A Bistro Set Makeover with an Unexpected Surprise

By Kate Riley June 8, 2010

So as I was touring the backyard the other day, I realized there’s definitely some sprucing that needs to happen, especially with guests coming on the Fourth. 

As I meandered up the hill behind the grapevines, I was reminded of the thrift store bistro set I found a couple of years ago that I had every intention of refinishing but I just never got around to it.   The set sits on a little gravel patio that has a great view of the vines, but it certainly been been neglected.  After leaving the bistro set out all winter (so dumb), the set was, how shall I say . . . . what’s the word ?  . . . oh yes.  


I meant there was moss growing on top of the table, the paint was chipping everywhere, and it was covered in spiderwebs.  ICK. ICK. ICK. 

So I decided the time had come to give it a makeover.  I convinced myself I’d have a fresh new set in no time at all with just a little paint and fabric.   Well, that’s what I did, repainted and recovered the seats.  But in the middle of my revamp, something rather unexpected happened.  Something I hate to relive.  But you’ve just got to know. 

First, take a looky loo at this retro bistro set Before:

bistro before


And After:

bistro after


Purty, huh ? 

It’s just such a great set for sitting and watching the grapes grow. 

chairs after 2


The Revamp:

So the first thing I did to revamp it was carry the set all the way down the hill into the front driveway. I had every intention of spray painting it, so I need a wide open well ventilated spot. 

Wearing a mask AND goggles, I sanded the top of the metal table with my orbital Black & Decker.  Moss and paint particles went flying everywhere, hence the mask.     

 sand top of table


Then it was time to give the spiderweb covered set a good scrub and power wash.  So I filled my carwash bucket with suds and began to scrub. 

But then I felt some beady eyes staring at me. 

beady eyes


Oh, you can’t quite see down that disgusting umbrella pole chamber ? 

Neither could I at first. 

Then a creature from ‘Arachnophobia’ leapt out of the middle. 


2  inch spider (2)




Let’s move in a hint closer shall we ?

giant black widow

That would be an extra large poisonous black widow spider ready to pounce. 




First, I have to tell you I am not typically afraid of spiders.  In fact and in general, they do not scare me at all.  I find most spiders useful and think the little ones are kind of cute.  But my reaction to spiders is based solely on size. 

My Sliding Scale of Responses to Spiders:

1/2 inch or less:  “Awww, how cute, hey kids, come look at the baby spider!”

1/2 inch to 1 inch garden spider:  “I see your value – you may live in my garden at least 20 feet from the house.”

1 inch to 2 inches:  “You shall swim with the fishes.”   Translation: you shall be flushed down the toilet. 

2 inches or more:  “Holy mother of God – EEEEKKK – call animal control !” 


I didn’t know what to do at first – I’d NEVER seen a black widow this big before, usually they’re only an inch big, but this mama was twice that size and had molted many times.   I panicked.  Then my primordial mama bear instinct kicked in and I killed it with a big garden spade.  What’s a mother to do with small children nearby ?   EEEEEEKKK !   So it perished at my hand.  

When Mr. CG came home and I showed him the pictures, he said this, I’m not kidding, “Why didn’t you preserve it for the Natural History Museum for future study?”

“Um.  Because it’s a black widow spider.  And I’m a mom.”  

Needless to say, for the rest of the day, with every wisp of hair that brushed my cheek, I felt like there was something creepy crawling on me.  

The worst part is I realized that I carried that table all the way down the hill, over 30 stairs, with that poisonous spider inches from my fingers.  EEEEEKK !!!!

Sorry, I just had to share that eerie experience. 

Those of you who live in the country near woodpiles feel free to mock me.

Now back to my revamp. 



primer and paint


After my close encounter, I power washed the entire set, then gave the table and chairs one coat of white primer and two coats of spray paint in Rustoleum’s ‘Shell White’, designed for outdoor metal furniture.   

Yep, I cheated on my favorite ‘Heirloom White’.

Since the set was spray painted outside, I also lightly sanded between coats with a sanding wedge to rid the surface of the few teeny floating particles that got stuck in the surface. 



I recovered the seats with some medallion print outdoor fabric I found at Joann’s – ‘Morgan Tile’ in cardinal. 

fabric and foam


With the help of some 1” foam and a staple gun,  the seats got more comfortable and more stylish.  

chairs before and after

I just love the retro look of this outdoor bistro set !

Total cost for the makeover ?  $12 in spray paint + $9 in fabric + $15 in foam = $36 dollars.   

bistro after

chairs after 2

    The perfect spot for lemonade.

What about you ?  Are you shaking up your spray paint cans to makeover some furniture this summer ?  Had any creepy experiences with a poisonous spider ?  Do share !




  1. You get bonus points and applause from me. I would have fainted right there and struck my head on the driveway. You dealt with the creepy thing with one blow of the spade – good for you!

    The bistro set looks wonderful. I’m eyeballing a little red one at our hardware store. I may break down and buy it this week!

  2. Another gorgeous furniture re-vamp!! Bad spider story, I hate those things… big or small! Luckily we don’t have the black widow variety in Ohio!

  3. Fantastic job! You are an inspiration. By the way, my sliding scale on spiders is very similiar to yours. I think anything with that much leg coordination shouldn’t be trusted.

  4. Ok, that was kinda a big spider though you need to come to my house and see the wolfies living in my patio – big and scary…oh and the redbacks – just found one behind my dresser the other day! Back to business, that makeover is awesome. I love the choice of fabric. Gorgeous.

  5. Love the re-do! It’s gorgeous!

    Hate the spider! A couple of weeks ago we had a roofer poking around looking for a leak. He was in the storage area inside my closet and said, “Oh, hello Black Widow Spider!” And just. left. it. there! Didn’t even bother to kill it. No one else in the family wants to go looking for it since we don’t know exactly where it was.

