5 - 2007

Front-porch style with a little help from the neighbors


We’re porch-sitters.

A few years back, we spent hours sitting on our front porch, watching the world go by, having a glass of something cold and refreshing after a hot day.

The last few years? Not so much. Our old neighborhood just wasn’t a front-porch neighborhood. Life went on in the back.

After two years in this house, we were convinced the front porch could once again be a welcoming spot. And now it is, thanks to two sets of neighbors.

Last summer, I spotted this bench in the trash at Tracy and Jonathan’s house on the corner. They said they’d never gotten around to making cushions, and they welcomed me to it. I dragged it home and went to Denver Fabrics, where I bought a few yards of upholstery fabric.

They didn’t sell the foam for cushions, however, and when I researched the cost, I found out the foam was going to cost me something like $75. Ouch!

So, the bench sat out behind the garage, wrapped in plastic, for a year.

This spring: bonanza! Our neighbors two doors down threw out a sofa. The couch had nasty, cat-scratched cushions. I held my nose and ran over there on trash pick-up day and grabbed two cushions. With some shears and a bow-saw (hey, use what you have), I chopped the cushions into the right size for the bench seats. A quick trip to Target for two bed pillows for the back and we were set.

I stitched around the back pillows in no time on my machine. Then I caught up on my TV watching while I sewed the fabric for the seat cushions. I had to stitch it on tightly by hand to attach it all — not my original intention, but I cut it too narrow to sew on the machine and then slip over the cushions.

Mark sanded down the edges (where someone’s dog nibbled on the wood) and oiled the whole frame — steps I had no intention of taking, but that’s because I’m lazy and he’s detail-oriented like that.

In the end, we have a great seat on the porch.

Bench – Free
Seat cushions – Free
Fabric – about $25
Pillows for back – $6 for two

Total: $31

Time involved:
10 minutes scavenging (5 in 2006, 5 in 2007)
30 minutes shopping (20 in 2006, 10 in 2007)
1 hour prepping the cushions (if only I’d bought that electric knife at Goodwill …)
3 hours sewing (but I wasn’t keeping track)
1 hour doing the woodwork (right, honey?)

Total: 5:40 over two years

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