Sometimes old furniture just needs a little love; that is the case for this painted hutch. After a little love and a lot of paint, she’s a true beauty.

An old wooden bench with built-in storage shelves, set against a backdrop of lush greenery and a painted hutch.

I bought this hutch at a yard sale for $3.00.


That’s right….$3.00.

Can we pause just a moment and take that in…..and remember what I said about my endless hunt for the perfect yard sale?  A journey filled with Hooter’s t-shirts and broken down appliances and old florists vases.  A journey where you never know what you might find at the next yard sale… a true yard saler never gives up.

Never ever.

Because hope always springs eternal.

Painted hutch from Thistlewood Farms


Meet hope.

My completely redone $3.00 yard sale hutch.  Isn’t she beautiful?

I know she had a rough start in life.

Poor thing.

Bless her heart.

A rustic outdoor wooden cabinet with a painted white front panel set against a lush green background of a well-kept lawn and trees bathing in the soft light of early morning or late afternoon.

She had old scratched wood and chipped pieces and dings and dents and she was missing her door fronts and her back.  And then there was the odd issue with old electrical wires sticking out everywhere.  Wires that the lady at the yard sale proudly pointed out to me.

Like it was a value-added feature.

Like she added an extra dollar to the price….just for the wires.

Lucky me.

A close-up of a wooden hutch corner with freshly painted white panels contrasting against the darker stained wood, with sunlight filtering through the leaves above.

So I bought the hutch at that yard sale….scratches and all.

Then her doors were fixed and her dings were sanded and the break in her arch was filled with pieces of wood and putty.

And she was painted.

And caulked.

And then distressed a little.

A cozy corner featuring a rustic painted hutch with decorative items: a vibrant bouquet of purple flowers in a white vase, an assortment of hardcover books, a vintage clock, and woven accents creating a

Until she looked a little like this.

And it’s all thanks to my carpenter.

I am so lucky to have the cutest carpenter ever….as in the history of ever.

He’s smart and funny and really talented and never met a jigsaw he didn’t like.

He can sand and prime and paint and reconstruct a piece of furniture……

…….and take care of four children while his wife goes to Haven.

A bouquet of vivid purple flowers nestled against a rustic, woven twig wreath, creating a charming contrast of natural textures beside a painted hutch.

But my favorite part about him is his eyes.

He has sparkling brown eyes that twinkle and dance.

All the time.

A cozy, rustic nook featuring an analog clock, a collection of hardback books, and a painted hutch with a wire basket filled with decorative wooden blocks on a white shelf.

And when I burst through the door after four days in Atlanta and my hands were waving and gesturing and the list of projects that I managed to come up with on my six-hour drive home was growing by the minute.  And thirty minutes after I arrive we were out in the workshop discussing how we can attach a broken arch to the top of the hutch and what color we should paint it and why on earth anyone would ever think that re-attaching all those wires was ever a good idea.

And through all the discussions and handwaving and growing list of projects….

….those eyes were twinkling at me.

A cozy corner featuring a bouquet of purple flowers in a dotted vase, a stack of vintage books, an antique pocket watch, and a decorative wire basket containing white ornaments, all set against a painted h

And then I’m reminded how much I love my carpenter and his twinkle.

He’s brilliant.

He truly understands that a $3.00 hutch can be a thing of beauty and that the wave of inspiration from a blog conference is a thing to be taken seriously.

He’s creative and funny and hard-working and talented.

A smiling man with glasses showcasing a kiss mark on his cheek, outdoors with a painted hutch and purple flowers in the background.


And he only charges me one or two of these 🙂

Now, what’s your favorite yard sale find?

For more furniture projects….click here to check out out my furniture projects page.

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  1. Image for Pam Clark Pam Clark

    Looks awesome! I love the way you decorated too.....especially the plain wreath with the flowers in front. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Image for Barb @ Grits and Glamour Barb @ Grits and Glamour

    I bet if that yard sale lady saw your piece now she would say "... but where are the wires?" :) Its just loverly. And as usual, your accessorizing is the bomb. LOVE those wire baskets. Yep, I would definitely keep that carpenter, cause good ones are far and in between. You might want to up his "pay" just a bit though. Just a bit. I'm just saying.... Miss you and luv ya, Barb

  3. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Beautiful!! Isn't it nice to come home and find that a project you anxiously wanted to do has been done by someone who cares so much too! I know I can see my hubby's Blue eyes twinkling with pride for something he is looking forward to showing me! Cute!! I have heard though Twitter how much fun Haven was. I hope they hold a future event as this one didn't work for me, and I would so like to go! Looking forward to your future projects!! Have a Wonderful Day!! Nancy

  4. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Your carpenter is definitely a cutie. I have an inkling that he really likes his job. I am lucky to have a really cute carpenter, too. He is currently building me a table for the laundry room for the laundry cart to slide under. He is in the priming phase right now. KariAnne, I love your $3 hutch. It has a big smile and breathed a sigh of relief at the makeover. No more ugly duckling for it.

