Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill

I LOVE this table and the benches!

When we bought Star Hill the one area we did not think about was a place to eat.  There was a small, narrow space at the end of the kitchen area in front of a set of patio doors and we thought it would work. We were wrong.  The space was WAY too small for our family.  Hubby is about 6’3″.Baby Boy is about 6’5″, Joe, the Southern Bell’s fiancee, is probably 6’7″, three of the nephews are way over  6′.  Beside the size of us are a lot of us too.  At times we have had 8- 10 people eating in the house.  Now we LOVE Star Hill.  It is truly a peaceful spot and has been a comfort to us in our busy lives, but it is only 950 square feet bedrooms, living space, bathroom and laundry room included. Space is at a premium in the main room.  Hubby has done everything he can to make my kitchen function better but I still only have five full cabinets and a bank of drawers.  He has added drawers inside the island cabinets so that they are used to their full potential and has built a buffet and hutch out of fencing material that was being thrown away to add storage.
I started searching my favorite site, Pinterest and found several ideas for banquette seating.

This was my inspiration from troveinteriorsblogspot

Pinned Image

We knew what we had to work with would be small so we took out the sliding glass doors and a window in the corner.  We put in a single glass door with blinds inside the glass to make up for the lost light.  We bought the door at one of my favorite spots to get new stuff: Pasadena Builders Surplus.  The cost for the door was over half what it was at Lowe’s or Home Depot. 


The Window

I measured the height of counter height chairs and tables then got busy drawing it all out.  I sketch out what I want then Hubby tells me what is possible and what is not.  I knew I wanted a pedestal style table along with storage in the benches.  The extra height means that my stand mixer, blender, and food processor can easily fit in the benches. 

The Required Storage for my Banquette  The small one has stuff for the deck table in it.

Star Hill was built from a kit back in the 70’s  by the original owners so nothing is plumb, square or level. (Think Wacky Shack from AstroWorld and you are close!)  In order to get the bench to sit level and the back to appear level the back had to be attached directly to the wall, not to the bench. 

We used more of our reclaimed cedar to clad the benches and make the back. Apparently the trim boards once were white then were painted a red color.  When I sanded them both colors came through.  I left paint on some of the trim boards.

The short section of bench is not connected to the long section in case we ever reconfigure the layout.

Hubby cut plywood to cover the tops and we upholstered them with upholstery fabric off the clearance table at Hancock Fabrics.  I got enough fabric to cover all the cushions and a bench I have at home for $8.00. The trick to good looking upholstered cushions is to have an electric staple gun, an electric knife to cut the foam straight, and have someone stand on the plywood while stapling the fabric to the board. Clip off the corner of the fabric before wrapping the corners like you would a present.

The table was made from reclaimed cedar and left over scraps of wood.  The only cost was the plywood that went under the reclaimed wood on the top.  We did the top just like we did the farmhouse table.  I have included a link here:
Making a Farmhouse Table on the Cheap

The base was made from a 2X4 skeleton covered with reclaimed wood.  I didn’t sand this wood because I wanted to paint over it and let the old paint come through.  The cabin had cedar siding when we bought it that had been painted brown with red trim.
Hubby ran the edge of each board through the table saw to make sure they were not damaged on the edges and that they were close to being straight. 

Hubby requested that two of the red boards be left with a lot of paint on them for the top.  The top has 7 coats of oil based Polyurethane that were sanded between each coat with super fine sand paper.  Because we have such limited counter space I need the table to be tough enough to serve as extra prep area in the kitchen.  We made the table three inches shorter than the long side of the bench so that it can slide in close to the benches when not in use.  When we have it turned out it can easily seat 6-8 people around the table.

 
I am not going to lie… it took three tries to get the table and benches the right height.  We seemed to have trouble with the math regarding adding the reclaimed wood to the skeleton frame.  Hubby had to totally take the benches apart two times and cut off the bottom another time to make it work.  He did not love my measurements at that time. 

 I painted the base of the table the same blue that I used on the farmhouse table.  Everything in our cabin has a denim, red and white theme. 

The 4 counter height chairs came from a resale shop for $10.00 each.  They look really modern and I am not in love with them but they are functional.  I am waiting for inspiration to figure out how to make them look more like the rest of the cabin.

The total cost of the banquette and table was just over $75.00 including the Polyurethane, plywood, sanding pads etc.  The chairs added $40.00 to the project so for just over $100 we now have a functioning seating area with storage that can double as additional counter space and actually takes up less room than a traditional table.  It is steady enough to use but easily moves position. Yeah us!

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