Good Enough Decorating {in case your house, budget, timeline, circumstances, skills or stuff isn’t ideal}


The truth is none of us start creating a home out of perfect circumstances or a completely blank slate.

We have limitations. We have home “baggage”.

And for the most part I try to remind myself to be thankful for the tight budget, country living, long-range fixer-upper, un-done-ness and a house that’s always open for shopping in.

Since we moved here in August of 2014 we’ve slowly been attacking our kitchen. Here’s phase one-ish:


kitchen island waterfall for less

kitchen island with a waterfall

After knocking down walls (see the crazy CRAZY before when you scroll down on this post here) our first goal was creating a 10 foot long island with a sink and getting all the lighting and appliances in. We also had to put down the kitchen floors that go with the floors in the rest of the house (every link you’ll need about our kitchen is at the bottom of this post). Once the kitchen had some cabinets, running water and working appliances and no threat of electrocuting us, we took about a year break from kitchen work and worked on the barn and the pool and painting bedrooms and such.


Back there to the left of the refrigerator, we used the hutch as a pantry. We don’t have any upper cabinets and really just have the cabinets you see in this photo along with one 15 inch wide cabinet on either side of the stove–and one of those hides our HVAC return-thing so it’s not fully useable. #limitations


Storage is an issue for us, especially our pantry situation. Have I mentioned we have three teenage boys? Cereal alone could take up its own cabinet if I allowed it.


Finally 18 months after we moved in, we put in enough cabinets that would become our pantry. It gave us over twice the storage as the hutch. We used Ikea cabinets–just like we did for the island, but I didn’t really want to commit to uppers yet.


It was fun to make the counter super cute for Christmas. But I always end up parking random stuff all over the counter.


Have I ever told you that I’m messy?


I liked getting to play with that wall for a while but I really wanted a hanging wood glass cabinet or something that didn’t feel like store-bought kitchen cabinets for above the counter. plus, once again, I’d like to have some more storage or shelf space–but not just wood shelves since we have those 8 feet away in the niche next to the range. So for two months I looked on craigslist and at the local antique mall for a solution.



…the hutch formerly of kitchen-dom was sitting five feet away all forlorn and intrusive on our sloping/foundation-needs-to-be-fixed back porch.

I wanted it to sit against the wall on the left, but it was too tall and hit a light fixture that was on the wall.

laundry room

Here’s the side view, see how it sticks out, kind of in the way? But that back wall would be perfect, but that aluminum light is too low for the hutch to fit! DRAT!



…until I remembered that the hutch comes in TWO PIECES!!!

Listen, I’m under no illusion that this is a magazine worthy solution. This is an every-mom solution. One of those, “it’s better than it was and that makes me happy and I didn’t spend any money” fantastic realizations. This is pretty much how I run my entire life. Good enough. For now. It works surprisingly well. I still need to address the feet but now I feel like I know the direction I’m headed.

After having the cabinets and counter for a few months, I realized that I didn’t use the counter to bake exotic cakes, pies and cookies like I had envisioned. When I did make pizza dough, I still used the island counter. The butcher block counter was usually filled with mail, cat food bags, iced coffee, glue guns and stuff I needed to put away but didn’t because SO MUCH COUNTER SPACE!


For the record, there are some things that I take photos of and they look better in pictures: my white slipcovers–even when they are dirty, the 12 acres we live on, our wood floors. And there are some things that look better in person than in the photos–this hutch/cabinet combo is one of those things that looks awkward in the photos, but in real life it actually looks better.


Although the small on top/bigger on the bottom situation of the hutch on top of the wide cabinets does make me think of these dresses from the 1800’s:


or to be more with the times, it looks like one of these:

big bottom dresses

I can live with that.

hutch clutch

Does this clutch make my hutch look big?



Related posts: Rustic Modern Kitchen (more about the mood board and lighting options)

The Kitchen :: Before

Hudson Counter Stools: World Market (currently unavailable but these are similar)

Cabinets: Ikea (really happy with them!)

Sink: Ikea (LOVE it)

Faucet: Dyconn (Chad hates it, I like it)

Counter: White Quartz (I LOVE it!)

Viking Range & Thermador Hood (Craigslist: great story! and I LOVE IT)

More about our wood floors

How I thought through our kitchen remodel

My three kitchen must haves

Beaded Crystal Chandelier

My Kitchen Inspiration Pinboard

 hope big



  1. I loved every bit of this. Not sure exactly why, but this sweet post seemed particularly Nester-y to me. At the end of reading I thought, I didn’t realize I missed you, but here you are! Thank you for sharing your home and wisdom with us.

  2. LOL!!

    Well, I for one didn’t see ANYTHING amiss! I actually GASPED at your solution!

    It’s perfect. It really is!

  3. I love this! It looks fantastic and I’d say it’s magazine worthy. If you feel like a change, you might be able to hang it on the wall above it also if taken to the ceiling. Just a thought! :-)

  4. A friend shared your book with me last year & I just ate it up! :) I’m wondering where you found the large glass jars holding your flour, sugar, etc. on your “new” hutch? ;) Nice idea with the hutch – I did something similar, except with a low, wide bookshelf on top of my hubby’s dresser.

