Antique Washstand Restoration

Once upon a time there was a little antique washstand. Somebody thought it looked better without the mirror, so they removed it. Then somebody thought it would look nice painted green. Then painted yellow. Years passed and the cabinet was sold. To me. Whoop!

Here's what this piece looked like when I bought it (please note, this is not my home)




I wanted to know what kind of wood was under the paint because if I find a wood piece that is stained I want to paint it and if I find a wood piece that is painted, I want to strip the paint off.  Sigh.  I am a giant make-work project...

Anyhoo, I sanded a corner and discovered it was OAK.   Holy crap!   I had bought this piece for a song and it was oak.  So thrilled.  That paint is so coming off!!!

I researched paint strippers because in Canada we do not have access to half the stuff you lucky folks in the States can buy.  Luckily I talked to someone at home depot who knew what she was talking about and recommended this stuff:



It worked great in spite of the fact that I didn't wear enough protective clothing and splashed myself more than a few times (burn burn burn!!!!!!!!!)  I used Playtex rubber gloves because they cover your lower arm fairly well and after splashing myself too many times, I put on my painter's smock even though it was stiflingly hot here.  It took 3 coats of the stripper to get 98% of the paint off.  I suspect that at least one coat of paint might have had some lead in it.  It stuck really well!

Once the paint was off, I wiped the piece down with damp paper towels and sanded it all over with my orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper.  It came out BEAUTIFULLY!  Here are the stages of refinishing:

1-Place piece on large sheet of cardboard or plastic.  Gather newspaper and cardboard box to wipe your scraper into and dump the freshly scraped off paint.  Apply stripper to furniture.  It works best if the surface is flat so tip furniture over on back, side, whatever and do one side at a time.  Apply stripper with cheap paintbrush, allow 15 minutes and then use an old metal spatula (wallpaper scraper) to scrape paint away.  Don't apply too much pressure, you don't want to gouge the surface.


2-Repeat process as many times as it takes to get down to the wood surface.  Reapply the stripper only on the chunks of paint that still remain.

The surface of the wood will be rough when the job is done.


3-Use a fine grit sandpaper and an orbital sander to smooth out the wood surface.  I used 220 grit.  You can choose how much of the original finish you want to remove, take it right down to bare wood if you like.  I get bored easily, so I didn't go that far...


4-Apply wood conditioner.  The wood has been bullied and beaten at this stage.  Make life easier on it and yourself by applying a wood conditioner before staining.  Here's the conditioner and stain I used


Wipe wood conditioner all over the freshly sanded wood. You can use a brush or a rag.  I even conditioned the back of the piece.  After 15 minutes, I wiped over the top with a clean cloth and began staining with my all-time fave MinWax Provincial.  I stained the whole piece - including the back.

I picked out these gorgeous knobs from D. Lawless Hardware, the original knobs were overly ornate and the backing piece for the handles was some cheap tin that I did not care for.  These new knobs and handles are brass, antique looking and worthy of my beautiful piece of furniture.

                         

Click on the photos to go to the site.

These knobs are really beautiful and lovely quality.  I could not wait to see them installed, but I still had one more step to go.  I coated the top of the piece with Benjamin Moore Stays Clear water-based acrylic polyurethane in a satin finish.  I've had this stuff for almost 20 years and it still works just fine.  Gotta love quality products.

Here is my new stunning piece:

Isn't it fabulous???  I am so happy with this piece.  It is so perfect I can't bear to use it as a nightstand (the reason why I bought it).  Instead it's in my living room so I can look at it all.the.time.  Plus the wood doesn't really work in my new bedroom decor scheme which is coming up on the blog shortly.

And more photos...



I didn't have any shelf paper and I didn't want to paint the wood, so I used wrapping paper to line the drawers.

Just goes to show you should never say never.  After I gave up trying to find an antique washstand and built my own piece from all the scrap wood I have in my shop, this one turned up online.  2 weeks later...

Remember my DIY washstand?  I still love it even if it isn't antique.  Click on the photo to see how I built it.


So there you have it, from Craig's List to paint stripper to my living room.



Now I need to find another piece for my nightstand.  It's always something!

Have a happy and creative week!

Disclaimer:  Although I have partnered with D. Lawless Hardware to demonstrate their products, the opinions shared here are 100% my own.


With a small budget, big dreams and a love of a challenge, Anne blogs about renovating and decorating her tiny 1930s bungalow. A self-taught artist and professed power tool lover, she enjoys writing, gardening, photography, nature and diy'ing. And she's never met a dumpster she didn’t want to root through! Come along for the ride!!


