So, a sweet reader asked last week if I was still planning to share DIY projects. The answer was a big fat, “Yes!” The thing is, last week I had a lot going on. Not only did I launch Teal & Lime Interiors and Teal & Lime Market, but I also attended the Alt for Everyone conference and participated in a SnapShop photography class.
In the background of all that, I was working on a MAJOR DIY project. Have you ever built something to seat 5 or more people? Yeah, that’s what I was doing. It is so big I have to break it up into two posts, so here we go with part 1…
Since the day we moved into this house I have dreamed of a wrap-around corner bench in the basement nook. We have the same angled nook upstairs in the kitchen, but there the windows are so low to the ground we could not build in a bench. The basement was my opportunity for a dream window seat.
There are many great examples of built-in benches using over-the -fridge kitchen cabinets. That was my original plan, but I changed my mind for two reasons:
Two Reasons I Skipped the Storage
- Cabinets are not cheap. Even for the unfinished oak ones at big box improvement stores I was looking at a minimum of $300 just for the cabinets. I would need to build a 2 x 4 frame under them, put a board on top of them, and still add foam and fabric for cushions.
- When I really sat and thought about how I wanted to use this space, it was as a gathering area and a place to play games (board games of cards). No part of my vision required storage under the benches. We will have plenty of storage elsewhere in the basement. So I skipped the cabinets.
Then, I started back at square one…how was I going to build my dream bench? The amazing Ana White to the rescue. I pinned this cute 2 x 4 banquette she built. Other than it’s size and the skirted bottom, it was perfect for my space. I realized I could modify it to fit my needs. So the foundation of what I did to build this bench can be found in Ana’s easy to follow tutorial.
I had the home improvement store cut most of my wood to size. The guy who helped me wanted to find the cheapest option for the bench cushions and ended up recommending OSB (oriented-strand board), which was a few dollars cheaper than a sheet of plywood. I went along with it, but if I ever did this again I would get the plywood. The OSB board is very rough on one side, splinters a lot, and has blue coloring on the edge that rubs off on everything.
Once I got my supplies home, I couldn’t wait to lay out the boards and see just how big my bench would be. As you can see it is going to wraparound the corner of the nook and provide most of the seating around the turquoise pedestal table.
The two side boards are each 2x4ft. The corner piece is 3x3ft. With the boards in position, I used my straight edge to mark the corner angle to be cut off the corner board.
Using Ana’s exact measurements I built two frames for 2x4ft side benches. Ana used 2×4’s to make her legs, since she skirted her bench. I wanted my benches open underneath, so I decided to use furniture legs. I picked up 2 decorative furniture legs for the front of each bench. I opted to skip legs for the back side of the bench to save money. Instead I planned to screw the frame directly into the studs in the wall.
I gave the furniture legs two coats of stain in Jacobean, followed by two coats of polycrylic in satin finish. I screwed the furniture legs into the front corners of the bench frame. I used two screws to attach the leg from the inside. Then, to make sure they were extra secure, I put one more screw in from the outside on the other edge of the frame.
For the corner piece I totally improvised. I used the 3x3ft corner piece with one corner cut off as my template. I basically built a 2 x 4 frame on top of the corner board, measuring and cutting as I went along.
Here’s a look at the assembled bench frame next to the table for size comparison. It looks a bit low, because it still needs 4″ of foam on top. Then it will be 18″ high.
Before installing the bench frame, I used batting to soften up the frame edges. I wrapped 4 layers of bamboo quilt batting around the exposed edges of the frames, on the front and sides, and front section of the corner piece.
To attach the bench to the wall studs, I used 3″ wood screws. I first attached the corner frame to one of the bench frames, making one large piece. Using scrap pieces of 2×4 wood cut to height, I propped my bench against the wall. After checking to make sure it was level, I drove two screws through the bench frame into the wall wherever there was a stud. Once that side was attached, I added the bench on the other side. I first secured it to the corner frame and then attached it to the walls.
With the big frame in place I could see my vision becoming reality. I was eager to keep going, but only had sporadic moments here and there to work on this project. Here is a sneak peek of the bench with the foam on top:
Today I plan to finish the upholstery and I will be back later this week with the big reveal (UPDATE: See Part 2 here). Can’t wait to share what I used for foam, batting, and fabric!
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