  6. EEEEEWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!! Good for you for killing it! I would have run screaming. That thing looks like evil incarnate.

  7. oh my goodness! I cringed when I read that. I just revamped my patio set, but thankfully didn’t find any spiders hiding in it!

  8. LOVE the patio set makeover!!! What a difference. I read your blog daily and you’re super talented–giving me great ideas. Thanks so much.
    I just bought a Rubbermaid table and chair set at a garage sale for $20.00. Great find, but it’s plain old green. Any thoughts on what I could do with it????

    About the Black Widow. All I gotta say is HELP ME SOMEONE!!! I HATE spiders. I would have passed out cold after doing a spazz dance in the driveway….I probably would have killed it in a mad freak out attack with my flip flop. We do not have those here in NY, but we do have what I call, “pet shop spiders’. When we used to live in our hold house near the woods–we’d usually have a nice hairy brown spider the size of my hand waiting to greet us on the front porch…
    My hubby was chasing one in the garage with his billy club one day–priceless. HA!

    Not to mention, bats in the house, wild turkey, wild cats, bear and fox in the yard.
    Gotta tell ya, we moved back to town quicker than you can say Wild Kingdom…LOL!!!

    Have a great day and be careful with those creepy things–

  9. OMG! You have just showed me the creature of my nightmares! Yikes! I like your sliding scale. My personal theory on spiders is that they may exist in the world as long as they do not make themselves known. Once you come out from a hidey hole and onto my wall – you must be eliminated. I am hoping this catches on and through natural selection no spider will come out in the presence of a human. Ya’ll feel free to join me on my mission!

    Love the patio redo though! Looks great! That fabric is perfect!

  10. Can we say NIGHTMARE!?! That is exactly why I am terrified of touching/moving outdoor furniture until it has been thoroughly inspected by my dear spousey. I personally do not have a sliding scale on spiders. Tiny or large they’ve got to go. I keep a can of spider killer handy in my house at all times! Petrified. of. spiders.

    Moving on to the bistro set – LOVELY!

  11. The patio set looks awesome!! Very impressive. And I have no love for spiders, especially when my wife calls me to get rid of them.

  12. Holy Mother of God is right!! I said it to myself before I read it. When we sold our basketball goal before moving my kids and I were trying to get it to fold down. It was getting dark. We saw something move. Then notice a couple of those nasty black widows. They weren’t super sized like yours but never the less they got squashed!

    Love the bistro set. The fabric makes it pop and the extra cush is nice!

  13. GIRL….I would have had a stroke. I’m not kidden. No spider is acceptable to me…so to see a two inch black widow would have caused me to pack up and move. This city girl doesn’t do spiders. ugh. You did the right thing.

    Now…about the bistro set….SO FLIPPIN’ CUTE!!! Love it. Great fabric choice.

  14. Love this makeover! I especially love the cushions! I’ll be over for some lemonade later — hehe! :) (And way to power through the spider issue — YIKES!!)

  15. Oh my gosh! First off…awesome re-do!!! LOVE IT! Secondly, I am fine with mice, snacks and other insects, but nothing makes me squirm, freek-out, or itch the rest of the day, like a black widow! Eeeeek! Good job on both! haha.

  16. I was dying laughing at the scale of spider sizes and if they make it or not. Too cute. That table and chairs turned out marvelous and yes, I have been repainting some outside things, too. Nothing like a good spray painting.

  17. Love the redo, as always. I am so glad you survived carrying that sucker with the black widow. Very very creepy. I now feel something crawling up my leg!

  18. That is one good makeover. Love the fabric. We are getting a Joann’s any day now and I cannot wait!

  19. That is honestly the grossest picture I have seen in all my blogging days!! It gave me the creeps!! Ha ha… But I can’t believe the transformation. The bistro set looks amazing! Nice work!

  20. I JUST had a close encounter of the spider kind myself! I was going to fill my watering can when low and behold that mother lickin’ black widow was behind the nozzle for the hose. It is also dead at my hands, killed by my shoe. I don’t have children around, but I do have one very precious dog so that was my justification…like I needed it!

  21. Your bistro set came out great! I love the detailing on the chairs, they are so unique looking. I would have freaked out if I saw that spider. I am pretty scared of all spiders (even the little ones) but a black widow? I don’t know if could recover from that! :)

  22. No mocking here!! What a blessing that you weren’t bitten trying to carry the table down to the driveway. :s That said, the revamp may just have been worth the horror of seeing that thing. You did a great job! :)

  23. Ew! I think my first instinct with the spider would´ve been to run. You did a great job, as usual. I have a chair that I want to re-do…a kitchen chair type, but I´m so overwhelmed by the job. I don´t have the fancy sanding tools and I don´t even know where to buy foam or whether or not there is a special fabric needed to reupholster.

  24. If you hadn’t added the graphics I probably wouldn’t have have realized how huge that spider was! (pretty funny picture…) With the spider gone, it all looks perfectly adorable. Janell

  25. Love your bistro set–it’s wonderful!

    But that spider. Good grief. I know most spiders are helpful, I know, I know. But eight legs just bring out the shivers in me. Around here we mostly have to worry about brown recluses.

    As I see it, any creepy crawly creature about which they make movies ending in “phobia” is fair game for the shovel. I’m so grateful you weren’t hurt!

  26. Gorgeous little bistro set!
    I definitely share your sliding scale of spider scariness, although poisonousness also factors in– I smushed a tiny brown recluse just yesterday because I’ve seen what those bites can do!!

  27. That is a huge black widow no matter who you are or where you live. I can’t believe anyone could brush that off and say that’s nothing…it’s a whole love of something! Kudos for being able to catch in on camera and then take care of it.

    I think your scale seems totally reasonable and the bistro set looks charming!

