Super Quick and Easy (and So Low-Cost) Flea Market Makeover
Would You Believe These Sea-Inspired Seats Cost Less Than $20 Each?!
Finally, another (long-ago-promised) cottage post! Yes, this is a project I also completed last summer and am just now getting around to posting (gulp). So many reasons/excuses about what's taken so long, but when it comes down to it, does it really matter?! Better late than never!
This project ties into last week's Banquette Table Refresh post (whether you loved it or hated it - some strong feelings on Hometalk this week!). But as a quick recap, we needed some extra space in the kitchen, so we added some built-in benches and a banquette table to make adequate space for some bar stools at the peninsula.
Here's a snapshot of how the peninsula/eat-in-kitchen space looked before last summer.
If you look at the bottom left corner, you can see that the kitchen table and chairs butt right up to the peninsula, so there isn't anywhere near to enough space to add any bar stools (although the peninsula was clearly designed to do so! Grrrr.).
The first step was to add a banquette space to the eat-in-kitchen:
That gave us much-needed extra footage to work with in the area, and finally, we had adequate space for some bar stools!
But as excited as I was to incorporate these new bar stools, I had to find them first. Aaaaannnd, as anyone who's been through a renovation before knows, the budget is bound to be VERY tight during reno time. So, needless to say, all of the stools I found that I actually liked we're not working into the budget. Even inexpensive stools were pushing it--four cheaply-made stools from Target were in the range of $350+, and I couldn't even make that work.
So of course I began scouring Craigslist, but finding 4 matching stools at all was a huge challenge (I think 3 bar stools in a space is more the norm). I looked for months and still never found the look and price I wanted, and I was getting pretty discouraged.
Until a spectacular visit to a local indoor flea market...
While walking around the dimly-lit storage space lined with booths filled with dusty artwork, jewelry, military regalia, and books, I noticed an area that had about 20 black, metal bar stools heaped in a pile on top of each other. In their original state, they weren't quite my taste, but I saw the potential, so I approached the vendor, ready to pull out all the stops with my negotiation skills.
I asked, "How much for four of the black stools?" He looked at the pile, and back at me: "$35 bucks." Doing the math in my head, I'm thinking, okay, $140 bucks for four chairs, that's reasonable... I can swing that, but maybe I can get him to come down a little. But something in his tone made me think again, and I asked, "For four?" He responded, "Yeah, $35 for four." I really needed to be clear here: "You want $35 total for all four chairs?" His affirmative, albeit gruff, reply of "Yup," was all I needed to hear. $35 later, four doggie-print stools were MINE.
He cheered up a bit and helped me sort through them all to find those in the best condition.
I found out that the stools had come from a cafe that closed in a neighboring town (oh, how I love a story to go with my finds!). I piled them in the car, brought them home, put them up to the counter and realized... OMG... I measured wrong.
I needed "counter height." These were "bar height," which, to translate for the average person who doesn't have counter/table/bar measurements memorized, means the stools were about 4 inches too tall. Which also means that in order to sit in it, one's thighs must be uncomfortably squished between the stool and the counter.
Enter: major WATER WORKS.
Now my husband (I should mention: staunch enforcer of the budget during this time), clearly picking up on his wife's emotional pendulum from elated to distressed, grabs one of the stools and brings it outside. At this point I'm convinced he's had enough of me and my excessive spending, and I'm a bit nervous that he'll suggest I return to the flea market and ask the guy's return policy.... But no, instead, he goes to the shed, grabs a tool, asks how tall they should be, and starts sawing away.
I was not previously aware of the existence of a Sawzall, let alone did I know we had one in our shed, but, OMG (a happy one this time), what a cool tool! Within 20 minutes, he cut 4" of each of the legs of the stools, and I became HAPPY once again. Just another reminder of why I love my resourceful (if ever-resource-watching) husband :) I just added chair-foot-pad-thingies to the bottom of each leg, and the now-COUNTER HEIGHT stools were good-to-go.
And so the cosmetic transformation could begin. My first step was to paint them. I decided on white to keep the colors simple in the space, so I brought them all outside and gave them a few coats of spray paint. Unfortunately, I don't have the pics... I can't remember if I took them or not, but I can't find any (again-sorry-it was almost a year ago so memory has failed me). But it really was a straight-forward spray-painting process. I just removed the seats/cushions before spraying the metal.
Next, I needed to tackle those cushions. After much debate (with myself, mind you), I decided on a fun lobster print. The colors matched the space, and I knew the kids would like them. This particular fabric is a medium-weight choice from Premier Prints Coastal collection and has been really durable and easy to spot-clean. I got my fabric at Fabric.com using a promo code, and here's the link if you want to check it out (and, no, they're not giving me anything for that shout-out).
I measured the cushions and gave myself an extra few inches on each side when cutting the fabric. I chose to cover directly on top of the old fabric because it was REALLY secure on there, so simply recovering it was the easiest thing to do.
Using a staple gun, I went around the edges and attached the new fabric.
You can see from the pics above how the seats connect to the chair with simple screws-that made it SO easy to work on! And when the (inevitable) time comes that I want to switch up the fabric, it will be a quick fix.
And just in case you forgot how the original seat looked:
The doggies have been transformed into lobsters ;) A bit more fitting for our space, I dare say.
Here's a quick side-by-side comparison:
And the finished product:
Now, incorporated into the kitchen, here's how the four of them look:
This angle below gives you a sense of how the stools and the table work together now. Forgive the old ceiling fan--it will be replaced eventually--but you know, BUDGETS and all ;)
It is SO convenient for the kids to be able to use this space now--it was such a waste before!
I also love the fact that the stools are a good, solid weight. While metal stools would never have been my first choice, I'm glad I ended up finding them! I don't worry about the kids constantly toppling over--so in hindsight, I definitely lucked out with the stools being from a cafe, and therefore commercially-tested.
And, between the stools and the banquette, the extra seating options eliminate (most of) the arguments about who gets to sit where...
And, phew! I think finally finished another cottage post!
Cost Breakdown of Bar Stools:
- Chairs = $35
- Paint = $20
- Fabric = $20
- Grand Total = $75 or about $19/stool!
Wanna Make Your Own?
Restaurant Style Bar Stools
Here's where to find similar products and materials (FYI, they are affiliate links!):
Premier Prints Lobster Fabric
Rustoleum Spray Paint
It is my plan to do a full kitchen "reveal," but there are a few areas where we're still working, so I've got some problem-solving to do before post-time. But feel free to ask me any questions about this project or anything to do with the kitchen!
If you're looking to do a low-cost kitchen reno, here's a great post about how we tackled the demolition: How to Get Your Kitchen Demo Done for Free!
Want more info about the turquoise banquette table? Check out: Updated Banquette Space.
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