Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Hutch Story

August 1st marked a year that Mike and I have been in our new apartment, and I have spent the past couple months trying to cross as many things as possible off my to-do list. Finishing the hutch was a big one, and as of this morning when I took the photo above, it is, indeed, officially done.

This hutch--or the base of it, at least--was the first piece of furniture Mike and I ever bought together, back in the summer of 2007 as we talked and emailed and made plans for me to move in with him.

Val:  I just saw this desk/hutch/bookshelf on craigslist, and for $35 total, they'd even deliver it, and something like that would be nice to have here too, for my books and stationery things and extra kitchen things. I haven't contacted them, but something like that could be worth it, especially when delivery's included.
Mike:  That's really nice looking, so if you want it, we should get it. :)
Val:   Okay, I'll look into it. :) And if this person also has a sheepdog, I can have that added to the bill, right? :)
Mike:  Only if they'll deliver the dog in the same trip as the hutch. :)

Above: Hutch acquired and somewhat fixed-up. 
But I "[had] a vision," as my mom would say. In November 2010, another craigslist seller was advertising an antique cupboard, and I was that much closer to having the finished hutch I wanted. 
The original hutch was a beast, weighing what felt like 400 pounds and standing taller than my 6-foot-tall husband. Mike didn't want to move the hutch into our new apartment at all, it had been that horrifically heavy to get into our tiny studio apartment in the first place. There was mention of donating it to charity and having it hauled away. There were arguments. There was revisionist history taking place. ("It's just a stupid shelf. We can find another one." ~ "Ohhhhhhhhh! You didn't think it was so stupid when you kept using it for your keys and books and precious pans from your mom the past four years! No, it's only stupid when it's time to MOVE it!")   There were Two Stubborn Newlyweds Stressed Out By Packing to Move.  There was an ongoing email-exchange.
Val:  You do realize if Stuffed and I successfully sell all your cds and movies, we'll be rich! RICH!! :)
Mike:  Uh, huh.
Val:  Stuffed was actually super-excited about the plan! He's asleep again now, but I'm sure he's just resting up for the big yard sale.
Mike:  I seem to recall that a certain someone has a bunch of her belongings there as well. Better be careful.
Val:  Ah yes, but that certain someone's things aren't really worth much money. We'll stick to our original plan.
Mike:   There is a hutch that might fetch some cash.
Val:  Good luck getting it down the stairs by yourself. :)

Bull-Headed, my dad calls me. Two weeks before we moved out, I walked to the hardware store and bought a handsaw and somehow managed to saw the old hutch into three sections. I remember locking Stuffed into the bathroom to keep him safe, but all I remember after that is that the hutch was somehow resting on its side on the floor beside the bed and I was sawing (and sawing, and sawing) for most of a humid afternoon to break it into three sections. It's likely best not to recall the details. No doubt I dripped sweat and sawdust onto my cell phone and sent Mike a triumphant text message.

In the new apartment late last summer, I put the bottom of the old/sawed-up hutch under the second little craigslist cupboard for the first time and painted it in yet another shade of green. It still didn't look the way I wanted, but it would do in the meantime. 
Below: Yet another shade of green. And Stuffed sleeping blissfully through the ongoing hutch saga. 
Finally last month, I decided to dig into the project and get it done once and for all. After having tried how-many shades of green acrylic on the hutch, I looked at a bunch of colors online and at a Sherwin Williams paint store and found the shades for both the hutch and its trim that I had had in mind all along: "Mesclun Green" and "Captivating Cream" in semi-gloss. I ordered new knobs from the impressively-fast-shipping Kennedy Hardware for the bottom cupboards. I painted Daffodils freehand (but based on stencils I'd seen on eBay and loved) in black inside the little glued-on chalkboard-frames I had added to the cupboard doors in 2007.
And I found the sweetest, most Val-like vintage liner paper for the inside of the middle shelf from an etsy seller who was kind enough to send a little extra in case I'd measured wrong and ended up needing more. It is almost wax paper, this old "Sweetheart"-brand bread wrapper print. Different and colorful and just perfect for this hutch, it was only $5 for a little over a yard, and it went on with regular school glue. I couldn't be more delighted by all of this. 
A full five years in the making, this morning the hutch was proclaimed finished. And without my even mentioning it or fishing for compliments, Mike said how much he liked it. (Ha!)
I know nothing about the people who owned these pieces before us, but today the finished hutch truly has its own crazy love-filled history with us. And a happy, even if bull-headed, home.