Make a Farmhouse Style Hutch




About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

This is a farmhouse-style hutch I made.

It features a solid oak counter top with a pair of hidden solid maple hanging drawers inside the lower cabinet.

A similar hutch could be made in any form you like, using a variety of materials with some basic building techniques.

Take a look through my build process and hopefully you'll get some ideas for your next project.

Thanks for looking!

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Step 1: Thoughts on "farmhouse" Style

The so-called "farmhouse style" is reflected by just using what's available to make a modest, functional piece of furniture.

Items can be rustic or even a little primitive, but sturdily-made and simple in design. Blemishes and signs of age, or signs of reclaimed materials being used, bring character to the piece.

Some people distress furniture to try to add these characteristics or to make the item look old and worn, and I've realized I just strongly dislike the over-done, artificial look.

So with this hutch I used old materials and tried to capture a subtle farmhouse-y kind of style without overdoing it.

Step 2: Materials and Tools

I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to useful materials for making things, and this hutch is a hodge-podge of old and previously-used materials.

It includes:

  • old weathered oak beams (the exact boards shown in this instructable)
  • re-used oak plywood
  • old and scrap solid wood
  • vintage hardware from an old sewing table

The counter top was made from two pairs of book-matched boards made from the old oak beams shown here.

The main panels for the lower cabinet and upper shelves were made from used oak plywood, taken from this piece of 90s era furniture. This yielded a lot of high quality plywood as well as solid oak from the trim and doors, but it did require substantial time to harvest the material and make it usable.

I also picked up several used maple table tops from my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. These were a great find and gave me a large supply of hardwood that I'll use for many projects.

As far as tools go, this type or project requires a fairly well-equipped woodshop. I used: table saw, biscuit joiner, clamps, sanders, pneumatic nailers, drills, jointer, planer, and so on.

Step 3: The Counter Top

The four thick oak boards used to make the counter top were milled flat as outlined in the instructable linked in the previous step.

An edge on each board was made square to the flat board faces using a jointer, and the second edges were trimmed square with a table saw.

The four boards were then glued and clamped together to dry.

This wood was full of knots and cracks. The small cracks were filled with wood filler and the large knots were filled with 2 part epoxy putty (Kwikwood).

Once the fillers were dry and cured, the whole thing was sanded up to 220 grit with an orbital sander.

Step 4: Finish Counter Top

The edges of the counter top were routed with an 1/8" round bit, and a stained with Jacobean color stain.

After the stain was dry, the counter was coated with several coats of spray lacquer. A gentle buffing with superfine steel wool was done between coats and after the last.

The finished counter top is 40 inches wide, 20 inches deep, and 1.5 inches thick.

Step 5: Build Lower Cabinet

The lower cabinet was made using oak plywood trimmed with pieces of solid oak.

The old plywood I used had to first have the original thick lacquer finish sanded off, which took hours and hours for all of the pieces, and made a huge mess in my shop!

Oak legs were cut and edge-glued to plywood pieces to create the sides of the cabinet (see 3rd photo).

With the sides made, plywood shelves were made with solid oak strips glued and nailed along the front edges. These shelves were glued and nailed in place to the sides, and solid oak pieces were glued and nailed in place to create a face frame to the cabinet.

Additional support pieces were glued and nailed in place where it made sense. The case is 33 3/4" tall, 38 inches wide, and 19 inches deep.

Old pieces of thin plywood were screwed to the backside of the cabinet to close it in.

Step 6: Hanging Shelves

I decided it would nice to have a pair of hanging shelves inside the cabinet. These were made with solid maple with old 1/4" pine plywood for the bottoms.

The photos include details and tips about how these were made.

Step 7: Drawer Rails

The drawers ride on hardwood rails that are fastened to the top of the inside cabinet. These rails were glued and nailed in place, and then screws were added from the topside for additional strength.

Step 8: Doors

The cabinet doors were made from pieces of old pine. These were cut to size as needed using the table saw, and glued up into frames with biscuits made with a biscuit jointer. I have a cheap one from Home Depot, and it seems to work well.

The inside edge of the door frame was routed and thin slats of pine were tacked in place using a pin nailer.

Step 9: Upper Shelf Panels

All of the panels for the upper shelves were made of smaller pieces of old oak plywood that had to first be edge-glued together. This was done with the help of biscuits and long pipe clamps.

These steps are unnecessary if you're using new materials, which is advisable . .

The front edges of these panels had long strips of solid oak glued and nailed in place to cover the plywood edges.

Step 10: Build Upper Shelves

I'm including a lot of photos in this step, with notes in many of them to show how this part was made.

A similar approach could be used to build bookcases of all sizes. I recommend flipping through the photos for a detailed look at how these were built.

It's not a complicated process, but it does pose some challenges and there are a few tricks used here to make the process go smoother.

Step 11: Place Hardware and Assemble Temporarily

The hardware I used for this came from an old sewing table I took apart at some point. It always pays to keep old hardware.

The hinges and door pulls were attached temporarily at this point, prior to painting. See photos for notes and tips on this process.