36 comments:

  1. Now, that was a labor of love! Nicely done.

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  2. Love this, Anne! You saw the beauty in this little guy :)

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  3. Turned out just beautiful......she must be very happy, and you too!!!

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    1. Thank you! We are both very happy :)

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  4. That looks amazing now it has been restored to his orginal beauty, Sarah x

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  5. Awesome job Anne! The table looks much better stained than painted - the beauty of the wood really shines through :-) I wish you were closer so you could help me with my furniture makeover projects - I keep having one disaster after another!

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  6. Oh my gosh Anne what a diamond in the rough. This is a beautiful re love. Gorgeous.
    Kris

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  7. Wow, it turned out so beautiful!! You are a trooper too... I HATE stripping furniture!

    Tania

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  8. Oh Anne, that little cabinet looks absolutely gorgeous!!

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  9. I am so happy that you stripped the paint off and revealed its true beauty!....Great choice and so love it...Looks fabulous...and glad you got a great deal!!!

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  10. It looks amazing and I think it's perfect for your living-room. I'm sure you'll find something else as a nightstand... I'm also looking for one: we'll see who gets one first!

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  11. WOW!! That turned out beautiful.

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  12. Anne - What a wonderful job you did! Beautiful piece.

    Judy

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  13. Anne I truly love how you restored this piece to it's natural state. I never heard of that remover but will keep it in mind. I love natural wood tones myself. So warm and pretty!

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  14. Wow Anne, what a beautiful piece! I can't believe someone painted that, such beautiful wood! But you saved it! :)
    It is so pretty in it's natural state and I love it in your living room!!
    Kimberley

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  15. I totally get why you have it in the living room. It looks great and needs to be seen.

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  16. i am not a lover of unpainted wood usually but this did turn out awesomely gorgeous xx

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    1. Thank you!! I'm not a huge fan of pine pieces, but oak is so gorgeous!!! Love how this came together. xox

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  17. You did a beautiful job! You returned it to it's natural beauty! ;)

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    1. Thank you Donnamae, I'm so thrilled at how this turned out!

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  18. Turned out beautifully. I love old wood pieces but do not have the patience or skills to refinish. I do have an old hutch that was never painted. It has ornate Colonial handles. I will have to check out replacing it with antique finish handles to change it up. Debbie

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  19. Such a gorgeous piece that you can treasure for a very long time. I would want it where I could see it too. That's the perfect spot for it! Love, love, love!!!

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  20. That is a cutie pie…and I love the way it worked into your living room. UPSIDE it has great storage which we so need in a living room to keep the clutter down. Smiles love it!

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    1. Thanks so much! I can't believe how perfectly this piece fit into my home!!

      Have a great day!

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  21. Beautiful work as usual! Love the warm oak finish. Can you order the products not found in Canada from Amazon? When I refinished my oak wash stand, the stripper ate through my Playtex gloves. I found gloves that are made for use with chemicals and they did great. Hope you can find these. Were the fumes on the products you used very strong? Love your blog.

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    1. Thank you Bev! I have found that the prices on Amazon plus shipping make those products too expensive for my liking. Luckily the stripper didn't eat through my gloves - OMG! I did the stripping outdoors on my deck & there was a breeze blowing the whole time so I didn't notice any fumes at all. I would not want to use this kind of product indoors though.

      Have a great day!

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  22. It does look great, Anne! The hardware is the crowning touch. I am soon working on the antique buffet/tv stand in our family room (but painting it) and need new hardware. I may have to try that stripper as I am currently battling taking the paint off the lower basement stairs. It is only a few coats from the builder but even with a sander it is quite stubborn. Hoping you have a great week.

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  23. I thought your first stand was really sweet and well-done, but this one... well, it's totally caught my attention! I love it!! Great piece and once again, great work Anne.

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  24. Wow Anne, it really looks fabulous in your living room - like it was meant to be in that space. The new hardware works so good with this piece too. Looking forward to seeing what you find for a night stand.
    P.S. I hear ya re: not being able to get a lot of products available in the US. Have you heard Mineral Spirits has been pulled off the shelves now too?

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  25. No one deserves a solid oak antique beauty more than you! I looks lovely!

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  26. How refreshing to read a post about stripping off the paint and restoring the piece to its original beauty. It's truly beautiful, Anne. Well done.

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  27. The hours you put into this piece really paid off! It is gorgeous and lovely! Well done! Thank you for sharing this inspiration at Making Broken Beautiful! I hope you will come and inspire again!
    Have a great day!

    Smiles!
    Terry
    thecuratorscollection.wordpress.com

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