I try to do a few things a night, but you know then you add more items to your list so you feel like it’s never going to end!

      What I find funny is that before I even starting reading the post & looked at the hutch I immediately noticed that the shelves didn’t line up with the mullions & I though man I hope he either removed a shelf for larger items or added a shelf for smaller items, haha! I would call that my OCD for symmetry & I’m glad to know I’m not the only one :)

  5. 8.28.15
    Tiffany Noelle said:

    Last night I finally took on a project that is the exact type you describe. I finally fixed a hole in a sweater vest that I was too afraid to wear, fearing it would ravel more, but the repair was so minor I hadn’t wanted to actually banish it to the black hole of the “mending pile”. It had been floating around my house for months and only took about an hour to fix. It felt sooooooo good to be able to throw it in the laundry knowing that I can now wear it without worry!!!
    Rock on and keep “doing it now!”

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Nice! I’m so bad about fixing clothes. It’ll take me MONTHS to sew a button back onto something. What’s with that?

  6. 8.28.15
    Adrien said:

    You’re an inspiration to me. Really.



  7. 8.28.15
    Chris said:

    OMG YES!! I’m looking at a bunch of to do’s right now as I lie on my couch playing on my iPad when I could really be crossing little shit projects off the list! You have inspired me!

  8. 8.28.15
    Joanne said:

    Yes. We renoed our kitchen 2.5 years ago. The 12″ piece of moulding to conceal the gap between the cabinet top and the soffit is still sitting in the garage! Ugh. Also, I have to agree with you that all these annoying “just fix it!” project decisions get made much quicker with bourbon…….

  9. 8.28.15
    Laura said:

    Looks great! I can’t answer for everybody, but I definitely have a ton of projects that will actually take less time to complete than they do for me to agonize over every time I think about them. Good on you for getting one done!

  10. 8.28.15
    Kristin said:

    Good post to read just before the weekend that I want to get a bunch of little crap DONE.

  11. 8.28.15
    georgia said:

    I can relate 100% to your first paragraph, so reading this post was deeply satisfying and at the right moment too, Thanks, All the best for your projects and life and whatever. Loving what you are doing.

  12. 8.28.15
    Devyn said:

    Not envious of your hutch at all Daniel!
    Looks fabulous, I wsh I could find something like this in the city that doesn’t cost an arm and two legs.

  13. 8.28.15
    Kris said:

    My project that I always put off is changing out photos in picture frames. I have a gallery wall in my home and hate changing out the photos! When I do change them, it makes such a difference! My other problem is cutting mats for frames, there’s no way doing that doesn’t suck.

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Oh I hear ya!! Do you cut the mats yourself? I think it’s usually only a few dollars at a framing place or michael’s if you already have the frame!

  14. 8.28.15
    Alexis said:

    Hmmmm, I have some magnetic clasp things for my cupboard doors that I bought oh, about six months ago, maybe more… Perhaps tomorrow I’ll fit them…

    In all seriousness, part of why I enjoy your blog is that it is real and not all over styled and magazine perfect. It’s oddly satisfying and enjoyable. Love the fact that the screws on the tension clasp don’t even match!

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! I was installing them too late at night and the dining room is kind of dark, so I dropped one and couldn’t find it again! Ah well. :)

      (and thank you!)

  15. 8.28.15
    ABC said:

    Just moved and this was a great treat to crash into my bed and read…

    P.S. PLEASE consider another advertising partner… these ads are relentless and it took me over 15 min to read the first 2 paragraphs because it kept auto-scrolling down to the ads and wouldn’t let me scroll away/to the top!!

    • 8.28.15
      Daniel said:

      ugggghhhhh, thank you for letting me know!! those ads have been a problem for a bit now and I thought they were fixed. I’ve only had that experience once and it is beyond annoying. I’ll keep working on it. let me know if it happens again on the next one!

    • 8.28.15
      Becky said:

      Same problem here — but when I clicked to read the entry on its own page, it worked much better.

    • 8.29.15
      Lina said:

      Third-ed! Otherwise love your site and wish I had a cabinet like that.