Step 12: Paint

My wife and I picked out this color because we thought it would look good. But to be honest, after the whole thing was done we're not sure we like the color . .

This color is a light blue-grey in satin sheen from Behr brand house paint called "Dragonfly." I brush-painted all of the parts of the hutch except the drawers, drawer guides, and counter top. A very light hand-sanding was done with 220 grit sandpaper to age the paint just a little, but not enough to remove any paint down to bare wood.

After painting I decided to add a small piece of trim around the top of the upper shelves. This was made from pieces of pine with a 42 degree bevel cut on one side. These were tacked in place with a nail gun and then painted.

Step 13: Reassemble

The counter top was screwed to the lower cabinet from the inside, and the upper shelves were screwed to the counter from the bottom side as well.

Additionally I added two small metal plates to the backside to connect the upper shelves to the lower cabinet.

Step 14: Done!

I previously made another hutch in a very similar style (shown here), which used up a lot of my supply of reclaimed maple.

The blue hutch shown in this instructable was made to try to use up as much remaining scrap material as possible from my shop, and I've been trying to sell it locally where I live. I haven't had any interest yet, and I've wondered if it's because the color is too unique.

What do you think?

Should I repaint it something more neutral, like off-white or light grey?

Thoughts, questions, and tips are always encouraged. Thanks again for reading. Cheers! : )

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    27 Discussions


    10 months ago

    Well made in the true country style would be proud to this or one like it in my home


    11 months ago

    This turned out so well! Congratulations on getting it finished :)

    I personally love the blue, but it isn't going to match everyone's house so can see how it would take longer to find a buyer. It will be perfect for someone though, give it a little time. Good luck!

    1 reply

    11 months ago

    I absolutely love this and I wish I had all the tools to make it. I may try to convince my husband to help me and figure out how to make it without having a woodworking shop. As for the paint, I know I like it but I know right now grays and distressed whites are the big thing. Pops of color are ok. I am realtor so I get to see all the staging that goes into this. Me personally LOVE IT!!!


    11 months ago on Step 14

    I like the color. In fact, I was going to ask what the color was, but then I saw it in your notes. Good job!

    1 reply

    Reply 11 months ago

    Excellent! The positive feedback on the color has been helpful, thanks!


    11 months ago

    Super nice!


    Reply 11 months ago

    Well thank you. Your cupboard refinish is really nice, and I like that simple style quite a bit. I might have to try to duplicate it sometime. You've got some great projects - I'm a new fan! : )


    11 months ago

    I think its beautiful. My father was a master woodworker and he built several hutches and pie safes over many many years, and he always left them in their natural raw finish so his customers could paint or stain them whatever color they wished. He always, and I do mean always left them natural or painted them a neutral color like white or light gray so they fit into any surroundings. He had 18 months of pre-orders when he passed away in 2009. My brother nor I ever picked up his abilities unfortunately. My brother works in steel. I work in computers and IT.

    It doesn't matter however. Both hutches are absolutely gorgeous and would be sold in my area within a couple of hours but again the small town I live is is an artisans city and considered teh arts and craft capital of our state. You are an extremely talented individual. Made my day seeing it because it looks so much like the things my Dad made.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. It is appreciated!


    Question 11 months ago

    Would you happen to have an instructable on the other one you did? My wife likes that one.

    1 answer

    Answer 11 months ago

    Hi, thanks! I'm glad she likes it. It was actually made in a very similar fashion as the one shown here, except the upper shelves were made with 100% solid wood panels rather than plywood-hybrid panels as outlined in the steps for the blue one.

    The lower cabinet was made with plywood panels for the case structure and interior shelves, but with thin maple slats pin-nailed over the exterior and shelf edges. A solid wood face frame was glued and nailed in place, and solid legs were glue and nailed in place to the corners of the case. The drawers run on hardwood rails. I snapped a few photos while I was making it; I'll upload them which might give you some ideas:


    11 months ago

    A little distressing with sandpaper will add to the "old" look and make it more marketable. Z

    1 reply

    Reply 11 months ago

    That is true. Me and my personal tastes be-damned when there's money on the line . . I'm not kidding! Logic says: make what sells. Good thought!


    11 months ago

    Nice job and Instructable. When you make something to sell you might want to leave it unfinished so the buyer can choose a finish that you can then apply, or the buyer may want to fiinish it himself. Actually, I think a well made piece looks great unfinished, showing the craftmanship and allowing for custom finish selection.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thanks, that is a great tip!


    11 months ago on Step 14

    Well done and clearly described.
    Many years ago, my uncle had a similar piece in his farmhouse. One feature that his had, that I haven't seen since, was a groove at the rear of the shelves so you could stand up plates in the rear without them sliding down.

    I would leave the color. It makes the natural top jump out and grab you. Beautiful.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 months ago

    The idea for a plate groove is quite brilliant. Thank you for the compliment and feedback. I appreciate it! : )


    11 months ago

    I love this! This is a very popular color in kitchens right now, so keep looking for the savvy buyer. I'd snap it up myself, but I have such a small cabin, I don't know where I'd put it!