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.