Learn how to take a family heirloom and give it new life.

When Anthony Luscia and his husband Rusty James moved into their new home in Bellport on the South Shore of Long Island, New York, they brought one special family heirloom with them—a country blue hutch. "I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and my father was the pharmacist that owned the small-town pharmacy on Main Street," James explains. "My father's store, throughout the years, turned into more of a gift and home goods store." Salvaged from the store was a matching pair of hutches, one of which James inherited.

"So we've had this hutch for 25 years and it means a lot to us, and I think it's time to give it new life," James continued. As the former special projects editor of Martha Stewart Weddings, Luscia wanted to surprise him by refinishing the hutch from top to bottom. His vision: painting it in a high-gloss gray, adding gold hardware, and lining it with vintage wallpaper in a floral motif. It would showcase their collection of glassware, including a pair inherited from James' mother, Loreta.

Their first stop? A trip into town for some glassware to add to their collection. At Hue, they found a glass decanter. And at Copper Beech, they picked up vintage cut-crystal highball and lowball glasses. Once they returned home with supplies in hand, Luscia started his furniture project.

The Method

To start, Luscia removed the original hardware and drawers of the hutch. Next, he took a 180-grit sanding sponge (but up to 220-grit will do) to smooth out any imperfections, followed by damp paper towels to remove residue. Because he chose such a high gloss paint, it only needed one coat. To line the backboard, he measured the inside of the hutch and cut wallpaper to size for each of the three sections. Most modern hutches will allow you to remove shelving, as he explains, but because this is a vintage piece, he had to work around them. For adhesive wallpaper, he recommends applying it with a white water-soluble glue and a chip brush, using a scraper to reach into tight corners and smooth out any air bubbles. The finish touch was screwing in the new gold hardware.

His tip in styling shelves? Build from the bottom up: At the base, he placed a marble cheeseboard for serving alongside bottles of wine and liquor, the decanter, a gold jigger, and Loreta's glasses were paired together, front and center. On the second level: an ice bucket, cocktail shaker, and newly found glasses. The tallest—like a pair of stemmed wine glasses—were placed at the top shelf.

"The one thing we did was we took a relatively dark piece and we lightened it up," he says. "We used a light gray, we used the high gloss finish on the paint, lightened up the back with the wallpaper, and then the bright, beautiful gold knobs really help to make it shine."


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