  5. Image for Sarah Sarah

    I loved this post and can't believe you have already come home from Haven and completed a project! Luckily you have that handsome carpenter at home. So I saw you at Haven a lot and some how we never officially met. Hey, I'm Sarah. Nice to meet you!

  6. Image for Kim @ The Little Garden That Could Kim @ The Little Garden That Could

    I love your hutch. Would you mind giving away the paint type and the method? I have a dresser that I would like to similarly distress and I cant figure out which paint (chalk, milk) and after the Primer I had to do, how to distress with some black/brown highlights. It's all new to me, so I would appreciate a little help. Thanks.

  7. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Oh I can see you now...getting out of your car, rushing into the house with hands waving...greeting the 4 lovelies and the "talented sparkly eyed carpenter"....So whenever, you are excited about a project through the words of your post...I can now see you...waving and jumping with excitement...for I was blessed to have seen that enthusiasm finally in person....."Miss Hope" is beautiful!!...Bravo to the carpenter with "sparkle and twinkle"...

  8. Image for Susan Susan

    Great, Great job! I love it white and I love all the beautiful things you added to the shelf to make it so great! Gorgeous! Susan Homeroad

  9. Image for everton terrace everton terrace

    Bravo! Standing Ovations revamp for sure, well for both the revamp and the score, many would (and probably did) walk right by that piece, not seeing the diamond in the rough. You should open a store with all your fabulous reincarnations. I see that twinkle in his cute eyes, I think they probably twinkle because they are looking at you :) I tell my husband I'll never leave him because of his hands, they operate a saw, rub my feet, make our bed and do the dishes - who could as for more?

  10. Image for Kerryanne Kerryanne

    Ahhh yes, your carpenter is definitely a keeper :) I love your yard sale find. She's so pretty all painted white and the little glass knobs are so divine. Hugs ~ Kerryanne

  11. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    I too had a favorite carpenter that was able to work miracles with me with wonderful garage sale finds - I often wonder what others do without such an incredible resource. My favorite garage sale find was my first real find- an old 1920s kitchen cupboard in WV for $10.00 in 1974. Restored with much love and struggles it still sits in my kitchen today a testament to his ability to restore life.

  12. Image for Heidi @ Decor & More Heidi @ Decor & More

    Kari!!! I already miss you, my friend!! Sorry I didn't see you at the end of Haven (duty was calling on the homefront), but I LOVED hanging with you! And look at that cutey-patootey carpenter... lucky you. :) xoxoxoxo, Heidi

  13. Image for Anne Anne

    It is so amazing what a coat of paint does for old, beat up furniture! Great job on the distressing & I love that you painted your grapevine wreath - stealing that one!!!! I love your style! xox

  14. Image for SheilaG SheilaG

    Wow, what a transformation- I'm always amazed at what a difference a little paint can make. Well, ok, and a little wood filler.... I'm so glad you shared a pic of Mr T of the sparkling eyes. Along with your bubbly self, y'all make a great team! :)

  15. Image for Kim Kim

    How sweet your carpenter is. It is nice to have one like that on standby for those lists we come up with. Love the whit hutch and the super way you styled her. So glad to meet you for dinner in Atlanta. Next year I will have to sign up. Miss you bunches!

  16. Image for karen@somewhatquirky karen@somewhatquirky

    Kari this post is wonderful! I stopped by in hopes that you would have written up something about Haven and got this instead! Yeah! I have an "eye sparkler" myself.....but he doesn't do volunteer carpentry. Maybe next year I will meet you at Haven!

  17. Image for Rita@thissortaoldlife Rita@thissortaoldlife

    Thanks for the reminder to appreciate our sparkly-eyed carpenters. Mine is a carpenter/tiler/painter/furniture hauler/floor layer/gutter cleaner/pretty-much-anything-we-need-doinger. And he's nice and nice to look at. Have been feeling a little Haven-envy (would love to attend a blogging conference), but reading this reminds me that I've got plenty to feel grateful for. Thanks!

