Opening Views With a Built-in Leather Window Seat

3 Materials
2 Days
We opened the views in our dining area by adding an expanse of windows.
Then I realized that to really clean up the views, unobstructed, I needed to get rid of most of the chairs and put open storage under a long built-in bench.
I wanted to continue with the soft cream color I pickled the window frames in. But I was afraid of sitting on white fabric. Truth-be-told, we're outdoorsy artsy-crafty mess-makers...
Leather is very cleanable and durable, so I could have my white and clean it too.
Okay here's what we did!

And here's what the rest of the kitchen looks like on the other side:

Here's where we were a month before in our dining area.
New Custom Windows, with pickled stain.
It took several months to get windows installed, and they were raw and unfinished. I pickled them in a white-wash that I love... especially seeing how well it contrasts with deep wood tones in the table I made with my daughter.
But now -- I do need storage of my art and computer stuff, because I enjoy working on that table and need to stash the stuff before dinner. And I do not like how the backs of chairs block my pretty views.
Cut and glued a bench seat 12'3" from edge of window to wall. Had to piece together 2 plywood boards. Made it a bit deeper than normal, 19", to discourage leaning against window -- and also wide enough for me to lay on.
Measure and mark 3" deep foam. In retrospect I would cut it slightly larger than the board, instead of exactly, as I did here. I had to bunch my leather around the corners in a way to hide and protect the wood edge. Could have been avoided with an extra 1/4 inch of foam on all sides.
Foam cuts easily with serrated bread knife after initial cut with sharp blade.
Leather is very easy to cut too. This leather from EBay is used for private aircraft and very reasonably priced for what it is. I've used it on my dining chairs and in my camper. Holds up to my dog's hair and my art students too. Though I'll keep the dark burgundy color on my chairs that are used every day, thank you.
Because my bench is so long, I needed to saddle-stitch seams. I chose to do two short pieces on ends, rather than a center seam. I hired someone with a proper sewing machine to do this, but if you've got a machine, go for it! It took less than 20 minutes.

I used a power stapler that I bought at Home Depot for $30. Made it easier than last month when I used a manual one for the camper project. It doesn't need to be perfect. You can pull tightly for a crisper clean edge, or a little loose. I knelt with my whole 140 pounds of weight on the board as I stapled which tightened it slightly by compressing the foam a bit as I worked.
We made a frame to rest the finished bench on. I found 20" crates for storage, and realized that it would be a tight custom fit to make this work. 12'3" allowed me 4 crates on one side, 3 on the other with only 3" to spare. I disassembled a chair I'd no longer need and reused the legs to match. One on far side, one in middle. Third support is directly to wall.
Crates ordered from TJ Maxx. Another great bargain at only $20 ea. I can stain and finish these to match window frames.
I will also customize this corner area to hold and charge my computer and work papers. Making a mini-desk from a crate with lid next.

Ok this is done. Wanna see it?

Stained wood frame to match table: watered down matte gray. Here's how simple and neat it looks. If I want to dress it up I might use upholstery tacks into leather over the plywood base.
But for now -- I love how clean and crisp this looks.

Suggested materials:

  • Leather   (EBay $140)
  • 2 full plywood sheets + half sheet veneer + 2 x 3 x 12 frame (2)   (Home Depot $120)
  • 8 crates   (TJ Maxx @ $20)

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Emmawilliams1 Emmawilliams1 on Sep 04, 2017
    It is very beautiful, view and all..But my question, I had similar windows taken out and one piece put in and was $800.00. and only because was a friend of mine doing the replacing and work. Where did you get the figures for the whole project or did you exclude cost of redoing window.? Just curious and very frugal..thanks...Once again, lovely, lovely

  • Lori Lori on Sep 05, 2017
    I do Love the idea. My question is: is that an Active baseboard heater? If so, do you worry about it being so close to the crates?

  • Merrelljoyce Merrelljoyce on Sep 06, 2017
    Whet do you use for chairs on this side of the table?


Join the conversation

3 of 25 comments
  • Eileen Eileen on Sep 05, 2017
    Choke, choke......$20,000? Wow, they sure know how to charge!

    • Adele DuranGO Adele DuranGO on Sep 05, 2017
      Uh, yeah. Might not be "nice" to talk about costs and name names of a National Window Company, but I sure wish someone, even the little voice in my head, had questioned my senility or sanity before I signed on the dotted line. I hope I'm smarter next time -- like when I start my bedroom project above this kitchen next spring (IF my hubby & I have recovered by then.) Had I NOT hired AWC, I might have had BOTH projects done for the same cost at the same time!

  • Ethel Kirkpatrick Ethel Kirkpatrick on Sep 06, 2017
    You've done a wonderful job! Really like your new seating arrangement...