Yes, finally, the bench redesign is done! There proved to be a couple surprises and challenges along the way, but eventually I worked through them with a final result that is as good or better than I had hoped for!
...and the before.
Once it was decided to include a bench among the dining room seating mix, I stumbled across this one at Overstock.com. It had proven to be hard to find just the right option that was long enough, without an accompanying hefty price tag. This one was the perfect size featuring good lines and a leg shape that would work well with the table, but the finishes? Not so much, but I figured those could be altered.
First up, remove the dark lacquered finish on the legs. Getting into the grooves was certainly a bit of work, but fortunately I was aiming for a worn finish, so perfection was not required.
Then, what to do with this?
How about recovering the cushion with a fabulous faux ostrich found at Calico Corners? Oh, yes please!
To accomplish this, the plan of attack was to layer a sheet of high density foam over the original material and then wrap the cushion with batting.
However, after this step was done I stepped back only to realized this approach was one big mistake. Bulky, bulky, bulky. Shoot!
So the work was undone and I started over. Plan B! In this approach the original material was removed to work with the existing foam, to maintain the sleeker profile. Looking back this seems obvious!
The tufting had left holes and indentations in the foam. The holes were filled with shredded foam and then I waited to see if the foam would spring back now that the tucks weren't pressing down on it.
A fellow blogger sent me this poster when I posted about the failure of Plan A. Too funny! Sorry, I forgot just who, would you let me know?!
While I waited to see if the foam would spring back, I got back to work finishing the legs.
Having had such a great result with Briwax on the refinished table, I decided to use the product again to finish the legs. Instead of clear, this time I selected a can tinted Tudor Brown to give the legs a bit of color.
Love the worn, aged result. Success with the legs, now back to the cushion!
Amazingly, the foam did spring back...relief.
So the next step was to cover it with batting, and to ensure the filled holes didn't show through, another layer was wrapped over the batting, this time a heavier canvas.
Then on to the fun stuff. The cushion was covered with the faux ostrich.
Tucks at the corners, and a band wrapping around the bench edges, with a length of cording inserted along the top edge of the band.
Happily, the second order of nail head trim arrived with the right style inside.
After they were nailed into place, I decided there was one final touch to complete the project.
Rubbing off just a bit of the finish from the nail heads with steel wool revealed a brass tone below, creating a great match with the hardware on the legs and a more worn finish. It may seem like a silly detail, but I sometimes think it's the attention to the smallest of details that can make a difference!
And now there is enough seating for a crowd! (Lots of kids can be squeezed onto one bench in a pinch!)
This is Bench Happiness, I would say!