  18. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Karianne, You are very lucky to have that twinkling brown-eye carpenter husband/father to your children. I'm sure he feels the same way about you, so smart, creative, thrifty, bubbly and real cute too. Your $3 yard sale find is amazing! Now I'd like to know if you added shelves inside the cabinet and is that chalk paint? Joyous Wishes, Linda

  19. Image for Jill Flory Jill Flory

    :) I have one of those carpenters at my house too! And his charges are the same as yours:) Aren't wonderful hubbys just the best! I love your hutch - that is just so cool to take something like that and give it new life:)

  20. Image for Zolane Zolane

    I believe you could take ANYTHING and make it a show piece. The hutch, along with your accessories, is just perfect. It makes me happy just to look at it! The best part, though, are your words about your hubby. Lovely. I think I'll go out and give a great big hug to my "dream-come-true". We're so blessed.

  21. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    Wait - oh, sorry, I was mesmerized by those twinkling brown beauties momentarily. Ok, I've pulled myself back together again. Of course you were fully lipsticked while renovating a piece of furniture - I'd expect no less from you!! Definitely worth a kiss or two to have that sad, neglected piece turned into a beauty! My favorite yard sale find - hmmmm, so many great scores but I'd have to say my vintage glider! She's got a little rust in her trunk but still knows how to work her money maker! Kelly

  22. Image for Nicole @ scrap me baby Nicole @ scrap me baby

    Looks fantastic!! I am green with envy over your hobnail very fave kind! Lucky lady to have a handy hubby;) mine leans more towards the "why the heck would you bring that home...are you really sure you can save it?" kind of comments.

  23. Image for Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    Beautiful, Karianne! What a great transformation! I love the way you've accessorized it, too. I love when my hubby is gung ho and helps me out on a project. I know he's going to do it right for me and it will be better than anything I might have attempted on my own.

  24. Image for Jean Jean

    I think I might have passed by that hutch even at $3.00. I love what you did to it and love your styling! It's all perfection. We are among the lucky few who have supportive hubbies that can tolerate our junking! They're definitely keepers...him and the hutch!

  25. Image for Rebecca Rebecca

    Kari, Is there any possibility of you renting out that cute carpenter ? Maybe you could find a way to clone him? If so, I don't think you could keep up with the demand! Fabulous transformation! It's gorgeous and styled so pretty. Great job on the makeover! Rebecca

  26. Image for dee dee dee dee

    A little paint and a smile....makes me feel good... makes me feel right.... that's the way it should be... and I'd like to see the whole world... smiling at "thee" You and your paint and His smile! dee dee

  27. Image for Diana Kotecki Diana Kotecki

    If I didn't love you before I certainly do now!! I love when people talk so lovingly about their spouse. We see so much bashing and negativity on the TV that it just made my day to hear you go on and on about your sweet hubby. He is really a treasure and a cutie too! And of course I am so jealous of your $3.00 find. You have such a good eye and it is truly your talent that made it into a great find!!!! Great job!!

  28. Image for judi judi sweet. and what a transformation of that dated wood hutch...let alone the eyes that saw the swan through the ugly duckling stage! so i'm sure haven was fantastic and you survived it!?

  29. Image for Kelly Kelly

    I'm so impressed! You managed to do that after getting back from Haven? You are the Energizer Super Bunny! I can't believe what a deal that piece was after seeing how pretty it is now. You were really able to see past it's flaws. It looks great now! Love how you accessorized it too. Hope you're enjoying being back home with your family. I'm looking forward to seeing more posts with the ideas you took away from Haven!

  30. Image for cassie cassie

    it looks so fresh and so clean.... ;) LOVE it, karianne! LOVED meeting you and your awesome and funny self! i wish we had a day just to hang out and do some fun stuff because i feel like i didn't get to hang out with you as much as i wanted. country living fair 2013, baby!

  31. Image for Susan Susan

    What a great guy you have. He's the best part of your post. =) The hutch is wonderful, too, and I never would have seen those possibilities. I'm such a linear thinker! I don't know if I have a favorite yard sale find, since I haven't gotten to go in ages. But my favorite thrift store find was an authentic Singer sewing card table for the Featherweight machine - $25, and very usable as is. I was thrilled to find it at any price, because they are so rare! But that was a GREAT price. I'm sure a carpenter guy like you have would have fancied it up right quick.

  32. Image for Peggy Peggy

    Aren't twinkly, brown-eyed carpenters the best!!!! I know I sure am fond of mine! I was about to say after 22 years, 3 children, and 7 "houses" I still think my brown eyed carpenter is the bees knees but then I realized that the "official" 22 year mark isn't until August. ha ha! I just know I wouldn't trade him for anyone in the world!! And your hutch... simply divine! I bet her previous owner is scratching her head wondering what you did with the wonderful wires... and I know she's trying to desperately figure out how to get her old hutch back, wondering why she never saw its potential. Girl, you never cease to amaze me! Oh and for the record... I've been told I can't yard sale with you. At least not until we are ready to start looking for things for the "farm house." :) I am so glad you had such a wonderful time at Haven! And some of my friends got to actually meet you in person! (squeal.... that is so stinkin' cool! yep my kids just shake their heads at me.)

