the romantic prairie style washstand.

Are any of you guys familiar with the book Romantic Prairie Style by Fifi O’Neill?

It came out in 2011, but it continues to be one of my favorite decorating books.  It’s one that I still refer back to periodically.

I was paging through it the other day and I came across this photo …

I was totally drawn to that green cupboard in the foreground.  Isn’t it fab?  So perfectly chippy, and that green is gorgeous.  As I was admiring it, I thought about the washstand that I brought home from the Prospect Park neighborhood sale a couple of weeks ago.

I thought I could possibly create a similar look on it using Sweet Pickins In a Pickle milk paint.

I started out by stripping the top.  As you can see in the ‘before’ photo, the stain on this thing was pretty dang dark.  The top also had several water marks on it.  I wasn’t sure I would have the patience to see this one through, but after two passes with the stripper, lots of rubbing with steel wool, then cleaning, then sanding, then more sanding … phew … I got ‘er done.

Once I had the top down to bare, unblemished wood I simply waxed it with Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax.  You won’t get much sheen with this treatment, but it creates a wonderfully rustic look.

Then I moved on to paint the rest of the piece.  Since I was hoping to end up with a chippy finish, I opted to skip scuff sanding this one and instead just wiped it down with a damp cloth.  Sometimes this can backfire on you, so I don’t necessarily recommend it if you are someone who isn’t comfortable with an unpredictable outcome.  You do run the risk of having all of your paint chip off if there is something on the surface of your piece that resists the paint.  Scuff sanding will help prevent that from happening.

But I was feeling lucky, so I skipped the sanding and went right for the paint.

It took three coats of the In a Pickle to get good coverage over that really dark stain.

Initially I really didn’t get much chipping, except at the very bottom of the piece.  So I forced it by using painter’s tape to rip off chips here and there.

If you’ve never tried this trick, it’s similar to getting lint off your black slacks using masking tape.  Just press the tape down and then rip it back off.  This technique won’t always pull some chips off, but it often works pretty well (and sometimes too well, so use caution).

Once that was done, I sanded the piece with 220 grit to make it nice and smooth.  I finished it up with Fusion’s clear furniture wax.

I love the cut out detail at the bottom of the washstand, isn’t that pretty?

The bottom on the sides has a similar look, but I didn’t do a very good job of getting a photo of that.

I have to admit, I’m pretty pleased with how this one turned out.

Aside from not having a marble top, I think it looks quite similar to the inspiration piece, don’t you?  Although perhaps mine could look just bit more roughed up, huh?

I hesitated a bit before going with the green on this piece.  Historically pieces in this color have taken a bit longer to sell for me, which always surprises me because I absolutely love it.  Check out a few of my fave In a Pickle pieces here, here and here.

But I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this one finds a forever home soon!

If you are local and would love to have a romantic prairie style washstand (they make perfect bedside tables), be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page to see if this one is still available.

28 thoughts on “the romantic prairie style washstand.

  1. I love this piece – even more than the inspiration piece. The wood top feels more at home with the chippy green. I love green too, but it also doesn’t sell well for me.


  2. This came out beautiful. I love green so I’d be bringing this home if I lived near you. Heck, my house would be full of your transformations if I lived near you.


  3. Love it. The green is perfect. I’m srill not exactly sure what “scuff sanding” is…just a really really quick and light sanding? Anyway, I love the color and I’m sure this one will sell…beautiful accent piece.


  4. Beautiful! My big question though-how do you ever part with some of your masterpieces? Tried a antique wax only finish on a small table recently and was very pleased with the results.


    1. Well, every now and then I finish something and can’t bring myself to part with it. But I have a fairly small house and dislike having ‘too much stuff’, so I’m happy to send them off to be enjoyed by someone else 🙂


  5. You know In A Pickle is one of my very favorite paints. And that washstand with its curvy bottom detail is so great. So this is a total home run for me! Who could resist its chippy green, stained wood finish?


  6. Hey Miss Quandie! Well, this green is not a color that I’d choose to live with myself; but I do love seeing how it turned out….and it’ll be perfect for someone else’s house! The question crossed my mind while visiting your blog today: do you ever work on a piece that turns out to be a total flop? I mean in its execution…..not re-doing it because the color’s not selling…..It seems to me that you have your idea, you work on the piece, and you get a great result EVERY TIME. Is it about practice making perfect? Or are some people just naturally more skilled? Sometimes I’ll finish something and think that it looks so home made! Like the equivalent of an Ellie May Clampett dress :/ :/ And yep, I’m known as Connie except on legal papers, at the bank, prescriptions etc……I’ve been thinking that Connie has become the Beulah of my children’s generation!! Along with Peggy, Donna, Linda (not offence), and Janice etc..!!


    1. LOL, I know what you mean about the names. I like to think that I am on the younger end of the Linda’s (at 55), seems like most of the Linda’s I meet are just a bit older … or perhaps I am deluding myself on that one. As for a total flop … I’m sure there have been one or two. In fact, here’s one that I shared on the blog. Then there was this total disaster. So, yeah, I’ve had a flop or two for sure 🙂


  7. I love that book as well! If you don’t have the book Country Brocante Style by
    Lucy Haywood you have to get it! I have tons of decorating books, but this one is the best in years! In addition to the gorgeous pictures it is a good read as well!
    Love the green! It sells well where I am at. Would love to have this piece, and the price is a steal!
    Great job again Linda!


    1. I don’t have that one! I’m going to check it out for sure. Maybe I should do a blog post about decorating books and ask everyone to comment with a recommendation. I always love a good recommendation, thanks Shelly!


  8. This piece just melts my heart the lines are perfection. It’s just so cottagey. I know that’s not a word in Webster’s but that what it says to me. I can think of so many places to use it. If I were in a reasonable driving distance it would be mine but alas Minnesota and South Carolina is a stretch. And lastly yes I own Fifi’s book too.


  9. Green has always been and will always be a favorite color of mine along with pink! It turned out great. I bought a dresser once with the same side details to sell in my antique booth and I loved it.


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