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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Foyer - A tale of true love!

In my last post, I mentioned I was mad at the bi-fold doors.  We have not yet made up, so this post is on the hall tree/bench I made.  I'll get back to the doors in another post.  On the other hand, the Bench and I are a bit in love!  It has turned out to be quite useful and, in my opinion, an artistic piece of furniture.

How we met:  I was on one of my usual treasure hunts at the Habitat Restore when I found them - Tall, Dark, and Handsome.  What more could a girl ask?  Oh, they were a bit rough around the edges...some paint peeling, some screw holes from missing brackets which held the frame together, some scratches, and some cracks, but I saw through all that.  I saw a bench for the foyer.  Each shutter was 67 inches tall and 16.25 inches wide.  They were so heavy, I could hardly carry one at a time.  The price was right at only $2 each.  I took 6 home with me.

Our first date: 

After filling some of the large gaps with wood putty, some light sanding, and cleaning up in the garage, I brought the shutters to the basement.  The first thing I did was join 3 of them with some scrap 1 X 2 wood.  The shutters were not completely straight, so I needed to put a vise on the ends while I screwed them together.  (No innuendos here!)

Next - Stood up:

Well of course, my new love did not stand me up - I stood him up!  I added the sides after cutting two shutters to the height I wanted - 31 inches.  I could have cut them about 27 inches long which was the length of the short panel end, but I thought at the time it would be good to have the center wood strip on the panel to screw in the bottom of the bench.  I knew I wanted to leave room under the bench to slide in a boot tray, so this left me with about a 4 inch clearance.  I also planned to only screw through the wood from the back or bottom so that I did not have to try to hide the screw heads.

Difficulties in the relationship:

There were a couple of obstacles to overcome.  The first I was fully aware of.  This was going to be BIG and we have a small staircase with one 90 degree turn at the bottom as well as a turn to get around to the kitchen at the top.  My plan was to screw all the pieces together without glue so I could see the finished unit, then remove screws to bring it upstairs.   I ended up putting so many screws in by the time I got the bottom on, that I decided to just remove what I had to and get it upstairs to complete it.

Another obstacle, was putting the bottom on where I wanted it.  Remember I put a scrap piece of wood on the back to hold it together.  At the time, I thought I put it in a good place, but I realized it was in the way of where I wanted to screw in the bottom.  The bottom is actually in two pieces cut from the other end of each shutter I used for the sides.  There are some metal brackets that were on the shutters holding the frame on which were in the way.  I tried to remove them, but the screws were stripped.  I decided to attach the bottom below two of the brackets in the back which was in  line with a bracket toward the front.  Since I couldn't remove the bracket and couldn't screw through it, I used an 'L' bracket under the bottom.  I realized using 'L' brackets there and under the seat allowed me to keep screws basically hidden.

A few adjustments...
and the bottom is on!
Not his best side, but we are out of the basement now.

A flaw was revealed once I brought the bench upstairs and moved him into his new home, the Foyer.  (They always reveal their true selves after they move in, don't they?)  I discovered that I cut the left side piece on a slant at the bottom.  It was 31.5 inches in the back and 31 inches in the front.  When we were in the basement, I was working near the floor drain where the floor slopes downward; so, when I noticed the space under the one side, I dismissed the idea that my cut needed to be fixed and didn't bother remeasuring before continuing.  How does that saying go?  Measure twice, cut once?  I already put all the pieces together, including the top of the seat which was cut from the center of the last shutter.  I like symmetry.  So I purchased some screw on glides and added one to level the piece.  When you love someone you look beyond the flaws.

A changed man...I mean bench:

I had no intention of keeping the bench green.  I sprayed a coat of white paint, then brushed on a coat of the same since the sprayer stopped working on me.  I used a $10 gallon of some soft shade of white I got at the Habitat Restore.  I forgot that I wanted to keep the cubby holes under the seat green, so I pulled out our cottage paint and painted the cubbies 'secret garden' green.  Pretty close to the original color.

I sanded the white off all the edges to reveal the green below.  I wanted an aged look.  I may do a bit more sanding before I'm done.  I am also thinking of covering it all in a polyurethane/stain mix to brown up the white a bit. 

And now for a ring...or some bling in the form of two antique crystal door knobs.  We have had these for years.  Now they will serve as a knob to hang guests' coats, hats, whatever.

The upcoming marriage!

I thought I'd be ready to march up that aisle after adding a seat cushion, but my creative assistant (my daughter, Harmony) said something very wise.  It is one thing to have a functional piece that looks like it is made from shutters and another thing to have some furniture that just happens to be made from shutters.  To make this bench look less like the former, I will be adding some trim on the bottom to mask the 'cut off' look on the bottom sides and to cover the front corners which will conceal (I hope) the glide I needed to level the bench.  Some additional trim on the ends of the back will hide the scrap wood that keeps it together.

I'll be putting the final touches on this bench to bring it all together in the upcoming days.  Come back in two weeks for more on this, those dang bi-fold doors, and more.

This is dedicated to my dear husband, Don, who is the only man for me!


  1. I feel so important; I made it into your blog! Love it!

  2. The bench looks great! Maybe you can help me make some benches for my front porch next year!

  3. great job looks neat and I would probably leave it as is keep it going