This has to be the most frustrating project I have ever tackled! Just look at it - all simple and shy! And it was saying to me "come and make me over, I am just a humble little bench."
Never have more false words been spoken! Because sometimes things may look simple but they are not! And so, this is the tale of the not so simple transformation of a bench. A Mid-Century Modern bench at that!
Now I have done MCM transformations before, but this one was a piece of work! Literally!
First of all I could not tell if it was a stool or an ottoman or even a bench. Apparently, there is some sort of difference.
It turns out that stools or footstools are just that, used to rest your feet. They are lower than ottomans. Whereas ottomans can actually double as seating. You can see by my photo that this thing here has pretty high legs and is actually very good as a seat, so it is now officially going to be called an ottoman??
Hmmm or is it a small bench?
What I used:
The How to:
My original thinking was that I would freshen up the legs by getting rid of all that cherry colored stain. And because I have a color scheme in mind for this room, I wanted to repaint that blue vinyl piping and make it gray. A half an hour job at most!
That was my original thinking.
But what ensued was another story altogether.
I started to sand the first leg and a half an hour later I was still at it. What? This whole project was supposed to take me half an hour! Not just the leg!
The next day I had to move the whole project to the back yard. This time I borrowed my dad's Black and Decker sander. Guess what? I ended up burning the rubber off half the bottom of the sander. That is not a good sign is it?
Was I using the wrong number sand paper?
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After another half an hour of fighting with a hand sander I gave up and took a trip to the Home Depot where I purchased this. I am not getting paid to promote it, I just saw that it had good reviews on Amazon so I bought it.
See here the power of this one? It took out all that stubborn stain and blew dirt and sand all over the place! Boy was I feeling powerful after those hours of sweat and toil!
Finally, after more sweat and toil, I was finished. It turns out the legs are made like this where the wood has a degradation. If I continued to sand I would not have removed the darker color, I would just have ended up with a weirdly shaped leg.
I went over it with creme wax to protect that naked wood and I was finally finished with those legs. It could not have ended soon enough! My arms are still hurting from trying to do it manually! But they sure have a pretty honey color now!
The next and much easier step was to paint the vinyl piping going across the bottom of the white upholstery.
I chose black pearl metallic acrylic paint. It really doesn't look black at all but more like smoky gray. I just stuck a piece of paper behind the piping and painted so as not to get the paint on the white.
And here she is, my "excuse my French" ottoman/stool/bench!! The one that was supposed to take a half an hour to do and ended up two days of work.
Of course, now that you have seen my "why take the easy way when you can make things hard on yourself" method, you will know to use a sander right away and also to use the appropriate sandpaper. Not like me!!
Now that it's done and sitting pretty I can say that I have learned my lesson.
Never underestimate a simple looking piece of furniture!
Next time I'll go for one of these! No wood in sight!
Below you can see the before and after together in one shot. It is a subtle difference but still worth the effort in my opinion.
This one happens to be an original from the sixties. Yes, it too was one of my dad's treasures but he did not treat it that well, did he?
In fact I have only seen one other that resembles it here.
It is far from perfect, see how the edge of the vinyl upholstery has been misshaped from all the years of use. I could have thrown it out but there is something beautiful in those lines. And who can resist those legs?
And that is my exasperating story of the not so simple transformation of a bench.
Now tell me truthfully, what is this piece of furniture called? Bench, Stool or Ottoman??
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I'm Mary and I recently moved to New York from beautiful Greece. I like to re-purpose and up-cycle anything that is old or looks like junk. Join me as we use our creativity to spark some life into old things. And do it frugally! You will also see lots of photography of my Greece and New York.
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