What should I do with this area?
Sandi
March 31, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Attempting to create a window seat with with bookcases on each side. On this side I will have this weird space. What can I do to make this look like a built in? Thanks for any suggestions.
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calikym
Take another pic of room pointing the opposite way.
March 31, 2013 at 12:14PM     
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Sandi
I hate the little Half wall but taking it out is not an option at this time. Just need to figure out how to tie it in with the bookcases.
March 31, 2013 at 12:14PM   
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studio10001
I wouldn't draw attention to it - if you extend it farther to the left, it will run into the molding. Assuming you mean to anchor the interior wall edge w this piece, you'll have about 1ft? to hang artwork.( To make a piece look built in, you would need to run the floor molding around it. Think you're better off just making the two bookcases relate evenly to eachother).
March 31, 2013 at 12:14PM     
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Sandi
On the right side it will go to the wall. Are you saying move the bookcases closer to the windows and have extra space on both sides?
March 31, 2013 at 12:18PM   
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Sandi
Here is the look I'm going for. Trying to do it without spending very much money :)
March 31, 2013 at 12:20PM     
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libradesigneye
Here's an idea for you - add a top to the half wall that is deep enough to touch the new casework. A butcher block turned sideways and trimmed down would be an impressive look / mod and throwback both. The more solid / thick the topping dimension the better to coordinate with the casework. Put corbels into the lower studs on the casework side, and then add antique doorknobs on a trim plate between the corbels at regular intervals and hang either pretty things or practical file baskets, or market bags or backpacks or a combination thereoff on that half wall. This will "tie" the two together with support function and design integrity. Painted wood or natural finish both would work.
March 31, 2013 at 12:24PM     
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decoenthusiaste
The cases need to visually "attach" to the seat/bench, so closer to the window will help. Trim pieces from your local big box hardware store can help solidify the built-in look. You'll want to remove the drapes - they won't add to the look you're going for. Use them to cover a cushion or pillows for the bench, especially if they are already at another window in the room. When you get finished, tear out the half wall. You'll be happier with the look of your new installation when it is gone!
March 31, 2013 at 12:25PM     
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Sandi
I can't get a picture right now but I will as soon as I can.
March 31, 2013 at 12:35PM   
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Ironwood Builders
If the half wall is paneled with wainscot to match the doors of the cabinets and a shallower small cabinet is built to sit to the left of the leftmost cabinet, the projection of the larger deeper cabinet will subordinate the addition and still appear "balanced" while giving a true built in appearance. Running the baseboard in front of all the cabinets is imperative for a built in look. I think tearing out the half wall will require very expensive flooring repair and refinishing. I do advise drawers instead of doors or a hinged lid in the window seat itself.

Because your window trim is painted, painting the new casework is more unifying, more built in. .
March 31, 2013 at 12:40PM     
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Sandi
Libra , whatever you just said sounds perfect! Lol I just wish I knew what you were talking about:). I can kind of picture it but I'm not sure. I wish I could find a picture of something similar. Are you saying make the half wall larger so it connects with the bookcase?
March 31, 2013 at 12:41PM   
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Sandi
Will you come build that for me, ironwood? The flooring is the exact reason I can't take that wall down :(
March 31, 2013 at 12:44PM   
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Sandi
Yes, I'm in the process of painting everything the same color as the trim. I was thinking of using kitchen cabinets for the seat/ bench do you think that would work? I have a friend remodeling her kitchen so they would be free!
March 31, 2013 at 12:48PM   
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ReMax - Lisa
I wouldn't think kitchen cabinets would be strong enough to sit on?
March 31, 2013 at 12:50PM   
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bowdavis
Put the cabinets right up to the window trim and forget about the space next to the half wall. It will look fine. The built in unit will be the focal point.
March 31, 2013 at 12:57PM     
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Sandi
Good point remax :(.
March 31, 2013 at 12:58PM   
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bowdavis
We used over frig cabinets for the bench on a similar built in look in my daughters house. They work perfectly.
March 31, 2013 at 1:00PM     
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Sandi
Wouldn't the space on other side look weird then? It would be cheaper if I could just do that . Hubby would like that :)
March 31, 2013 at 1:00PM   
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Sandi
That's good news!! I really want to repurpose as much as I can :)
March 31, 2013 at 1:02PM   
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bowdavis
In reference to using the over frig cabinets for the benches, make sure they set on a toe kick that matches the ones on each end.
March 31, 2013 at 1:04PM     
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Sandi
My painting so far :)
March 31, 2013 at 1:06PM   
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Sandi
If I move them next to windows the one on the right will be over top of a heating and air vent. How would I deal with that?
March 31, 2013 at 1:09PM   
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Jeffrey Brooks Interior Design
Ironwood has a probably got a solution for you..
March 31, 2013 at 1:15PM     
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Sandi
Anyone have an opinion on the space on both sides if I move them closer to the windows?
March 31, 2013 at 1:32PM   
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bowdavis
Just vent it out the toe kick. Here is a site you might find interesting /www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-build-window-seat-from-wall-cabinets/index.html
March 31, 2013 at 1:35PM     
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Sandi
Are you sure having the space on each side will look okay ?
