…and then there was a giant hole…in our bench!
If you’ve been following recently, you know that we are trying to inject more functionality into the window seat in our master bedroom. While it’s a very pretty architectural feature, it seems like a waste of space, which is very frustrating for a multi-tasking person like myself. If somebody can take the time to insulate a space, then they can take the time to add a hinge and create storage! So why didn’t the builders do that? Lord knows, but it was probably the same day they made the decision to omit Air Conditioning and a Garage Door opener.
Since we don’t have x-ray vision, we had to do “exploratory surgery” to formulate our plan. Once the demo was done we discovered a large space inside of our bench that had a big stud right down the middle (see picture above), so we had to consider that in the design of our “storage area”. We had to come up with a way to “finish” the space taking into account this giant stud down the middle. We also had some electrical wires that needed to be hidden for safety purposes (that coincidently ran underneath the stud – hooray for *some* planning). Now I can say I’ve got *two* studs in my bedroom at all times – ba dum bum bump! This basically meant that we had to create two storage areas rather than just one. And as you can see from the picture below, the space is largely unfinished and needed to be enclosed somehow:
So our options were
- Drywall – messy, time consuming, and not very durable, which is not a good option if you’re going to be constantly dropping things into the storage area. Drywall, FAIL!
- MDF – It’s sturdy and paints well, but we wanted a more natural look for the inside of the storage. MDF is not natural looking, so …. MDF, FAIL!
- Wood/Plywood – Definitely the best option. It’s natural and if you’re lucky enough to find Cedar, it’s naturally repellent to bugs and other “critters”. It also smells really great and looks wicked cool. We couldn’t find Cedar plywood, though, so we figured Birch would be a good alternative. It doesn’t repel bugs naturally but hey, that’s what dryer sheets are for!. Maybe we will line the storage area with cedar in a future project … Wood, TOUCHDOWN!
To save time, energy, and money we needed to draft a plan to re-build and re-use as much material as we possibly could. Especially since our window “sills” had a lot of complicated cuts that we wanted to avoid having to recreate, if possible.
After we demo-ed, we made an early evening trip to Lowe’s to buy our supplies to finish what we started. This included:
- One sheet (4 foot by 8 foot) of MDF, cut to Toyota Matrix size
- A sheet and a half of paint-grade plywood (Birch)
- One piano hinge (found in the hardware section close to door handles and the like)
- One tub of wood putty
So the basic plan was to create two open-top “boxes” constructed of plywood to insert on either side of the stud so that all of the insulation, electrical wires, etc. would be hidden out of view. That really was as simple as measuring once, twice, thrice….and then sawing away to create a 5-sided box times two. Luckily, we own both a table saw and a nail gun, so this project went pretty quickly once we had everything cut.
Then we Polyurethaned the boxes with a spray poly and let them dry overnight. At this point, it was dark on a Saturday night (yes, we really are that lame) and we thought that our neighbors would appreciate some peace and quiet, so we took a break from the noise and decided to come back to it on Sunday.
Now that the boxes were completely constructed, it was simply a matter of sanding them down and inserting them into our window seat:
Now while the above photo makes it look oh-so-easy, there were significantly more swear words, hammering, and “Oh, $#^&!” moments where it sort of fit, then it didn’t, then it did, and then when they were finally in, we could start to see where this project was taking us and how to finish ‘er off! And just to give you an idea of how large these boxes are, here is a pic of me, L-blogger, trying one of them on for size:
But what about that window sill that is pictured above? As you can see, the cuts around the windows were pretty complicated and so we re-used (reduce, reuse, recycle!) the two sheets of MDF that were already in place, but we cut them both down by about half, which we then repositioned back in place so that there is an opening to get into the storage area. Now we have two storage boxes, ready for linens and the like….but we don’t have a lid.
I think this is going to be another Chapter, so stay tuned for the finished product!