    • 8.29.15
      Kate said:

      I never see any ads on your site, Daniel. But I never see any around the web, and it’s probably because I’ve got Adblock Plus (this is not an ad for it, I don’t work for them!).

      So, your site always looks great to me, smooth sailing all the way.

    • 8.31.15
      Sterling said:

      I’ve never seen any ads on here, but like another commenter I run an adblocker.

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Thanks for letting me know, guys! Tried implementing something else this morning, so maybe that will solve it? Ugh. Thanks for bearing with me!

  16. 8.28.15

    love the new shelves. its always those little niggly to dos that turn out to be almost more satisfying… alls those little jobs…

    good thing to read on a friday …. now i am inspired for the weekend!

  17. 8.28.15
    Moxie said:

    I love it! And now instead of sitting around watching Netflix (not even admitting what series I’m watching right now), I will clean up the built-in shelves in the living room that have been a dumping ground since we moved in a year ago. The little things! Gotta do the little things. Tomorrow, I’ll keep painting the bathroom. I started it out of an impulsive need to do something, and now the impulse has worn off and there have been cabinet doors in the hallway for like a month. Oops.

    • 8.28.15
      Moxie said:

      Oh also, you have my cookie bowl! The big cream one, bottom left, with the pink stripe. I have one that matches that is my exclusive cookie mixing bowl. I don’t know why but it makes me happy.

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Oh, I am sooooooo guilty of the impulsive renovation choice that takes me weeks or months to circle back to. I’m trying to get better about it!! Old habits, man….

      I love that bowl! My friend John gave it to me. :)

  18. 8.28.15
    nadine said:

    I literally just did a task that I have been looking at for two years! A raw piece of oak on a back door step had never been sealed. Two winters, two muddy springs and various pets blackened that beautiful piece of oak. It took maybe 15 minutes to beautify. That included looking for sander, tack cloth, brush and lo and behold I had poly that was not hard as a rock in the can. DONE. Well it will need a second coat with a quick sand between. That should take 5 minutes. Unless it takes another two years.

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Boom! Now go do that second coat! Rooting for you :)

  19. 8.28.15
    nadine said:

    Ps. Those shelves would have bugged me too. Good job.

  20. 8.28.15
    Jeanna said:

    It makes so much sense now! Little things like that drive me nuts every time I walk by and see them. I had an electrician in the house changing out some bathroom lights for me, and he wanted to just cover the hole with a plastic round cover of some kind, and it would have been centered between the two new lights. Nope. I would have cringed every single time I looked at it. That’s a great idea to make it a regular feature! We all have little things to stay on top of :)

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Oh man, good catch! I find that kind of thing a lot with contractors…wanting to take the easier/quicker route even if it looks kind of bad. I think it’s sometimes a courtesy to the client because those trades tend to bill hourly and it keeps costs down, but that would drive me nuts too!

  21. 8.28.15
    Adriana said:

    I’m not sure i would have thought all of those things would have made such a difference but wow! Great job, it looks amazing and sooo much better!

  22. 8.28.15
    Ann said:

    I installed those same latches on all our 80-year-old kitchen cabinets last month — that was my “sitting around” project and at 9 months pregnant I figured I’d probably start getting sh*t done. Which is good because I sure as hell don’t have time to fix my cabinets with a newborn!

  23. 8.28.15
    Jenny Rose said:

    I have a bedroom that has been three quarters grey and one quarter green. CAN”T GET THAT SHIT DONE. I honestly forgot about it until I read this and thought of all the stupid undone projects I have in my 100+ year old house. So glad I am normal. Or at least semi normal.
    Love the difference your new shelves made. Amen to crossing that little bugger off the list!
    Always enjoy your blog entries. Very inspiring AND entertaining.
    Love from Canada! xo

  24. 8.28.15
    Jen said:

    Oh phew! When I saw the title of the post in my reader I was like, oh crap please tell me he didn’t paint the hutch black or something! Then I was like, ok, this is Daniel, he wouldn’t do that…and thank goodness you didn’t! Fixing the shelves really does make a big visual difference, and living in a place with old cabinets, I know what a difference those little latches can make!