March 31, 2013 at 1:51PM   
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bowdavis
If you want it to look entirely built in, then you have to have a wall on each end. Maybe you could extend the half wall to the ceiling and attach the left piece to that wall and the right side to the right wall. Then you could fill in the bench area with over the frig cabinets. Part of the bench area of would have a window above it. The rest would be wall space. In that case you might panel the wall part and paint it to match the rest of the built in.
Another concern is the width of your bench cabinets. The area between the two upright cabinets will probably not be exactly the same width as the bench cabinets, so you will be using fillers to make them come out the right width.
March 31, 2013 at 2:11PM     
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studio10001
If you are committed to using the wall cabinets for seating, you must move the bookcases inward, or start cobbling out (defeating the purpose of using the cabinets). You can't make this look builtin without running the molding around, and if you run the molding, you can't vent. Be resolved with building a piece that relates cohesively to itself.
March 31, 2013 at 2:13PM     
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Ironwood Builders
We vent HVAC out a toe kick on almost every job. You may need to lift the cabinets up to get the baseboard on any way. You'll need at least 4" of clear area to get a vent cover on (for 4" kitchen toe kick we use a 2 1/2"x 14" vent cover, outside dimension is 3 1/2"X 16"). So build a plywood box with no bottom or front to cover the existing vent opening and direct the air to the front of your cabinet. Shim up the cabinet so that a 5 1/4" baseboard on the front clears the doors by at least a couple of inches. Cut a hole in the front of the lower part of the cabinet to match your new box. Take off the existing baseboard at the side walls and install the new taller base on the cabinets. carefully measure and cut a hole to match your box location on the piece of baseboard centering the 2 1/2" vertical in the flat part of the baseboard. Use a 2 1/2"x 14" wall register to finish. Reinstall the existing baseboard to butt into your new taller base.

I think moving the cabinet away from the inside corner is a mistake. It will make a very narrow dust catcher hole on that side that is nearly impossible to paint or clean. Use a recessed filler strip there if you must. If you do the wainscot idea I put forward before, use the same setback so the balance is maintained. Be careful using cheap cabinets for seating, especially uppers. Particle baord is not very stout and upper cabinets are built to hang not sit on. If you do, use a 12" top to bottom cabinet and lift it the 4" you need to lift the side cabinets and add a 3/4" plywood top with an oak edge to match your cabinets. The 16 3/4" (+/- because it needs to be installed level) will take a cushion easily. Double check that you have room for the cabinet and cushion against the window sill.

These long commutes are killers! Where are you?
March 31, 2013 at 2:18PM     
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studio10001
The space on either side just needs to look cohesive:do to the right as do to the left and it will look finished.
March 31, 2013 at 2:18PM   
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Sandi
You can vent out under the toe kick. Of course the trim is key to making it look built in and I intend to wrap it in baseboard.
March 31, 2013 at 2:23PM   
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Ironwood Builders
BTW...using stock uppers at 12"H X 30"W will commit you to a 5' total cabinet length under the window unless you put in even more filler strips...Check the distance from outside of trim to outside of trim. Go wider. You may be able to get 12"H X 33"W or 12"H X 36"W cabinets..but they need to be the same size!
March 31, 2013 at 2:26PM     
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Sandi
I'm in Ohio :) you have been a big help!! Everything you have said has made sense to me! :) I agree with not having that dust collecting, chicken nugget hiding place! :) if you run across any pictures of something similar please let me know.
March 31, 2013 at 2:28PM   
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Ironwood Builders
If I can find the time I'll do a Sketchup of what I'm talking about...but I need to work on an estimate and get it roughed out for Monday! Where in Ohio? I have a great carpenter friend west of Indianapolis that could fix you up if it is not too far.
March 31, 2013 at 2:55PM     
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Sandi
North of Cincinnati :) a sketch would be sooooo helpful , if you can !
March 31, 2013 at 3:15PM   
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Ironwood Builders
Time is not on my side..just had an hour long confab on the phone with a new client...after a two hour meeting at another client's house..on Easter Sunday! Monday back to work....HAH! probably isn't going to happen any time soon!
March 31, 2013 at 6:14PM     
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Sandi
No hurry :) I'm going to finish painting and work on the bench. Maybe by the time I'm finished with that you'll have a minute to show me how to tie that half wall into it :).
April 1, 2013 at 8:18AM   
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libradesigneye
Sandi - now that you have moved the cabinet over, I think you will want to place a cabinet on the pony wall with open shelves to "fill" the area between. It could be any old bookcase if you can trim it out with the same baseboard and face trim but it needs to be just almost as deep as the area from the face of the pony wall to the side of your new cabinet and ideally, within 4" as wide as the pony wall. You could take most of the shelves out, and use the inside as I suggested. Put baskets along the bottom, and hooks along the top to use like a short "locker / mud room" area for bags, coats, in's and outs It nees to trim out / baseboard wrap face trim to visually match your other casework, but you can probably borrow from your friends upper cabinets to find/mix some that can work.

