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Before and After: A Massive 1970s Hutch Gets an Airy Upgrade — And a New Name! — Courtesy of a Clever IKEA Hack

published Mar 26, 2023
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teak credenza with teak and glass cabinet above
Credit: Leanne Moore

Between the 1950s and the 1970s — you know, the era we comfortably refer to as the mid-century — furniture design generally skewed large. People liked big proportions for all of their bigger-than-life entertaining needs, whether that was in the form of a hanging pendant, a giant china cabinet, or a solid oak dining table fit for 17. But that’s just not how most people live in 2023. 

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Credit: Leanne Moore

Leanne Moore acquired one of these massive pieces when she purchased her home. A vintage hutch in a classic ‘70s teak was bequeathed to her by the previous owners, and while it was a gorgeous piece, it just was not practical for her family. “We enjoyed it, but it didn’t match the new flooring and took up too much visual space,” Leanne explains.

Credit: Leanne Moore

She put her creativity to work and came up with a custom solution in the form of a floating credenza, or “flo-denza,” as she calls it. This piece would provide lots of storage for seasonal decorations, but without the visual weight and size of the existing hutch. What would help her achieve this feat of creative thinking? Why, IKEA cabinets, of course. 

Credit: Leanne Moore

Over the course of two months and with help from her husband, Leanne fashioned together this project using 30-inch white IKEA upper kitchen wall cabinets, doors, hinges, and shelves that she customized for her specific needs. “I wanted drawers, but of course IKEA doesn’t make drawers for upper cabinets, so I built some with recessed bottoms and mounted them with ball-bearing drawer slides,” she explains.

Credit: Leanne Moore

Leanne topped it all with a spruce countertop finished with Varathane’s “Golden Pecan” stain and a wipe-on polyurethane, which allowed the knots and wood grain to show through. Lastly, she added cable-access holes and cut out a spot for a wall outlet so that the piece was flush to the wall, achieving the clean lines she envisioned. The completed flo-denza’s 15-inch depth doesn’t weigh down the room, and its mounted spot on the wall adds to its visual airiness.

Credit: Leanne Moore

Leanne is delighted with her newfound skills as a woodworker, as well as the term she coined in the process. “I love the clean lines of my new ‘flo-denza’ and how all my essentials are easy to access,” she says. “It has a custom look and a scale that you can’t get with an off-the-shelf sideboard.”

And if there’s one tip Leanne could give her former self, it would be to measure before going to IKEA. “Take the time to shop at IKEA or other retailers after you have measured your space to find cabinets in the right dimensions,” she explains. “Go bigger than you think, for impact.”