  28. Brown recluses here. In the house. No, poison doesn’t really kill spiders. Shoes, brooms, *those* kill spiders. Yes, I do my best to kill them when they are small. EVERY SINGLE SPIDER. I don’t care, it is an arachnid, and it dies. Don’t care, dead. I did take one LARGE (we’re talking about a good 4-5 inch leg span) arachnid of some sort outside a few weeks ago. It had been on the schoolroom floor. Where it had been before that, I don’t know. I just took it outside, and figured if a hawk got it, or one of my geese, great. Otherwise, I didn’t want to clean up the splatter in my house.

    We had black widows in NC. THAT gives you the willies. Big glossy black orb of DEATH…shudder. My scalp’s all tingly just thinking about it…..Brown recluses almost look like regular house spiders (so I kill everything, if I’m not 100% sure).

    SPring is a bad time for spiders, here. For some reason. I just keep killing them and hope that there is an eventual evolutionary shift, *or* they put some sort of word out among their own kind “Don’t go there, she will KILL YOU with the broom of DEAAATHHHHHH!!!”…



    The rehab is gorgeous. LOVE the fabric.

  29. First and foremost: The table looks AMAZING!!
    Second: I.Hate.Spiders. I would have done the same thing, but probably wouldn’t have the guts to even take a picture with feat that it would jump at me.
    Third: Now I have that ‘creepy, crawly’ feeling on my skin and keep thinking a hair touching my shoulder is a nasty bug. Eeck!

  30. Hopefully I never met such a spider! But our old place was heated by a wood oven and when we entered the wood in the cave, some spider manage to get upstair… crawling in my neck, waking me up it the night! Ew! it was little though…

    I love the set! I really hope to find something like that for that cheap! We have just enough place on our little apart balcony for a bistro set.

    As for spray paint this summer…. I might paint the tube bed I found for my daughter in a bright yellow shade, but since it’s white already, I technicly don’t need to since it already fits the room… so we’ll see!

  31. lol I love your “Sliding Scale of Responses to Spiders”. That’s hillarious.

    Mine is a little different because I hate all spiders, but I especially love – 1/2 inch to 1 inch garden spider: “I see your value – you may live in my garden at least 20 feet from the house.”

    So funny…

  32. Um, I would have died. My only real spider stories come from when I was studying abroad in Australia – the firs one happened my first day there when there was literally a hand-sized tarantula on the kitchen wall of the family’s home that I was staying in. They were not perturbed in the slightest, and simply picked it up and put it outside. Eeeek! The second story came a few months later when I was staying on the coast in a hostel that had open-air showers. While in the shower, I looked up and noticed a GINORMOUS spider of unknown origin in a GINORMOUS nest, literally about 2 feet above my head. Right by the spider (which was a real, living spider) was a little sign that read, “Don’t worry, I just like to watch.” Oh okay, no worries then! :)

    P.S. LOVE the bistro set!

  33. first, the revamp is fabulous and i love the fabric you selected for the chair. secondly, OMGee that gave me chills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that spider was HUGE! ewwww!

  34. Kate, is there anything you can’t do?! Your bistro set turned out beautifully and I love the fabric you chose!! How much did you need for the chairs?

    I too am okay with little spiders, not the giant variety!!

    Art by Karena

  35. Love how it turned out – but cannot understand how you took the time to go get a camera for the spider shots before killing it!!! It would have been dead immediately, but then again…..

  36. Ewwww! I spend lots of time in my garden, around flowers and trees. Next time I have to be super careful and inspect first. You were so lucky. I cannot stop thinking what would happen if you got bitten while nobody around on that uphill patio. Be careful, girl! Oh, please make sure she didn’t leave any babies around.

    I am in love with your “new” set! And the view! What a relaxing spot! I am tired of my beige kind of colored outdoor furniture, especially the ones with rust or mold growing! Really want to paint them some fun girly colors, like yellow or pink or turquoise or apple green, but I don’t think my DH will approve of that. =)

  37. You. Crack. Me. UP!

    Awesome revamp. Awesome post. Amazing story of survival.

    (Heard you’re Heirloom White had filed papers…that’s what happens Kate.)

  38. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak! I live in CA and deal with black widows fairly regularly, but that one takes the CAKE! My worst was when I sat down in my toddlers’ room to put on their shoes, and out crawled a very happy and healthy black widow – from the shelf where I kept their shoes! I was so creeped out thinking of all the times I would send them in there to get shoes! We switched pest control services that very day. LOVE the bistro set!!

  39. Omg!! I’m not sure I would have gone back to work the table after seeing that (you are so, so brave – rly)! But your bistro set looks great!! :)

  40. Gee…thanks… I know have the “heebie-geebies” for all my outdoor project for this week!! ;-D

    The set look fantastic! Great job!

  41. Love the transformation. Lucky for me I live in the Maritimes in Canada so very few bugs to worry about. Actually we have nothing poisonous and our winters are so long nothing can grow that big before they have to crawl back in their hole to hibernate. I can’t say I am envious of the bugs but I am of your weather.

  42. Oh great! Just when I’m going to be visiting CA at the end of the month! Just what I needed, a creepy spider story, aaargghh! I haven’t looked at spiders the same way since I read a Brown Recluse story years ago. The spiders have to be teeny tiny to escape execution at my home! Years ago I had a garden & was walking down the rows of corn, luckily looking straight ahead, because there was a GIANT yellow & black spider with its web spread across the 2 rows of corn at face level. I do believe that was the last time we had corn in the garden!

    We just got done spray painting our 30 yr old large round metal patio table and 4 metal chairs from dull, rusty, chipped dark green to an awesome burgundy. It’s looks soooo much better out by our pool.

    FABulous makeover with your bistro set!!

