Cooper is now eleven months old and is a wild man! He crawls (quickly), army crawls (quickly), climbs (quickly) and is now starting to walk (quickly) with his walker. Life as we know it is all new and I look at my home through a completely different lens.
Though there are days that my inner clean-freak has moments of panic/anxiety about the size and quantity of the toys (the bouncer alone is about 4′ square!), I don’t mind the re-decorating because it means we have finally grown our family and have the most amazing little baby.
One point of contention, however, has been the fireplace. While it would be easy to buy a fireplace baby gate, it would have considerably cut down on the space in our family room, and has a pretty hefty price tag for this SAHM on a budget ($150+). Here is our fireplace.
I did some Google and Pinterest searching and found THIS pin as inspiration to create a bench. Hello, project!
Nate, Cooper and I took a trip to Lowe’s and bought a piece of Plywood for $7.15. Because we have cabinets on either side of the fireplace, we didn’t need to make the bench a “box” so cut this down to two pieces. The top of ours was 69″ wide x 17″ deep. The front was 69″ wide x 11″ tall.
This is definitely a two-person job. I held the wood at a 90 degree angle (with the help of Cooper’s play table to prop it up), and Nate applied wood glue, followed by about eight screws with the electric drill. Then, we used large clamps and let it settle overnight.
The foam part stressed me out a bit in the beginning because when I began to price out options, I feared my bench idea wouldn’t actually save us money from the baby gate options. Luckly, I had a good coupon for Michael’s, and settled on a roll of 1″ thick pad (vs. thicker, denser) and found this package for $19.00 (approx $15 with the coupon).
I picked up some spray adhesive but have to say that it didn’t stick that well. If I were to do this again, I would spray just the top first and then put heavy books on it until it stuck and then do the front and weight it down. I tried to spray it all and the front didn’t end up sticking well… it might have also been our bootleg use of board games and diaper bag for weights, but who knows (ha). The good news, is that it still worked out fine without a strong adhesion.
The fabric we chose was in the clearance section of the home decor fabric section at JoAnn’s and I snagged two yards for $15. Hello, deal! I was pretty pumped to find a micro suede for such a great price in a neutral color that matched the brick in our fireplace but also blended well with our home decor.
At home, we already had a staple gun so it was just time to make it happen. I used 1/4″ (6 mm) staples because the plywood was about 1/4″ thick… and it was one of the sizes I already had in my toolbox.
After some maneuvering with the fabric, I started on the left and right edges and stapled the ends. The rest was easy and the fabric was the perfect size to fit both the front and back (which I recommend, unless you sand the wood). This way we don’t have to worry about splinters from the exposed wood.
I have to admit, that of all of the home projects I’ve tackled, this ranks near the top of what I’m proud of. It looks great, and now I’m not nervous at all about Cooper climbing. Plus, it adds seating to our family room. We love it!
– Abigail –
The opinions in the post above are completely my own based on my own experiences and I do not have a current relationship with any of the brands or products listed in this post.