This project started as a way to get our family board games out of the basement. Because, remember my big project? De-cluttering, de-carpeting, de-popcorn the ceiling…and on and on. This storage unit (see the plans here) is just a small cog in a very large wheel.
And it’s done! All but the last coat of poly over the touch-ups on the trim.
What do you think? I would be happy if it were simply square and not ugly. In fact, I used MDF for this project (a rare occurrence because of the formaldehyde in the composition of MDF) because I thought this project would be a total FAIL and didn’t want to waste money on expensive wood that would end up in the trash. But I think it’s actually a lovely addition to our house and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to fall apart! The tall base trim on it really makes it look substantial and heavy (which it is) — perfect for our big space. And, it was another good learning piece for me. I’m working up to big things, I tell you!
I put the whole thing together with glue and our pneumatic nailer since our cordless drill batteries are DEAD (new ones on order — thankfully we have a lifetime warranty!). For the finish, I used Kilz low-voc latex primer and several coats of Sherwin-Williams ProClassic trim paint color-matched to our personal furniture white. I sanded between every coat and used several coats of Minwax Polycrylic in satin to harden up the finish. The finish turned out super smooth. Just the way I like it!
To make the drawer bases look more built-in, Scott and I removed the baseboard on that wall and pushed the whole unit flush with the wall before cutting the baseboard to fit tightly up against the trim on the drawer bases. This may cause some problems at Christmastime…the drawers are encroaching on our tree’s space. Other than that, I love the placement of the drawers and the super soft olive green corduroy, too.
Putting the upholstered top together was a bit of a process. At least, it took some thought. I spent about two weeks dreading buying expensive foam for the cushion and then having to sew a cover for it. Cutting the fabric for the welting, sewing the welting, attaching the welting…okay, maybe it was mostly dealing with welting that I was dreading, and I didn’t want to do it without welting. But, really, my box cushions usually come out far from perfect and I wanted this to be perfect. You can see this piece of furniture when you walk through the front door of our home. I pass it every time I walk from the kitchen downstairs to the family room or my bedroom. I couldn’t take looking at an awful cushion every time I walk by.
So one night around midnight I was taking a long shower. I find long, hot showers to be a great catalyst for creative thought. I was brooding over this box cushion and its welting when I realized…I could make a no-sew top! I didn’t have a piece of MDF large enough to fit the top of all three drawer bases, but I had lots of long, skinny pieces. If I put them together with my pocket hole jig, drywall screws, and glue, I could add 1″ foam to the top (which I already had), wrap the whole thing in batting, and staple the fabric to it.
Duh. How could I have been so dense in the first place?
Here is what the cushion looked like while it was in the works (upside down):
See all those pocket holes? Here’s a closer-up shot of them:
The pocket holes create one solid piece of MDF (thanks to Ana White for teaching me this trick!), plus there are some little skinny pieces attached on each end. I glued and screwed those with regular countersink holes because they seemed too fragile for pocket holes. I split the skinny MDF strips a few times before I got the big part of the countersink hole big enough for the top of the screw.
Once I had the MDF put together, I spray-glued the foam on top, turned the whole thing upside-down on the batting, stapled on the batting and then stapled on the fabric. I had enough fabric to run it lengthwise without having to sew anything, but I wanted the pattern in the corduroy to run perpendicular to the length of the bench. The bench didn’t need to look any longer than it already is. So, I did the old curtain trick — a full width in the middle plus a half width on either side. I’ve got a ton of fabric left over, probably close to three yards. Since I only paid $4/yard for it, I’m not bummed to have so much extra. I’m actually looking forward to using it again!
As with any big project I tackle, I’m pleased with the outcome but, most of all, happy to be done!
Psst…for more on how I built the bench, check out this post.