Vintage Hutch Transformation… Our Built-In Bar Cabinet

When renovating our basement kitchen, I knew I wanted to remove the upper cabinets to open the space and make it feel lighter. However, those cabinets provided storage. Knowing we’d use our basement kitchen as a bar, I’d always envisioned some sort of beautiful hutch or attached cabinet that felt seamlessly integrated in the space- but also created a statement focal point. When scrolling Facebook Marketplace, I landed on a vintage hutch. Click through for the transformation of our built-in bar cabinet and a peek behind-the-scenes at the process… it’s a fun one!

Antique Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

If you missed my finished basement bar reveal from earlier in the week, be sure to check it out here: Basement Bar Reveal. We started the project back in October, so it’s a space that came together relatively quickly. We tackled it on a budget, reusing most of what we had, and worked with the existing floor plan. This hutch was another budget-friendly addition to the space.

Facebook Marketplace Find

Antique Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

I paid $200 for the hutch and matching sideboard that sat beneath it. The seller wasn’t willing to split the pair, so I figured we’d find a place for the lower half elsewhere- or sell it later on. Emmett picked them up for me last November and I started planning…

Sketching the Vision

Best Designer Home Decor Dupes for 2024 -

I knew we needed to add height to bring the piece upward to meet the ceiling. Sadly, the pediment was too tall to keep and would have been tricky to integrate as a built-in, so we opted for dentil moulding instead… which would wrap around the piece and connect to our existing crown moulding. That meant we’d have open storage at the bottom of the hutch- something we’d need to build, a riser of sorts.


Antique Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

Emmett very carefully deconstructed the piece, because we wanted to repurpose as much of the original moulding as possible. In the above image, we were visualizing what size dentil moulding made the most sense.

Reassembly & Building

Antique Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

In the above image, the hutch is upside down… Emmett began by building the riser for the base. This area allowed us to have open storage beneath the hutch, but most importantly- it makes it feel built in, fitting perfectly from countertop to ceiling.

Antique Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

Somehow Emmett was able to match the existing fluted details down the sides of the hutch on the lower section he built, which makes the lower riser feel innate.

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

I also have to credit him for the idea of adding corbels alongside the reuse of the original rectangular medallions. I was initially unsure, but I love the curves and dimension they add- I’m glad I trusted his vision on that!

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

Notice the rectangular medallions on the ends of the corbels? He reused those from the original piece, which I thought was really clever!

Antiquing the Mirrored Back

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

While he was busy building, I was working on the mirrored back. I knew I wanted to antique the mirror for a bit more texture, warmth, and to achieve an aged look or patina. If you missed my easy tutorial on this, check it out here: How to Antique a Mirror with Paint… The Easy Way!

Priming & Painting

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

Above, he had just applied the primer. As you may or may not know, Emmett works for a local cabinetry & fixture shop… which means he (conveniently) has access to a spray booth. He took the hutch to work to spray it there, for a professional and durable finish… without making a mess here at home.

If you’re interested to see where he works, I actually designed and styled their office four years ago. I’ll link the tours for you: Mapleleaf Offices: Part 1 and Mapleleaf Offices: Part 2.

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

Next, came paint… he used the same paint we used for the basement cabinetry, recently seen in my post, How to Replace & Upgrade Your Cabinet Doors. It’s Benjamin Moore Advance, in color Grant Beige.

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -


Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

Do you see our vision beginning to take shape at this point? This hutch is so heavy and hoisting it up onto the countertop for a fourth time was no easy feat. We opted to assemble it in place for that reason.

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

The last steps were to reattach the mirrored back, doors, hinges, and hardware. After that, Emmett wrapped the hutch in crown moulding, caulked, and I moved along to my favorite part of the process… styling!

Vintage Bar Hutch Styling

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

I think the original hardware is super charming, so we decided to keep it! However, I did want to move it to a different position, so we ended up filling the existing holes prior to painting, in preparation for the hardware relocation. I didn’t polish it or anything… I can’t believe how gorgeous it looks against the paint. It was meant to stay! We kept the existing hinges, too.

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

Before & After

What do you think? This was a relatively inexpensive project that was more time consuming than anything. I think it was worth our effort! I feel like this vintage hutch was meant to live in our basement. I’ll link all of the styling sources for you below…

Get the Look: Sources

Click directly on each item below to be redirected.

