However, it's enormous, and the way it was originally built, all the space underneath was wasted. I've always thought it should be cabinets, instead of the blank wood front and baseboard that were there originally. Today we started making that happen.
As with many such projects, I didn't think to take any real "before" pictures, but this gives you an idea of how it looked originally, with the cushions off. You're looking almost straight down at the top, where the cushions would be, and beneath you can kinda see the original front and the baseboard.
Here's the same view with the top taken off. Basically the bench is supported on a frame of 2x4s that just rests on the floor.
We took the front off, then removed the baseboard from the front, cut and notched it, and used it to make a real floor for what will eventually be cabinets.
Then we put oak facing on the 2x4s, and on the edge of the top piece, which is back on in this photo. You can also see the new floor; the bare wood in the back is where the baseboard was attached when it was the front of the bench.
And here it is, all back together for the moment. The next step is to use some compound to finish the inside (fill the cracks where the floor didn't quite fit, cover up the nails, add some quarter round where the floor meets the bottom 2x4s) and paint it. I'll probably repaint the kitchen at the same time. Then we'll make the doors, stain and varnish them, and the oak facing, and put the doors on. And finally, I'll probably redo the floor.
I've been working on projects with my dad since I was old enough to hold tools -- working on the cars, redoing the bathroom, pouring concrete for new sidewalks around the house, rebuilding the bedroom my brother and I shared, demolishing the garage one summer (THAT was fun) -- and we really work well together. I'm not the handyman he is, but I do pretty well and we figure things out well together. So despite it being more work than anticipated (the hardest part, believe it or not, was getting the old front piece off the top, since it turned out to not only be nailed, but glued on, so I basically taking it off bit by bit with a hammer and chisel) it was a fun day. And I'm very excited to have all this new storage space!
More photos on Flickr.