  25. 8.29.15
    Katarina said:

    I love the large cabinet and envy you. It’s soo beautiful!

    Sure .. I have the same to-do list, and you feel happy when you had to tick off a few things. And often, it goes very fast to implement. My husband came out eleven years at organizing his closet, which took a few hours to do. Then he had the door open to see how nice it was. Oh dear…

    I follow with excitement all your projects and wish you good luck!

  26. 8.29.15
    Jenn said:

    Dude. “I Was Lazy for Months and Months and I Finally Got My Act Together to be Less Lazy” needs to be a REGULAR feature. I have an old Hoosier cabinet whose doors *never* stay shut and drive me up the f*&^ing wall. You have inspired me. I am going to HD or Lowe’s tomorrow and getting those door things. IT WILL BE DONE SOHELPMEGOD.

    • 8.29.15
      Daniel said:

      Go go go! Yes you can! Weeeeeeee! :)

    • 8.30.15
      Ashli said:

      You sir, have saved the day. It is the little things that can brake a person, and a cabinet that doesn’t close would drive me insane. I also give a huge thumbs up to regularly featuring the “small things.” Everyone has that list laying around, even those without renovations happening.

  27. 8.29.15
    Noora said:

    I found your blog about a year ago and fell in love. You have the same mentality about renovations as me and I just love the reality of the blog. The reality actually brings me to why I’m leaving this (first ever) comment. I’m in my life pretty much in the same situation as you are, as in I just broke up with my boyfriend and I’m trying to get my shit and renovations together. I’ve been fairly bummed that you’ve been posting so rarely lately, but I totally understand that. I’m still going to check your blog almost every day hoping that there’s something new waiting for me. And this post? It just broke the bank! I love the cuss words, I love the “I’m getting shit done” and “fuck it!” attitude. Life’s hard and so be it, you just have to deal with it. Thank you!

    • 8.30.15
      Daniel said:

      Aw, thank you, Noora. Yeah, aside from the emotional/personal stuff going on, I’ve also basically been sick non-stop since May and really stretched myself way too thin this summer with extraneous commitments and stuff—blah. I’m really trying to pick it back up, though—I HATE going more than a week without posting and it’s been happening way too often. All the best to you—I know firsthand that break-ups in the midst of stressful renovations are no fun!!

  28. 8.29.15
    gretaclark said:

    I have a china closet in my dining room that has needed a new clasp since it was broken on our move 15 years ago!! This is an inspirational post-maybe I will do something about it?

  29. 8.29.15
    Dawn said:

    Oh man. Please don’t make this a regular feature. Ok jk please do cause it’s awesome and motivating, but just know that I’ll feel extra lazy in comparison because of the literal mound of projects currently sitting in my garage that I’ve been putting off for years. Seriously who needs to park a car in a garage anyway?

    • 8.30.15
      Daniel said:

      If it makes you feel better, I’ve owned my house for over two years and the car has never once entered the garage. Not once!

  30. 8.29.15
    Florian said:

    I’m totally loving this feature, although I like the name, I think just FUCK IT would be a tad more handy.

    • 8.30.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! And the sponsors just start lining up around the block!

    • 9.3.15
      Luna said:

      Hey there was a successful book written with just that very same title ‘F*CK IT’ so who knows?

  31. 8.29.15
    Julie said:

    Every time I read your posts I laugh, then learn a thing or two. You are so good at what you do, and so real. I love that you talk about the mess of it all, swear, show pictures of your sad transplanted hostas, share your process, swear some more, and carry on, teaching all the way. Thanks much.

    • 8.30.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Julie! <3

  32. 8.29.15
    kmkat said:

    Heh, I have that same set of bowls as yours at far left on bottom *shelf*. Also, when we remodeled the kitchen in a previous, 1937-vintage house, I took advantage of having a wall opened up to have lights installed in the tops of the built-in corner hutches in the adjoining dining room. Then I replaced the wooden shelves with custom-cut glass ones. Those dark hutches suddenly became showpieces!

