Hello! I am so happy you are here today because I am super excited to reveal what I have been working on for the past few weeks.
It’s a biggie for me and as you may have read in previous posts, I have promised my husband that I would try to focus on one big project at a time and see it through to the end. Ahhh! This is so much harder than I thought it would be! Ideas keep popping in my head – it’s like a million little picture bubbles hovering over me. You know exactly what I’m talking about … don’t you?
So here it is – my very own built-in window bench in my master bedroom. This was an important one – not for me, my husband or my girls. No. This project was a must for Bandit and Rumour.
Here are the cuties. Bandit is our five year old Husky and Rumour is our year old Shepherd Cross. So why was this project for them? Well, it is their absolute favourite spot in the house.
See? Look at those smiles!
They love to sit here and check out all the action in the front of the house.
Before we got Rumour, this was Bandit’s domain. He could watch the rabbits running up and down the street, or see when we were coming home. He loved it- it was his spot. Then Rumour came along and like any younger sibling she wanted to do everything Bandit did. At first she was too tiny to jump up so she would just lie down beside the bench while he was up there. But now that she has grown taller than Bandit she is up there any chance she can get.
They have both tried to get up there at the same time but as you can see there just isn’t very much room – especially now that Rumour has grown so big. In the photo above she is half the size she is now. Anyway, I wanted them to share this happy place together. You know… share, like happy siblings should.
Aside from the furry beasts, I’ve really wanted a proper bench seat ever since we built our house 5 years ago. I was so excited at the potential of a cozy sitting area. Of course, it kept getting pushed to the bottom of the to do list, because it would have been quite pricey to have someone custom build it for us. So it remained a no-go.
But no more. I decided to tackle this area on my own to make a large window bench with storage. I was confident… sort of… okay, I was very nervous to attempt this. I have never built anything so big. Something that would need to be stable and hold two heavy dogs and people and not buckle under the weight and fall to the floor in a heaping mess. Oh man what was I thinking. But hey, I figured if I planned it out well it might just work.
Above you’ll see what I had in mind to fix this sad little space.
I sat down and drew up some plans of what I thought I might like and how I would go about doing it all. I figured out the wood I would need and was frustrated to realize that the bench was 8′ 5″ long. 8′ would have been nice and easy since all boards come in 4 x 8′ sheets. Nope. They had to throw in that extra 5″ to make it a little more interesting for me. Gah!
I didn’t originally think I would include storage (and frankly, I was a bit intimated to attempt it), but after thinking on it a while, I thought it would be kind of a waste if I didn’t. But you know what… it was actually really simple and I am so glad I did it. Couple of hinges, a lift top, and done!
Above are the ideas I was throwing around originally to finish it all off. Not all these ideas came to life but sometimes things don’t always work out exactly as you imagined and you need to learn to just roll with it. Yep, be spontaneous, roll with the punches, keep moving forward. I did, and I am super happy with the way it all turned out. I may not ever leave this area now. Nope. I am going to have to quit my job and stay here and become a professional cushion tester. What a plan…
Take a look for yourself…
Eeeee! I made this! With a little help from hubby (board holder and stud finder) but it was me! I actually designed, cut and built this baby! I can’t believe it. And it seems quite safe to sit on – I had my youngest test that part out.
Again, some more ‘before’ photos. We moved out the sad little bench and the fan and got right to work. Poor Bandit, he can barely see out the window right now.
I painted the area the same grey as my laundry room – Behr Iron mountain. You can check my laundry room make over here.
Once the painting was done, I needed to make a secure frame to fit within this space. Using 1 x 4’s I constructed a frame to fit along the entire length of the wall for the top and bottom and then secured it into the wall studs. See the stud finder working away up there? That’s my stud finder using a stud finder. 😛 I made sure it was all level so that when I placed my marble collection on there it wouldn’t all roll on to the floor. Don’t want that happening, that can be messy.
You will notice the bottom board only goes part-way across. I did this for two reasons:
- The board was needed so that the furnace vent doesn’t just blow up into the bench. It somehow needed to be redirected, so this board and a cover on the vent were used to help push the air out across the floor instead of up into the bench.
- I was only planning on the storage going across this far because, well… fine, I will admit it, I was too lazy to figure out how to piece the boards right across to fit perfectly. So there, you found me out. But it worked.
I then added that same type of board from the bottom along the front and it didn’t need to reach to the end because it was going to be covered by shiplap. The top is made out of 3/4″ plywood. Nothing fancy since I knew it would be covered by cushions. And there you have it… the framing stage done and tested for stability by my youngest. It didn’t fall off the wall so I consider that a win.
Time to finish it off.
