A few weeks ago, I went to a local auction and purchased this oak washstand.

I actually shouldn’t have bid on it because a friend of mine wanted it, which I completely forgot about!  I did offer to sell it to him, but he was kind enough to let me take it home and refinish it. 

And let’s face it…there’s plenty of furniture to go around in the world.  It came with obnoxiously ornate handles that I promptly took off.  They were gaudy and way too overstated for the piece.

Washstands are handly little things.  They have drawer and cabinet storage and are usually a good size to fit just about anywhere.  I really like using them for nightstands on either side of a bed (if you have the room).

This little guy’s makeover started with the top.  As you can see, it was a bit on the rough side and it looked like someone had a plant sitting on it.  There were a few water rings and other blemishes scattered over it, but there was pretty wood under all the years of abuse.

Whenever I strip wood, I always use Citristrip.  It’s safe to use inside, doesn’t contain any harsh fumes and it smells like oranges…hence the name.  Plus, it’s easy to find in the paint aisle of your local hardware store.  It’s not terribly expensive either so cha-ching!

I snake a line of the Citristrip down the top of my piece and spread it out in a decent layer using a disposable chip brush (also found in the paint aisle).

I let the stripper sit for a good couple of hours because it was humid outside on the day I was working and I noticed it took longer to eat through the original stain.  Once I finish stripping, I thoroughly clean my surface with 0000 grade steel wool and odorless mineral spirits.  To read my full tutorial on stripping wood surfaces, click here.

You can also watch my video tutorial here:

Here’s what the wood looked like after it had been stripped and cleaned:

After the wood dried out overnight, I hand-sanded it with 120 grit sandpaper, sucked up the sawdust with the vacuum and grabbed my can of General Finishes Java Gel Stain.

As you can see, I use a foam applicator brush and a pair of disposable latex gloves to apply the stain.  The gloves are essential because the stain is a bit tricky to get off of your hands if you’re not careful.

I applied the Java Gel stain to the entire surface and wiped it back.  I was immediately happy with the results, as per usual. 

This stain is my go-to and it never lets me down! It creates the deepest, richest and most chocolatey color on your freshly stripped wood. Each species of wood stains differently, so it’s fun to watch and see how they turn out!

After the top was stained, I let it dry for a few hours and sealed it with General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Satin. This water-based sealer is perfect for protecting high-traffic areas, such as the tops of furniture.

After the top had dried completely, I got to work on the bottom. As a general rule, I always refinish the tops of my pieces first and then paint the bottoms. That way, if I dribble stain on the body of the piece, it won’t ruin my paint job.

For the body color, I chose Bergere – a smokey blue in the European collection of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint. This color is absolutely gorgeous and it’s a customer favorite!

I scuffed this piece with 80 grit sandpaper before I painted it with Bergere, but I was a bit unsure whether or not the Milk Paint would chip.  I was leaning towards a full-coverage look for this piece, so I mixed in some Bonding Agent in with my Milk Paint.

Bonding Agent happens to be June’s Product of the Month, so I thought it was appropriate to use!  It’s a water-based concentrated acrylic emulsion that helps Milk Paint adhere better to slick and glossy surfaces.  While I did a decent job scuffing, the original finish on the washstand was glossy so I thought a bit of extra adhesion wouldn’t hurt. 

Turns out, I was right!  I didn’t get any chipping and the Milk Paint covered in two even coats.  To seal everything, I rubbed in Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax.

This wax is my absolute favorite to use, and I’m not just writing that because I’m a retailer.  Before I ever sold MMSMP, I defaulted to this wax over any other brand.  It has the consistency of a natural lotion or margarine instead of a stiff beeswax.  It’s easy to manipulate and it’s SOOOOOOO easy to apply.  If you have ever experienced “waxing woes”, give this a try.  I promise you that it’s everything you ever hoped furniture wax would be!

After applying a layer of Furniture Wax, I went back over the piece with Antiquing Wax.

This is essentially the same thing as the Furniture Wax but it has been tinted to a warm brown color and is perfect for adding age and settling into nooks and crannies.

Good thing oak wood has plenty of nooks for Antiquing Wax to settle in!

As you can see, I added delicate swan neck pulls, which lightened and softened the appearance of the drawers.  No more obnoxious ornate handles!

Here’s the grand reveal:

Isn’t it the sweetest little piece?

I added an alabaster lamp, my cow watercolor from Miss Mustard Seed, and an old book for staging.  A rusty egg basket was draped with some grain sack striped towels and the scene was complete. 

The top is simply gorgeous.  I’m so pleased with the way it refinished, although I’m not surprised.  My go-to combination didn’t fail me!

Some people don’t like the strong grain of oak wood, but I could eat it up with a spoon.  I LOOOOOOVE seeing the grain of oak!

I plan on doing some furniture shuffling over the next week, so I’m not completely sure when this little guy will be making its way to Morgantown Market, but my goal is to deliver it before the weekend.

If you would like to replicate this look, here’s a list of the materials I used.  You can shop for all of the MMS Milk Paint products in my space at Morgantown Market or at Painted Table Design.

Bergere Washstand Materials:

  • MMS Milk Paint in Bergere 
  • MMS Furniture Wax
  • MMS Antiquing Wax
  • General Finishes Java Gel Stain
  • General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Satin
  • Chip Brush
  • Latex Gloves
  • Foam Applicator Pad
  • Rags or Lint-Free Towels
  • Odorless Mineral Spirits
  • Citristrip

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I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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