Wednesday, February 18, 2015

DIY Kitchen Banquette Seating from Cabinets

When we first looked at our house, the one room that gave me pause was the kitchen.  Even though it was bigger than our previous kitchen, the eating area was small, and there was no dining room to compensate.  I went through several different plans to remedy the situation.

First, I thought we'd try to knock down the wall between the kitchen and living room.  There is a closet that lives there that's about 3-4' deep.  Gaining 4' would make a big difference.  However, when it came down to it, we only had a week to get everything done before we had to be out of our house and move in.  There was no time for demo.

Then, I thought that we might use the bay area of the living room since we'd eventually have another family area in the basement.  That seemed like the areas would be too disconnected, and without a peninsula with stools, odd as we'd have a huge empty space in the kitchen.

Finally, while browsing Pinterest.  I stumbled onto the idea of a banquette.  With a large L shape that we had, and a new table, we could easily fit 7-8 people at the table.  I loved the idea of a drawer on the one side, but I just don't yet have the carpentry skills to pull it off.  So, we headed off to Home Depot and bought three upper cabinets.

I didn't really have a plan from there, but this was how the project progressed.

Phase 1:

The first thing I always do is use painters tape to tape out my design.  After that, I measured a chair to get a good seat depth and height.  I then decided that if I used a 2x4 & 1x4 base, with the cabinets on top, I would get a good height with an additional 3-4" cushion on top.  I had enough 1x4s leftover from the board and batten project in Xander's room and enough 2x4 scraps from a  bench project that I didn't need to buy any wood.  SCORE!

Phase 2:

Using my nail gun. I built the base.  Then I fit the cabinets on top.  They just sort of sat there for a long time.  As in, I started this in April and just secured it this week.

The cushion is made of 3/4" plywood, a twin foam bed mattress and, originally, outdoor fabric.  I did not take pictures of myself covering the cushion, but it was essentially just me and my staple gun.  Pull, staple, repeat.  The ends I did a simple envelope fold.

Um, did I mention I have a four and six year old (who were three and five at the time of banquette creation)?  Do you see where this is going?  It took one spring meal of BBQ Chicken, straight off the grill, for me to realize, I should have used a vinyl type fabric.  Ugh!  There went about $40 in fabric, down the drain.   We lived with the banquette like this until summer arrived.

Phase 3:

Once summer arrived, we took all the pieces outside to paint.  The open area you see is where one of the heat vents is.   AND, you can see I went with a faux brown leather that matches the floor.  The end piece had not yet been painted.  I painted it shortly thereafter, but apparently did not take a photo.

We lived with the banquette like this until just this weekend.

Phase 4:

Finally, after almost ten months of living here, I decided to just finish the banquette already!  I really wanted to spend some time working on the basement, but we are currently on a February Spending Freeze, apropos considering the -40 feels like temp today.  So, I decided to look for some FREE projects to work on around the house, and the banquette was one of them.

The finish work at this point consisted of four parts:
1) create a vent cover for the empty hole there (so the cereal no longer ended up there)
2) fill in the empty hole (where food and dust bunnies got together) - you can't see it in the second picture because of the pedestal, but you can see it in the first picture.  It's the gap where the two cabinets meet.
3) give everything a fresh coat of paint to match the cabinets.  They were painted at different times, so I wanted them to be the same color.
4) add cork pads to the inside corners of the door so they would open easily and not stick

I don't know WHY I waited SO LONG.  We had all the pieces sitting around the house to finish this, including the decorative wire mesh I picked up from Home Depot in like August.  From start to finish, including a fresh coat of paint, it took me like an hour.

In the end, it cost a bit more than I estimated, which was about $200, but it DID cost less than knocking out the wall probably would have cost, and we got to work on it as we had time.  It adds a simple, streamlined look to the kitchen.  Overall, it's a great fit for our family of five.  We can easily add another chair and still keep it comfortable for everyone.  The underneath storage holds the kids Play Doh and tools, some seldom used serving pieces, and the ice cream maker.

Cost Breakdown $264 ($304 with fabric mishap):

- Foam $60
- Cabinets - 2 of the 30" ones  $90 & 1 36" one $55
- Fabric $40 or $80 with the recover
- Decorative Wire Mesh $19
- Things we had that I used: 1x4s, 2x4s, primer, paint, brushes & rollers, nails & cork

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