When they gave it to me it was unfinished. The pattern showed to stain the sides and paint the top. I do a lot of painting so they left it unfinished so I could make it how I wanted it. I sanded it up a bit and then stained it with a golden oak stain. Once the stain was on I decided I liked it too much to add any paint to it.
The top hinges open and is for your potatoes. The pattern said you can drill holes in the back to help with air circulation. I will see how the potatoes keep. If they tend to go bad too fast I will drill holes in the back. Right now it seems to be loose enough to allow air in.
I just love how it turned out and it looks great in my kitchen. Now all I need is a wooden trash can to match!! I might have to hint about that for a long time too!! I love hand made gifts. They are the best!