Our DIY Kitchen Window Seat & Radiator Cover

June 28, 2012 — Leave a comment

Radiator Cover & Bench after Repairing and Fixing it

One of the things I wanted in our kitchen when I was designing it 6 years ago was a window seat. I think I looked at too many interior design magazines where I saw kids sitting happily on the window seats while their mom’s cooked. Well, I managed to fit one it, which was great. And I have to say I really do like having a place to sit while we cook. It has been used everyday since we put it in. It was where the babies took naps in their carseats, where they play with their toys and where they spend lots of time looking out the window. It is also a favorite spot for our cats (especially in the winter when the radiator is going).

Maisie in her carseat sitting on the bench  the day she came home from the NICU with Sam

We installed an old giant radiator underneath the back window it to heat the room (and replace 2 smaller ones that were in the way).  It also meant that we could keep the large window that overlooked the backyard (something I was pretty adamant about), while replacing the windows that faced the road with smaller windows that allowed for more counter space. When I made the cover I was in a bit of a hurry. I think it was before a holiday. Anyway, I made a 2×4 structure with various 1″ thick poplar pieces for the face. We also installed bronze grill in between the finished wood and the backup structure to hide the radiator. While the backup structure was screwed in, the cover pieces were nailed and glued. This held up fine until my kids started walking, since then it has been taking a beating from both kids and it didn’t pass the test!

Bench earlier this month before fixing it! (the extra pieces were in a box in the Dining Room)

It has been deteriorating for the past couple of years, as I tried to ignore it (and even managed to keep it out of the photos). Well with Sam’s Party approaching we put it on the list of items to fix. The good news is that my wood working skills and tools have improved since then! So I was able to take the pieces and reassemble them using my Kreg tool. Then I bought new bronze grill and added extra wood at the bottom to provide some extra structure.

Bench striped back to its structure (with Spike)

I took off the remaining pieces (which took about 10 minutes). Spike our cat was very suspicious. I then took out all of the old nails and screws. While I was at it I added a couple of extra screws to the back up structure.

Bench front after installing pocket screws using the Kreg tool

Previously I had installed the pieces 1 by 1 onto the frame. This time I decided to make the frame one rigid piece with pocket screws (and the Kreg tool). As you can see, I used a LOT. I really don’t want this falling apart again. I also added 2 pieces at the bottom (with holes) to make it more rigid and prevent the kids from kicking the bottom of the bronze lattice. After this I tested to make sure it would slide into place (which it fortunately did).

Then I patched and painted the front (the same color as before so 1 coat was enough).

I patched and painted the front (which I had previously done it place). It was a lot easier to paint this before installing the bronze lattice. Plus the off-gassing from my old school oil paint was done outside.

Stapling the bronze lattice to the back

After it was dry I flipped it over and installed the bronze lattice. We choose a quatrefoil pattern (from Killians Hardware in Chestnut Hill). I used my staple gun with 1/2″ staples and went to town. I used a LOT of them in both directions (I REALLY don’t want this come apart again). The good news is that this new lattice is stiffer then the old sheet, so hopefully it will hold up.

Reinstalling the front of the bench

Then I reinstalled the bench. On the top I screwed it in from the back. Towards the bottom I used several screws and countersunk them. The top has always been removable (to access the radiator).

Radiator Cover & Bench after Repairing and Fixing it!

So there you have it! The project took several hours over about 5 days. I don’t think I spent over an hour on it any one day. The new lattice is really nice (the photo doesn’t do it justice). Hopefully this one will hold up until the kids are old enough to fix it themselves.

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