Slowly but surely, we are chipping away at the living room progress! The other day, Robert and I tackled a huge mess that had been driving us crazy since the day we moved in.
The chaos corner…
We’ve come a long, long way in here since it was bright sunshine yellow and beige. Painting the walls bright white and the doors black made this room feel 10 times larger. And adding IKEA furniture, a Craigslist coffee table, free botany prints, and a super fab ceiling fan has definitely made it my favorite room in the house.
Except for the electronics situation. There was really nowhere else we could put our TV other than above the fireplace. But that left our surround sound receiver, cable box, and game console hanging out in the open with nowhere to go. (I voted to go old fashioned and get an antenna. Robert wasn’t as excited about that idea. 😉 )
Some of y’all suggested sticking all of it in a closet and getting an infrared system, but we didn’t really have a nearby closet to put it all in except for one at the opposite end of the house near our front door. We were already thinking window seats would be kind of perfect on either side of our fireplace, so bingo! Problem solved.
Only we took a shortcut. Enter this itty bitty kitchen cabinet.
You can absolutely build a window seat from scratch if you want, but it is way easier when a lot of the work is done for you. I was hoping I could squeeze two kitchen cabinets in the space but the width of it was just 2 inches shy of being able to make that work.
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- Kitchen cabinet (Ours was 36″x12″x12″)
- 4 – 2″x4″x8″ boards
- 3/4″x2’x4′ pre-primed plywood
- Wood baseboard (to match your existing baseboard)
- Quarter round molding strip
- 1″x12″x6′ board
- 1″x10″x6′ board
- Tape measure
- Small crowbar
- Square tool
- 1 1/2″ carpentry nails
- 1 1/4″ finishing nails
- Wood filler
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Circular saw
- Primer (I used some Kilz Premium I already had)
- Paint (I used Benjamin Moore Simply White in Semigloss to match our trim)
- Manual staple gun and staples
- 2 aluminum metal sheets
- Sheet metal snips
- Paint brush
The whole project took us about 8 hours. Woot woot weekend warrior status!
1. To prep the space, we used a crowbar to remove the existing baseboard and quarter round strip. (We kept our quarter round intact and set it aside for later since it matches our hardwood floor.) From there, we measured to get the exact width we needed to start building our seat.
2. We built a base, first, by cutting 2 of the 2″x4″ boards with the circular saw to fit the width of our window space and placed braces of 2″x4″s between the front and back to support the width of the kitchen cabinet.
3. Then, we nailed the base to the back and sides of the wall in our nook.
4. To start securing the cabinet, we “dry fit” it on top of the base and measured the height to start cutting braces.
And also to make faces like usual. If you’re gonna DIY, you gotta have a touch of crazy.
5. Using the measurements from our “dry fit” cabinet height, we used our circular saw again to cut 2″x4″ boards.
6. We took the cabinet back outside at this point too to go ahead and cut holes in the back with a jigsaw so cords could be fed through to the outlet and TV. We used the jigsaw at this point to also cut out the front of the cabinet doors so that the boxes can later receive a signal from our remotes.
7. Once we put the cabinet back on top of the base, we screwed the 2″x4″ braces to the sides and to the corners of our box.
8. To enclose the front, we measured the space between the cabinet and the wall to cut a plywood piece.
9. From there, we lined up the cut plywood piece and pressed it flush against the front two 2″x4″ braces for support and nailed into place.
10. We repeated the same process on the other side of the box using 2″x4″ braces and cut plywood too.
11. To add support to the back of the seat, we cut two more 2″x4″ braces and nailed them to the back wall.
12. On the front, we finished it off by nailing on a baseboard strip along with our old quarter round.
13. For the top, we measured the width of the space again and cut the 1″x12″ and 1″x10″ boards to the top of the cabinet and 2″x4″ braces.
14. Once we caulked all of the cracks, wood filled and sanded all of the nail holes, primed, and painted, this little seat looked like it’d been there all along.
15. As a finishing touch, I cut the two aluminum sheets with metal snips slightly larger then the cabinet door openings and stapled them to the backs of the cabinet doors. I primed and painted the sheets on the doors with the same paint I used on the rest of the seat.
And voila! A place to hide all of our electronic madness and a cute little reading nook or a bench for overflow seating when we have a lot of friends and family over.
We could have probably built it from scratch, but it would have taken a while longer. Instant gratification for the win! Well, 8 hour gratification but whatever.
To make sure everything stays cool and running smoothly, we put these dual electronic fans inside. They’re completely silent and work perfectly!
I had a hard time finding a cushion for this seat since it was a custom job, so I had to order one on Amazon. (I’m sure the cushion could be another DIY project, but all hope is lost when it comes to my sewing skills.) This one I found is super soft and comfy and is made with Sunbrella fabric, so if Olivia spills juice all over this, it’ll be no big deal.
We still have some cleaning up to do around the door with the paint job, but we’ll get to it soon.
To hide the cords between the TV and seat, I wrapped them in cord covers, stuck them into the corner of the wall, and painted the covers to match the wall color (Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee). You barely notice them!
I’ve debated whether I should hang curtains on either side of this window, but I’m thinking less is more.
Isn’t it the cutest? I need a good book to read in this spot pronto! Olivia is so excited about it because it’s exactly her length, so she sprawls out on it and volunteers to take a nap. (Okay, I might just be wishful thinking about that last part.)
Eventually, we would love to put a matching window seat on the other side of the fireplace, but we have to rip out an old non-functioning door first and replace it with an actual window before we can do that.
Next on the living room to-do list is to tackle that brick. I’m trying not to psych myself out over here. A lot of you voted to German smear it and some of y’all have said to just clean it and leave it raw or paint the whole thing white entirely. Ack! So we’ll see what happens. Until then, I’ll just keep staring at it until it tells me what to do.
P.S. If you want to know where to get any of the rest of our living room decor, since you guys sometimes ask, here’s the list.
- Hyacinth basket tray
- Lemon mantel arrangement
- Metallic lumbar pillow
- Blue pleated pillow
- Area rug
- Seat cushion
- Wall sconce
- Wall color: Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee
- Trim color: Benjamin Moore Simply White
- Door color: Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron
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