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Living Room Reading Nook

November 27, 2012

We finally finished the reading nook in the living room! You wouldn’t think such a small space would be so difficult to figure out, but it took us quite awhile. Part of the delay was due to the fact that high density foam is so freaking expensive, but I noticed it was 60% off a couple of months ago so we decided now or never. First, let’s reminisce a bit about the nook’s beginnings:

The first photo is how it was when we decided to buy the house. The brown parts of the wall was some kind of burlap-esque material, glued on. Luckily (?) it was discovered that the waste pipe that went behind this wall (the downstairs bathroom is directly behind the nook) was leaking, so everything had to go, as it was considered hazardous material. AKA filled with poo particles. Lovely. My in-laws had it all fixed for us, so we ended up not having to deal with the burlap walls. By May we had the room painted and a temporary solution in the nook — piles of blankets.

I wanted a contrasting color in that space, and originally thought I might use one of the Martha Stewart metallic colors for some subtle shimmer. I tested “Froth” but hated it. Against the seafoam green I felt it looked too Easter-egg-like.

I decided to take a cue from the blankets we had been using and go with navy. We had already been testing various shades of navy blue for our dining room, so I already knew which one I liked best. This is December Eve from Behr.

Then it was time to make some cushions! First we had to measure measure measure to make sure we had the foam fitting perfectly in the space (I used 4-inch thick high density foam). My husband was so kind as to operate the foam saw for me, fitting the pieces together like a puzzle. Then I decided to glue the foam pieces together so that it would be one big cushion—I felt this would make it easier for covering in fabric later.

I wanted the front piece of the bench to be cushioned as well, so I used 1-inch thick foam to cover from the top of the 4-inch foam to the bottom of the bench.

Then, to smooth out all of the seams and joints, I covered the whole thing in quarter-inch batting. In addition to smoothing everything out, it adds another little layer of cushioning.

Then it was time to cover the whole thing with fabric. I originally thought I could do it right in the nook, but once I was actually in the process, I realized it would be much easier to pull the whole thing out and do it on the floor. I flipped it upside down on top of my fabric, and used the lazy crafters’s standby—hot glue— to secure the fabric around three sides of the cushion.

I left the front side un-glued because I wanted to pull it taut once the cushion was in place in the nook and actually staple it to the wood on the underside of the bench, ensuring the fabric would stay nice and smooth. Turns out I wasn’t quite deft enough to pull the fabric taut and handle the staple gun at the same time—husband to the rescue again!

All that was left was accent pillows! I’ve made pillows before, but always the slip-stitch kind of permanent pillow, where you sew the whole thing except for a few inches, flip it inside out, stuff it and then slip stitch the opening closed. But, I had some pillow forms I wanted to use this time, instead of stuffing, and I didn’t want to permanently enclose them in the cases so I decided to make envelope-style cases. Turns out, easiest thing ever! I’ll never make a pillow case any other way again. I already had an idea of how to make them, but to be sure I didn’t mess anything up, I used this tutorial I found by googling from Rae Gun Ramblings.

I’m quite pleased with how it turned out! We still want to do something with that storage space underneath, but we haven’t decided yet if we want to make it a tiny closet with doors, install shelves, or maybe just use several large baskets. For now, it’s holding all of our board games quite nicely just as it is!

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