When we moved into our house nearly 30 years ago, the carriage house came with three built in workbenches. Kind of overkill for us. One of them sort of stuck out into the space in an awkward way. Despite the fact that every winter I had to angle my car just so to fit it inside because of that one bench, a bench that I never used except as storage and display space for my sale, it never occurred to me that we could just rip it out.
I can’t really explain it, but I tend to be guilty of this sort of blindness when it comes to the carriage house. I just never think about the fact that I can alter it to suit my needs.
After the light bulb went off in my head about removing the bench, I had a second revelation. I have ship lap behind that bench. In fact that whole side of the carriage house has ship lap walls!
Huh?, you say. How is it possible that she has ship lap and didn’t know it? Must be the blonde hair, right?
Of course I knew what my walls looked like, but I’ve had these walls for nearly 30 years. The ship lap revolution is fairly new, I’d never even heard of that term until I started watching Fixer Upper last year. Apparently I had ship lap before Joanna Gaines made it cool.
Down came the work bench and up went some white paint. And then it struck me that I had effectively removed a big chunk of shelving that had previously displayed quite a few of the ‘smalls’ at my sales, thus giving me a legitimate reason to do some craigslist surfing. I needed a hutch of some kind to ‘replace’ the shelving for display, and preferably a piece that I could then sell leaving plenty of space in my carriage house for the car this winter.
It only took me a few minutes of searching before I found this amazing piece …
It was located just a few miles away and the price was reasonable. Really, I would have purchased this one even if I didn’t need a display piece for my sale. In order to secure the purchase, I had to run over and buy it on my lunch hour then return later in the evening with Mr. Q and a truck to pick it up.
By the way, I have a little trick that I use when I do that. Maybe you know this one already. Here’s what you do, take a drawer with you after you pay for it. I learned this tip from a friend who had a piece of furniture sold out from under her at a garage sale. Even though she had paid for it, when she went back to pick it up later in the day it was gone. If you take a drawer, it’s pretty hard for the seller to sell to someone else.
Anyway, I decided that Annie Sloan’s French Linen would be perfect for this hutch. However, when I pulled out my can of paint I realized it was only about half full (or for you pessimists out there, it was half empty). I knew I’d need more paint than that, so I improvised. I pulled out a half can of Cece Caldwell’s Young Kansas Wheat and I mixed the two together to create a mostly full can of paint.
I tried to come up with a creative name for this color. Young Kansas Linen? French Kansas? Young French Linen? French Wheat? Hmmm, that has a ring to it. I googled French Wheat just to see if anything would come up only to discover that there are currently some serious problems with the wheat crops in France. Who knew? But I didn’t find any paint colors called French Wheat.
The color turned out lovely. French Linen is a warm greige on its own and the Young Kansas Wheat is a warmer beige-ier color. Thus I give you French Wheat …
And there are those ship lap walls that are now white. If I had better lighting in the carriage house, this might become my new photo staging area!
As it was, the lighting was a serious challenge and I’m not entirely happy with any of the photos I took. But this is the best you’re going to get. After moving this piece multiple times while working on it, I am totally not in the mood to try and move it somewhere with better lighting just for some photos. It is seriously heavy and awkward to move.
By the way, you are looking at the preliminary set up for the Carriage House sale here. All of the items pictured are for sale; the chippy white chairs ($18) and windows, as well as this cute little chalkboard hanging from a knob.
Lucky thing I didn’t try to stretch my half can of French Linen, because I used every last drop of paint on this piece, so nearly a full quart sized can. I did need two coats of paint to get good coverage. And that was without painting the inside of the bottom section and the inside of the middle section. These sorts of pieces can be deceiving. There is a lot of painting when you’re doing the outside, plus the insides of two areas, plus shelves, plus the inside of the ‘secretary’ drawer.
Oh, didn’t I mention that this is technically a ‘secretary’ desk? Yep, it is.
That upper middle drawer flips down and becomes the the writing surface and there is a little drawer and cubbyholes inside.
Let’s talk about the grain sack doors. If you look back to the ‘before’ photo you can see that the two middle doors originally had a chicken-wire-ish metal mesh instead of glass. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t great. I tried painting it, but still didn’t much care for the look of it. So instead I decided to go with grain sack inserts.
I am absolutely in love with this look. I’ve done it a few times and I love it every time.
This time I used authentic grain sack, but still added the ‘1902’ stencil. I think the mended spot is absolutely charming.
If you aren’t a fan of things that show their age, you are probably reading the wrong blog … and I’m not necessarily referring to just the furniture.
I’m going to give up on trying to come up with a non-grainy, white balanced, clear photo of this hutch now and just leave you with this last picture …
And then remind you that you can see this French Wheat hutch in person at my upcoming Carriage House Sale if you live anywhere nearby.