Apr 15, 2014

a kitchen banquette {cutting up the entertainment unit}

So the day finally came to put all my ideas and plans into action. My tv entertainment unit was empty, the doors and shelves were all removed. For old times sake I even dusted and cleaned it off. My brother showed up with some tools and we got to work. 

We would be removing the top two third’s of this piece from the bottom. It is a large sturdy unit and the future bench will hold up well all on its' own. We placed some moving blankets under the piece since the cutting would happen right in the middle of my living room. The flying sawdust was not bad at all so no issues there!

We started off by removing the back of the unit. It is a pretty thin backing and came off easily since it was only held on with staples. Once it was out of the way we started on the cutting. Using his Bosch jig saw we first cut the left side. I say “we" because my brother and husband cut while my sister in law and I watched. Keeping the cut above what will become the top of the bench was a pretty quick job. Once the left side was cut we moved onto the middle piece connecting the top to the base.

For the middle section we needed to use a different tool. A hand saw was used because of the angle of the cut. This section took a bit longer because of the obvious, as in "all by hand". Again the men cut, we watched.

We then moved on to the right side. This time us women folk got a little more involved and held the already cut left end. The jig saw cut through as you can see in the image below. The blade is sticking through a bit.

We all the lifted the top section off the base, or bench as we now know it. Three clean cuts that I then sanded down just a bit with a palm sander. And yes, back to just me again. 

Then just to make sure, even though I had measured and remeasured, I had them all help me carry the bench over to its’ future spot, and it fit! Not only did it fit but four children all set side by side on it. They are quick little things and were all off before I had a chance to take a picture. I swear it is true though! Big sigh of relief all around.

It was then moved onto the porch for the next couple steps...

Stay tuned!

Apr 10, 2014

a kitchen banquette {double checking the measurements}

Before I started taking apart my television entertainment unit in order to turn it into a bench I took some measurements. About 10 times. I needed to make absolutely sure it was the right width, depth and height to make the conversion of the bottom section into a bench.

The plan was to cut the two sides and the middle division above the drawers. The section over the top of the drawers would serve as the surface for the bench. This measured to be 15.5 inches high so it  would not be high enough on it’s own. All the benches that I had been looking at ranged from 17 to 18 inches high. The addition of a 3 inch foam cushion would bring the height back up to 18.5 inches,  perfect seating height for a table.

The depth of the unit at 22.25 inches at the base was a little deeper than I wanted. The back of the piece is flush but the base has trim which juts out a bit. I got over that pretty quickly since the table will cover that. Plus there is the whole “this is free and I’m getting rid of a piece that I’m starting to hate” thing. 

The width of the soon to be bench is also a little more that I’d planned for. I wanted a bench that was 60 inches wide. The base of the unit measures 64 inches wide. The top of the bench would measure 61.5 inches wide. All that means is that my pantry cabinet door will not swing all the way open. It still opens enough that I can get everything that I need in and out of it. I practiced to make sure.

So once the measurements were taken and retaken and then retaken maybe once or twice more I started emptying 10 years of items out of my unit. I’m talking cassettes and VHS tapes. The television and cable box and routers were all untangled and moved to the coffee table for now. I unscrewed all the doors, shelves and the tv stand inside until I was left with the bare bones unit. And yes, the bottom half of Dolly the dog photo-bombed this shot.

Up next... demolition day!

Apr 8, 2014

a kitchen banquette bench {planning it out}

A while back I shared with you some images and ideas I had for a kitchen banquette bench. My eat in kitchen is large enough for my round kitchen table and 5 chairs. Even though we have the room for it I haven't been too happy with the layout for a while. First of all the table fits five people and only five people. I want my kitchen table to work for the whole family, and maybe a couple more on occasion. It is almost 17 years old and still in great condition so I'm thinking of relocating it to the basement as a game table. For now it is constantly moving around the kitchen.  It needs to be pulled away from the wall in order for everyone to fit around it. This means that when the meal is over there are chairs in the middle of my kitchen that then need to be pushed back in. I'm always putting chairs back in their place. 

Another little item that bothers me is that the table is never centered under the pendant lamp. It's a small issue but it bothers me nonetheless. I also want my children to do their homework on the kitchen table. My oldest has been using the dining room table since at homework time there always seems to be crayons and crackers in her way, left by my two boys. A larger table would work better for us.

So my whole idea to revamp my eat in kitchen area has a couple end goals. More seating, a larger table, and something stationary. A rectangular table would work much better than my round one in a kitchen like this. 

My first project will be the seating. I’m going to walk you through the entire process starting with my banquette bench. 

My wall has 60 inches of available space for a bench. It also has some strangely placed outlets that I would love to cover up. After deciding a bench would work best along the wall I quickly decided a bench with a back would work even batter. It would add some color and texture to my otherwise dark kitchen. I started looking at different option to create a bench. I could buy an mudroom style bench and create a built in look. I could also buy refrigerator cabinets and create a bench as well. Ready made furniture like some of the pieces from IKEA were too wide so I was looking at either of those two options, both of which meant I would have to spend some money.

I sat down on my living room sofa and started sketching out some ideas one evening and happened to look up at my entertainment unit. I’ve been trying to sell this piece for quite a while, as I explained here. All of a sudden I saw the possibility of what could be done with such a sturdy piece. I jumped up and took some measurements (it was perfect!) and quickly called my brother to 1. see if this was possible and 2. see if he had the tools and would help me pretty please. 

Since he likes to come along on my crazy idea adventures he said yes and yes. The entire family came over and we started cutting! The piece that had been dictating my living room was gone and I was actually left with two pieces that were both used. The bottom would became the bench for the kitchen banquette. No need to purchase furniture or cabinets. I was using something I already had. I might have cut up a perfectly good piece of furniture but I made a piece that I was unhappy with work for me. I now pretty much love it. And it fits perfectly with just enough room for my pantry door to open.

I have some work ahead of me because I’m hoping the end result of the bench will look something like this...

tobi fairley vis Houzz

So are you wondering what I did with the top? I was planning on getting rid of it until I realized it was the perfect size (after some work) for another project I had on my mind. My daughter had previously been making homes for her American Girl Dolls out of large cardboard boxes. They fall apart pretty quickly. We wanted to make something sturdier and were planning on building a house from scratch. Well now those dolls have a more permanent home in our house...

Over the next couple posts I’ll walk you through each step of the transformation process. I’m still pinching myself that I was able to get rid of this piece, but still use it for two projects without spending any additional money! Up first will be how I measured and remeasured a couple times. Stay tuned...

Apr 3, 2014

a new gig...

Today I’m over on Homeware's blog, Celebrate with Homeware where I share some tips and tricks for bring spring inside with the help of pillows, color and pattern. I will be sharing more design tips and DIY projects there as well each month as one of their Homeware bloggers. 

If you haven’t discovered Homeware yet go check out their selection of chairs, ottomans, pillows, table
and decor!

Mar 31, 2014


So tomorrow is April 1st but we are just not feeling in here in cold raw New England. I decided to put together a random collection of some spring-ish items from Joss and Main and just pretend spring is here...

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