This Ranch Oak hutch, chest of drawers and desk with chair is the extent of my little home office area in my spare bedroom.  The hutch sits on top of the chest of drawers and next to the matching desk.  The matching chair is not in the pic because I don’t use it at the desk, the seat is much too hard!

I thought of selling these pieces a while back.  It was a hand-me-down set I got from my mom, originally purchased by her aunt.  They are still in very good shape considering how old they are but they are extremely heavy, chunky, rustic oak furniture.  The furniture makers mark was inside the drawer, Brandt Company Ranch Oak.  I looked online and discovered they were actually antique collector items!  Sadly, it is the original finish on the furniture that is so sought-after and at the time I had painted them black, ruining their value.  😭  I decided to just keep them since they had been in my family for so long.  I’d already ruined the finish so I figured I might as well change it up again!

To make matters worse I tried to drill a hole in the back of the hutch so I could put the cords from my electronics through it.  I imagined in my mind that I would drill a nice, clean round hole but instead, the drill bit bounced around on the hutch like it was made of stone and the wood splintered and chipped and left a small hole that looked like a beaver had chewed through it!  I felt terrible!   Apparently I’m not much of a carpenter 😕

My original plan was to strip the black paint off of the top of each piece and expose the natural wood finish.  The bottom of each piece would be painted white.  I was going for a farm house look that I thought would go well with my wood floors.

I started with the hutch and a bottle of spray-on stripper that worked pretty good on the top of the hutch.  It looked great and since it took that black paint off so easily I decided I might as well just strip the whole hutch and start fresh.  I didn’t think the spray-on stripper would work on the vertical parts of the hutch so I wanted to get another product that would be thicker that I could brush on, thinking that would also be easier with all the crevices and the slats on the two cabinet doors.

I bought Citristrip, a gel-type stripping product, and applied it to the entire hutch.  I waited a few hours and began scraping the old black paint off.  It was a gooey mess!  The black latex paint seemed to have turned into some type of tar that just kept smearing back onto the hutch as I scraped.  It stuck, like sticky boogers to my scraper.  I was stepping in the gummy bits that were falling on the floor and the fingers of my gloves were sticking together.  It was a disaster!  I don’t want to blame the Citristrip, I am just an amateur at this and after a bit of research I think it may have had something to do with the original varnish that was underneath the black paint that caused it to get so gunky!  It got to the point where I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere.  I would be stuck in that sticky hell forever!  Is this hutch really worth all this???  I finally got disgusted and called it a day.  This is a picture of the hutch mid-disaster.

The next day I purchased a product used to clean up the residue left behind from paint strippers.  It was helping to cut through the sticky mess but I worked on that hutch for so long I could have finished all of the other pieces in that time.  Let’s not forget the cost either!  At that point I had purchased the spray on stripper, the Citristrip and the gunk remover, ca-ching$ca-ching$ca-ching$.  I hadn’t even put the new finish on it yet!  Seriously, at this point I was ready to haul that hutch outside, pour gas on it and light it on fire! 👿

I was so frustrated I set it to the side and finished the other pieces of the set.  I did not touch the desk, chest or chair with paint stripper of any kind!  I just painted right over the black paint with Rustoleum chalked paint in Linen.

It only took two coats to cover the black paint. This is the first time I used Rustoleum and I loved it!  I have no affiliation with Rustoleum so that is just my personal opinion but those pieces turned out exactly how I had imagined they would.  For less than half the price of other popular brands of chalk paint, I will definitely be using this product again!


When I got back to the hutch there were still blotches of black paint all over it and some crusties here and there.


Here you can see the original finish on the inside of the cabinet doors and shelves.  Also at the bottom you can see the hole I chewed in the back 😞

I used a fine grit sandpaper and sanded off any chunks of paint and residue.  I didn’t worry about any black paint that was left behind because I was going to paint over them with chalk paint anyway.  Unfortunately when I started painting I could tell that the residue from the original varnish on the hutch was bleeding through the paint.  Even after two coats there was bleed through.  I didn’t capture a good picture of it but it is noticeable when the pieces are grouped together.  I should have used a coat of primer but I refused to spend any more money on additional products.  I was so over that hutch at that point, I didn’t even care!  I put a third coat of chalk paint on and when it was dry I scuffed the edges with sand paper and put a coat of sealer on it.  Maybe at some point over the Winter when I’m looking for something to work on I will re-do it.  It was a lesson learned about stripping old varnish!

I love the white finish on this set instead of the dark.  It definitely lightened up that part of the room and despite all the trouble with the hutch it is useful for storage and I’m glad I didn’t burn it!