  43. I am so affraid of spiders. This post freaked me out and I feel like bugs are crawling all over me. {shiver} That is nasty! I found some chairs for a bistro set and now I am afraid to touch the;)

  44. It’s lovely! My bistro set has been at the sandblasters for over a month now. Bastard.

    We have 4 acres in Missouri and you cannot imagine the disgusting bugs I have seen. I would never, ever mock someone for being icked out by a huge bug. I don’t think we have Black Widows here, though. I hope not.
    We have an outdoor fireplace with a piece of lead flashing that sits over the flue hole when it’s not being used. I walked past it one day, the hole was uncovered, I pushed the lead flashing to cover the hole and about 6 roaches scampered out from under it! I screeched like a little girl. My poor dog (who never jumps on anyone) came barreling at me and put her front feet on my chest, like “Mama, what happened? What’s wrong”? It would have been adorable had I not been so revolted. I told my fiance and he’s all “Oh, they’re just water roaches”… Really? Still ick. *shudder*

  45. The bistro set turned out wonderful. The spider on the other hand….. oh my gawd is right! I think I would have the creeps for a week! Yucky.

  46. Oh my goodness, spiders thoroughly skeeve me out! It’s interesting that you are talking about your close encounter because just 5 days ago, while driving to a BBQ, a spider fell onto my arm. Yes, that is right-IT WAS IN MY CAR!! I could have just passed out right then and there but my initial reaction was to swat it off the arm and in doing so it flung into my vent, which I closed immediately. I then proceeded to close all the vents (to prevent it from crawling out another opening) and turned my heat on full blast. I know it is such a terrible demise but what is a girl to do when she completely hates spiders. Yuck!

    Anyway, your bistro set is lovely! I am so glad the nasty (and very poisenous) spider didn’t deter you from finishing it. I bought Oil Rubbed Bronze paint to redo our patio furniture but I need at least a week of great weather in order to finish it. I am praying that when the sun finally pokes it head out that I don’t have another scary encounter with the eight legged kind.

  47. Oh my word… you are braver than I for even taking a photo of that nasty thing you call a spider! That is so disgusting, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little! I’m excited at how well this bistro set turned out… I have one sitting in my garage waiting for me to re-do it. But I’m pregnant, so it will have to wait!

  48. Oh my gosh!!!!

    Super cute bistro set. Love the style!

    And that spider is HIDEOUS!!!!! I’m a self-declared arachnophobic. We have some woods behind our house and have been visited by the brown recluse’s sister spider…the hobo spider. Also very large and very poisonous. We actually had a problem with them last summer. We had 3 in our house in one week!!!! Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck around the house! I even slept on the couch one night because I found one in our window between the glass and the screen…so still on the outside, but too close for comfort. Haha!

  49. AHHH!!!!!!!!!! I would have died!!!! Literally, had a heart attack and fell over!! I am TERRIFIED of spiders!!! I have panic attacks on a regular basis from them! Just seeing one for the rest of the day my body is crawling!! I have been bitten twice by a black widow!! I am so scared of spiders it takes all control over my motherly instincts! Cameron (my son now 3) was a baby swinging in a swing out back and spider fell on him and I took off running and screaming, left him right there with the spider!! Ran inside to get my husband! How pathetic… yep its that bad!

    Beautiful table! I love the view! Glad it is spider free now!

  50. Lovely redo on the bistro set. You’ve inspired me to pull out the fabric and foam I bought in April (?) for my chairs.

    Really. Dislike. Spiders. My husband always traps ones in the house and releases them outside. One night I spotted a Sliding Scale Category 2 Spider on the floor. Hearing my husband’s voice in my head (“spiders are our friends, they eat bugs, blah, blah, blah…”) I grabbed a glass and attempted trapping it to release outside. Imagine the HORROR when she dropped a LOAD of eggs and approximately one zillion spiderlings scattered across the carpet. No one has ever seen me move so fast to grab a vacuum cleaner hose as I did that night. ~Shudder~ Don’t even get me started on rattle snakes and the one I almost stepped on while casually watering in the backyard….

  51. I love what you did to the Bistro set, so cozy and you can feel the Summer in it. Great work as always!!
    I hate spiders, EEK.

  52. And those Black Widows can really move quickly! When my daughter was four she encountered one hiding in a knot in one of the wooden play structures at our local park. The horrid thing jumped out at her.

    My daughter sprang backwards so fast! She is a kid who loves all animals, including spiders, and has never been frightened of them.

    But she somehow knew this spider was bad news. She turned to me and said, “Help me, Mommy. Kill it! This is a mean spider.”


  53. Wonderful makeover! The curls on the back of the chairs pop out, and the fabric is great! You are brave to keep going after finding that thing in it! My son woke up the other morning with a golf ball sized knot on his leg from a spider bite. It had me terrified all day of what exactly bit him, I was watching closely for symptoms. I would have smashed the spider with a spade too! :)

  54. Another genius makeover…your taste is spot-on! Nothing in my backyard is safe from spray paint this summer…I’ve been on a roll. But now, thanks to you, I’ll be inspecting everything I dig out of the shed first!!! :)

  55. Beautiful set! Love the red fabric on the chairs. My son was getting a total kick out of the sliding scale for spiders! He just came running up the stairs from his room yesterday morning (he’s in the basement) because of a wolf spider.
    As a side note, be careful with your black and decker sander. We had this same model that literally BLEW UP this weekend. The orbital disk plate that screws into the sander came shooting off in about ten pieces while it was in use and hit both my husband and my son. Thank goodness the damage was no worse that some stings from the impact. Needless to say I wont buy another black and decker.

  56. The bistro set is beautiful! And the spider has given me the creepy crawlies now! I am not afraid of spiders, but we are in the frozen tundra where the only black widows around are the ocasional hitchhiker on grapes from down south! If we had spiders like that I would be freaked!