  5. LOVE it! That hutch has been around the block, hasn’t it? Just proves that it’s super versatile and baggage worth keeping, even if it was sort of in the way for awhile!

  6. I hate losing countertop space so I would probably hang the hutch top all the way to the ceiling. But it does look fine right where it is. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  7. That hutch. The curved, chunky (hate that word) wood. So, so pretty.

    Thank you for saying you are messy. It gives me freedom. I’m a clean freak but I’m messy.

  8. Maria Vastianou Grigoriadi says

    Now you must show us what happened to the bottom of the hutch! Did you move it to the other wall yet?

    All this reminded me of a conversation I had with my Mom this morning about a dressing table with an attached mirror in her very small bedroom, that for 40 plus years is placed diagonally across a corner of the room between two windows on adjacent walls, and it takes so much space (and creates a VERY DEAD corner behind it) because there is no other wall space for the mirror. I suggested she detached the mirror and hangeed it on the wall separately from the dressing table, but she had an even better solution: unscrewing the mirror and moving it and re-screwing it to the right as far as it could go and then placing the dressing table “flat” on the wall in the corner (does any of this make any sence?) and there is just enough wall for the mirror not to obstruct the window. I was SO proud of her, because normally she doesn’t have this kind of ideas! (She even called in my Dad and he came carrying his tools to do it immediately. I must go and see how it turned out!)

  9. To me this seems like a perfect … ups sorry, I mean absolutely lovely solution! :-)

  10. I love it. And I love how real your solution is and that you share it with us. I feel like my home most definitely falls into the good enough for now category. Real life = limitations, but you turned yours into something fabulous.

    Thanks for keeping it real!

  11. I love your kitchen with the farm sink and wood counter tops. Are those wood? How are you liking those? We’re about to move and I’m trying to get ideas for our next home.


  12. What a fantastic solution. I don’t think it looks awkward at all. Sometimes we just need to “get over” the way thing are “SUPPOSED” to be used! LOL

  13. I was just having the same thought today when I was working on my blog layout. “Good enough” (for now) is what I told myself over and over again. Everything can’t be perfect! Sounds like Recovering Perfectionists are uniting here! I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again, I love your blog and book!

  14. Does this clutch make my hutch look big? LOLOLOLOLOL. That made me snort… out my nose… really hard. xo

  15. I love your solution! Just a thought…if you wanted to stagger the width from the top piece to the bottom shelving, what if you built a 6″high (or so) “box” that fits between the two pieces to ease the transition. You could section the “box” into cubbies, and have a place to store wine, rolling pins, or whatnot. Once it was painted to match the upper piece, you would never know it was an add on. :)

  16. Your kitchen is looking lovely! I was wondering where you found your large clam shell that is sitting on top of the fridge?

  17. Jolenne Smith says

    I love the look of soft and sharp lines this combination creates. A+ look and post!

  18. I love it! Looks great.

  19. Love it, nester! Very you! :)

  20. You crack me up! Perfect solution!

  21. I love it! What a perfect solution. Did you move the bottom part of the hutch thing to the wall it was previously too tall for? I’d love a hutch to put on my kitchen dresser/buffet, but my husband would probably object to it blocking the best window in the house ;-)

  22. Love, love, love! Finding a money saving solution that is also pretty always makes me happy. Your book made me happy, I’ve read it ten times by now. Please write another book! :)

  23. I love the hutch and the ending comparing it to dresses is hilarious! Fixes that are as simple as moving something you already own are the best! Hmm…now I want to rearrange furniture in my house!

  24. I love your house ! Awesome! Please tell me where on earth did you get that fabulous coat hanger in the laundry room. It is to die for. Really enjoy your blog.

  25. First, I love your style and I love your honesty! I also love the way you painted your hutch white. I’ve been searching for a post about painting it, but can’t seem to find it. Can you tell me where I can find it or at least what paint you used? Thanks so much!

  26. Love, love! I haven’t stopped by in a while, and a couple of posts in I stopped and made a list of things I can fix or change NOW that will make me happier, rather than hating my house and waiting (and waiting and waiting) until we can build the house we really want. Thank you for that!

  27. Thanks so much for this post, lovely to hear from you again! I have a Welsh dresser that has lived in the family bathroom storing kids bath toys, toiletries, towels, etc but now the kids are older there’s not as much storage needed. I needed a solution to ‘house’ the TV in the family room and inspiration hit me, I could use the hutch of the dresser! Our hutch looks a bit like yours, a bit too wee for the dresser but never to mind, it doesn’t need to be perfect!

  28. I love your kitchen and how you chose to place the top on your counter. You’re blog is a breath of fresh air, and to know you live like the rest of us is wonderful!!

  29. I wish more authors of this type of content would take the time you did to research and write so well. I am very impressed with your vision and insight.

  30. Ah perhaps. I have to say that I pretty much never order seafood towers, so I guess I don’t have much of a point of reference.

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