It was on my “annoying project list“, so I got the interior of the primitive hutch in the dining room painted when I was knocking out all of the other annoying projects.  Painting furniture is normally like therapy for me, but painting the interiors of hutches and cabinets is my achilles heel.  It always takes more paint and more time than one would think and it usually involves awkward angles and hand cramps.

The darker wood interior wasn’t working in the full scope of the room, though.  When viewed as a standalone piece of furniture it was fine, but once I finished everything around it, it became the darkest thing in the room.  It’s nice to have a balance of light and dark and some contrast, but this was more like a black hole.  It didn’t add anything to the room, but detracted from everything else.

So, knowing it wasn’t going to be the highlight of my day, I mixed up some MMS Farmhouse White and applied two coats of paint to the interior.  (The picture below is after one coat and you can see how much that dark wood bled through.)

Here’s how it looks after the second coat…

Like the rest of the hutch, I left the milk paint unfinished.  It think the flat, soft finish works well on these old pieces.

The hutch now feels like it works with the room instead of competing with it or being an afterthought.

As a reminder, here is what it looked like before…

…and now…

This is a case where I liked the piece both ways, so the makeover wasn’t about improving the piece, but making it work better in its new home.

And I think this dining room is almost done!  I am still contemplating buffet lamps, curtains, and what I want to do with the side chairs, but I’m so pleased with how far its come and where it is now.

This dark, awkwardly-shaped dining room has had quite the transformation…


  1. Tori

    This room doesn’t even remotely look the same now. It’s amazing. When reading your post about purshasing wallpaper/mural I thought I had been transported to some alternate universe. I couldn’t figure out why you werent painting it yourself since that’s kinda how you started out. I’m so glad you were toying with us. The room just wouldn’t be the same if you hadn’t painted the mural yourself. It’ll be on a magazine cover before you know it!

  2. Donna

    This room is one of my very favorites in your house (and that is hard to say, because I love everything you have done to your house)…I love it, and the cabinet is now absolutely perfect in there, not that I didn’t like it before, its just now the right tie for the suit. I like the side chairs as is, put a pretty seat cushion to tie into the room, it needs a little color, but I wouldn’t paint. I like how the wood plays off the buffet, now of course if you paint the buffet….bets are off. 😉

  3. Joy in Alabama

    I love that room now!

  4. Lisa

    I love EVERYTHING about this room, and what the heck, your whole house re-do. Once again you’ve knocked it out of the park. This room just sparkles. It’s like a fairytale.

  5. Kim

    It’s just astounding, and NOW that room looks like “you.” The mural really lightens it all up and makes it so interesting. People might expect a mural in an older home, but never one in the suburbs. 🙂

  6. MaryLisa Noyes

    Looks really nice, it had to be a big decision to remove the doors. I can see why in the space you chose to do it. The new colors are awesome.

  7. sandi

    So when are you having a photo shoot for County Living, House Beautiful??! – Just sayin’ …

    Love, love the transformation of this room. Just one observation – why have you not painted the switch plates to match? When I had a painter paint-stripe the top half of my dining walls many years ago, the first I did when he left was carry the striping onto the switch/outlet plates and thermostat back plate – the screws also matched. They ‘melted’ into to wall design beautifully.

    BTW – Jeff and the boys are sooo lucky to have such a talented wife and mom.

  8. Arli

    Such a beautiful space! I wish I had your painting talent to do something like that on my walls.
    The 2 side chairs look like they are missing seat cushions though. Are they? Perhaps a dark green velvet like the color of the darkest grass in the mural?

    • Nancy A

      That is a wonderful idea! The color of the butler’s pantry.

  9. Carla

    Amazing transformation Marian!

  10. Jolie

    I like your changes and the soft colors are calming. A neighbor painted her walls shiny bright colors and it is hard for me to look at, looks like a day care or gym for kids! I think you are a great inspiration.

  11. Connie in GA

    I LOVED the hutch “before” and was distraught that you were repainting it! But, as usual, you are right … I LOVE the hutch “after”!! This room is so lovely and so YOU!!

  12. Addie

    I LOVE the hutch now…..I might be in the minority but…..I never liked it in the blue. I thought the distressing looked fake
    especially on the handle….even in your other house. It is a very cute little hutch and now it looks perfect with the mural.
    Oh!! everybody has an opinion!!!! I feel bad for writing that but that is just how much I like it now!!! Perfect!!!!!

  13. Kathleen

    Do you have a rabbit hidden in your mural?

  14. Patty

    I love what you have done to this room. The mural alone is such a beautiful transformation – I wish I could have that in my dining room! All the elements on top of that are such complements and the room is a soft, light oasis. If I were you, I would love to see some soft lighting from buffet lamps in the evening when I am walking through the house. Just a suggestion . . . candles on the table . . . aaahhhh . . . .

  15. Victoria

    Oh please don’t do anything with the side chairs. The room is lovely but it is full on and the plain chairs give the eye somewhere to rest.

  16. Connie

    Perfect, per usual! The whole dining room is breathtaking, especially the mural!

  17. celeste

    You really have an excellent eye for colors. I love how the blue china shows up so much better against the new hutch color than it did before; I would have predicted the opposite. I also think the mural is so beautiful that people would forget to eat in the dining room and just gaze at it instead. Thank you for inspiring all of us!

  18. Mary B

    I agree the new color works great in the dining room. And you sure know how to display your blue and whites.

