Last time we checked in on the dining room it was looking something like this (minus the stencil art that we added later).
However, the past few days we’ve been working away at tackling the built-in banquette seat along with wrapping up a few other related, smaller updates. And here’s how she’s looking now!
We decided to do a wood-base along the seat and backside of the bench, and we’ll be adding an upholstered cushion portion to them both. So, basically, we’ve reached the halfway mark on this project. I’m hoping to order the fabric sometime this week and officially right this project off. It’s been a. long. time. coming.
The entire piece was constructed from Ikea cabinets, a few 2×4’s, and 3/4″ plywood. Once we had the general plan nailed down, the rest was a breeze. Totally a do-able weekend project.
Let’s dive right into the details! The base cabinets started off a little like this.
They’re Ikea’s 30″ x 15″ Akurum cabinets, designed to go above refrigerators. Which is obviously not what we did with them. Instead, Rick built them up on top of a 1/2″ wood support, allowing room for the doors to open without scraping the floor, and simply nailed them down from the inside to secure. If you’re making the bench seat and don’t plan to add the cushion seat on top, you’ll want to raise the cabinets up quite a bit more. Ideally, seat height is about 18″, depending on your table height. We’re thinking the 12″ cabinet height plus another inch in wood supports, above and below the cabinets, plus 4-5 inches in upholstery should put us right around there.
I’m going to do my best to explain this next part. It’s a simple idea, but we somehow missed taking a photo of the step. On top of the Ikea cabinets we placed a 3/4″ sheet of plywood, cut to size. The front portion is supported by the cabinets, and the back is supported by a 2″ x 4″ piece of wood. Basically, we screwed the 2×4 to the wall studs, and the plywood rests on top of it. Does that make sense?
You can see in the photo below where the screws are up against the wall. The 2×4 is directly beneath them. The rest of the plywood is screwed down to the cabinets. We chose to leave the edges of the plywood exposed, rather than covering them up with decorative trim. We’re banking on the fact that the upholstered cushion will disguise most of it.
Once the base construction was completed, Rick moved onto the back support. He started by building the top plate that would serve as a small ledge. There are two separate pieces here. The bottom wood piece is a 1″x1″ (a 1″x2″ cut in half) and screwed to the wall studs.
The second piece (1″x2″) then sits on top of that, with the larger side facing upwards. This second piece is also where you’ll want to cut your angle to fit snuggly with the plywood back support. As far as the angle is concerned, we kind of did a little trial and error here. My best advice is to use a few pieces of scrap wood until you can cut the angle you desire.
So, now that we have a place for the plywood to rest at the top, we then created a resting spot at the bottom of the seat. The 2×4’s that you see below (use what you’ve got) serve as a support for the plywood to rest on and be secured to.
Hopefully this next picture will help sort out any confusions. Rick attached the second piece of plywood to the top and bottom supports. Since the adjacent cabinets have countertops with a little overhang, we chose to end the bench seat just below that. Otherwise we would have created a whole mess of awkward cuts that weren’t necessary.
We puttied the screw holes with a few dabs of Elmer’s Wood Filler.
And chalked around the wood seams.
About an hour later it was ready for priming. Whoop, whoop. Now the real fun begins. I’m designated painter at our house. Ricky builds, I paint. I was in no mood to mess things up, so I opted to use painter’s tape. Everywhere. You guys know my feelings on Frog Tape 🙂
Since we were dealing with bare wood, I primed everything first with Sherwin Williams’ Harmony Primer. Not necessarily something I would or would not recommend, just what we had on hand. Although, it is a no-VOC line, so it’s great for projects with the munchkins around.
You can’t really tell in the photos, but the primer is a bright white and the cabinets are more of an off white. So, I followed up the primer with two coats of semi-gloss paint. The color is the same color we used on all the trim in the house, which matches the Ikea cabinets. If you’re looking for something similar, just take an Ikea cabinet door to any paint store and they should be able to match it for you.
And here she is 🙂
We also finally got around to adding hardware to the adjacent cabinet drawers. They’re the same pulls that we used in the kitchen, Ikea’s Lansa pulls. We’re not totally sure what we’ll do with the cabinets beneath the banquette. We’re afraid that even something as simple as a knob might be irritating to the legs when you’re seated. We’ll keep you posted.
Right now we’re just happy to be one step closer to crossing this bad boy off the to-do list all together. We’re hoping to then move back to the laundry room and finish it by spring time. Just before the addition begins! 🙂 Speaking of, I seriously need to share our in depth plans in that department.