I might revise this suggestion if I thought you had less than 12" between the face of the pony wall and the new location of the cabinet. Then we would go back to my larger cap suggestion and just treat the face of the pony wall under a bigger wood cap. can you tell me the distance from the face of the pony wall to the side of your cabinet when it is in the proper edge location?
April 1, 2013 at 9:06AM     
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Sandi
Thanks so much for your help!! It's 10.5 inches. I'm going to post some pictures of what I think you may be talking about.
April 1, 2013 at 9:12AM   
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Sandi
This angle may be a little easier to see. Forgive my mess :)
April 1, 2013 at 9:13AM   
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Sandi
Something like this ? Basically just making the half wall larger?
April 1, 2013 at 9:19AM   
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Sandi
What would be the cheapest and easiest fix but not look cheap. :)
April 1, 2013 at 9:41AM   
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Sandi
There is a heat/air vent next to the half wall I will need to deal with as well.
April 1, 2013 at 9:50AM   
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Sandi
Here's a picture from the other direction. Couldn't fit it all in the photo.
April 1, 2013 at 11:36AM   
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Ironwood Builders
Sandi! Start at the center and move out. You need to place the bench cabinets first anyway as they center on the windows. The dimension of those cabinets determines what is left over for the left and right side of the tall cabinets. If your trim to trim dimension is 65", you need to go with two 12" X 36" upper cabinets. So start at the center of the window and go 36 " each way and that is where the tall cabinets sit. What do you have left over? Left? Right? OK? I'm at lunch...get back to me soon?
April 1, 2013 at 11:58AM     
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Sandi
The window measures 78" trim to trim
April 1, 2013 at 12:22PM   
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Sandi
What if I did something like ths for the bench? With baskets underneath for storage? Then I wouldn't need to worry about the heat vent on the right side, or would I?
April 1, 2013 at 12:28PM   
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Sandi
Or this but with more detail?
April 1, 2013 at 12:53PM   
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Ironwood Builders
Yes, the bench could work...but it starts getting more towards the unfitted style. And how much does the bench cost compared to the HD cabinets? If you Add a 3" fill strip on each end of the two uppers and one in the middle you clear the window trim by 1 1/2" each side. Try putting the cabinets there and see what you have remaining on left and right.
April 1, 2013 at 12:59PM     
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PRO
Curb Appeal Renovations
You've got a lot of great advice here! I'd make a plan based on these wonderful suggestions, and don't second guess yourself! Keep us posted on your progress!
April 1, 2013 at 1:04PM     
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Sandi
16" on the left side and 9" on the right( approximately) kids took my tape measure, had to use a ruler! :)
April 1, 2013 at 1:10PM   
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Sandi
Everyone as been so nice and helpful;)
April 1, 2013 at 1:12PM   
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Sandi
I don't think I would mind the open bench look verses the cabinets. My carpenter skills are not great so the thought of adding a bunch of filler pieces kind of scares me. I guess I could hire someone to "finish" it for me as long as its not very expensive? The open bench looks like it would be pretty simple to do and I also wouldn't need to worry about the heat vent underneath. The big issue is still how to incorporate that half wall into the bookcase ?
April 1, 2013 at 2:51PM   
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studio10001
a smaller bookcase, as suggested by ironwood, set perp. to the tall one is a good way to fill the gap. Scroll way back to his first response. Sandi, are the bookcases wood, or composit?
April 1, 2013 at 4:00PM   
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Sandi
They are wood, studio. Forgive my ignorance...I'm just having a hard time visualizing exactly what you guys are talking about. I would add another skinny bookcase that's the same height and depth as the others? I'm feeling really stupid right now :(
April 1, 2013 at 5:18PM   
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Sandi
Okay, I think I might get it now!!! So the skinny bookcase shelves would face the other way, face the door and the solid side would face the same way the other bookcases do? I like it!!
April 1, 2013 at 5:21PM   
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Ironwood Builders
OK, here is the sketchup. You need to decide what happens at the ends. I just threw this together and pay no attention to color
April 1, 2013 at 5:27PM     
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Ironwood Builders
The bookcase I put in on the right is 12" as a placeholder...wasn't reading. So that becomes 16". On the other end is a similar 9" bookcase. Not huge but can hold some deco objects and a few books...put a big gorpy vase on top!
April 1, 2013 at 5:32PM     
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Sandi
You are the best!!! I can't thank you enough!!!
April 1, 2013 at 5:35PM   
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Sandi
Studio, is this something like what you are talking about?
April 2, 2013 at 4:13AM     
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Sandi
Would it look better to go all the way to the top of the bookcase with the skinny bookcase?
April 3, 2013 at 5:52AM   
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Sandi
Or just make the half wall larger to meet up to the bookcase?
April 3, 2013 at 5:54AM   
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Ironwood Builders
Keep it balanced as much as possible. If one side goes up, both side go up.
April 7, 2013 at 5:35AM     
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Sandi
Diane?
April 7, 2013 at 8:12AM   
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