Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rising to the Storage Challenge.

Storage. That was the number one challenge when working on little Aiden's room (see here). Anybody with kids or designing around them will encounter this issue. Where do you put all the toys and clutter so that nothing distracts from your thoughtfully executed design? After unsuccessfully searching for an economical storage unit to fit in a small space in the room, I ran into JoAnn Fabric no less...

While cubbie units like this are not hard to come by, it's what I did with it that is. A vertical unit is fine...if you've got the space...but I realized (after what was probably too long of a head-tilted-stare in this aisle) that I could repurpose this piece horizontally to meet all my needs! So here's how I did it!

Primer was the first step. I had a limited amount of leftover green wall paint I wanted to use on the piece and it's coordinating drawers so I used a standard primer from Lowes to soak into the raw oak so it wouldn't soak up my paint!

With the whole piece primed out, I had a 1/4" piece of plywood cut to just smaller than the dimensions of the new top to become the upholstered surface for the seating aspect. From there we marked 6 spots to drill holes to match up from the wood to the base.

Something called a T-nut was then used so that a screw could be drilled up threw the base into the top but not interfere with the smooth, cushion of the upholstered seat. T-nuts became my best friends. What a perfect find!

After the wholes where drilled with everything in the right spot, the more attractive green coat was applied to the pieces. The crevices are tricky and you HAVE to watch for goopy drips because those are just ugly...and I don't do ugly. Also make sure the first coat dries before you try to apply a second coat to ensure that 2nd one covers nicely.

To upholster the top, I wrapped a nice 1" thick foam piece over the top and staple gunned that in nice and taught. The next layer was a broadcloth material...if you don't want to buy any (even though its super cheap), you can use an old sheet and it works just as well. With that layer taught down, you have a better chance of getting any pattern on your finish fabric lined up and you'll use less of that decorative fabric as it won't have to work to stretch over anything.
Be sure to leave the T-nuts exposed and not stapled over so there is no problem drilling the pieces together. And don't be afraid with the staple gun. You can't really do too many.

After the piece was said and done, I added an accent of my chalkboard paint to the front of the drawers. I gave it 3 coats, taped off with painters tape, and it left a great, smooth surface to personalize the drawers with chalk for even better organization!

Now the room has a one-of-a-kind DIY storage bench. A perfect spot for this little tyke to sit and play and to clean up when he's done!

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