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Making a Window Seat and 8 Lessons Learnt

December was a very stressful time for us. My son moved to Canada to study Psychology at UBC and my daughter and her dad, aka the ex-hubby, went with to make sure that he settled in okay. Canada is sooo darn far away 🙁 A week before they left, the ex-hubby also moved into a new house, which meant that my little girl not only had to say goodbye to her best friend and big brother, but the new house didn’t feel like home either.  What can a mom do, besides bawl her eyes out because her son is half way across the world. The ex-hubby and I had a chat and we decided that I could make something for Talea while they were in Canada. Something that would make her feel like the new house was also a new home. After throwing a few ideas around we finally agreed that a dreamy window seat would be perfect. Who doesn’t love a window seat? Here’s the thing though, I would only have 4 hours to install it. On the day they got back from their trip. Wait whaaaaat!!!! I can’t measure, tweak, come back again? Nope. While the ex and I are good friends, giving me unlimited access to the new house clearly wasn’t on the cards 😉

Okay, let’s fast forward to the beginning of January so I can at least show you a pretty picture of the finished window seat, before getting into the “what I learnt” making something like this completely off site and installing it in a few hours.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Made with love

I was super worried the day before the install. What if I didn’t measure correctly or I couldn’t finish before they came home? What if I broke something while putting it together? I don’t think the ex would’ve be too happy if I destroyed his new house. And Talea would have been devastated if she came home to a scrap yard in the middle of her bedroom. But I’m happy to report it worked and there’s even extra storage underneath the window seat.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Hidden storage

Would you believe that the storage is made from these el cheapo collapsible crates?

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Collapsible plastic crates

We just added a mock front using shiplap (tongue and groove) that we cut to size, painted and screwed onto the front. Then we attached rope handles to fit with the nautical theme in Talea’s bedroom.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

A mock front and rope handles

And we put some wheels onto the bottom for smooth sailing 😉 We used small blocks of wood inside the crates and screwed the wheels through the plastic into the wooden blocks.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Add some wheels

The storage is perfect for Talea’s HUGE collection of swimming costumes and other bits and bobs. Did I mention that my baby girl’s biggest dream is to swim for South Africa in the Olympics. The plastic crates are a great choice because if she throws a wet costume inside it won’t get all moldy and eeky.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Plastic Crates

So what did I learn making the window seat off site.

  1. Do your research and learn from the experts. I’ve never built a window seat before so this tutorial from Instructables really helped. A lot.

2. Measure twice or three times. Measure the height, length and depth of the space. Then measure again and just in case, measure one more time for luck. Write the measurements in a book.  I wrote the measurements down on a piece of scrap paper which mysteriously disappeared in my handbag for weeks days.

3. Take lots of pictures so you have something to refer back too. The devil is in the details and it’s amazing how quickly you forget the little things. Like the skirting at the bottom of the bay window.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Take lots of pictures

4. Simple is Better. I went for a basic frame built out of 2 x 4 which I screwed into the back and side walls. More 2 x 4 were used to create the front of the window seat which was covered with shiplap . The front frame was made before the time so all I needed to do was screw it onto the “wall” mounted frame bits using brackets.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat off site

Keeping it simple

5. Use the longest, meanest screws you can find to attach the frame to the wall. Talea is almost 17 and she’s the type of girl that would rather climb a tree than go to the mall. I didn’t want the whole thing collapsing in heap just because she dive bombed her window seat from her bed.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Attaching the frame to the wall

6. Take everything with you. If you’re using a battery operated drill, make sure it’s charged and take a spare battery with. My battery ran out as I was trying to screw the second last of those longest, meanest screws in. My shoulder is still not talking to me. In fact, take everything with you. Everything, even if you don’t think you’ll need it, take it with. Okay you can leave the kitchen sink at home, but take everything else. There’s just no time to drive around looking for something you forgot.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Take everything with

7. A bread knife and a ruler are all you need to make a custom sized mattress for the window seat. Just use the ruler as a guide and cut the foam. You can buy foam at most haberdasheries but they charge extra if you want a specific size. A lot extra!! We ended up buying three standard size bits of foam and cutting them to fit the space.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

A bread knife and a ruler

8. And finally, believe in yourself because love really does conquer all and there’s nothing that a hammer and a chain saw can’t fix. Oh and a few pretty pillows and a cuddly toy or two.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Peek a Boo

The window seat doubles up as a single bed, so Talea can invite friends for a sleep over.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

Window seat that’s a bed too

Don’t you just love that retro clock and tray?

