From Fugly Duckling to 1920s Wrought Iron Patio Furniture Swan on a Shoestring Budget

Two skills that I find to be essential as an old house fan are frugality and creativity. I consider it a badge of honor to be steward of my little piece of history, to shepherd it into the next generation. But it isn't an inexpensive calling. 

I am feeling particularly clever right now. I took a problem, which is my addiction and turned it into a win for restoration and preservation.  

I was recently surfing the estate sale site, when I found a sad, forlorn and downright fugly set of 1920s wrought iron patio furniture. 

Long ago, my dad and mom had purchased a wrought iron lounge chair set at an auction when we lived in Virginia. My mother had re-covered it and it sat on the porch of our 1910 Victorian (now the Kings Victorian Inn). I read away many great afternoons of childhood on that porch. And that same set is still sitting on my dad's back porch in Charleston today. The stuff lasts forever. 

Needless to say, I was getting nostalgic. They honestly don't make wrought iron pieces anymore. So I pulled the trigger and bid on this fugly white and yellow set. There were pictures of rust even. What was I thinking. I hoped that I would get outbid.

That was not to be the case. Of course I won the set for $54 and now it was the week of Christmas, I had to rent a truck from Lowes to get it home.Perfect. It filled the garage in the coldest season of the year. But looking closely at it. Truly it is a work of craftsmanship with lovely scrolls and delicate touches. 
 After the holidays, I sprang to work. There's a fantastic material store in Waynesville, Ohio called the Fabric Shack Home Decor. My friends Janice and Alex are always sport for a trip to the store. I found a whimsical outdoor fabric for under $10 per yard. 

While I could have sewn slip covers, I instead prototyped simply wrapping the fabric and stapling it underneath. It looked just as good as the slip covers would have and so my daughter and I set to work stapling the new covers. 

Four cans of Rustoleum later, the set is now a beautiful swan that looks period appropriate for an Old House. 


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