I recently purchased a gorgeous oak washstand from the owner of Morgantown Market. I don’t think it had been there very long before I scooped it up. It was in great shape and had beautiful spoon carvings on the drawers.
I’ve made over quite a few washstands in my day. Some had two drawers and cabinet doors.
Some had pretty spoon carvings and square drawers.
Others were more robust in shape.
I’ve painted them chippy.
I’ve refinished their tops.
There has been decoupage.
But in all of the washstands that I’ve worked on, I have never found one with the harp (or towel bar) still attached. The washstand I purchased from Morgantown Market had one, and my fingers quickly began scrolling through Pinterest for ideas on how to refinish it.
I stopped when I saw this photo by Leah Noell Design Company.
Photo via Leah Noell Design Co.
I thought the idea of using the piece as a coffee bar was downright adorable. Hanging the mugs from the towel bar sealed the deal for me – I HAD TO REPLICATE IT!
Gray pieces have been selling well in my area, so I decided to mix my own gray – a custom blend of Miss Mustard Seed’s Trophy and Typewriter. My mixture was roughly 3/4 Trophy and 1/4 Typewriter…emphasis on the roughly.
My piece was pretty glossy, so I gave it a good scuff with 120 grit sandpaper and vacuumed off all of the dust. I’ve been experimenting with different preparations – primer, shellac, deglosser, etc. Scuffing by hand seems to be the most effective on glossy pieces, and I get the best results. I know it’s a bit of a pain, but an ounce of prep equals a pound of cure, right?
While I had the vacuum out, I also hit the inside of the piece. All of the washstands I have worked on in the past have been really dirty inside, and a good ‘ol fashioned wipe down and suck up job goes a long way!
After the piece was clean, I stripped the top of its old finish and sanded it. I started with 100 grit and brought it back up to 220 grit. It feels buttery smooth, and that’s the trick to getting any piece to feel that way. I went back and forth on what color stain to use, so while I deliberated, I painted the bottom. Once the color was on, I actually liked the top natural, so I finished the entire piece with Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil – no stain needed!
On my last furniture run, I scored some beautiful vintage ironstone, which I used to set up my new coffee bar!
The spoon carvings on this piece were too beautiful to cover up, so I highlighted them with a lighter gray mixture I had leftover from a piece I was painting at the same time. (Photos of that piece are coming soon!)
Can you see the tiny worm holes on the top drawer? I just love that character!
Those handles and knob are original. I shined them up with a bit of Hemp Oil and put them right back on. They’re typical Victorian Eastlake style.
They sit in just the right spot on the smaller drawers. Doesn’t it look like the spoon carvings are blooming out from either side?
The ironstone mugs are suspended from the towel bar with simple S hooks. I got the extra big size to accommodate whatever sized mugs the new owner would enjoy. If they’re anything like me, they’ll be the size of soup bowls.
A small 4 cup coffee maker fits perfectly on the top.
Here’s a close up of those sweet ironstone cups. On the bottom, they’re stamped “Sterling Colonial English Ironstone J&G Meakin England”. I looked on a few websites and they’re dated around 1970.
I don’t mind if they’re from the 70’s – they’re adorable in my eyes!
Here’s a close up of that oak top. Isn’t it soft and beautiful? The Hemp Oil hydrated it and brought out its lovely natural color.
This piece will be on its way to Morgantown Market tomorrow, along with all of the lovely ironstone. I’ll be staging it with the same coffee pot, but it will be for display only. Make this piece yours for $175! If you like the look, you can purchase Typewriter and Trophy Milk Paint from my display at the Market as well.