Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Recovering an old footstool

A few months ago, my hubby and I took a day trip to Baltimore to scope out some antique/vintage stores, including HouseWerks and Second Chance. Both these places are treasure troves, especially if you're a fan of digging through musty, dusty areas to find that one special gem. Or, just something cute that calls to you and says "Take me home!" (This happens all too often. Which is why I'm not allowed to go to pet stores).
I confess that I especially love Second Chance, simply because its mission has two very laudable goals: first, to deconstruct old buildings and salvage their parts for resale, thus preventing lots of building materials from ending up in the landfill. Second, they offer a "second chance" to the unemployed, underemployed, and others facing barriers to employment.
Anyway, during our meander through their FIVE warehouses, I came across this cute little footstool:
What attracted me to it was the shape of the feet: they are an almost perfect match to the two chairs in our breakfast room. I knew it would need some "TLC", of course, but since when would that stop me?

This evening I finally started the restoration process, beginning with taking the footstool apart. Luckily, getting the top off was a matter of just undoing four long screws.

(Yeah, those feet do need help.)

The upholstered top just came right off.

So now I can refinish the frame. I'm actually thinking of spray painting it, rather than staining it. But it will depend upon what fabric I end up choosing for the new top.

The footstool wasn't very "cushy", so rather than just attach new fabric over the old, I used my staple remover to pry up the old, old staples holding the fabric in place.

Cough, cough. I swear, the thing was padded with STRAW!

Sure looked like straw, with just a token covering of batting. It all went into the trash, leaving me with a bare piece of wood for a nice, fresh start.
I've been thinking about my options, and I might actually want to do something a bit more fun than just a flat fabric top. How about tufting? And maybe a fringe around the edge? Or nailhead trim? One thing's for sure: it's going to have more padding and it sure as heck won't be straw!!
Stay tuned...


  1. Felicity from Down UnderNovember 13, 2011 at 4:17 AM

    That looks like the start of a truly worthwhile project. Footstools are such useful, and in this day and age I think undervalued, things. I'm looking forward to seeing its reincarnation.

  2. I remembered something just as I read your footstool posting. Some years ago we were shopping for new furniture for our living room. Now this is a process that normally takes years, and yes it took about 5. But what I remembered is whilst shopping, I was attracted to a huge brown leather couch....I mean it could easily have sat 4 comfortably....and it was filled with was just an amazingly comfortable feeling....imagine the warmth! Unfortunately, the cost alone of this 1 piece was beyond our retrospect, we could've purchased just that 1 piece for the living room...!

  3. hello,
    I was looking at your entry about the old foot stool that you were working on. Did you finish it? I wanted to see how you did it. It seems like such an easy thing to do, but I have so many little questions. This is an old piano bench from my Mom's house. I have never done a project like this before and your blog seemed promising as a guide. Please post about it.

  4. Lisa, I'm afraid I haven't done anything more on this poor footstool! I have so many projects... too many, really! But I will see about making some headway on this one. Thanks for the urging!

  5. I am in the process of recovering an old chair and guess what I found in the deconstruction process??? STRAW! How did this stool ever turn out? I am also trying to hunt down an old stool to refinish for my reading chair.


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