Mudroom Built-In: The One With The Bench

Last Saturday, Kenny looked around the house and asked, “What project should we start today?” and we settled on beginning our epic mudroom built in. Yes, we are only halfway through our half-bath reno, but when a project calls to us, we answer. So we began tearing into the mudroom.

You may recall our mudroom (the entrance off our garage) looked like this when we purchased the house and after we laid new floors:

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It was thanks to our sellers who left that light green mudroom bench–otherwise, this room would have been furniture-less. But the room was perfectly shaped for a built-in. So when we found some cheap new cabinets at a local outlet, we pulled the trigger. We paid $220 for 6 cabinets–not nothing, but a good deal for finished cabinets to be sure.

The plan was to use two of the cabinets (each 15×30″) as the main part of the bench. But since we didn’t want them just sitting on the floor, I first built a frame.

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One wrinkle: that outlet in the picture above. I simply moved it up about a foot, but it was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I may have called Kenny to announce that “I think I broke the house!”… but we got it figured out in the end.

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You can see our “baseboard” wrap above, and the side panel of MDF below.

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I wanted butcherblock for the top of the bench, but with no IKEA nearby, we couldn’t find anything that was even close to affordable. So we decided to use a $27 3/4″ pine panel as the top. Since I wanted to wrap the edge of the pine panel to make it look thicker, I put a piece of MDF on to raise the pine panel up.

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Once we got the top on, the bench was built and it was time to begin finishing it!

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I stained the top with 2 coats of minwax dark walnut and am in the process of sealing it all with polyurethane. I painted all the visible MDF and put the baseboards back up and voila! a mudroom bench.

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Here’s a close-up of the bench. You can see below how I wrapped the top pine panel with a 1.5″ pine board.

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We have 4 other cabinets (18×30) that are going on the wall above the bench; we’ll wrap everything in MDF; and I’ll add board and batten and hooks in between the bench and upper cabinets. Spoiler alert: you can see we’ve just gotten started on the upper part with that MDF board in the two pictures above…Lots more to come!

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