  57. I once found a tarantula in my laundry hamper… it was HUGE i know they’re not poisonous but still I FREAKED the HECK OUT… weirdly enough my “mama bear” instincts kicked in and i grabbed all three of my kiddos (cats…) and ran to the bathroom and locked myself in there until my husband killed it or did whatever he had to to do it… he didnt killed… he simply let it loose outside because, he said, it was so big it would probably had made a noise if he killed it… no joke. I rolled my eyes but the whole night i had shivers and kept feeling like spiders were all over me! So anyway the next morning going to work down the stairs of my apartment. It was waiting for me DOWN THERE… it was just there AHHH i was freaking out…so I won’t tell you what I did next…. i think it was someone’s pet… they shoulda kept a closer eye on it… eek!

  58. Eeeeek is right! That spider was a biggun! I love how your bistro set turned out, it’s very stylish!

  59. I’m right with you on the spider scale. Typically they don’t bother me, but when I woke up with a spider bite on my temple it was just way too close for comfort! So creepy to think that there was a spider crawling on my face while I was sleeping. Good thing I sleep my mouth shut!

    Oh, and I woke up with another monster bite on my neck the next day that looked a lot like a hickey. So embarrassing! Needless to say, I spent that evening sealing my window and washing my blankets. So far so good!

  60. Ok, first of all, your bistro set: What an amazing transformation! So beautiful!! And I lvoe the fabric you chose, too. :)

    Secondly: EWWWW! And yes, when we were dashing around last minute a year ago with the movers ready to go with our stuff cross country, I ended up leaving 3 outdoor pots for the new owners :) because they had several black widow spiders on them! I could only imagine them being in with our things as we moved, and like laying eggs or something! Yikes!!

    Another spider story: These weren’t poisonous, at least I hope not! But years ago I was sitting on the “loo”, and for some reason decided to look up at the ceiling just then. Well, at that moment, about 200 baby spiders came rushing out of a vent in the ceiling right over my head! Talk about screaming!! :) Not the easiest circumstance to quickly rush from the scene, if you know what I mean LOL!! Those icky things got sucked up in the vaccum, and then I made my Hubby change the bag and check the hose to make sure they weren’t hiding in there!

    I REALLY don’t like spiders!

  61. I can’t believe you were able finish your work after seeing that spider! I’m terrified of spiders! We pay $500 a year for pest control that will come out whenever I call them. My husband says it’s cheaper than therapy. LOL!

  62. eeewww!! I am so glad that we don’t have those where I live now. I have always hated spiders, but some I can just walk around. Black widows creep me out. They are so gross and knowing that they are poisonous scares me! You are brave for taking pictures. Thank goodness for a zoom lens (at least I hope thats what you did! :) ).

  63. No spiders, but I did almost step on a +3′ long snake while garage sale shopping last week. Luckily not poisonous, but I wasn’t going to let it bite me to see.

  64. I love your bistro set transformation! The fabric is perfect! Your sliding scale was cute.

    I am not a fan of spiders at all. I don’t even know what I’d do given the black widow scenario. In Florida, we have a different icky creepy insect that was all new to me when I moved down here from up north. I don’t even like to say the word, you all know what it is. The first time I saw one I panicked, I was sort of paralyzed. They are so large and they love palm trees so for that reason alone we refuse to have any palms on our property, but sometimes I see them when we go for walks at night. They really do give me nightmares. LOL

    You’re one brave lady!


  65. Kate,

    I have a MAJOR spider phobia. I have never met a spider that I thought was cute. Last Christmas the boyfriend saw a black widdow when he was getting the fake Christmas tree down from the attic and I haven’t been up there since. No joke. I keep all of my house “decorations” up there too but I just can’t go up. EEEKKKKKKKKK Your bistro set looks just beautiful!

  66. The bistro set is beautiful! The spider however gives me the heebie geebies! Yuck! You are so much better than I would have been with the pictures. It would have been killed with awful blood curdling screams & not lasted long enough to get a picture. Ewwww! I dislike even the smallest of spider!

  67. love this, I need to find an old patio set pronto! you make it look so posh!!

    I would have screamed seeing the spider – lol

  68. Digging the bistro set. The hanus black widow spider? Not so much. I literally would have died. We had a huge one in our master bedroom two years ago. It crawled under the bed before my husband could run upstairs and slay it for me. He couldn’t find it anywhere. Took off the mattress and everything. I swear on all that’s holy I did not sleep in MBR for over a year until we finally painted and redecorated the room (when I had ample opportunity to inspect every square inch under protection of my hub.) I hate those things. But, I love your new bistro set, the view, and your blog:)

  69. Oh my HECK I’m so glad you didn’t get bitten! Evie, my resident spider expert, informed me just yesterday that black widows don’t live around here – THANK GOODNESS. I didn’t realize they got so BIG!!!! (shivers!) Anyway – LOVE your makeover! If you have time, I have a question, ever have a problem with recovered seat cushions not staying nicely in place? On my desk chair I used foam, some batting, then the fabric, all stapled down, and it gets all flat and not cushy & nice looking. Maybe I just chose the wrong foam? Do you have a favorite?

  70. Oh you poor thing! I almost died too a few weeks ago gardening when I found a black widow under my landscaping stones and no man around to save me. I cant believe you used your hand. My reaction was to scream while flinging this heavy rock across the yard with the spider on it, and then picking up a smaller rock and saying a prayer I threw the other rock on the spider from several feet away, and then picked up more rocks and proceeding to resquish it several times before I deemed it really dead. BTW set looks great!

  71. OMG! I would have absolutely died on the spot. How you killed it is beyond me….I just don’t know what I would have done! I am so proud of you!! And to think you carried that table with that THING inches away from you!! Lordy….oh and the set is so nice!

  72. Your bistro set looks amazing. BTW… you are way more brave than I am. I would have gone into the house, locked the doors and waited for hubby to come home and kill the spider. :-)

  73. I’m so glad that you provided that “scale of responses” to properly note your arachnophobia levels… FLAWLESS presentation – I would have flipped my wig, too! In fact, I think I just did! I’ve seen a LOT of spiders in these here parts, but that’s a doozy! You are a VERY brave girl and the just desserts of your labor are exquisite! I love you, m’dear!

