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An Antique Mantle meets Shawns Childhood Hutch

You guys have seen this hutch many times throughout my blogging years...
Christmas 2010 with brown polychrome transferware
 Spring 2012 with Red transferware
Christmas 2013 red transferware

 ...but you've never  seen it naked.   
Until now. (My cell phone doesn't count!)

 This was Shawn's hutch he had in his room as a boy.  He and his brother shared a room and they each had one of these hutches standing back to back dividing their room.  When he brought it into our marriage it had Colonial shutter doors and white ceramic knobs.  I removed the doors and replaced the hardware with antique glass knobs and some brass pulls (though they definitely need an update again).   We've used the hutch constantly throughout our 30 years of marriage, usually as a place to display transferware and store table linens but when we moved to this house there wasn't an obvious perfect spot for it.  It's been out in the Sunroom, a  room we don't use all the time because it's neither air-conditioned or heated.  The hutch has sat lonely against a brick wall for the last 2 1/2 years.

  Several years ago, Shawn and I found this antique mantle piece on CraigsList for next to nothing.  The lady we bought it from said it had been in her family for many years and was part of a fireplace mantle in her parents home where she grew up.  You can't tell from the photos but there were a few breaks here and there and it needed some work.  Shawn glued a few pieces back in place and sawed the very tip off since it was damaged beyond repair.  

At the last house we lived in (dump nightmare house of all time), we had a perfect spot for it in our tv room.  I inserted a vintage transferware chop plate into the back where a mirror had been originally.  Sorry for the horrible pic, but you can get the idea of how it looked.  The shape followed the lines of the wall to ceiling and looked nice.

I had a chop plate that perfectly fit the hole in the back!

After a few months of having the mantle piece setting on the floor and being in the way, I realized it would probably fit on top of Shawn's hutch.  Guess what?  It does!

While the style of the two pieces are different and from the pictures it is obvious they are two pieces, I decorated it with brown transferware for Fall (sneak peek below) which helped tie them together.  I can almost hear a bunch of you chanting to me, "paint it, paint it".   I have entertained that idea but just haven't fully found the nerve to make the decision to go for it.  I do love a nicely painted piece of furniture if it's done right (which I am not fully confident I can do) but in my heart of hearts I still prefer the look and warmth of wood and haven't jumped onto the all white bandwagon.  Even though I like seeing all of the furniture makeovers with paint that are so popular now I admit that, a few times, I have cringed a little after seeing an antique piece of furniture painted; especially if there is no damage to it or if inlaid wood involved.   But, that's just me.  I do think a sage-y green color would be pretty and might just 'marry' the two pieces.  What do you all think?  I would love to have your opinions!

Today the hutch finally got dressed again!  I decorated it with pumpkins, corn and brown transferware for Autumn!  I shopped my own store for each piece of transferware so they are all for sale.  
  I hope you'll stop back by tomorrow to see the whole display!


  1. Can't wait to see it all - love the preview!

  2. If I saw that hutch anywhere I would have thought how dated please paint! For all this time viewing your blog I thought that what you kept calling a hutch looked like a Welsh dresser in a British cottage. All your lovely transferrer does something magical to Shawns childhood room divider. Please don't change.

  3. I am not a big fan of painting everything white either, and also appreciate the look of quality stained pieces. However, in this case, in order to marry the two pieces, I would consider painting them to give the look of a complete unit. I am very fond of sage green and have used that on three different pieces in my own home. That color is warm and neutral and works as a great background for any transferware pieces. I love your brown transferware, especially for Fall.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  4. It looks fabulous! How fun to dress it up for different Holidays!

  5. I love both pieces (how perfect that chop plate is showcased where the mirror was!) and placed together you have a unique display unit! I love the warm of wood as well, especially as a backdrop for your transferware. Lovely.... Rosie @ The Magic Hutch

  6. I love how this looks. It was a great idea to stack the pieces. Beautiful transferware!!

  7. I would paint it in order to unify the piece. Will you please tell me the name of the brown transferware you are using? I have been looking for a pattern I like and I really love this one.

  8. I love the mantle! I also love painted furniture and a mix of the two in a room adds interest but I also know what you mean about seeing a true antique being painted. You can never get that finish back again and may have destroyed the value of it. That being said, these two pieces would look fabulous in green. I would check on the value of the mantle and then decide. You could take a picture to an antique store and also describe the damage to it to get the value of it. If it is not much then I would paint..

  9. This is the kind of posts I was talking about, Nancy, that I would just love to see on your blog. Showing us how to decorate with transferware. Hope you do some unusual decorating in the bathrooms too. In order to marry the 2 pieces I would say sage green is the perfect idea.But left separate, I love the wood. Thanks, Nancy

    1. Yay, I'm glad I did this. I have been thinking about what you said but wasn't fully sure what you meant. Now I do and I'm so glad to have your input and advice! I just published the new post that shows the hutch decked out with brown transferware. Hope you like it, Judy!

  10. Wow! This is gorgeous, Nancy. And, I would never advise someone to paint a piece of furniture if they don't feel comfortable with it. I've longed for at least ONE painted piece, and finally got my wish when we bought a small table to fit into our guest room. It was colonial in style, but most definitely from the 1980's, and only cost us $20. The paint job turned out gorgeous, and for now, I'm satisfied. . .most of our things are antique and really quite lovely in their natural state. If you do paint these, I would agree that the sage green would be nice. And don't worry! If you use the chalk paints or milk paints that are out on the market, they're really quite easy! Although, I would recommend TESTING on something inexpensive, such as an old drawer front. . .

  11. These two pieces look great together Nancy! Thank you for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  12. NEVER paint that beautiful old mantle---it would be a crime. It has survived all these years as is, and it's beautiful. Besides, who wants things matchy-matchy?

  13. Just a thought.. you might strip and pickle the hutch. Using copper handles to match the piece above and put mercury glass blush as a back splash in the main back area. And using rope lighting all in the peripheral area. Oh my gosh. Your dinnerware would just gleam♡


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