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

By keeping it simple, I had enough time to hang two of Talea’s ballet portraits on either side of the bay window and add sheer curtains to soften things up a little.

The 6 lessons I learnt when I built a window seat with storage off site

I even vacuumed up all the dust and packed everything back in the car in my allocated 4 hours. She’s super happy with her window seat and it makes me smile every time I see one of her selfies on Facebook and she’s sitting on her window seat.

Have you ever built and installed a window seat under pressure? I’d love to hear what you learnt in the process.

Wishing you a super happy, love filled week.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

Categories:   DIY Crafty Tutorials, Home Decor Crafts

Comments

  • Posted: February 21, 2017 16:36

    Christine Vandormolen

    Hi Michelle, wow your son is in Vancouver? Well that is just a 3 hour drive from where we live in Wa State. Actually my niece just started there in September as well. Her first year there. But I know it's a huge school, and such an incredibly beautiful city. Will you come visit him? By the way I hope your daughter is doing good with all the adjustments and her window seat is awesome!!!
    • Posted: February 21, 2017 16:45

      acraftymix

      Thank you Christine. Yes my big baby is in Vancouver, it just seems so far away. His dad is going to visit him in March for a week, so that's good, but we can't afford to go sadly. He is coming back to South Africa for their Spring break and I can't wait to see him again, neither can his little sister. What's your niece studying?
  • Posted: February 21, 2017 03:40

    Leanna

    I grew up in British Columbia and have been to UBC. Its a very good university. I am sure he is going to love his time there. He will be right on the Pacific Ocean with the most beautiful forests nearby. Vancouver is said to be one of the best cities in the world. He will have the experience of a lifetime. You are right though Michelle it is a very long way from home. Let me know how he does.
    • Posted: February 21, 2017 12:26

      acraftymix

      Oh I'm so glad to hear that Leanna, I'll let you know how he does. He says he loves it and he's met so many interesting people too.
  • Posted: February 18, 2017 16:34

    Nancy Andres

    Amazing. Both the way you made this and how well you are negotiating with your ex-hubby to make changes more comfortable for your daughter and son. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I know from personal experience divorce and healing are a challenge.
    • Posted: February 20, 2017 06:39

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Nancy. Divorce is an awful thing for everyone, especially for the kids. Fortunately the ex and I both agree that Calin and Talea always will be more important than anything else. It's not always easy though.
  • Posted: February 17, 2017 22:23

    Maya

    Wow! Michelle this is incredible! I am so in love in window seats and this is exactly what I would love to have in one of the bedrooms! You've done an incredible job - but I just said that, didn't I? You should be proud! I am sure your daughter absolutely adores it!
    • Posted: February 18, 2017 08:49

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Maya, I'm so glad you like it and I think Talea is very happy
  • Posted: February 16, 2017 19:34

    Jas @All that's Jas

    Get out of town! No, seriously, get out of town and move next to me :) I'd love a window seat and I'd give you all the time you need to make it for me ;) You're amazing!
    • Posted: February 17, 2017 06:04

      acraftymix

      LOL Jas, you've got a deal :D As long as you're cooking up some of those amazing dishes. No wait on second thoughts I probably wouldn't get anything done, so maybe we can share the feast afterwards?
  • Posted: February 16, 2017 18:22

    Zenda

    Wow! This turned out beautifully! I know she's enjoying it.
    • Posted: February 17, 2017 05:58

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Zenda, I think she is :D
  • Posted: February 15, 2017 21:13

    Christina Makri

    Great tutorial Michelle and the window seat turned out gorgeous! In love with the old mint clock!
    • Posted: February 16, 2017 06:02

      acraftymix

      Thanks you so much Christina, that clock is awesome
  • Posted: February 14, 2017 21:01