For this I wanted to do faux shiplap across the front. I needed:
- 1/4″ hardboard – purchased and cut down to size at Lowes
- Nickels for spacers – scrounged up from couches and laundry
- Wood glue
- Putty – to fill any holes after
- 1- 1/4″ finishing nails – to hold on the shiplap
- Primer and paint
- hinges for the two lids on top
- Foam and material for the cushions
The shiplap was quite easy to install and there are tons of great tutorials out there on how to do it. Watch a few and you’ll discover different little tricks and techniques for installation and painting.
I filled and sanded any nail holes and vertical lines so it would look like one smooth board right across. Then I primed everything since I was using raw wood and gave it a couple coats of white to finish it off.
Once dry, I attached the lids and began work on the cushions. Ugh! That was not fun. I can sew but I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. I wanted to be able to make the cushions so that I could take them off and clean them if I needed. The solution? Velcro at the back. It’s not pretty back there so don’t ask me to show you. I can’t. Also I did them as two separate cushions so that you can open just one side of the storage area at a time and of course not disturb a cozy pup. Two separate pieces worked out nicely as well because you can’t buy foam in 8′ 5″ sections.
Now it’s time to pretty it up.
I made the sign at the top of the window. I will put a tutorial up next week on how to do it. It is really quite simple.
The lights are from IKEA. I ran the cords for them down the corner of the wall and used cord covers that I could paint to hide them a bit.
The pillows are a combination of bought and made. The three middle ones are from left-over material and fabric I had lying around. The other black and white and stripped pillows were purchased from Wal-Mart. And the pink toned ones are cushion covers from IKEA, and on one, I added “the snuggle is real”. I will probably add something to the other at some point down the road.
The knit blanket is actually from when my oldest was a baby.
So you have probably noticed that a few of my ideas from the beginning are not used in this area. Well, as I said before, things happen and you need to roll with it. The pillows that I really wanted from IKEA are very popular and never in stock. I have tried and tried and they just don’t seem to be getting them in any time soon. So, for now, I’ll use these.
Also, there are no curtains. I figured that it would look too busy in there with curtains and I moved the lights onto the back wall anyway so there would be no room for them.
And finally, I really wanted a chunky knit blanket, but alas, it wasn’t in the cards. I’ll explain why in a bit.
And you may wonder if we are all happy with this area now? Yes. Yes we are. Here are my pretty pups posing for me to show their appreciation. They still can fight over the spot because there is only one open window which I am not doing anything about. And I have just recently seen Rumour chew on Bandits leg trying to pull him off, but they do also share quite nicely. Ah, siblings.
Oh yeah, by the way… Rumour was scared to jump up there for the longest time, which I’m sure made Bandit happy for a while. Now every once in a while she will sleep up there at night and sometime in the middle of the night she will fall off. It’s so sad. It scares the heck out of her. She’s like a baby. I need to run over and comfort her and tell her everything is okay. Then she is fine.
And as for me… I couldn’t be more happy. I love the area and if I could spend every minute there I would. But the boss likes it when I show up to work and my family likes to eat on occasion so for now it will have to just be once in a while. <3
If you enjoyed how I made my own built-in window bench, please use the image below to share it on pinterest.
This is my favourite spot in the house. Do you have a favourite spot in your house or even outside in the yard?
Check out some of my other before and afters.
Laundry room makeover here.
Chalk paint table here.
*UPDATE: So this is where research comes in very handy saving you time, money and disappointment. I decided to go to a local wool shop to see if they carried chunky Merino wool, so that I could arm knit my super snugly blanket shown in my mood board at the beginning of this post. At the shop, I learned a few things about these gorgeous blankets popping up all over the internet, and I think it’s important to share with you.
First let me say that these are beautiful blankets and if after reading this you decide you want to go ahead and give it a try, by all means go for it! Maybe you can already figure out that I have decided against making this for my window seat. I’m sad, but I know it just wouldn’t work in my situation.
Here is what I found out.
- It’s pricey. The prices on Etsy are probably not all that far off for a completed blanket. (It would cost me more than what I spent to build my entire window seat!)
- Large amounts are really heavy – which can be a good or bad thing. (This point would not be a downfall for me – I love weighted blankets.)
- It’s unspun, which means it will start to fuzz (my technical knitting term) fairly quickly.
- Because of #3 it would be very difficult to wash if you needed to.
- If you have pets like me and want to actually use it… forget it!
In summary, I want a blanket that I can use all the time, snuggle up with without having it look fuzzy soon after, and as you have read, be pet-friendly. So to put the time and money into this would be not in my best interest. Time for a new blanket idea. 🙂