Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Upcoming Project

In our living room there is an area that is dropped down from the rest of the room, with built-in couches. When we built this house, I remembered some new "California-style" houses that had been built near where we used to live. Those houses had built-in couches surrounding a fireplace and hearth, and I liked the concept. We didn't plan to build a fireplace (this was when I was married to my first husband and he was no mason. I had to marry a mason to get a fireplace built. Um--that's not serious, yall!)

So we built our version of the Virginia sunken seating areas, with a wood stove instead of a fireplace. Over the years (and after I married him!) Larry put in a brick floor and a brick hearth. Once every 5 years or so, I had to re-cover the seating areas. At first, I used carpet, but that was so hard to do I started using fabric. That wasn't much easier and I was never satisfied with my handiwork.

The couches needed covering again this year, in a bad way, and in just as bad a way I did not want to do it. But what else could I do? Then I had an idea: rather than going through the struggle and dissatisfaction of the whole re-covering process, what if we just stripped off all the padding and cloth and covered the couches with wood? They would become more like benches and I could toss pillows on them to soften them up a bit. The more I thought about the idea the better I liked it.

Last week Larry stripped down the couches (and found a shocking amount of dirt--if you've ever pulled up carpet, you know what it's like). Even now, with nothing but the framing showing, they look better! We measured and figured out what wood we would need for the project.

Enter ReStore, the Habitat for Humanity place that re-sells building materials. We had gone in to pick up a couple of small filing cabinets for my home office when a pile of wood caught my eye. It looked like knotty pine. I investigated.

What I found was a stack of knotty pine cabinet doors, 21 in all, and all marked $1 each. Would these work for my couch project? I thought they would and Larry agreed.

So the cabinet doors will become the wood that covers the couches. I don't think this is going to be easy, or fast either. But I sure do think it will look beautiful when we are done. What do you think?

And $21--can't beat that price :) and the good feeling that comes with recycling. Of course, by the time we're finished, sanding and finishing, staining, etc. we will have a little more into it. It will take a while to get done, but when it is, I will share the "after" photos.

Have you ever tried using used building materials for a project? Got a story to share with us?

(That's Charley wanting in the door. I love the way cat's eyes gleam for the camera.)

11 comments:

Granny Kate said...

The benches will be beautiful. Just think of all the lovely pillows you can use there. Maybe out of bits of old quilts or out of unique preloved fabrics.

Mama-Bug said...

That sounds like a wonderful project and I love that you are using recycled materials. Can't wait to see everything finished. Love those cute little kittie headlites shining at the door!

Nance said...

I love re-purposing. You've solved the problem of recovering every few years, you have saved beautiful wooden doors from a land-fill and saved quite a bit of money as you don't have to buy new wood. I love it!

Janet, said...

Good Idea Susanna. I'm always using things for something other than what they were intended to be used for.

Granny Sue said...

I think the challenge to this project is to get the pattern in the wood located correctlf. There is a decorative ribbing in the pieces so making those fit together in some way should be like working a jigsaw puzzle. I think it will work, though. We still need wood trim, especially for the top edge and I was thinking I might try to find some walnut for that. We've saved enough on the rest to be able to spring for it, I think--I estimated that new wood would have cost us about $150.

Char5 said...

I am so exited about your latest project!!! That wood is GORGEOUS!!! You and Larry got the deal of the century on those cabinet doors. I can't wait to see it all put together with lots of comfy cushions and pillows!

Granny Sue said...

I think it's beautful too, Chrlotte :) and it matches some other woods in our house. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I stop in a restore ever so often and have found some good buys. Usually the items are for my garden -- like fencing -- posts etc. Your idea is wonderful -- love knotty pine. -- barbara

The Gingerbread House7 said...

They are going to be priceless, the beauty is already showing in the wood...it's going to be work but I think you like being able to DIY Good luck

Granny Sue said...

I saw a couple things garden-relate when I was there, Barbara, and now I wish I'd added them to my pile. I was trying to hurry to get back to work on time. Our store had a beautiful rosemary bush last year, with a sign that said help yourself. I loved that.

Granny Sue said...

Gingerbread, I guess we do almost everything ourselves. Except maybe pump out the septic tank, and fix the well :) So I hope we can manage this one too. I will probably let Larry and our son Derek tackle this, and just stay out of their way! Sometimes it's best for marital harmony, ya know ;)

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