The Little Bench Gets a Face Lift

I have this crazy attachment to certain pieces of furniture. Some of them make sense, and some of them just don’t.

There’s the antique icebox that was one of the few nice pieces we had as newlyweds, the hope chest my mother gave me with such pleasure, and my grandma’s desk that always reminds me of her. And then we come to the little bench. Why am I so fond of it? It’s kind of funky, it was a clever idea, but mostly reminds me of good times. So here’s the story of the little bench.

When Baby Girl was three, Sweet Miss was in school all day long, and that meant I had many hours to be the main source of entertainment. One afternoon, I decided to go to an antique store that a friend owned. I know antique shopping with a three-year-old sounds foolish at best, but I knew they had an ice cream counter and thought a treat would keep her occupied while we wandered about. We browsed the main shop and then headed to the outdoor area, and that’s where I found it–an antique crib that would become the little bench.

Now back then, I was driving an escort station wagon. I had no room for an antique crib, but I knew if asked to borrow the MR’s truck he’d probably talk me out of buying it altogether. So I moved Baby Girl’s car seat to the front, dropped the back seats, and shoved it in. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would make it home in one piece or wind up splintered all over the highway. Somehow, we made it, and I carried it to the front porch. The MR wasn’t that enthused when I told him my idea, but he’s a good sport and helped me by sawing off one of set of rails and sanding down the rough edges. I retrofitted a cushion, whipped up a few pillows, and we were in business.

Here’s the MR’s grandma with some of her great-grandkids on the 5th of July celebration.

Granny and the Great-Grandkids08072013_0000

For years the MR’s family sold fireworks, so we’d all get together on the 5th to celebrate.

Fast forward a bit, the pillows got an upgrade, and the little bench found it’s way into a niche. I added the dust ruffle to cover up the games and toys stored underneath.

Bench and Princess08072013_0000

Sweet Miss was all made up as a princess in a school play.

Styles change, I got rid of the country/shabby chic vibe, and the little bench made its way to the front porch. While the porch was covered, it still got its fair share of wear and tear, so by the time we moved here it was looking shabby without any claim to chic.

Still, I couldn’t get rid of it; it had found a place in my heart. So it sat under the portico lonely and neglected. Friends laughed and asked if it was where the valet sat. With all its exposure to the weather, bugs, and birds, nobody was using that bench.


I swear I took before pictures, but somehow they’ve disappeared–blame it on vacations or summer.

That’s when I decided to give it a face lift with a fresh coat of paint and some new cushions. I bought a can of purple spray paint and went to town. One can simply wasn’t enough, but we had vacations and family on the schedule, so it sat halfway done for a few weeks. Then the MR’s folks came for a visit. We were planning a girls’ day, and Papa Larry was wondering what to do. I asked him if he liked to spray paint. Not only did he finish painting all the spindles, he redid the supports, so the seat was a raised an inch or two. Now your legs no longer rub on the front edge when you sit down.

That was just step one. The cushions were in desperate need of recovering, so I headed off to Joann’s armed with coupons and the knowledge that all the outdoor fabric was on sale 50 percent off. So a few weeks back, I spent the weekend sewing up a box cushion and some new throw pillows.

Baby Girl helped me move it to its new spot on the deck, and now when you drive up, you’re greeted by this sight.

Garden Update August 6 004


I think it’s fun and funky and adds a bit of whimsy to your first view of our home.

Here’s a few up close and personal shots.

Garden and bend 028


It looks a little bare without a few throw pillows.

Garden and bend 029


I really like the unexpected punch of purple, and I’m certain Papa Larry did a much better paint job than I ever would have. I had a few measuring mishaps when I was sewing up the cushion, so it went from a solid color to two-tone. That also turned the pillows into a piecing job, but I really like how the appliqued birds turned out.

Garden Update August 6 006


Now we have a comfy place to watch the sunrise, or read a book on the shady side of the house. I’m just happy to see the little bench looking sweet once more.

On Friday, I’ll share all the details on how to make a box cushion. It’s truly easier than you think.

Have you given any furniture a face lift lately? Do you love something just because of the story behind it?

On a personal note, we celebrated Sweet Miss’ 19th birthday yesterday. She was “kidnapped” by friends at 6 am and whisked off to Starbucks and Denny’s. Then while she made a card, I made her cake and lunch. Then me, Baby Girl, and Sweet Miss took the dogs to the river, dropped them off back at home, and went for pedicures. That was followed by a shrimp boil, presents, a game of cards, and cake and ice cream. Sounds like a great way to start your last year as a teenager.

Birthday Collage






6 thoughts on “The Little Bench Gets a Face Lift

  1. The bench is ‘enchantingly charming’! And I know, from experience, it is very comfy as well. So glad Papa Larry bolstered the bottom, as we all remember the mishap of one of the relatives (who shall remain nameless) sitting down, and falling through the bottom. I love that you are incorporating so many items with memories into your new home, You are a ‘classic’ decorator,k everything moves, everything ‘goes with’, everything can be updated to accommodate etc., and everything is family personal. Good job!!

  2. Oops I forgot……………….great pictures of the party. It looked so fun, so sorry we missed it. MeeMee and Papa

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  5. Looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party

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