french wheat.

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.

Duh, right?

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.


38 thoughts on “french wheat.

  1. It turned out beautifully…love the grain sack doors and the repaired patch!! I’m definitely a lover of all things you beautify! Your blog is my favorite by far!! So wish I lived close I would be at your carriage sale in a heartbeat!!


  2. Absolutely LOVE this!!! What a beautiful job you’ve done! I’m so so so excited for my FAVORITE sale of the year!!!!!! (I wish it was THIS saturday😊)


    1. Normally the sale would have been tomorrow, and I really wish it had worked out that way. Tomorrow’s weather is going to be perfect! But, I have a wedding to go to tomorrow instead. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will hold out for another week. We’ve been slowly setting things up out in the carriage house and we have some fab stuff again this year, you definitely won’t be disappointed!


  3. This color is really stunning. It reminds me of drabware, which I love. How fun to spruce up the carriage house! Great idea. I’m excited because I wasn’t going to be able to come to the sale, but my plans were cancelled so see you then!!!


    1. Woo hoo! I’m so glad you can make it. I had to google drabware. I’d heard the name before, but wasn’t really sure what it looked like. And bingo, yes, it is very similar to this color. Not a very flattering name for a color though, is it?


  4. Love it, what a great piece with a custom colour! I agree with Wendy I am always pleased when I get my notification you have a new entry in your blog.
    Good luck with your sale.


  5. Next time we’re going out and you see how casually I’m dressed and give me that exasperated look, I’ll just tell you to relax, “It’s drabwear!”


  6. If I didn’t live out in LA, I would want purchase this TODAY! I love the way it came out. Love how you are always “experimenting” with colors. Another beauty in the books!! Thank you for the inspiration today. 🙂


    1. You know what they say, necessity is the mother of invention. When you need a lot of paint for something, but all of your cans are half empty (or half full) … well, you have to experiment 😉


  7. Last week I acquired a “find” from The Mall of Potential Dreams (the curb). It is a 2 piece hutch that is very classic and multi-lined. Every color I considered has been dismissed as unworthy. Your French Linen-Wheat is perfect. Mine will be a similar concoction. Best wishes with your Carriage Sale.


    1. I love that! Let’s start calling the curb the MOPD (sort of like the MOA, or Mall of America). I think you will be very happy with a color like French Wheat on your find. Let me know how it turns out!


  8. This piece is fabulous! When you paint a piece with this type of finish do you prime or otherwise treat it to prevent bleed through?? Or does the before just have reddish tones on my monitor?


    1. The previous stain definitely had an orangey-reddish cast and I was worried about bleed thru. I tested it by painting just one drawer front first, then held my breath while it dried. Then added a second coat, still holding my breath (OK, not really, I can’t hold my breath that long). No bleed thru. Phew. If it had bled, I would have sealed the whole piece with clear primer before continuing to paint the rest of it and I really didn’t want to have to mess with that on a piece of this size. Sometimes you just get lucky and piece that you totally expect to bleed doesn’t; sometimes it’s the other way around and a bleeder sneaks up on you! By the way, I failed to mention in my post that there was a ring shaped stain on the writing surface of the secretary desk drawer. I think it may have been caused by an ink spill or something. That stain did bleed thru, so I treated just that one spot to two coats of clear primer and then painted over it. Worked like a charm.


  9. French Wheat turned out “tres magnifique!” Can’t wait to see it next weekend! Thanks for writing so frankly and casually about mixing paints, which to us less experienced painters seems faintly sacrilegious. Love the MOPD!


    1. Merci bou coup Kim! As for the paint mixing, I do feel pretty comfortable mixing together various brands of chalk paint, and it certainly worked beautifully in this case!


    1. Thank you so much! Wowza, I’m feeling kinda of special having gotten a comment from the CeCe Caldwell people! I hope you aren’t appalled that I mixed your paint with Annie Sloan’s pain ;-). But it did create a beautiful color that was perfect for my hutch.


    1. Thanks Joyce! I am proud of how this one turned out. If I had a spot for it, I’d keep it for sure. But I have a fairly small house, I can’t just keep every piece I love!


  10. My first visit to your sale. It was so great. Regarding this beautiful piece – I wondered if you sanded before starting and also if you used a sander for edges. Your finish was an oil possibly? As you can tell, I know very little about refinishing using paint but would like to start. Do you offer classes?


    1. Every once in a blue moon I offer a class, but not with any kind of regularity (although I’m thinking about maybe offering another one some time this winter). The ladies at Reclaiming Beautiful (a shop in Stillwater) offer classes, you should check them out. As for this piece specifically, I sanded very lightly by hand before painting, just enough to knock down some spots where the previous finish wasn’t smooth. I used chalk paint, and the top coat is a light brown wax from Little Billy Goat. I sanded the edges by hand to distress. I usually prefer to sand by hand especially when distressing because it’s easy to go overboard with a sander and take off more than you intended to. And thanks for coming to the sale! I hope you found some fun stuff.


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