  33. 8.29.15
    Susan in England said:

    I’ve seen other hutches like that one, where the shelves don’t line up with the wood/glass panels and I’ve always thought they looked very wrong. They jarred on me. You’ve achieved a great improvement.

    I sympathise with the looooong to-do list. I have a similar one. I was looking at mine a couple of weeks ago and realised that it would only take me 15 minutes to complete a task. So I did it. Why couldn’t I have done that before? What else is lurking on there which could be accomplished in just a few minutes?

    Btw, once the list had got a bit messy with some stuff crossed off, I used to re-write them so they looked neat. But then a pristine newly written to-do list showing nothing but all the outstanding tasks made me feel that I wasn’t achieving any thing at all. So now I keep the original list so that I can see the crossed off items and think ‘Wow, I’ve been busy’ instead of shuddering because I’ve got all this stuff to do. To see what I have done encourages me to do more.

    • 8.30.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! I’m such a compulsive list-maker…definitely guilty of re-writing the same list so it’s fresh and neat. I have lists on papers, the back of junk mail, multiple apps on my phone, a google sheet…at this point I don’t think I’m helping myself at all but at least it makes me feel better or something.

  34. 8.29.15
    Kate said:

    Huge improvement on that hutch — lining up the shelves with the door mullions makes it look like it probably was supposed to back when it was built.

  35. 8.29.15
    Debbie in toronto said:

    So. Much. Better. And love the Bedford grey.

  36. 8.29.15
    Nancys said:

    It is the little things that make us sane! I have 1 large glass front cabinet in my kitchen. I use it for glasses. The shelves HAVE to align with the panes! The glasses go on the shelf that they fit on, there is no adjusting the shelves to style the cups.
    No sense looking at something everyday that makes you twitch :)

  37. 8.29.15
    Jac said:

    I recently devoted a solid 3 weeks to bingeing on Mad Men (no regrets there, am so missing Don Draper!) but coming back to reality and my ‘to do list’ was a real shock to the system. Am walking away from the laptop…… and heading toward the overgrown garden!!

  38. 8.29.15
    Jenny said:

    You should make this a recurring blog feature! It will help inspire the rest of us to tackle those stupid, easy things we never get around to, too. Or maybe we’ll just continue to live vicariously through your productivity while we sit on our asses reading your blog. :)

    • 9.3.15
      Luna said:


  39. 8.29.15
    Ashli said:

    You could call it the Laissez List, as in laissez faire.

    • 9.28.15
      Tisha said:

      I like it! Seems a bit more marketable than “F*ck It”

  40. 8.30.15

    We should form a club. How about the “It took 2 minutes, why didn’t we do it sooner Club” ?

    I’m so guilty of this…
    – We’ve built a bathroom almost from scratch, which took a long, long time, then bought a beautiful vintage mirror… and waited 2 years to actually hang it. It took exactly 2 minutes, 1 of which was me rummaging through the tool box. Why didn’t I do this sooner ?
    – Hemming my daughter’s drapes. It took 30 minutes. 2 years and 30 minutes.
    – Turned a hated “chiffonier” into a beloved one: I’ve considered painting it, changing the knobs for some dashing ones, and yet, each time I pictured the piece in my head, I would still hate it. Then, four nights ago, I thought about the simple and elegant brass and leather knobs I bought from Anthropologie some time ago. They didn’t work out as planned, so I had them stored. I changed the generic knobs for my brass ones, and the chiffonier very, very quietly became beautiful to me. The new knobs blend quietly into the piece, feeling original yet more updated. I’ve hated the piece for ten years, it took me 20 minutes to change the knobs. Why, why ?

    Other things take much longer when you procrastinate… says the girl who faced a home office turned dumpster for a house not unlike yours in terms of renovation !

    I really love your dining room, I can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the place !

    • 8.30.15
      Daniel said:

      Sounds like you’re doing better than I am!! I have so many “last 10%” kinds of projects floating around. It’s not the kind of stuff I normally blog about but I think I should now!