  33. Image for Gwen Gwen

    I don't have a twinkly-eyed carpenter that understands a $3.00 score from a yard sale... I have ridiculously intelligent theologian on my hands that tells me I've lost my mind when I pant ugly brown pianos green. But I love him, nonetheless, and he puts up with the parts of me that he doesn't quite understand...which makes me love him all the more. But Oh, what I could do, with a twinkly-eyed-carpenter-man... And I mean that in the cleanest, most un-salacious way possible... As always, a feast for the eyes and the ears and the mind, my friend...

  34. Image for Maury @ Life on Mars Maury @ Life on Mars

    First, he's gotta be a winner if he scored an adoarble, sweet, hilarious woman like you for a wife! Second the hutch is kinda amazing... $3???? What? It was so wonderful meeting you Karianne! I loved every minute that I got to hang out with you (wish it was more) because you were SO MUCH FUN!!!

  35. Image for Lori Lori

    And he loves chicken too! Karianne, that is a awesome redo! Why oh why am I just a deer in headlights when I see pieces that are crying for help? Another thing, why aren't there more of the good old fashion, true blue brown eyes that sparkle men like yours? My dear Daddy, bless his heart was a genuine gem like your husband, sadly I never found a gem like him. P.S Dad had sparkly brown eyes, but loved steak! Thanks for sharing, wonderful redo girl!! Love ya, Lori

  36. Image for Athena at Minerva's Garden Athena at Minerva's Garden

    This is so beautiful--I love that you reworked an old piece and turned it into something gorgeous! You are very lucky to have a carpenter in your life! I am super lucky to have one of those, too, who turns into reality a lot of the hair-brained projects that I come up with. Love your blog--read it all the time!

  37. Image for Doreen Doreen

    Karianne, Wow! That was the most adorable post ever! What a sweet carpenter you have! PS Love the hutch! An amazing transformation! PSS Hope you are doing a Haven post! Blessings, Doreen

  38. Image for sissie sissie

    I love how your little forelorn piece turned out. All it needed was your tender love and care. God bless it's little heart and yours. You are both very happy now. hugs Sissie

  39. Image for Meegan Meegan

    This is incredible!! I love the vision you had and what you did with your $3 dollar deal!! You are so creative!! Love your style. Meegan

  40. Image for Laura Putnam Laura Putnam

    Wow - I am barely seeing straight and you already have a project done, hung, decorated and photographed! You really are amazing! So great meeting you, you are even sweeter in person! And the hubs is a cutie pie! Take care, Laura

  41. Image for Gee Singh Newbanks Gee Singh Newbanks

    Oh KariAnne, she is beautiful!!! I must say now, when I saw her in her 'before' pic, I was a bit of a doubting Gee. I thought, ' Good yard sale find. Way better than the Hooter's Tee and all. But what is she going to do with it?' But now, after the surgical removal of the wires, the patching and painting, the twinkling brown eyes [ :D], the backing..... She is a beautiful lady!!! Luv the painting and distressing. PLUS.. ( yeah, big plus) the bling with the knobs. Aha...

  42. Image for Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design

    Awww this was such a sweet tribute! What an awesome hubby/carpenter you have!! It sounds like you two are a great team ;) I LOVE this makeover!!! I've kind of become addicted to yard-saling and craigslisting! (yes, I just made those verbs) :)

  43. Image for Bliss Bliss

    Get outta dodge girl! Awesome find, even if you paid double, or triple, or a lot more because you turned it into something we all covet. ~Bliss~ Mr. Thistle looks good in lipstick, just like his wife.

  44. Image for

    What a fabulous transformation!!! It's clear how much you love your cute carpenter hubby! What a sweet couple you two make! It was amazing to meet you in person, and see your smiling face! You are so fun and positive, and your energy is absolutely contagious!!! I wish we could have had more time to chat, but I was so glad for the time we did spend, my wonderfully funny and sweet friend!!! xoxo -Lisa

  45. Image for Megan Brooke Megan Brooke

    This is gorgeous!! I really looove that wire basked you used too! Lucky you for having such a cute carpenter on hand :) P.S. It was sooo nice to meet you at Haven. Let me know if you end up getting the camera bag like mine from Jeanne Oliver!!

