Everyone has one of those Pinterest photos that they have had for so long that they almost forget it’s supposed to lead to actually DOING something about it and starting that project, right? This stairwell/landing window seat has definitely been mine!
So, finally, I organized the project the way that works best for me: putting it into manageable, bite-size chunks of work, rather than “do it in a day” which can be intimidating with all that we have been up to. Example: 1) measure, 2) remove existing floor trim, 3) source wood in the barn for as much that can be repurposed as possible, 4) build it one step at a time, 5) paint, 6) figure out the cushion/decor final touches.
Our stairwell was not always something that made a whole lot of sense.
When we bought the house, there was this crazy 2nd floor deck that you entered off the stairwell. It was rickety, it was not covered (so very slippery), the railings actually moved when you leaned on them, and in major wind storms, the door would occasionally fly open on its own (terrifying!) in wind storms. There was even tape over the doorknob as it’s clear someone once got themselves locked out on the deck at one point… Yeah, it definitely had to go.
From the outside, this is what it looked like before, and after the window was installed its place (happily, we also repurposed the door to bring more light into our laundry room, as described in this post). Yep, we are redoing our siding next on the house this year (woo hoo!), so it looks kinda trashy on the outside since we didn’t have matching paint at the time of install. Sadly, I don’t have a “before” photo like I do with most areas of the house, but this should give you an idea of where it all began…
So once that window was in and the top of the stairs became just a normal landing, I could not get it out of my head how useless that space was…and got onto Pinterest. I found a lot of DIY window seat ideas but ironically, many of them involved buying a kitchen cabinet and simply repurposing it – which to me wasn’t the most sustainable thing out there (unless you found one second hand) and besides, this needed to be customized to the new space. Fortunately, I had literally TWO pieces of 2×6 left in the barn from the old second-floor deck…they were full of nails but once I yanked all of those out, we had the base, with leftover 2×4 scraps from a neighbor to start building the verticals, as shown below:
Then we carved out a couple pieces of plywood for the top and bottom, repurposed some leftover pieces of door trim for the front base to cover up the 2×6’s, then got to painting! This was done with our existing zero-VOC white paint that we use for everything white in our house, then followed up with a quick caulking of the seams.
The more exciting thing for me was NOT buying a cushion but making it. Most DIY sites for stuff like this involve sewing machines, something I’m still mildly fearful of. So after finally finding a video of a new-sew cushion, I modified it to suit this project, using a 6′ roll of 3″ thick foam, cutting a super-thin piece of plywood under it (happily, repurposed from an old bathroom cabinet we recently tore out), sourced a gorgeous few yards of organic hemp in charcoal gray (yay Etsy!) , and wrapped it like a gift, folding it on the short ends under and stapling it to the bottom. BAM!
Here’s the final product – whatcha think? Not sure what I’ll actually put on the bottom shelf now that I look at it – but I’m sure if certain plans materialize there will be books and other fun things to store there, or square baskets to hold things, etc. The possibilities are endless!