the flying nun washstand.

A while back one of my good customers told me she had an old washstand that needed a new home, and at the same time she was purchasing the french-ish bed I’d just finished.  So we did a little bartering and I ended up with the washstand and a little extra cash.

I have to confess that every time I looked at this washstand I was reminded of the flying nun.

Who else remembers the flying nun?  The premise of that show was totally ridiculous, but I bet nearly everyone watched it.  That weren’t that many TV choices in 1967.

Anyway, there was just something about those towel bars winging out from the sides that said ‘flying nun’ to me.  I considered removing them, but removing them would have left a gap where the arm of the towel bar fits into the top of the washstand.  You can sort of see what I mean in this next photo …

So after re-gluing that loose piece shown above, I decided the towel bars would stay.

I sanded everything down, cleaned it with clear water and then added two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Originally I was going to do something entirely different with it next, but after finishing the floral box that I shared with you on Monday I really wanted to try that same look on a piece of furniture.

So I pulled out another IOD transfer that I recently picked up.  This one is called Flora Parisiensis.

I’m sharing that image of the transfer because you may not even recognize it on my washstand.  I cut it all apart and created my own collage style look with it.  And much like on the box, I combined it with various pieces from other transfers, mostly Paris Valley from with prima, but there are a few other bits in there too.

I started with the top drawer and mainly used the leaves on it.

Then I moved on to the cupboard doors …

I added most of the words first, then layered in the roses, then filled in with a few more wordy bits in spots.

I put the main title from the transfer on the backsplash …

but then I did a really good job covering that up in my photos with my props.

So I felt like I should take at least one photo where that shows.

At one point in its life there must have been a shelf inside the lower portion of the washstand because the supports are still in place.

But after having Ken take a look, we both agreed that adding a shelf in that spot wasn’t really terrible practical.  You wouldn’t be able to put anything even somewhat tall inside.

I had also initially considered changing out the wooden knobs.  They felt a bit oversized to me.  But as it turned out, these are threaded wooden knobs that screw right into the piece.

I’ve only seen this style of knob on a handful of pieces and I felt like they were a feature that I didn’t want to remove.  Especially the one on the cupboard door because it has a little latch on the back that keeps the door shut when you turn the knob.

How clever is that?  So simple, yet totally effective.

I really have to laugh at myself right now.  One of my mottos is ‘never say never’ because whenever I say something like “I’ll never use gold paint,” I always have to eat my words.  And here I am fresh off saying “I prefer words over florals” and look what I’ve done.

But I have to say, I had the such fun working on this piece.

And I think the florals totally draw your attention away from the flying nun towel bars.

What do you think?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint used on this project, and to with prima for providing the Paris Valley transfer.

46 thoughts on “the flying nun washstand.

  1. I just love this and how you placed everything. I struggle on how to place the words but I’m learning how to cut up the transfer and layer the flowers. You did a wonderful job and I do remember the flying nun. Sally Fields. Thank you for your posts and inspiration.


    1. When I first started using transfers I thought you had to put them on ‘as is’, and it was always so frustrating because they were rarely exactly the right dimensions for my piece of furniture. It is an eye opener to realize that you can cut them up and re-arrange them to suit your piece 🙂


  2. Another gorgeous piece. I was looking for inspiration for a bath vanity redo. This is just perfect; a mix of rustic and romantic. Thanks as always for sharing your talent.


  3. This piece turned out lovely. You have a great eye when it comes to cutting the transfers apart and rearranging them to fit pieces. 😊


  4. I kept scrolling up to the picture of the transfers and then back down to how you placed them. It turned out beautiful! You really have an eye for how things can look!. I love the washstand.


  5. So back in the 60s who didn’t want to be cute like Sr. Bertille or Gidgit?! This washstand remains unique because you left those “wings” intact, almost like a regal crown. They very nicely enhance the words and florals. Usually floral transfers are not my thing because are just plastered all over and feel very “in your face,” so I like the way you cut and arranged these flowers, and the words are perfect. A masterpiece!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a lovely little washstand-you really did it justice. I agree about leaving the knobs ,in all the years I have done furniture I have encountered those knobs only once.


    1. I tried to do some google research on those knobs (tried searching threaded wooden knobs) and couldn’t find any info at all. I’ve only run into them once or twice before too (and I’ve re-done A LOT of furniture), so it’s interesting to know that you have noted the same. I wish I knew when they were in vogue so I could date this piece.


      1. Regarding the knobs-they are on a large dresser and ebony in colour. The folks I purchased from had brought it over to Canada from England many years ago. I ended up keeping the dresser and enjoy it daily!


  7. Love this piece! Sally would have loved it too. I can’t get over how the reposition in ng and layering of the transfers really make this little guy shine. Reminds me of your mad layering skills in scrapbooking! Another “trash to treasure” moment brought to us by Quandie.👍


    1. It really did use the similar skills to laying out a scrapbook page! In fact, it kinda made me want to get out my old scrapbooking supplies and create a few pages 🙂


  8. Loved Sister Bertrille!
    This would be gorgeous on a builder grade vanity in a guest bath, wouldn’t it? Was everything from one transfer? I need to find it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally! I mainly used two different transfers. The bulk of the design is from the IOD Flora Pariensis transfer. For the background on the doors I used sections from with prima’s Paris Valley transfer.


  9. Flying nun! How fun…& appropriate. That washstand is absolutely adorable. I LOVE washstands. So glad you left the wings & the knobs. Great job. (Sure wish I was closer to your shop!)


    1. I really love working on washstands, they are a nice size which makes them a bit easier to handle. Plus they are so versatile, they can be nightstands, end tables, good for a sheltered porch, or an entryway. So many uses!


  10. Beautiful job Miss Quandie! And I LOVE the wings……..a little bit floral for me to live with but it IS very pretty and your work on it is super duper!


    1. I had a feeling this floral would not be up your alley Connie. Quite honestly, this piece is a little bit too floral for me to live with too … but shhh, don’t tell anyone!


  11. I’m not a floral person, but I’d love to have this piece in my home. You are the master of transfers! You’re completely right in that they draw the eyes away from the “Flying Nun” look. When looking at the finished piece, I didn’t even notice the towel bars at all. You’ve created another work of art. I like that you left the original knobs as they show off the craftsmanship of the piece. Thank you for the inspiration!


      1. I wish I could Nancy, but that is an authentic vintage piece in its original color. I didn’t paint it. It’s not all that far off from Dixie Belle’s Kudzu though 🙂


  12. I do love the size of those knobs and that clever latching mechanism. Don’t think I’ve ever seen any that screw in like those. The fact you could see this design in your mind’s eye is amazing to me. It’s a lovely piece. And the suggestion of using it as a changing table is a brilliant idea. Of course I watched the Flying Nun. Like you mentioned there were only so many choices back then.


  13. I love the Flying Nun piece! Just wonderful! You have such a wonderful touch. I truly enjoy your blog.
    Smiles, alice


  14. I almost fainted when I saw this story. I OWN a vintage pine washstand almost exactly like the one you have showcased here. I have searched the internet and libraries to try to find out who made the stand and hopefully what year. My stand has the Knapp joints on the drawer and my doors have original locking panel.
    I am blessed by your article .


    1. Well, if you have Knapp joints (or pin and cove), you can pretty much date your piece to somewhere between 1870 and 1900 because they were only in use for that short period of time. Knapp joints were the first style of joints made by machine. This ‘flying nun’ washstand has dovetailed drawers (it does not have Knapp joints), and they looked hand cut to me (meaning they aren’t all exactly uniform in size and shape) which made me wonder if someone made this piece by hand in their home workshop.


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