  46. Image for breida @ breida @

    Darn! I wish I had met you at Haven! (Wait, maybe I did. . . no, I don't have your card. I would remember!) I LOVE this transformation. LOVE IT! I love it most because it was so darn ugly to begin with. That's my favorite kind. I also love to pick up this kind of thing - it's on the small side - and that means low risk. I'm still gaining on my confidence and the smaller a piece is the less help I need schlepping it around - and then I don't have to involve anyone else in my craziness until it's all finished and looking beautiful! Make sense?? I'm going to head over to FB and see if I can "like" you now! breida

  47. Image for Roeshel Roeshel

    Awe! I'm so glad you have an amazing eye for awesome yardsale treasures and super hero carpenters! ;) It's breathtakingly beautiful! And speaking of beautiful - You! I am so SO SO happy that I got to meet you in person! I wish we would have had more time together but we'll have to make the best of blog time and comments until the next time! ;)

  48. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    I love the hutch damn you find some awesome stuff at yard sales.........................I love the hutch and what you did with it wow just bloody great............

  49. Image for Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista

    Hmm, I can't offer any kisses (first because I'm married and second because I'm all the way in California) but I wish your husband's helping genes and twinkle-eyes could make an appearance over here. Our new drapes for our bedroom arrived today (it's been over a year without any at all) and my husband is *not* excited to help me hang them, sigh. Welcome home sweetie! Next year I'm at Haven with you, when I'm not serving as a single-serve dairy for a baby:) Jessica

  50. Image for Jen (Arriving) Jen (Arriving)

    Wow. Okay, you've got some serious vision, and I mean the kind for potential. Because I didn't see that coming at all. :-) It turned out AMAZING! Holy Cow! I would have never thought you could change it so drastically! Great work! -Jen

  51. Image for Michelle Michelle

    I haven't been to a yard sale in forever but last week driving my youngest home from swim practice I found a dresser waiting for the garbage truck. I drove past it three times and even came home. I tried talking myself out of rescuing it but I already had so many thought of what I wanted to do with it. We drove back to rescue it and it is now sitting in my living room waiting for a well deserved make over. It has such potential. I just love it and it was free. I love what you did with your yard sale find. What a transformation. Little does he know it but my hubby will be helping me transform my find.

  52. Image for Misti @ Living on Cypress Hill Misti @ Living on Cypress Hill

    It looks great, Karianne! I don't get up early enough for yard sales, but boy, sometimes I sure wish I did! I'm also not sure I'm patient enough to wait for the "right one." My hubby's blue eyes can twinkle too... until I mention a project. lol! Lucky you!

  53. Image for Kelly @ JAX does design Kelly @ JAX does design

    Lucky for me, I have my own personal carpenter too :-) Although mine tends to grunt and moan rather than smile and twinkle as I describe how we're going to turn the dressers that we lugged home from somebody's trash into fabulous treasures ;-) Your $3.00 hutch looks fantastic, and I love how you've styled it. Plus your photography skills seriously ROCK!

  54. Image for Honey Honey

    What a beautiful transformation! What a terrific price! I am back form a long blog break and hope that you will be a part of Potpourri Friday this week!

  55. Image for Rhonda~Ramblings of a Southern Girl Rhonda~Ramblings of a Southern Girl

    What a bargain, and what a wonderful transformation! This is the kind of treasure that fuels our junkin' fire isn't it??? :) I especially love the milk glass vase filled with purple flowers! Love me some milk glass and yours is accented beautifully in contrast to the purple!

  56. Image for Stacey Stacey

    I'm in utter amazement at the transformation! Not only is the finished piece beautiful, your photography & staging are phenomenal.

  57. Image for Angie Angie

    Now that's my kind of treasure...both the hutch and the carpenter/husband!! You are a lucky woman! Fantastic transformation and thoroughly entertaining post~thanks so much for sharing! Angie

  58. Image for Tanya Tanya

    I love your blog, adore your style, and think your writing is fan-flippin-tastic! The hutch rocks, and what a sweet carpenter :) Hugs, Tanya

  59. Image for Deborah Deborah

    You really transformed what looked like a hopeless case! It turned out beautiful and reminds me a little of a mantle. I love the story your honey's twinkle too !

  60. Image for Theresa L Begin Theresa L Begin

    What a truly Blessed woman you are!! And because of this post I know your "carpenter" is a truly Blessed man! I think your hutch Redo is absolutely Gorgeous, but more than that I enjoyed reading about your lovely relationship and your gratitude for it. Thanks for being a Blessing to me today! May you be continually Blessed, ~Theresa

  61. Image for must love junk must love junk

    This is fabulous!! I just found you through Southern Hospitality and am your newest follower! I'd love you to stop by and say hello :) Susan

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