  19. Felicia Adams

    The room is stunning! I think what makes it so very special is that it is you represented in a room. 🙂 I also love that that you have expanded your blue and white color palette in this home. And since I don’t comment very often, I’ll also say that I’m so proud of your gardening accomplishments. You’ve come a long way, girl! I’ve watched you grow in so many ways over the years. It’s been such a pleasure to be a small part of it. Keep up the great work.

  20. Cindy

    It’s the prettiest room in your home.

  21. Rica

    I must say that once you painted the mural on the wall it made the entire room! Amazing job Marian.

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you! I love it, too!

  22. Vicki L Packham

    Do you think the previous owners of the home are following your blog to see what changes you are making? If so, it must be crazy for them.

  23. Suzette

    AMAZING! I agree it fits the room now!

  24. Melanie

    I love love love the mural (eve inspired me to do my own), also the primitive hutch, the table, the chairs…. everything blends in, except: the mirror and chandelier… grrrr… it´s just tooooooo much for my taste. The mural needs accessories that are more in the background. Natural wood, light colors, yes! Gold with baroque touch…. just seems totally out of place to me (no offense) when the rest is more country style… but that´s just me. The rest of the house is pure perfection so far. everything you changed is super beautiful!

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha, that’s okay! Everyone has their own design taste. For me, the mirror reminds me of my Oma’s dining room mirror and I like the juxtaposition of the fancy mirror and chandelier next to the simpler pieces. It’s completely personal preference, though, and not everyone is going to love it. 🙂

  25. Susan

    If you find buffet lamps, please share your source. I have been searching for a pair forever! I’m having the hardest time finding a pair of lamps that are tall and slender enough for my buffet. I guess they’re out of fashion.
    Ballard Designs has a pretty option. But it’s an Asian-like bamboo motif—very nice but wrong for my space. Any help from Marian’s chatters would be appreciated!

    • Carrie Schindler Schwab

      I haven’t been to a Marshall’s or Home Goods in a while, but they always used to have lots of buffet lamps. Might be a place to start!

    • Marian Parsons

      Someone suggested some buffet lamps from Ballard designs that looked nice. They weren’t the bamboo ones you’re talking about, but looked classic and like a nice scale to flank a mirror.

  26. Theresa

    Love it all! With every little change, it keeps getting better! I think I would have every meal in there, and find any excuse to just sit in the dining room. 😁. Gorgeous!

  27. Elisabeth Mackey

    Stunning. I have an antique hutch from England (early 19th century) and I want to paint the back so my collection of whitewear and ironstone shows better. You are inspiring me. I just bought some of your milk paint and will let you know how I like the result.

  28. Sandra b

    Really beautiful. Torn on the hutch. Love both looks. It wouldvbe a hard decision. But a freshly painted piece of furniture is like putting the last dish away at night. Clean and done.

    • Marian Parsons

      It was a hard decision and it took me almost a year to finally decide to paint this piece!

  29. Nancy A

    I am curious to know why you did not paint the little squares where the latches used to be, now that the doors are taken off.

    • Marian Parsons

      Well, because the latches are still there and I still have the doors, if I ever want to put them on again. I see taking the doors off as temporary.

  30. MARY Ruth KOZMA

    Your dining room is such a WOW now! Love it all!

  31. Connie

    Would you ever consider showing your process and tips for arranging your hutch, shelves and buffet tabletop etc? They always look so nice and I struggle with placement etc so it doesn’t look cluttered.

    • Marian Parsons

      I did a post on “styling for the home” a while back, but I can definitely revisit it!

  32. Tanya

    The hutch looks great! Have you left many milk painted pieces without a top finish? I’ve considered it, but I wonder about clean-ability of a piece without any finish on it.

    • Marian Parsons

      Only a few. It wound’t be good for a well used piece or a tabletop, but it’s fine for surfaces that don’t get a lot of use, like a hutch, table legs, dresser in a guest room, etc.

  33. Kate

    Since you took the doors off the hutch, have your thought about prying off the center vertical piece of wood? It seems pointless without the doors and removing it would show off your collection more instead of breaking up the visual lines. I know it’s a small thing, but it bugs me in an otherwise beautiful room.

    • Marian Parsons

      I’m a little nervous to do that, because it provide stability and support for the center of the shelves. I’m, afraid they would sag if I removed it.

  34. Amy

    I have absolutely enjoyed the updates on the dining room transformation. I LOVE the mural. You have brought the mural wall paper to a whole new level. Thank you for sharing all that you do.

  35. Tracie

    Once again, just beautiful! My personal style is quite a bit different from yours, but I love seeing your transformations and there is always something I can take away for my style. Thank you!


    Marion, I just love what you have done with your primitive hutch! It’s so gorgeous — as is your whole Dining Room! You do such a wonderful job of absolutely everything! Have a wonderful week-end with your family!

  37. Linda

    Your dining room deserves to be on the covers of magazines. It’s my favorite.

  38. Ginger Marshall

    Are you considering refinishing or painting the buffet? The golden oak just doesn’t fit with the table anymore, though the buffet is beautiful on its own.

    • Marian Parsons

      I don’t really know, yet. I’m just going to let the room “settle” for a bit and then I’ll revisit it.

  39. Laurie

    Just beautiful! But I have to know…what is the name of the gorgeous blue-and-cream china? I have a piece of this gorgeous stuff – a tiny teacup that I found in Maine. It’s one of my favorites, and I’d love to add to my collection (if you can call one piece a collection).
    I really enjoy your posts. We have very similar tastes! Thanks for sharing your beautiful home with us.

    • Marian Parsons

      The china is actually many different patterns from several different makers!


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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