It’s primarily filled with glassware and cocktail supplies, but I added some decorative pieces as well.

Antique Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -


Interesting choice to close in the side panels! Could you chat more about that decision?

Good observation! Initially, the hutch had glass side panels and I thought it would feel more substantial or like an extension of the cabinetry to close those panels with a solid wood piece of wood. The countertop is so busy with beautiful high-contrast veining and the hutch is filled with lots of glassware and small objects, so there’s just a lot going on, visually. I wanted to minimize the noise, so solid side panels made the most sense, giving your eye a place to rest.

I need to know more about the gorgeous glassware! Where is it from and is it dishwasher safe?

All of my glassware is from my shop, Tuesday Made (of course). I bought the Grace glassware collection and the Old Fashioned collection for myself- I have full sets of each and love them! They’re both handblown and recommend hand washing, but I always put them in the dishwasher and haven’t had any break (yet). Do with that as you will!

Did you keep the same plain glass in the front doors?

Interior photoshoot trick for you… remove the glass from doors and frames (if it’s easy) to make shooting a million times easier. Glass is super tricky to capture because the intense glare and reflection. We did keep the original, clear (plain) glass though! We reinstalled it after I took photos. You have no idea how tough this hutch was to capture in photos… in a basement, minimal natural light, with a reflective mirrored back. Oof! It took me multiple days to figure it out and I’m still over here nitpicking my images. There is no way I could have captured it with the glass in place.

Vintage Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -


Looking for more furniture transformations? We’ve tackled a lot of them over the years. I’ll link some of my favorites for you below….

Antique Hutch Transformation... Our Built-In Bar Cabinet -

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one! Do you think the hutch feels like it belongs? Would you have painted it to match the cabinetry? Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below. I’m really proud of this piece and am especially impressed with Emmett’s finishing carpentry work these days. I’ve been bragging to all our friends who come over and see it in person. It really is beautiful and well done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Good morning! Tutorial: Take inconceivable designer vision, add one glorious vintage hutch, expert craftsmanship, tireless attention to detail, several large dashes of ingenuity and voilá. Bespoke built-in basement bar. Easy peasy. 😉 Seriously though, even considering that drop dead gorgeous marble and the refrigerator-that-I-can’t-stop-thinking-about, this hutch transformation is the pinnacle for me. My Roman Empire. Every single element nailed. I predict an unprecedented surge in the search term “vintage hutch” on Facebook Marketplace. I loved the IG tour you shared, btw. Your images are always next level, but video seems extra intimate! So much goodness. And to think, we still have the other side of the space yet to come! Honestly, you two are taxing my store of superlatives. Thank you for the constant inspiration. Cheers to Team Gibson! Have a spectacular Wednesday, Sarah! 💜
    (Bartender, I’d like a Dark & Stormy, please.)

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Hi Peggi! Thank you so much! Emmett & I are really excited with how this came together. He wasn’t convinced at first, but it ended up working really well and I think was easier than he expected, ha. He’s hoping to wrap up the fireplace while I’m away, so I can photograph the other side of the room once I’m back and our family has gone back home. Fingers crossed it’s within the next couple of weeks! It doesn’t have the most spring forward color palette, but oh well! I love it anyway. Thanks for being the most encouraging! I appreciate you! Dark & Stormy coming right up ;) xo

  2. So much goodness! The hutch is beautiful! I originally thought the countertop would be the focal point of the bar but that hutch is the star of the kitchen for me. I really do love your countertops and the colors in it Sarah. Your glassware and bar accessories really do shine in the cabinet instead of being tucked away behind solid doors. Emmett did a great job.
    I’m sorry I missed your basement kitchen reveal on Monday. I got up extra early to jump on here and catch up because I could not wait any longer to ew and ah over every detail of the completed project.
    I love the towel bar. Very clever ( and not surprised) that it is to camouflage the asymmetry with the sink and cabinets. The bar stools, leather horse bit trays, glassware, lamp, and vintage rug are wonderful pieces from your shop. Love how you used the tile to the ceiling and on the other side of the bar counter. Your basement will get lots of time due to the details and time you took to make it a room to relax and fun in.
    Hope you are doing better each day. XOXO Sarah.

