Walk into Holly Honeycutt's Davenport living room and you might immediately ask where she got that great-looking hall tree bench.

The answer is that she and her parents made it by repurposing two doors. The total cost was less than $70.

Repurposing — taking an existing object and changing it so it becomes a new object with a new use or purpose — is a popular do-it-yourself activity, and the bench is a textbook example.

The bench, with a mirror on top and storage space below, was built this past summer after Holly, 23, bought a house.

 Among the moving-in changes was replacing the home's original, circa-1947 side door with a more secure model made of steel and without such a large window.

But Holly loved the look of her old door and wanted to keep it. So, after some searching on the Pinterest Internet site, she came up with the bench idea.

All she needed was the know-how and carpentry skills of her stepfather, Tony Ryder, another door and a mirror.

She found a second door at Habitat ReStore, the Davenport nonprofit that sells new and gently used building materials. The price was $30, marked down from $70. The mirror was about $25.

Ryder, who has built on carpentry skills learned from his dad, went to work without so much as a picture to guide him. He just figured out what to do by looking at the two doors and Holly's description of what she wanted, he said.

Holly's original idea was to leave the underside of the bench open as a place to put her shoes, but Tony thought the window openings of the ReStore door would make a "really cool" front for the bench.

Then he would turn the seat into a lid and Holly could still hide her shoes inside. To hold everything together, he used screws on the inside and hinges on the lid.

In addition, Holly's mom, Sue Ryder, refinished both doors. Because they are a similar type of pine, they absorbed the tongue oil finish in about the same way, so they match.

A finishing touch was the placement of two hooks near the top on which to hang things.

Holly, a registered nurse at Genesis Medical Center-West Central Park Avenue, Davenport, placed the bench right inside her door where it is, as her mother says, both "beautiful and functional."

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But her door home improvement project didn't stop there.

She also painted the white steel replacement side door a bright orange that "pops" with amazing color. It has become a conversation piece for passers-by.

When he's not doing carpentry, Tony is a K-5 art teacher at Adams Elementary School in Davenport. In addition to the skills taught by his dad, he learns new techniques through YouTube videos. And his mother's side of the family was "all engineers," so he thinks he gets some of his ability through genetics.

Sue is a secretary at Sudlow Intermediate School in Davenport.

 

 

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