gossip bench makeover

On a recent visit to my folks’ place, I discovered a little antiques and collectibles place that I hadn’t been in before. Actually, my Dad spotted it and thought I should check it out. So, the first rainy day of my trip, I did. While it certainly was more… er… “collectables” than antiques, it was a great place to spend an hour or so looking around through the very cramped space. Of course, this is exactly the kind of place I love.

I grabbed up this telephone table (a.k.a. gossip bench) for the low, low price of $15. Gossip benches were big in the late 1940’s & 1950’s when telephones were the desktop model. Everyone needed a place to comfortably sit and chat on the phone. These types of benches were made, complete with a shelf to hold the phone book. They seemed to go out of vogue when wall mounted telephones became popular. Well, they do say that necessity is the mother of invention…

Here are the steps to this makeover project:

1. thorough clean with a damp cloth, wipe dry
2. remove padded seat and backrest
3. lightly sand all surfaces and clean again
4. paint one coat of black gloss paint (let dry for 24 hours)
5. reupholster seat and backrest in new fabric using staple gun
6. reinstall when paint is dry
7. affix new rubber pads on all four legs

In the spirit of upcycling, I wanted to turn the bench a more chic piece of furniture. There is something about mixing vintage with a modern look that I really love. The bench itself is definitely vintage by nature. I chose a glossy black lacquer paint and wonderful fabric to give the bench that upscale look.

I splurged on the fabric for two reasons. One, because it’s the fabric that really completes the “chic” factor in the overall look of the finished piece. Especially since I found this fantastic designer fabric (marimekko) that was perfect for the job. And two, because I only needed a small amount for the project so although it was a splurge, it wasn’t too huge to justify. Because of the pattern repeat, there was enough left over to make a couple of small cushions as well.

This 1 day project was done on a budget that breaks out like this:

* vintage bench (Art’s Antiques & Collectables) – negotiated down to $15
* paint – left over from past painting projects $0
* fabric – (Bellissimo!) $59
* new rubber pads – (The Dollar Store) $1

This was an easy makeover project that turned out even better than I expected. You gotta love it when you can see it come together in your mind and then the finished piece exceeds your expectations! All for a mere $75 and a couple hours of work.

Now, if only I had more room in my house for such fabulous finds…

Night Out On The Town

Things I Bought That I Love