Decorating & Design

December 4, 2009

The Hutch Is Back

Our January trends issue has just hit mailboxes and it’s jam-packed with the latest, greatest and hottest for 2010. One of the items that’s worth mentioning again is the hutch. We featured a glass front one in “Rooms That Work” and a white painted version in our page must-haves. The hutch kind of fell out of favour for a while, appearing a bit old fashioned. So for the last while the most inspiring spaces have included low horizontal credenzas instead. It’s a nice change! That’s not to say you need to get rid of your low, long storage. But there is a wide variety of new versions of these tall cabinets popping up all over the place meaning that a big vertical focal piece in a room is not just for the country house anymore.

Photo: Modern library feel with Pacifica Hutch from Crate & Barrel

I love the modern library feel of Crate & Barrel’s Pacifica Hutch — I actually have one in my living room. It is great for storage and display because of the combo of sliding glass doors on the top and closed cupboards at the bottom. Here, Brad Ford has placed used two on either side of a window. Doing this lends bold presence to what looks like an average space architecturally.

Photo: Hutch follows the same idea of open shelves with some closed storage

Designer Celerie Kemble’s hutch follows the same idea with open shelves for display plus closed storage to keep less attractive necessities hidden but with a totally different aesthetic. The pagoda-style top and lattice front doors makes it whimsical and feminine, but it’s the blue finish juxtaposed against the deep red wall that makes this vignette come alive.

Photo: Chinoiserie secretary as a vertical focal point

Jeffrey Bilhuber used this Chinoiserie secretary as a vertical focal point in this living room. In bright red and covered in a pretty toile like pattern, it becomes the big decorating hit in an otherwise light and neutral room. It’s what makes this room work.

Photo: Antony Todd's retail store shorter cabinet with sculptures

This vignette in Antony Todd’s retail store fills the space above a slightly shorter cabinet with a collection of tortoise shell sculptures to create the effect of greater height and greater drama.

Photo: Lake Dresser is a modern bureau from Tyler Hays, handcrafted wood furniture

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Tyler Hays’ handcrafted wood furniture available through his company BDDW in New York. His Lake Dresser is really a modern bureau that offers the verticality of a hutch — but lighter and slighter. It is absolutely gorgeous in its elegant simplicity.

Photo: Top of antique hutch mounted to wall

This shot is from my first house (it made the cover of H&H back in 2000). It is actually just the top part of an antique hutch. I love its simple lines and distressed finish. It’s an interesting play on traditional and modern and is perfectly suited to being wall-mounted since it has no base or kick at the bottom. This is a great trick to create the visual effect of greater floor space. Hanging it this way also allowed me to put it where I wanted it while still keeping the floor vent unobstructed. I’ve since taken it up to my cottage and hung it on a wall there.

Photo: weathered grey Shutter Tall Cabinet from Restoration Hardware

The weathered grey wood of Restoration Hardware’s Shutter Tall Cabinet is so popular right now. I love its Belgian farmhouse feel. The slatted doors make this a great cabinet for stereo equipment as it provides venting. If you’re a DIYer, you can use this as inspiration to customize a basic tall cabinet with shutter doors.

Photo: a more traditional take on the classic hutch in a dining room

This is a good example of a more traditional take on the classic hutch in a dining room. The slim profile makes it work really well in this small condo. Vancouver designers Ian McLeod and Kerry Johnson painted it out the same colour as the walls to create the look of a built-in. You get the effect of a large hutch without the bulkiness. Brilliant!

Photo: Vintage hutch painted in a high-gloss black lacquer

The black hutch (seen far left) in the open concept kitchen/dining room of Fashion editor Laura Keogh’s condo was a standard new-build hutch that we sprayed in a high gloss black paint. (My husband Arriz and I collaborated on the design of her and her husband Dan’s condo that involved converting two condos into one.) The hutch was key to the predominantly black and white colour scheme that ran throughout the space.

For tips on whether or not to match wooden dining room furniture, read Do Woods Need To Match?

Photo credits:
1. Brad Ford ID
2. Celerie Kemble
3. Jeffrey Bilhuber, Confident Color
4. Antony Todd
6. Per Kristiansen
7. Restoration Hardware
8. From House & Home Makeovers 2009 issue, photography by Kim Christie
9. From House & Home Condos 2009 issue, photography by Michael Graydon