Saturday, November 15, 2014

DIY Banquette aka The Breakfast Nook

So many of the houses in our area make no sense to me. You have 4 to 5 bedroom homes with decent sized kitchens and the smallest eating nook area, fit for approximately 4 people. Now most homes have formal dinning rooms, but really how often do people use their formal dining area?!? And I'm sure not for every day use. Many of our friends use them as toy rooms or for other purposes.

So as a family of 6 that needed more space, we took our eating nook 

from this.......... to this.

Two challenges, a tight budget and we needed to make our small area fit 6-7 people comfortably and still be able to maneuver to the patio door without squeezing through or moving a table/chairs. 

A banquette or breakfast nook was our best bet and we had the perfect wall for it!

Like most of our home projects, we had a small budget to work with. First we hit up the local Habitat Restore for some recycled cabinets. We bought 3 sets of over the refrigerator cabinets that made a perfect bench. 

Helpers. Future thrifters. It's in their blood... right Grandma Julia!?! :)

Another score for the day was 4 wooden chairs with vinyl covered teal cushions. I fell in love with the color. And since I couldn't do my kitchen cabinets in white like I had wanted (back in this post) I envisioned white everything for the banquette (except for some pops of color) 
And at just $5 each it was a steal of a deal for these chairs!!

White paint can work wonders. It doesn't even look like the same chair.

This was our eating area before. Without the leaf in it. It was tight. For two chairs on one side it needed the leaf in the middle.

Here it was with the leaf in it... but then it just made it too tight for the space.
(we put the leaf in it for the BOTW commercial last year, hence the guy with the headphones and giant light)

You had to move the chair at the right end all the way in, just to get to the sliding door. It was a pain.

The third phase of our eating area before we found time to build the banquette was just using a white table and our new used rehabbed chairs. That table really started brightening up that area a ton.

Finally-- The Nook:

We took a weekend we had no plans and pulled the trigger to start the big project. 

First, we measured our area and then hit up Home Depot. We had a piece of white plywood cut for the top of the bench. We also picked up some 2x4's for the bottom frame "bones" of the bench. 

The weekend prior I had sanded, primed and sprayed the cabinets. 

John's fine job at putting together the foundation of the banquette.

Mason was clearly shocked at how well his parents were doing at this DIY job :)

It was coming together. We didn't need to nail it to the wall since it's heavy enough that it doesn't slide.

Three or four boys can fit nicely on one side now.

We used it like this for about a month or so until my mom sewed the cushions for the back and seating. I really need to take the time and learn to sew!! It's on my bucket, really! 

Here's the final look. My mom is amazing at sewing and upholstery work. I'm eventually going to put a large white pendant drum shade above like this one. But in the meantime I couldn't pass up this fun little tiffany pendant light that was 90% off at Home Depot, yep just $19.00. Someday I'll learn not to buy something just because it's on sale. Maybe??!

There's so much more room to get around to the sliding door. An actually path now. Even when people are sitting in the chairs you can fit around easily.

I bought 2, 1 1/2 inch thick foam pieces at JoAnn Fabrics for the seat and the back. They always have a 40% off coupon for one item which came in handy. Then I bought white vinyl for the bottom seating - easy to wipe up when kids spill stuff on a daily basis :) For the back cushion I bought a grey microfiber material. It's soft and easy to clean as well. 

And the extra storage is just a big ole bonus! 

BTW... before I resourced my mom for the upholstery job, I looked online and priced out some giant custom cushions for the bench. I about fell over. It was over $500 to order just one and I needed two.  Ugh... just further confirming that I need to start sewing!

My mom did an excellent job making covers for both. We slid them over the foam forms and sewed them up at the far ends. Mom also made the piping for the back cushion. It definitely makes it look more finished and professional. The last thing was tufting the bottom cushion. It had to be done because the white vinyl cover was sliding all over the place around the foam. I picked up some cheap pearl-ish looking buttons at a craft store for $2 per 8 pack. We measured and sewed them in. My moms poor finger tips were about raw by the time it was done... but look how great it turned out!! :) 

I used giant velcro strips that I stuck to the cushion and the wooden bench to help keep it in place. 

Last... I'll be looking for an oval table I can refinish white and replace this rectangle table. We all bump our knees and shins on the table legs. A pedestal table would be ideal for something like this. Eventually we'll have one there. 

Overall, we're very happy with the way it turned out. We've been using it for over 6 months now and it's improved the functionality of our kitchen space tremendously!

Hurray for saving us probably $2k on this project! Now on to the next one...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Trick or Treat

We were so fortunate to have grandma Julia here visiting over Halloween. We took her to the school Halloween parade and to our neighbors Halloween party. It was a very busy and fun Halloween this year!

What breakfast looks like at our house on Saturday mornings with 5 littles.

I think grandma really enjoyed the young conversations and the time spent in the morning before all the crazy chaos began :)

I love this picture of my grandma!

It's common to dress up about 3 days a week in our house. Costumes and pretending has been the norm for us since Adrian was about 3 years old. 

I delegated bed time stories. No body reads a good story like great grandma does :)

John proves here that you "can" relax with 5 kids in one room. 
That is-- as long as you've got a good kids movie going on. 

Grandma read lots of books.

The boys were so happy that grandma came to school.

Mason fit right in the second grade class.

Preston as "Flash"

Cowboy Adrian at the school parade.

Sir Kellen.

We were channeling our inner Game of Thrones characters. We were going for the Cersei and Jaime Lannister look. It was a last minute costume idea. I didn't have time to cut John's wig up properly (he was more Jaime Lannister in his grung days)... but on the bright side, he'll have no problem if he decided's to go as Kurt Cobain next year. I'm sure I could smear some lipstick and eye liner, throw the blond wig on and go as his sidekick Courtney. 

Grandma even went as a cat :) and Nana as a Wizard. We headed to the neighbors for some pre-trick or treating beverages and amazing chili.

From brunettes to blondes. It was fun changing it up! 

The kids think we're so cool when we dress up with them. I know we don't have many "cool" years left, so I'm going to milk it as long as I can... and I can't deny we have fun doing it!!

The kids had a ton of fun and brought home easily 15lbs of candy, which I will use for dessert and dinner incentives for the next 6 months.

Some neighbors really go ALLLL out. The kids appreciate it. We walked through 2 fun and spooky haunted houses.

Continuing on with the neighbors after the trick or treating was over, candy was devoured and the majority of the kids were in bed. 

We're so fortunate to live on a great street with some great people!!

The next day we had a birthday party to attend. Mason was so tired from the 2 days of partying he passed out with his party favor and balloon. This is rare since this little boy doesn't really nap anymore. And his little busted lip. That happened about 2 minutes into trick or treating. Our only causality.... a sidewalk mishap.