    Angie ~ ambient wares

    This is awesome Michelle! Just like so many others, I want one! Awesome job and the fact that you finished it in your 4 hour time slot is insane ;)
    • Posted: February 15, 2017 05:57

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Angie, I'm soooo glad I got it done in time
  • Posted: February 14, 2017 16:00

    Kellie

    So lovely, I have always wanted a window seat. My husband and I almost made a fake window seat this year, but didn't.
    • Posted: February 14, 2017 16:13

      acraftymix

      Thank you Kellie. I'll let you into a secret, I've always wanted one too, so very much ;-)
  • Posted: February 14, 2017 15:28

    Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    Michelle, this is absolutely gorgeous. I would love a window seat for my daughter's room, we'd planned one for years but never got around to it. She is going to be 17 this week too. I love all the storage and the pretty accessories. You are the best mom ever! And I'm sure that this adds value to the ex's house, so I bet everyone is happy! Great job.
    • Posted: February 14, 2017 15:59

      acraftymix

      Thank you so very much Nikki. 17 is such a beautiful age, you can actually see hints of the gorgeous women they will be. Wish Georgia a very happy birthday for this week please.
  • Posted: February 14, 2017 12:24

    Sadhna Grover

    Hello Michelle, how can you complete this big task in four hours, unbelievable? Window seat looks lovely, I thought you made a small size, but you mentioned that it can serve the purpose of bed as well. The storage space you have given with crates is a super idea. Your daughter must be very happy.
    • Posted: February 14, 2017 14:07

      acraftymix

      Namaste Sadhna and dhanyavaad for your lovely comment. Talea is really happy with her window seat, which makes me super happy
  • Posted: February 14, 2017 04:41

    Keri

    Michelle, that is so sweet and awesome that you made your daughter this window seat! You did a marvelous job. I never would have guessed the drawers were plastic with a wood front, very clever. You gave great advice on how to make a window seat or any project in a small amount of time. Everything looks so beautiful!! Love that retro clock and tray!
    • Posted: February 14, 2017 06:09

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much my friend, I'm really happy with how the drawers turned out
  • Posted: February 14, 2017 00:22

    Sarah - Craft Invaders

    Oh it's adorable Michelle, really beautiful. What a couple of weeks you have had, hope you get some chill out time soon x
    • Posted: February 14, 2017 05:59

      acraftymix

      Thanks so much Sarah, we'll probably take some time out when my son comes over for his Spring break. I'm counting the days ;-)
  • Posted: February 14, 2017 00:05

    Mary-the boondocks blog

    Wow Michelle, I am super impressed. If it was me I would still be there trying to figure out which screw belongs where. It looks great and the curtains and pillows make it so sweet and cozy. I'm sure Talea loves it. I also really love the storage underneath. Very smart to make it breathable and it looks great too.
    • Posted: February 14, 2017 05:57

      acraftymix

      LOL Mary :D knowing you, you would have done an amazing job and added lots of hanging things too
  • Posted: February 13, 2017 18:02

    Pili

    You are not only creative but also funny. I had to laugh when I read about your shoulder and the kitchen sink lol. Apart from that, that day bed is a kid's dream. Using plastic crates is smart, those pictures of Talea are super sweet and the curtains make that area look like a dream. Good job, I've never build a window seat although I always wanted to have one. Keeping the tips for the day I try
    • Posted: February 14, 2017 05:53

      acraftymix

      Thank you so much Pili. I love window seats, they always look so dreamy. I always have these visions in my head of curling up with a good book and a cuddly fur baby. The perfect place to dream a little. I hope you get to make one soon ;-)
  • Posted: February 13, 2017 17:54

    Katrin

    I just can't get over the fact that you pulled this off in 4 hours! How did you do that! You're genius! Your daughter must love this sooo much and you won the handiest and sweetest mom award of the year! And not to mention the crates underneath! Brilliant! I always wanted a window seat, so cozy!
    • Posted: February 14, 2017 05:50

      acraftymix

      I honestly didn't think I could do it Katrin but I'm so glad it worked out.