  74. i am going to pretend i didn’t see that spider…

    OTHERWISE, this is fantastic!! :) i have been looking for a bistro set lately and this would be perfect. lucky you! and you made it look 10x more beautiful.

  75. lovely after set. I like the fabric choice. It really echos the scroll work in the bistro set.
    Glad you squished mom & the kids. Have been bit 3x by Black Widows. Each time very painful, but I survived. First time at Uncles house while emptying it after his death. 2ed time in our veggie garden in the mulch pile, jumped in the pool to keep the poision in one spot till ice & meds arrived. 3ed time I had been hauling fire wood in my truck, & it was hidden there. Dad recognized it as it flew past him when I screamed. He squished that one & then we iced my hand. We both laughed while he read the ‘Mountian Climbers Survivial’ book describing the most common sites of bites back when outhouses were more popular. All I can say is ouch! That’s when you really find out who loves you. LOL.
    I used to catch wild tarantulas when I was little in the cow pasture up the hill from our house. They aren’t poisonous but the bit does sting something nasty.
    I don’t mind spiders but I am cautious around Black Widows & Violins. Now anything reptilian is a whole new floor show. Totally HATE!! reptiles. shudder, yuck.

  76. omgomg so scary!!!! thank goodness you and your family are safe! those things are so frightening

    whenever i go to thrift stores im alway so terrified im going to run into some scary bug while rummaging through piles, boxes, etc.


  77. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! That spider gives me the ebbbeegeebies! All day I have been paranoid while outside that he might jump out and get me augh!

  78. hehehe… here in Australia, we have huntsman and grey wolf spiders… 2 inches is considered to be a medium sized spider. 5 or 6 inches is a typical large spider. And the big varieties are hairy too… both those big ones are cary looking, but not too dangerous (they do bite, but nothing terrible). It’s the little ones (1/2 – 1 inch) that are the worst, they’re quite poisonous. White tails and redbacks namely.

  79. LOVE the fabric choice for the chairs! I’ve been on the hunt for a good bistro set for the courtyard in the front of our house for a quite awhile now. I love how your transformed yours. :)

    I had never seen a black widow until we moved into our current house. The first year we saw 5! One was even found by my little girl, and one I killed INSIDE my house! Scary to say the least!! Oh wait, actually there were 6, I remember another time too. I’m not scared of spiders, but ones that can kill me or my kids creep me out.

  80. That is the most frightening thing! (The spider, that is.) The spiders I’ve encountered have not been poisonous, but still gave me the heeby-jeebies. I was cleaning out our garage and –one or two spiders are no biggy– but I saw a spider on EVERY box I moved after I set it down. I had a bad case of paranoia afterward, thinking they were on me, in my bed, etc. Yuck.

  81. i would have fainted if i saw that spider! i hate to do any spring cleaning or work outdoors (even though I love it) because i’m afraid of seeing a spider!!!!

    on the other hand, i love the revamp!

  82. Oh well, we’re going to have to break up now, Kate. See, spiders are my BIGGEST fear in life. Ever. And instead of clicking away from the page, I clicked ON the picture thus making it larger than life. And I couldn’t get it back to normal so now I’m all itchy just thinking about it. And since I have more hair than God ever gave another human being, all those hairs touching my face are making me twitch so I threw out my neck trying to get away from a “non-poisonous, non-black widow” red hair. :)

    LOVE the lil’ bistro set! And you’re super duper brave for taking the photos. I’d have dropped dead in my steps.

  83. Your bistro set is beautiful – quite a lovely place to sit and visit! You accomplished a major transformation for very little expense – my favorite kind of project!

    Your spider story gave me shivers! I do not care for spiders – at all! I had a tarantula in my shower when we were on a missions trip once, and a brown recluse spider found it’s way into the mechanism of my old sewing machine for the tune up guy to marvel at! Thankfully, nothing up close and personal! One caution about Joann’s outdoor fabrics – it doesn’t last long. Even under a pergola, and with annual applications of outdoor Scotchguard, my cushions did not stand up as I had hoped and were terribly faded after just one season. I recovered our patio set in 2007 and this summer the fabric has rotted beyond repair. Sadly they are in shreds, and now I’m wishing I had not invested the time and energy in recovering them! Of course, your set is a much simpler transformation when they become faded or you get tired of them, but still, I’d advise protection.

    If you’d like to see my project you’d be welcome to visit:

  84. Omigod, Kate – I feel soooooooo creepy just reading that!! I have a bit of a fear of spiders, myself – luckily it’s not as bad after some hypnosis – I kid you not!!

    Spider-talk aside (ew) your Bistro makeover is just stunning…what a lovely place for your guests to sit and chat. :) Great job!!

  85. I hear you on the spiders! We had a huge black widow on our back porch & my husband tried to scoot it into the grass so it wouldn’t make such a huge mess on the patio. But I was afraid it would get away & bite one of my children, so I just smashed it with the shoe. It still gives me the heebie jeebies thinking about it!

  86. The bistro set look great and you did a wonderful job. But I’m not sitting there (shutter!!). Lisa~

  87. The bistro set looks amazing. So cute.

    But honestly, I feel bad for that spider. She probably thought she found a great new home to live in uninterrupted, only to be squashed a few weeks (or a couple years) later. I understand, when you have small children, you don’t want to put them at risk, but it still makes me a little sad.

  88. Oh my gosh SCARY SPIDER! I would have possibly passed out after seeing that monster! You’re so brave! And that bistro set looks great! Yay for battling the black widow and tackling the mold and debris on the set! :)

  89. Ya that is a big one..

    Ran into one that size a couple months ago at Goodwill. I was browsing the furniture area for treasures… and there she was heading across the floor. I froze and shouted “OH MY GOD, is that a black widow???” So a lady came over and said “YEP” and smooshed it. (live in a rural area). Figured it was probably hanging out in a piece that was stored in a barn or something.

