A Bench Restoration

I’m so excited to reveal this piece to you. Lately, I feel like God is putting the most kind and incredible people in front of me. The owners of this bench are no exception. They are two beautiful souls and it was an honor that they trusted me with a piece of furniture they truly love and have had around 30 years!

You can better understand how kind they are by the shape the bench was in when it was introduced to me. It was in this condition, because a life of serving in the military took them to Guam, which then placed a wild puppy in need of a home into their lives. They said that one day, when they had left him home alone, he did a little damage to show how unhappy he was about it. I can’t imagine walking into my house to see that my dog, that I rescued out of the kindness of my heart, had used my favorite piece of furniture as a chew toy. No fun.

But now, furniture crisis aside, it’s sitting perfectly in its’ new Maryland home with a view of the beautiful water ready to be enjoyed, and I call that a win for all. Welcome to my life for the last couple of weeks:

The most damaged piece was on the far left. The arm had cracked in half during a PCS (military move) and the dog had angrily chewed up the legs.

 

 

The curves and details of this piece are beautiful. Whenever I look at a gnarly piece of furniture, I start day dreaming of remaking it -this was no different. Sand paper became my best friend on this piece.

Ouch….

The arm had a clean break. I couldn’t figure out a way to clamp it without better tools, so I creatively drilled a pilot hole and used a screw and glue to repair.

The manufacturer’s screw (pictured above) is what I think probably caused the break by cutting into the grain. I assume it was handled too roughly by movers, which made the wood snap. This, of course, is just a guess. But it doesn’t really matter because now it’s stronger than ever.

I don’t know about you, but now I’m craving some nice, dry cushion for dinner. This puppy was really mad! I saved money by rolling up a piece of extra fabric and securing it to the back  to smooth out the chew marks since it’s hardly visible and the cushion was in good shape otherwise. The trick worked and you can’t even tell. Yay!

….

Three weeks and a lot of hours later… I introduce you to the remade bench!

Midway through my redesign, I had a vision of the rungs being an antique white and lightly distressed to allow some of that pretty cherry stain to show through. I wanted to make the light, whimsical fabric pop and pull together with the bench. And it did wonders! Of course I had to have this idea AFTER I had stripped, sanded, stained, and refinished each and every rung. But it was worth the extra work!

I love the fabric my client chose. It’s perfect for the home it’s in. Like I said earlier, their home has a view of the water and this fabric really anchors itself in its environment while looking totally classic.

Here’s a shot of the rungs I know by memory and officially love.

I learned the hard way that when working with a pattern that has a stripped design, you must look, and then look again, to make sure you’re straight on… or, it might look crooked. If it does look crooked, you may find yourself removing all the fabric at 11 pm on a Friday and starting again. Don’t ask me how I know this.

And just like that. It’s done!

Okay… maybe not “just like that”. Sometimes, in the middle of a project, I’ll have a feeling of being overwhelmed or my fingers are just too sore and tired to keep going. I’ll doubt myself or work too hard and too late. I’m constantly learning. Constantly catching up.

This is a perfect picture. It’s a perfectly beautiful bench and lovely piece that shines in its new home. But I want it to shine for the reality: it took a considerable amount of work in my cold garage on rainy days, out in the sun in the spring heat, and a couple of late nights to actually make all of “this” happen. And it’s ALL worth it. But nothing worth having in life comes easily.

It’s incredible to take a moment to reflect on all I’ve learned, accomplished, and dreamed of during each messy project since starting my business. And I want you to know this before-and-after process comes with a ton of thought, time, energy, creativity, and passion. Oh, and never giving up.

It’s amazing to see how through prayer and working hard God has opened up doors that I wasn’t even aware existed. I’ve met incredible people, and fixed some truly beautiful furniture.

I guess what I’m saying is that dreams take a lot of work. The pictures above are a beautiful reflection of that. But it’s more than perfect-social-media pictures. It’s the hours of dreaming, working, and creating beauty that are making me into a stronger woman. I don’t want to make it look like the perfect life. But it’s worth it to work hard and make your dreams a reality, even when you feel like you can’t go any further.

So it’s Tuesday. I’m here to say don’t give up, don’t be hard on yourself, and spend some time this week thinking about your dreams; then go find people who will cheer you on until you reach them.

Thanks for following along my journey with me!

Bethany

 

8 thoughts on “A Bench Restoration

  1. Wow, Bethany, that’s gorgeous! I’d love that in my home!
    You have such a talent…thank for sharing.

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