Sunday, May 6, 2012

From 70s to Cottage for $7

When Doug and I got married four years ago, he had one of those lift-seat benches that everyone had in the mudroom or hallway in the 1970s.

In dark pine of course.

We kept it because it was solid wood (except for the bottom of the storage compartment). We also have a really small house, so we always need extra storage and extra seating--and when you can get both in one piece of furniture, it's easy to just keep it and ignore the fact that it looks like it the 1970s.

So this weekend, we decided to do something about it. I mixed up some paint from three cans I found in the basement, starting with some white ceiling paint and adding some creamy trim paint from our attic renovation along with some dark, greenish khaki paint leftover from the last time our exterior siding was painted.

We sanded the bench down, applied two coats of my custom mix, and then topped it with a coat of Minwax Express stain in walnut.  It comes in a nice little tube and looks kind of like chocolate pudding when it squeezes out. I applied the stain with a dry rag, and Doug followed me with a damp one to wipe off the excess.

It was just beginners' luck, but we added to the distressed look by inadvertently rubbing off some of the paint with the wet rag (it was water-based and really hadn't had time to cure).  We also used a sanding block to rough up the front of the compartment top.

When we were satisfied with the look, we applied a coat of satin, water-based urethane left over from a floor project.

We're pretty happy with the results:

And here's another view without the throw:

Total cost: Just over $7 for the tube of stain--everything else was left over from previous projects.

As for the storage compartment? All I can say is that I'm not putting Doug's extensive CD collection back in it--they're so heavy that they left a serious sag in the pressboard. He has promised me he'll go through the music and load what he wants into iTunes so he can listen to it on his iPod while he walks.

But I doubt he'll let me get rid of the CDs. Our poor kids will find them in cardboard boxes in the under-the-eaves storage in our attic when we're gone.

They're just old enough to remember what a CD was.

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