...because home doesn't happen overnight.
04.23.10 / Porch Potential

We recently acquired a (FREE!) pew from an old church that’s being renovated into a business by Handy Hubby’s father.  Here it is hangin’ out in the Man Shed…

Did I mention it’s covered in ugly red velvet-like fabric?  Not to worry.  Here’s Handy Hubby hard at work pulling out the zillion staples. 

After we get the red fabric completely removed AND cut the backrest down AND shorten it up a little AND sand it AND prime it AND paint it AND polyurethane it AND recover it with outdoor cushions (whew!)…we think it will look great on our front porch that has zero seating currently.  Unless concrete stoops count as seating.

The long narrow shape of the pew is perfect for our long narrow porch.

We’re thinking of painting the pew (which should look more like a bench once the back is cut down) a color similar to this… (C’mon, did you really think I was gonna let that orange oak fly?)

…and then adding an outdoor cushion in a celery green as shown below.

I could find a white or green ceramic garden stool to act as a side table or extra seating.

I want to try my hand at stenciling some numbered pillows like these…

…to display our house number.  I’ll probably whip up a few planters in lime to pop.

And a geometric indoor/outdoor rug like this one…

…could really warm up and ground the area.  Then our neighbors would have somewhere to sit and talk instead of hangin’ their legs off the front of our bare concrete porch.  Yep!  We live in a culdesac where, at 6:00 p.m. (weather permitting), everyone (adults and kids alike) are outside shootin’ the breeze.  Might as well make it pretty!


Ooohhh…your porch does have so much potential! You have such fun ideas for it, including that church pew…it’s perfect. Can’t wait to see how it comes out.

And, I’m jealous that you have a port-hanging-out type of neighborhood. That sounds fun.


Um, I have a feeling this is going to look great! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

Hi! I just followed you over from YHL and I am really enjoying your blog!

We inherited an 8 foot oak church pew from my M-I-L’s church and it lives in our basement as is. I really want to (maybe) paint it, but definitely add a cushion and some pillows! Can’t wait to see how your turns out!


Sigh, wonderful plans. I wish we had a nice porch to shoot the breeze on, oh and neighbors that chat with us would be nice as well.


Oonafey – The pew is still a work in progress but is looking fantastic! We cut the back down shorter to fit under the long windows on our front porch. Handy Hubby has it all sanded and ready to prime! Hopefully, the weather is great this weekend and we get it primed and painted…

[…] Tomorrow’s feature will focus on the backyard again but we’ll get around to the front porch eventually!  Hang […]


I love old church pews. I have one in my living room!


I just bought an oak church pew for my outdoor patio.
How did your pew handle the weather?
I live in New England & am told that Winter weather might be a problem if I plan to leave it outside. I don’t know the color you chose & imagine yours looking discretely elegant. Interesting, my first thought would have been glossy black for your pew… classic & crisp contrast to the nubby & soft tones of the brick wall behind it.
Glossy black…
decidedly upper crust London & old money Boston (Back Bay area specifically).
I’d love to know how your pew weathered the outdoors.
Would you let me know?
– Christina


Christina – The pew stayed with the sale of our home. I should probably write up a post on what all did stay with the house as it will affect how I decorate and design the Underdog. Anyhow, we did leave our pew outdoors for the {long Ohio} winter. We didn’t have any problems with the winter weather. This past spring is what got us. We had one of the wettest, rainiest seasons in the history of our area. Even though the pew was sheltered under a porch roof, it still got a fair amount of exposure to moisture. Puddles would form on the seat. I’d wipe them up when I could but it was nearly impossible to keep it dry. Needless to say, some of the paint did bubble up. Nothing too bad that wasn’t already disguised with our house number throw pillows. So, we didn’t worry about it. HH did mention drilling a few drain holes into the seat of the bench to allow the water to run away instead of pooling up, but we never got around to it.

If you’re overly concerned, probably the best thing would be to store the pew indoors during acclimate weather. That just wasn’t realistic for us. If you do leave it outside, I’d recommend drilling drain holes into the lowest part of the seat so precipitation can drain away. Other than that, I loved our pew and it’s look and function. Plus, I’ve always been a fan of imperfect perfection so a few flaws has never scared me away from trying something new or doing something I really want to. Just signs of life…and weather!

The new homeowners who bought our home must have liked the pew as much. They requested it stay with the sale of the home. Since we had no place to use it in the Underdog, we happily agreed.