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I hate that awkward dance of entering someone’s house. You know the one? You hop around on one foot, smearing your fingers all over walls and doors, stepping on small animals and children, showcasing your complete lack of grace and balance as you try and be polite by taking off your shoes.
I am a big fan of the entryway bench and wanted one in our new place. I had doubters; mom and bubby said that our hallway was too small and narrow, that anything in front of the closet would be awkward, and what I was planning was too low and wouldn’t look like a bench. I went ahead and did it anyway.
We had used this RAST ‘night stand’ as a shoe shelf in the old place and I thought it would be perfect. One coat of ‘antique chestnut’ stain immediately helped the piece looked more finished and tied into the laminate flooring. The stain I bought was a two-in-one varnish so I didn’t need another coat to get the glossy look. Great time saver.
Then came the cushion, I was shocked at the price of the foam! I spent $15 for a piece a little bigger than I needed but I bought directly from the fabric store. I think I could have saved money had I shopped around a little and gotten creative … maybe the camping section of an outdoors store? Anyway the fun part came when cutting the foam. The people at the store had a really hard time with this and did an awful job so I was a little worried when I got it home. But I took my time, used a sharp serrated bread knife and was pretty happy with the results. Go slow and cut straight down, gently sawing back and forth like you are cutting angels-food cake -no matter what you do it will be messy.
I used an outdoors fabric because I wanted something tough and easy to wipe clean. I don’t have a sewing machine (I know, so sad) so I did this by hand over a weekend. It actually went quicker than I thought. Wrap the foam in fabric overlapping about two inches on the bottom of what will be the seat cushion, and cut. Pin up both sides tight to the foam. Remember to do this inside-out so that you have a nice seam. Remove the foam and sew up the sides. I used a back-stitch but I’m sure anything done with a machine would be faster an easier. Cut away excess fabric off the seams and you should now have a an envelope for your foam cushion.
Turn the pillow cover right-side-in, making sure to poke out the corners, and stuff the foam inside. I added a button for extra snugness, but I probably wasn’t necessary. It fit perfectly on the the bench and I think it looks great in the entryway. With the leftover stain, I re-finished an old mirror we had given to us that is now hanging on the opposite wall. The bench ties everything together, doesn’t get in the way of the sliding closet doors, adds colour, and I think it looks exactly like a bench. The ultimate gratification arrived when my post knee-surgery grandmother came to visit, and sat right down on it to take off her shoes. Yay! It worked.