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thank you so much, Danna! I also love that the hutch has turned into a focal point in the room. We’re so pleased with how it turned out. I figured you’d like the nod to horses with the accessories :) We’re definitely excited to spend more time down here and make lots of great memories. I hope you’re having a good week and have a fun weekend ahead! xox

  3. A thousand times yes, Sarah- it looks like it was here all along! I love that this modification was the route you chose. Remember your kitchen in Ohio? It was the first time I had ever seen a ceiling-to-counter tower in a kitchen. That kitchen began a big vision for mine- one that had me wondering what the top of my hutch would look like as a “cabinet”, to replace the uppers over my peninsula, and re-open sight lines through the kitchen. Sadly my hutch is too long to do that with; but it got me thinking about how easy it would be to hunt for the right dimension hutch, and transform the area of my house that annoys me most. The fact that you went this route had me excited from the start, because I knew there would be a tutorial that would give me a roadmap as to how to do it seamlessly. I also knew that having a beautifully finished example would offer me inspiration images to share with my skeptic, scientifically-minded husband. THIS!! This is the goal, and now that I’ve seen what the end result can look like, I’m even more steadfast that it’s the perfect solution for me. This space turned out so beautifully, and between the hutch, the incredible viola slab you chose, and the antiqued back- how on earth you aren’t propped on a barstool, cocktail in hand, savoring every inch of this space is beyond my comprehension. I’d never leave! Picture Peggi and I at cocktail hour: she’s laying across the slab, petting it like it’s Joe, and I’m just staring, glazed over in awe- what a dynamic duo! Hahahaha!!! Your vision, and Emmett’s wild ability to make it come to life with his carpentry skills, never ceases to amaze me! Thank you for sharing this behind the scenes tutorial, and convincing this girl that it can be done. I’m forever taking notes, lol. Cheers to a beautiful basement bar, a creative visionary mind, a crazy talented carpenter, and of course, Wednesday. Xoxo

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thank you, Lauren! I do love a counter to ceiling storage moment! I’m so excited to hear that concept inspired a vignette in your house. It was actually a really fun project- even Emmett agreed, ha. Can we please make your vision of you and Peggi propped at the bar a reality?! Lol! I would love that so much! LOL! That gave me a good chuckle. Come on over anytime! Emmett also says thank you for your kind words. Cheers to the weekend ahead! xo

  4. Emmett’s skills and your vision are both so impressive!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thank you so much, Brenda!

  5. I love this so much! It’s timeless!! And I adore the slab it’s on, plus all the details you did in this space to tie it together.

    I have a genuine question about the design and space planning that I’m worried will come across wrong, and, scout’s honor, it’s not a nitpick! In fact, I fully expect you to have already thought of this and I’m genuinely curious and learning from you here.

    Ok, so the hutch, to me, seems to be off center from the cabinet base below, but that could be a trick of the space and photography (which is gorgeous, and that removing the glass trick is genius). You had such a great response to the sink being slightly off center that I felt like maybe this placement was intentional, as well? Did y’all center it over the entire length of that wall, rather than just over the bottom cabinets on that elevation, to make sure you had solid amounts of usable space in the corner where that base is adjacent to the sink (where the carbonator is)? Or was it an electric/plumbing/vent, idek connection issue?

    I am fawning over your projects because I have a lovely little 2004 home that is just crying out for some gorgeous built-ins, and I feel like this alignment thing is a great example of something I would likely encounter in my currently-builder grade home, so I’d love to learn from your expertise here!

    Hope all this makes sense, might need a little more caffeine, ha!

    Thanks again for beautiful work and wonderful communication of the hows and whys along the way. Your blog is such a blessing!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thank you so much, Sadie… and thanks for the great (totally valid) question! To make the best use of space and for aesthetics, we aligned the hutch doors are on center with the base cabinet doors beneath it. So, if you draw a line down the center of the hutch doors, it also lands on the center of those lower cabinet doors. That spot felt best visually and functionally. Thanks so much for taking the time to read posts and scroll through our projects! Builder grade homes get a bad rep, but they have so much potential. Your 2004 home sounds like the perfect canvas for built-ins. Hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead :)

    2. Aligning the hutch doors with the bottom doors makes so much sense!! Thank you for walking me through it! :)

      1. Sarah Gibson says:

        Of course!! Happy to share- thanks for the great question!