Do you have a vintage washstand? I found this at a thrift store and updated it into the perfect side table.
love a good thrift store find. If I wanted to live alone, I would probably bring something home every weekend. Can you read between the lines…?
I found this beauty last weekend and was shocked it hadn’t been snatched up. The wood was solid, no veneer, the top only had a few scratches and it was sturdy. This washstand was coming home with me.
I had already removed the towel bar that went between the two pieces on the back. That was to make sure it didn’t break in the car.
I have to say, as pretty as it was I wanted to give it a little update and add some color. I have been eager to try Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in Collard Greens. I have seen it used online and it’s such a beautiful green.
Green is my favorite color and this is no exception, it’s not a hunter green, it’s softer, I am terrible at explaining but trust me it’s beautiful.
I didn’t want to make drastic changes so I decided to keep much of the wood unpainted. I also tried to update the hardware but what I tried just didn’t look right so I stuck with the pulls that came on it.
So what is a washstand and why are there so many different kinds? They were prominent in homes before indoor plumbing. They went out of favor in the early 1900’s. They date further back, but were most popular in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.
They lived in bedrooms and held the same importance as a Hoosier cabinet in the kitchen.
My mom had one in her house and it was a more delicate looking piece that really couldn’t serve double duty as anything other than a washstand. Here is a picture below:
The one I found can certainly do double duty as an end table, nightstand or perfect for inside a front door to drop keys, outgoing mail and store a few items inside.
Washstands got larger as time went on and the latest ones had marble tops. That’s a good way to know the age. Many will have a hole where a bowl would sit and most had the holder for a towel on the back or sides.
The majority were made from a sturdy oak, mahogany, rosewood or walnut. Because of their versatility, they are still sought after antiques. Yay me.
I completely removed the towel rack and bars holding that in place.
The next thing I did was to clean up the piece. It had a few scratches on top and after cleaning I saw a little wax mark on the top also. I removed the drawers and they were very dusty and a little moldy. I used my White Lightning in a spray bottle to wipe down and clean the piece all over.
My next step was to sand, I wanted to see if the scratches would come out, so using a very fine sandpaper and an orbital sander, I went to work. The scratches came right out on top, this was important as I was going to keep this part natural.
I removed the hardware from the drawer and sanded that as well to keep the look similar.
I removed the doors and sanded them as well. There were no scratches but I wanted the wood to look the same.
I began to paint the sides, legs and front between the drawers and doors using Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in Collard Greens. This still left the majority of the front wood and that’s the look I wanted.
This was just enough to give it more character.
This was my first time using Dixie Belle Howdy Do Hemp Oil, I added a little to the top and with a lint free rag, and rubbed it in. I waited a few hours and then re-applied to the top, doors and drawers. It soaked in and gives it a rich and beautiful look. Not sticky, tacky or shiny.
Look at the top now…it’s beautiful.
I added a second coat of paint, it really didn’t need it, the coverage was great but I decided to give it a quick second coat for good measure, easy to do when the piece is so small.
I worked on shining up the hardware, I tried a few other knobs and pulls but didn’t love them. The only ones I did replace, were the round knobs on the bottom. I had old brass ones from my mom’s china cabinet that I polished.
This would still be easy to update more if you prefer different hardware. Since I was not painting the drawers, I had to use the existing holes. I wasn’t going to fill them, stain them and change the look of the wood.
I painted the bottom inside of the cabinet, it was a little rough looking.
Then added a self adhesive wallpaper in green and white to the inside of the drawer.
I put everything back together and applied a coat of Dixie Belle Clear Wax to the painted parts. I used a lint free rag to wipe it on instead of a brush then waited a bit and using a new towel, buffed it. This was such an easy wax to apply.
Here she is all done. What do you think?
It would be easy enough if you wanted to add the back supports and towel racks – but for me, I’m leaving them off. See here for other projects I’ve done using Dixie Belle.
I hope you enjoyed my little makeover of this vintage washstand.
It was a fun easy flip and now I can no longer procrastinate on the wardrobe waiting for me in the living room.
The changes are subtle but I like them.
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Here are links to the items I used for your convenience.
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