Here's an oldie but a goodie. It's one of my favorite makeovers from my column Weekend Shopper at House Beautiful, for which I traveled to flea markets around the country, giving new life to old things


This trip took Brendan and me to Renniger's in Mt. Dora, Florida, northwest of Orlando, where I encountered a piece that had wandered far from home. 


It was an outdoor wooden bench, bearing the mark of an Eastport, Long Island department store. I loved how the seats were all connected, but each folded and functioned separately. On closer look, I noticed that some of the seats were warped and the veneer was cracked in spots, but the piece itself was sturdy. And at $45, I couldn't pass it up!


After distressing the wood with steel wool, I primed and painted the bench with a creamy semigloss spray paint. If you're trying something similar yourself, don't worry about scuffs and scratches. Just touch it up! Then, to soften the piece, I had new seat cushions and backs made by an upholsterer from ¼-inch plywood and a fresh ticking stripe from Zimmer + Rohde. 


A little Velcro to attach makes clean-up a snap, especially in high-traffic areas like a mudroom. Oh and by the way, how cute is blogger Lisa McGee's daughter pulling on her Wellies? Lisa and I used to work together at House Beautiful back in the day, and her daughter Sophia made the perfect model for the shoot!  


Flea markets are full of hidden treasures like these. Just keep an open mind, and you never know what you'll find!