    Certainly makes me take a second look at furniture I’m checking out.. I certainly don’t need to bring one into my living room.

  90. Scary spider – eeek! I love your bistro set though. the yellow paired with the red is a beautiful combination. Very nice!


  91. My daughter almost picked up a black widow last year, so I am with you on the arachnophobia! Great bistro set… the cushions kinda coordinate with the hourglass from the spider – LOL!

  92. I share your feeling about spiders. Most I am fine with as long as they stay in the garden. I constantly find black widows around the exterior of my house and pool. I find it interesting that my dog will “attack” and proceed to chew almost any spider it finds crawling around except a black widow!

    Your table and chairs look great!

  93. OMG – my skin is still crawling just from reading this! I hate spiders, although I have become slightly immune to the little ones since I do a lot of gardening. Nowadays, how loud I scream depends on how big and how fast the spider is!

  94. Why, oh why would you share that with us? I hate spiders, now I’m gonna have that creepy crawly feeling all day.
    Cool bistro set though…

  95. Such a gorgeous transformation Kate. It’s such the perfect spot as well. Ok the spider ummmm……I hate spiders :)

  96. Great transformation…I love your style and all of the befores and afters…you have been such an inspiration to me! I just started my blog this week! I have so much to learn and my blog needs lots of work, but you gotta start somewhere I suppose. Black widows are common here in AZ and I too have had close run-ins with them, along with rattlesnakes and scorpions…yuck! Hate them! Good reminder to be careful when working with old furniture that has been outside.

  97. I hate spiders! Now I’ll be slapping my face everytime my hair touches my cheek!!! Maybe I should stay home today so people don’t think I have some kind of slapping-face-disease. :)
    I Love that fabric!
    Great job, as usual!

  98. That was one large widow!! Yikes!! Even reading it I felt something on my leg and had to check and make sure it was not a bug. The set turned out darling. I have had my original glass top garden set from the 70s in my garage waiting for a makeover, this has inspired me to do it!! No lets see if Hubby is up for some spray painting,Kathysue

  99. I cant say I’ve laughed so hard in a long time!!!

    I wonder what it was thinking when it saw the multitude of spades coming down on it, as they have all those damned eyes to go with all those damned legs.

  100. OMG – hysterical! I would have TOTALLY killed that thing. I’ve never seen a black widow spider before. I don’t think we have them in Massachusetts (at least not unless they’re kept as a pet and escape). Eek!

    The good news is, the bistro set now looks great! I really like that fabric.

  101. Did you have to unscrew the chair seat from the the chair frame to wrap the fabric around and staple it? I love this!!

  102. I have ONE of these chairs. I am pretty sure it is identical to yours. It is at my mom’s. I live on the IN/MI border but if you want to pay shipping you may have it.

  103. OH MY GOSH!! Black widow?! So scary! Love the makeover but I’m freaking out (for you) about the spider!!

  104. Ha! This post cracked me up. I am not particularly scared of spiders either but, like you, the bigger they are, the more freaked out I get. I grew up in Phoenix where we had to worry about spiders AND scorpions AND rattlesnakes! Now spiders I can handle…but snakes? Forget it! Glad you showed that black widow who was boss and managed another great revamp!

  105. The bistro set is too cute. I love it!!! I have the same sliding scale for spiders…Eeeeek!

  106. I feel the same way with spiders. They are everywhere in my neighborhood because 40+ years ago there were Almond Grove and I have large mulberry trees in my yard. The first time I knew we had black spiders was when my husband told me that he found one in my (then 2 years old) daughter’s toy chest. I had to teach her real young…this is a bad spider and the daddy long leg is a good spider. Yikes!! Other spiders I let be except if I’m having a party then I attack spider webs inside and out. At halloween my daughter wanted to buy spider web stuff and I said huh, we have the real thing. lol

  107. My first thought is did you plug the hole so future spiders don’t crawl in there? I would have to or I could never sit there. Nice job, as always.

  108. Just wandered upon your website today. Great work on the bistro set. I include “de-spider” as part of my reclaimed furniture process before anything else. I probably would have had to abandon ship if I found the 2inch black widow though. Everyone has their limits.

  109. Oh, my God! I don’t know how you even continued with your project after that, let alone had the courage to take photos! Just looking at the pictures is scary enough. I think after I showed them to my hubby, if I even got that far, I’d have deleted them so I’d never have to see them again! Of course, that image would be (and is) etched in my mind for the rest of time! I am not like you and are pretty much afraid of all spiders, though I guess daddy long legs aren’t too bad. I’ve never seen a black widow, and hope I never do, cuz I’m not sure I’d live through it!
    On the other hand. your patio set is now gorgeous, so I guess it was worth it. I guess. Maybe. Yeah, it’s worth it. It does look like the perfect spot for a glass of lemonade or maybe a nice glass of wine! Great job, and you’re braver than me…

  110. Great transformation of the bistro set. I’ve got a long neglected one of my own that I’ve been putting off re-doing. This might just be enough motivation to get me started.

    I’ve got to say that I love that although you were probably scared to bits you could find the courage t take a nice close picture of that black widow. It just wouldn’t be the same trying to describe it would it?


  111. happened upon your site from a series of sites that I follow and Love it! Bistro is fantastic! Love Love the fabric! As for the spider I have zero tolerance! My nephew was bitten by a brown recluse several years ago while he slept, had to be life lined to the Children’s Hospital, nearly lost his life and then his arm. Thank God for doctors that knew how to deal w/ it and how critical the the bite was from the onset. 2 surgeries later he is fine minus a lot of forearm muscle tissue and some thin bone scraping he has full use of his arm back. Praise God! But the poor guy is a ninny when it comes to bugs of any kind now and so is everyone else in our family. I would have killed it too!!! I always worry when I am at auctions, consignments and the like that there is a deadly spider waiting to bite me so I debug everything! I must say that the pics you were able to take are awesome!

