Remember when I mentioned in my Baking Rack Makeover post, that I found a “NEW” piece to take it’s place in my foyer?  Well, today is the day that I finally am able to unveil that ‘special’ piece!

But, before I do, I want to give you a bit of history ‘behind’ this piece……

 
It looks pretty bad, doesn’t it?  Well, in it’s defense, this poor dresser has been through quite a bit in the last 100+ years.
 
Initially, in the later 1890’s- this piece sat in my great grandparents one room homestead when they first settled on our the land where our current family farm is.   According to the stories I heard from mom-this dresser held a wash basin where Great-grandma and grandpa, and their five children, washed up after they came in from a hard days work on the farm.
 
Fast forward to 1941-and great grandma and grandpa’s kids were all grown up, and they decided to move to town.  It was then, that grandma and her new husband (grandpa) decided to move their family out to the family homestead.  By then a new, two story home had been built, and the ‘old’ home was now nothing more than a summer kitchen to store canned goods and use as storage.  
 
Dad doesn’t remember seeing the sink during those ‘early’ years of his life, but later, after plumbing was installed in the new home, he remembers his mother being so happy for running water, that she quickly moved the washstand into the ‘old’ house’, which had now been moved several feet from the old house, and was only used for storage. The washstand was still in the old house when dad married mom and they took over the farm from grandma and grandpa in 1972.
 
 
Growing up, my sister and I use to tie our ‘pretend’ horses up to the porch posts of the old house.  And, every once in awhile, when mom wasn’t looking, we’d sneak inside and dig through all the treasures that lay inside.  I was only seven or eight when I first asked dad about the old washstand.  When he told me that was where folks ‘cleaned’ up, and great-grandpa shaved, I couldn’t even imagine how that was possible!
 
 
By then, the washstand was so old and grimy that I couldn’t even imagine someone ‘cleaning’ themselves in it!
Of course,  after I grew up, I began to learn and appreciate the importance of our family history,  and all the wonderful treasures in the old house. 
 
But one thing I never dared to touch, never dared to move-was that old washstand.  Maybe it was because I felt it ‘belonged’ right where it was-or, maybe, I just thought it was an impossible feat to ever ‘restore’ it to it’s natural beauty, so why even bother.
 
I always knew that someday the old house would eventually have to be torn down-but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that it finally became reality.  Time has taken it’s toll on the VERY old building. Unless it is ‘gently’ taken down-it will eventually fall down, and that would just be sad!  We would rather have the ability to ‘save’ what we can, then to see it all destroyed.
 
That is why-after all these years of seeing that old washstand proudly stand in it’s original spot, that I decided to not only move it-but take it home with me.
 
 
 I won’t lie-the thought of trying to makeover this dresser was not only daunting-it seemed a complete IMPOSSIBILITY.  But, somehow I knew, under the years and years of dirt and grime that coated this enduring piece-under all the rust and broken parts was a piece of our family history.  And that folks, was all the inspiration I needed to keep moving forward!

So, I sanded, and sanded some more (so much that I burned through 4 battery chargers!!)

 
Once I had sanded down all the ‘bad spots’ and removed all the old, flaking paint, I gave this beauty a good coat of paint/primer in one.  The wood was so dry, that it took 3 coats of paint (2 hours in between for drying) before it even showed any difference in appearance at all!!!
 
 
 

 

 
 

 Initially, I wanted to keep the aged, rustic look of the handles, but they were so rusty, I was afraid if I sanded too much to rid them of wear, they would fall apart.  Eventually, I decided it would be better if I just painted them, it would save any further damage, and they could remain a part  of the original washstand.

 
As and afterthought- I found a leaf stencil that I thought would be perfect for the cupboard drawer.The items I chose for the washstand were merely for it’s first photo op!  I do have a plan………………
 
 
I decided the moment I lifted this old washstand dresser out of it’s peaceful resting place-that it would find an equally comfortable place to reside in our home.  This weekend I painted the foyer.  There was a time when this old washstand stood proudly in such a place-and the main reason I put so much effort into it-was because I knew it was meant to do so again.  
 
It may not be used as it was , but it will be a part of a BRAND new entrance in our home.  
 
So please- come back tomorrow, and I’ll show you how I mixed old with new, and put it all it together to make a warm, and very welcoming entryway to OUR home.
 
I am sharing my latest project with the following parties this week:
 
***Update-I have re-painted the antique dresser in white, and we now use it as a coffee station in our kitchen!
 
 
So please stop by and see what all the amazingly creative folks over there are doing!!  
 
Blessing and hugs,
CD
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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14 thoughts on “Re-purposing an antique washstand dresser!”

  1. There is always something special about repurposing antiques but it is all that much more special when they have family history. What great stories you have behind this washstand that you can't buy, find, or hack anywhere – it is the real deal. So not only did you get an awesome piece out of it, you have preserved some of your family history – good on you!

  2. You are absolutely right, Kari! Preserving my family history is very important to me, and I am so glad I was able to save this little beauty! Thank you so much for your kind words, and for stopping by!

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