Project! Can This $5 Chair Be Saved?

How many times have you been advised (by well-meaning magazine articles and Web sites and maybe even crafty friends) to freshen up a piece of flea market furniture by refinishing it? It's a great idea, but is it really that easy? Alas, I have a feeling, judging by the description of this furniture refinishing class that I recently signed up for, that it is not. But I'm determined to find out.

Last weekend, I ventured to the Brooklyn Flea to find a piece to work on in the class. When I saw this decrepit wooden folding chair, sitting sadly alongside shinier, more promising items, I felt a fall project coming on. "Think I can make this into something?" I asked my companion. "Yes," he said. "Firewood." Undaunted, I paid $5 for the chair (the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of chairs, no?). By the time I got home, most of what was left of its green paint had come off on my hands and it was tilting dangerously to the right. I think I have my work cut out for me.

Stay tuned to find out how I progress. In the meantime, I need inspiration! Send photos and stories of your flea market redos to me at

Chime in! What is your fall project?

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