  41. 8.30.15
    Joann said:

    Very nice post!

  42. 8.30.15

    Finally wrangling the cords in my living room = a 15-minute job that I procrastinated on for an entire year of living in my home. Every time I sat on my couch they would taunt me — I think I probably spent hours trying to edit them out of photos. Then I finally got off my butt, broke out the sugru, and all is right with the world. I spend many hours every week working on the bigger projects, these smaller ones just constantly fall by the wayside. You should start a link party where everyone submits their tiny little projects. Just kidding, the world does not need more linkies.

    • 8.30.15
      Daniel said:

      Yay! Dealing with messy cords is good for the soul, dude!

  43. 8.30.15
    Brandi said:

    I used to read the Young House Love blog and they had a sort of regular “challenge” that they called the “Dude, Get on That Already!” – which is quite similar to what you have done here. :o)

    The very symmetry-loving side of me rejoiced when I saw the photo of the corrected shelves; I can’t even imagine how nice it felt to step back and look at that.

    I’m off to do one simple thing on my list that I can look at as inspiration and use to get my momentum going. Thanks for being that extra push I needed! I love reading your posts.

  44. 8.30.15
    Amanda said:

    Of course it needed an extra shelf! I would have looked at that piece of furniture for twenty years without figuring out that was the problem. You are in the right profession, my friend!

  45. 8.31.15
    Rosie said:

    Daniel, there are some super annoying video ads that keep jumping me around the page when they start playing, so I can’t stay in one place to read (or write this comment!) – one on the right hand side bar and one at the bottom of the post. I have the sound off, so can’t tell what they’re for, but appear to be of some girls driving in a car with cell phones.

    • 8.31.15
      Rosie said:

      Oh, I’m using Chrome if that helps.

  46. 8.31.15
    jannike said:

    so much better! the shelves not aligning with the mullions would make me crazy too.

    I have various long TO DO lists that never seem to get done, basement, the kid’s room, garden, the shacklet… just thinking about it makes me tired. now I need to go lie down

  47. 8.31.15
    Kate said:

    The hutch looks awesome! I love the gray paint color.

    I spent a few (ok, 5?) hours this weekend trimming the bejesus out of a pair of frighteningly overgrown boxwoods on either side of my front door—a project I swore I would take on last summer when I bought this house. Instead of doing it then and reaping the benefits of the regrowth that would have occurred this spring, I waited until the end of August, which means I’ve got these Frankenstein-esque plants out there there that I’m praying will fill in a little bit before the cold weather returns. But I *did* paint my kitchen, so there’s that?

  48. 8.31.15
    kaet said:

    Daniel! This is great. These details can make all the difference and you’ve absolutely demonstrated that here. Thank you also for a post that encourages the tackling of the to-do list with gusto! You create beautiful things and you do beautiful work. I hope all your other projects are humming along, as well as they can be, and that you continue to brighten this corner of the web with your humor, hard work, and awesome results! keep up all that you do! Cheers to you, Kaet

  49. 8.31.15
    Emma said:

    I love everything about this post! I don’t even want to look at my master to-do list because it’s filled with items just like this. And they suck the life out of me. I am side-eyeing the notebook that contains that list right now… and I might just have the courage to open it…

  50. 8.31.15
    Katrina said:

    Oh let me begin!
    Rehang sunburst mirror on wall. It fell and I kept forgetting to buy command strips and now I have command strips..it still sits.
    Clean out the clutter in the telephone niche. Old house, has a telephone niche…I drop everything in it.
    Paint the dining room. From yellow to white…I have been saying it for 3 years.
    Go through and weed out my decor closet—aka Hoarding Closet.

    Daniel, you may have me working on the above now I put it to word and its not swilling around in my mind.

  51. 9.1.15
    Chrissy said:

    Oh, yes! It took me over year to get the top half of my cabinet from one house to the other (three houses over – stairs were involved) and get the base rebuilt on it (my dad was awesome and used reclaimed wood to do it). The cabinet was the old ornithology cabinet from a university and it is HUGE but it too has shelf issues and I too realigned them to the doors for a much more polished look. Yours looks great too!

