Bench or Be Benched


Chris always jokes that I’m the idea person and he’s the execution person.  While my head is always up in the clouds dreaming of the next great thing, he’s back on earth figuring out how to make it happen.  I’m not sure when he’ll learn that my ideas will only get bigger as he keeps telling me he can figure it out.  So, when I showed him the below picture, he took a quick glance, grabbed pen and paper, and begun an hour of mumbling and sketching.

Another hour later, we were at the home improvement store finding lumber.  We returned home and he got to work.  Before I knew it, he had assembled our version of the pictured bench.  And then it was my turn.

I decided to paint the bench white to match the guest bedroom.  The bench would eventually be placed at the foot of the bed as a place for guests to place items and to ground the bed as a footboard.  I then took to distressing the bench which consisted of throwing random objects I found around the garage such as wrenches, chains, knives, etc.  Hey, I have to keep things interesting around here!

This project will stay close to my heart because it doubled my share of the household tools.  Not only do I have a hand sander, I now have a wood burning kit and, man, do I have a new affinity for wood burning tools.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to carve my initials in a tree.   I’m not sure why I never got around to it as a kid.  The tool was so easy to use; it was like using a magic marker, well, a marker that melts wood away that is.  I decided to carve a heart with Chris and I’s initials and our dating anniversary.  Now, THAT’S custom furniture!


I never cared much for art, but I’ve always appreciated something that’s well built. Similarly, I have basically no artistic ability, but I like to think of myself as a fairly skilled craftsman. So when Julie wanted to buy a bench that was made out of fence-board, I quickly shut the idea down, insisting that if she liked that look, I could make a custom piece out of the same material. The real reason, though, is that fence-board is cheap, and the asking price on the bench she found was obscene.

We then ran off to Home Depot to stock up on lumber and sandpaper (Julie uses an unexplainable amount of sandpaper) and I went to work. A few quick calculations in my head later and the sawdust was flying. Within minutes I had all the pieces cut and laid out like a puzzle. At one point, Julie walked into the garage, glanced at the piles of wood, tools, and fasteners with a look of sheer terror, and just walked back inside. I guess I require a certain degree of disarray before I feel comfortable working.

About an hour later, I had what was beginning to look like a bench. This time, Julie actually stuck around. Once I got everything assembled and painted, Julie decided we should distress it. This basically consisted of me whacking the crap out of it with the largest tools I own while Julie ran (read: ruined) my sander around the edges. As a finishing touch, Julie carved our initials into one of the legs with a wood-burning tool.

With only an hour or two and less than $50 invested, we had a custom piece of furniture for our guest room. It was intended to look like an old piece of junk, but under the fence-board lies a frame of 2x4s you could anchor an aircraft carrier with. And the best part is that Julie got a taste for woodwork, so I imagine I’ve been assigned a new hobby.



Filed under Guest Room, Homegrown Furniture

5 responses to “Bench or Be Benched

  1. GaGa & Pop

    Wow! You guys are really growing into decorating pros. The bench is so chic! Distressed chic I would say. Great job! Thanks for sharing the blog with us.

  2. Erica

    love it! julie, you may need to come visit me in san antonio and help me distress some furniture i have 🙂

  3. DO or DIY

    E- you don’t have to ask me twice! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Tuft Luck | DO or DIY

  5. I love reading a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

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