Fish Hooks Restoration: The Living Room (Part 1)

Having discovered all sorts of treasures in the attic at Fish Hooks, we’ve been trying to use as many of them as possible in the house.

One of our larger finds was a set of living room furniture — a settee and two armchairs. Given their mid-century modern appearance, we were fairly certain they weren’t original to the house. (In fact, I’m 99% sure they were brought over to Green Turtle Cay in the 1970s from my aunt’s home in Nassau.) Still, they were part of the family and part of the history of Fish Hooks, and I wanted to save them.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, furliture restoration

My great-grandmother and her sisters, on our settee. L-R: Sarah Gates Lowe, May Gates Curry and Neva Gates Lowe.

Tom, on the other hand? Not a fan. As he pointed out, the Danish-modern design didn’t exactly fit into our planned beach house decor. And after years spent in an uninhabited house, plus at least a half-decade in the attic, the cushions were brittle, stained and essentially unusable. When he discovered that the wooden frames were riddled with termite damage, that was the end of the discussion.

Thus began our search for living room furniture. Having viewed a number of tiny condominiums during our most recent home search, we assumed we’d have a broad range of smaller, apartment-sized furnishings from which to choose. But despite hours of online research and shopping back at home in L.A., we couldn’t find anything that would fit into Fish Hooks’ cozy living room. Nothing, at least, that cost less than a small car.

Before long, that dusty, termite-eaten furniture in the attic didn’t seem quite so hopeless after all.

On our next trip to Green Turtle Cay, we got to work. Tom scraped out the termite damage and filled weakened parts of the wood with liquid epoxy. A few sections were simply too damaged to repair, but he was able to salvage enough pieces to assemble the sofa and one arm chair – which, in reality, is all we had room for.

While he primed and painted the woodwork, I ordered new foam from Knowles Upholstery in Nassau (they were super helpful in helping me choose which foam would be best, and putting my purchase on the mail boat for me.) Our friend Mandy Roberts kindly lent me a sewing machine and I made fresh new cushion covers out of some blue-grey canvas I’d brought from home.

And here are the results of our efforts… bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks, furniture restoration Truthfully, between the primer, paint, foam and fabric (not to mention our time), I’m not sure we saved much money, compared with buying new. Much more importantly, though, we’re happy to have saved another piece of family history, and that we have furniture that actually fits in the house.

5 thoughts on “Fish Hooks Restoration: The Living Room (Part 1)

  1. i think the furniture has a definite beach vibe!! especially now that it’s redecorated. the curtains must be new, too- the living room looks comfy. now, about that end table……

  2. Pingback: Fish Hooks Restoration: The Living Room (Part 2) | Little House by the Ferry

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