  112. A few years ago I decided to spray paint a wicker chair a different color. So, I hauled the chair out and put it on a plastic tarp and sprayed away. It started to rain and so I opened the garage door and slid the chair into the garage. Well, it sat there a few days before I got it in the house. I put it in the corner of our bedroom complete with new cushions. It looked so nice!! The next morning I got up and had an itchy little red spot on my ring finger and on my forearm. I took my ring off, thank god, because I thought the finger was swelling a little bit. By noon I was at the doctors and by five I was at a specialist who was trying to save my finger. I had been bitten by a brown recluse spider. They had to scrape all the skin off down to the bone. My finger was black and I’ve never had anything that hurt as badly as that bite. It took forever to heal. The bite on my arm wasn’t as severe as the one on my finger–the doc’s think it was the second bite and didn’t get as much poison. The exterminator that we called said his wife had been bitten on her leg several years ago and almost lost her leg. As you might guess I’m very careful to de-spider anything before I bring it in my house!!

    BTW I love your bistro set

  113. OK…I knew there were reasons I live in Northern BC Canada…no black widows and rarely a spider that large! I love the bistro set though…just need to find DIY set myself…off to the recycle shed I go!

  114. So, thanks to your high resolution camera and pinache with photography I am know sick to my stomach! YUCK!!! A girl’s gotta to what a girl’s gotta do. You should be proud of yourself for continuing your project after a close encounter like that!!! The bistro set looks adorable, by the way! But you couldn’t pay me to sit there!

  115. Finally, someone who described my feelings about spiders to a tee! Three days ago I came across my first two inch spoked-legged spider that made me jump out of my skin. My creepy basement laundry room and family room half bath are being converted into a finished 3/4 bath and finished laundry room oasis. The toilet has been relocated. So of course, there is open earth with exposed pipe in the ground. I was happily taking a million ‘BEFORE” shots of all the construction mess while barefoot. Then I saw ‘IT’ running towards me and my feet! I’m so not afraid of spiders like every one I know. I love that they not only stay out of my kitchen and cupboards but they set up little webs to catch other non-welcome critters. Who can hate that?? But this spider experience made for an instant screamfest. I yelled blood curdling screams for my 15 year old son to come save me. He came running and I just knew he was going to roll his eyes at me. Surprisingly he froze in silence when he saw it. Even he was careful. He managed to grab some nearby shelved wasp/hornet spray and soak it like nobody’s business. I stood there cringing and shivering in disgust while watching it die a slow death. Ever since, I’ve been so stinkin’ jumpy! It wasn’t even the deadly kind either. Anywhoo, your adventure made me laugh out loud happily knowing somebody out there knows exactly what I just went through. I’m so glad you’re still alive.

  116. I have to tell you that I too subscribe to your sliding scale of spider reactions.

    Hate to break the news to people in the Pacific Northwest, but we have black widow spiders here, too. Just remember they like dark places to spin their webs, spaces like between boxes and the spaces between boxes and garage/shed walls, and keep your hands and fingers outta them! Bug bombs and wear gloves!

    Most of our spiders are harmless, tho’ but the rule of thumb is…those big enough to be ridden with a saddle must stay outdoors and tied up at the hitchingpost! (Just a little western humor)!

    Just found your site in a link from Mary @ Owlhaven.net. Love your projects, I’ll be here all day catching up! Thanks for sharing!

  117. Love the set – and I really relate to your spider story. I recently moved and one day after returning home from a business had the same spider of the same size fall down and greet me at my door. I quickly grabbed the wasp spray (conveniently located within arms reach) and used 1/3 of the can on it. It fell to the bottom of the door and began digging with it’s legs into the foam pipe cover I use as a weatherstrip on my door. It sounded like a mouse scrapping up a wall. I looked closer and the stupid thing was trying to lay an egg sack – I used the rest of the spray on it and stuck it on the table for my family to inspect upon their arrival – I knew if I told them the story they would not believe the size if they didn’t see it for themselves!

  118. What a creepy spider story. Makes me just shudder. You are a brave, brave girl. I might have passed out, but then again with two little ones, I might have done exactly what you did! Lovely little bistro set by the way!

  119. I’m right there with you on the death of the black widow. They move much faster than you would expect and are not to be messed with.

    Her sisters can carry on elsewhere. She just crossed the wrong line!

  120. Wow, the set came out great! I actually have a similar set an this post inspired me to update it this summer. One issue I have though is that I have some rust on the legs of the table. Do you have suggestions on how to get the rust off the metal before priming and painting? Thanks so much! I really appreciate your advice!

  121. The bistro set is lovely. The story gives me the creeps, though. You are much braver than I am. I once came across a spider the size of my thumb, that was making a web in the folds of my kitchen curtains. I still have no idea what kind of spider it was – I live near the river in Montreal. I freaked, it (thank God!) fell in the sink so I turned the tap on and flushed him down. I STILL can’t touch my kitchen curtains without carefully examining them first. My man doesn’t believe in killing them, he likes to get a peice of paper and carefully escort them outside. Not me. Trespassers will die, their body thrown outside as a warning to their brother and sister spiders.

  122. i just wanted to say that this project is si great. i have an antic outdoor table and chair set that has been sitting out side in my yard for 6 mo with no love. i plan on havin my husban d ( while i wait safeli behing a screen door with my three dogs) to power wash and paint it. and then i will sew new covers and seat for the chairs since they dont have any. i love your site. its very insperational. thanks

  123. LMAO! I love that you have “spider” in the tags of this post.
    I would have nearly passed out if I would have come within 10 feet of that spider. Holy camoly… I would have smushed it, then stomped on it, then lit the remains on fire, just to make sure it was dead. EEEEEEWWWW!

    Great patio set redo, by the way ;)

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