  52. 9.1.15
    Suzen said:

    Man, do I know what you are talking about! We have two houses, 3 hours driving time apart. We spend most of our time trying to find something we put down two weeks ago, which is the last time we worked on anything. Plus, Murphy’s Law of stuff, whatever we need is always in the “other house.” It’s beginning to drive me a little mad. (Possibly more than a little, since the drill is currently at the “other house” and now we need it here.) :-(

  53. 9.2.15
    kathyg said:

    YES would be a great monthly feature…or CHALLENGE… to readers to get one small thing done too. Hope you’ll do it, like maybe first week of each month…
    Anyway, love the result. You are the only blog I laugh, then read outloud to hubs. ;)
    Knocking something small like that off gives me major motivation. I guess it is the instant gratification as opposed to all the daily gotta-dos, and the bigger drawn out ones. Thanks!

  54. 9.2.15
    Joan said:

    The hutch is awesome. I love gray with rich wood tones–currently my very favorite combination.

  55. 9.3.15
    Luna said:

    …now where did I put that latest TO DO list?…

  56. 9.5.15
    Amy said:

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. I painted the bathroom and added bead board wainscoting like 2 years ago and never finished the trim. Now I’m sitting on the couch catching up on blogs. WTF, right???

  57. 9.5.15
    cate said:

    Amazing how much better this looks. Great work. I have to get these latches for our kitchen cabinets that are flopping around too. (They are just like this hutch.) I wonder if it will work. The shelves are not flush with the doors — there is an inch or so of air.

    • 9.28.15
      Tisha said:

      You can always hang those latches from the top of the cabinet, too, if you have to. That’s where they are on my grandma’s cabinets.

  58. 9.5.15
    Heather said:

    Love the post! The shelves are so much better!! You should vlog!!

  59. 9.8.15
    Tina said:

    Well done! The shelves are looks much nicer. Love your post so much! Thanks for sharing

  60. 11.3.15
    Carlucinas said:

    After reading your blog on and off I stumble here again and looking through old posts I noticed that you have experience with wooden furniture. This project here looks much better. wonder if you finished the glass part and the wood and if yes please post a blog about that. The small things and the ones who appear very simple are the most difficult. Bought a house last year. Bough a Jenny Lind bed a month ago and not sure how to approach that beast. Read an old post you did about a dresser restoration using murphy oil soap, steel wool, danish oil, and Howard’s Feed-N-Wax . And there is this other approach using Mineral spirits, epoxy putty, Gel stain, Gel finish (see here: http://www.familyhandyman.com/woodworking/furniture-repair/how-to-refinish-furniture/view-all#step1). My question is what would you do to bring it back to life? the jenny lind has the spindles that are challenge to work with and shows some decoloration. I dont want to think in sanding it and for the price I got I dont want to get rid of it given that this type of furniture seems high in demand thanks to those ‘shaker style ish’ IG accounts that I have seen lately.

  61. 11.3.15
    Carlucinas said:

    oh and forgot to mention there is the old trick of oil and vinegar mixed to polish and restore furniture and then I saw the watco rejuvenating oil. too many option dude. I just want to learn what to use in what case and how to restore that jenny lind bed :(

    • 11.4.15
      Daniel said:

      Hey there!

      It really kind of depends what’s wrong with the wood in the first place, and what it’s been treated with before! My hutch (and that dresser) seem to have always been treated with oil or wax finishes (instead of shellac or polyurethane), which makes a big difference. The easiest thing to do is probably pick up some Howard’s Restore-a-Finish (it comes in different finishes so you can pick what goes the best with your wood tone), which is basically a mixture of oils and solvents and stain that’s great for evening out worn or dry areas. Simple wipe-on-wipe-off application. If you’re happy with the results, finish off with some feed-n-wax and that might be it!

      I wouldn’t recommend trying to fully refinish it unless you REALLY feel like you have to (tonnnnns of work for something like that, and the result may only be so-so). If the wood just isn’t cooperating, you could always paint it!