Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The San Franciscan's Kitchen Continued... A banquet for the kitchen breakfast nook & stairs

 What's through the doorway?

 Hi! I'm here to pick up my worlds worst blogger award. I have been working on the San Franciscan, I just haven't been blogging about it. Mainly because I always think I'll blog about it at night after work and then I'm so exhausted I fall asleep on the couch and the blog post never gets written. So I'm devoting a morning on my day off to rectify the situation. :D

First up... I built the banquet for the breakfast nook... formerly known as the bay window. I thought this area was screaming out for some built in seating, it's a generous bay and a perfect little spot to have your morning coffee, while listening to birdsong (the birdsong of the city, wailing sirens.. lol)  or watching skittle the squirrel running up and down the front yard tree....

I kept all the punch outs from the San Franciscan's numerous windows as I thought the wood would come in handy and it's been very useful in the kitchen area.

I used it to build the stove hood and now I've used it to build my little banquet. I don't like measuring so I used a zjakazumi doll in a sitting position to determine the height of the seat in conjunction with the table I intend to use. As well as the seat depth required

I started out with the two pieces in the middle and glued them perpendicular to each other and cut them to the right height and depth. Then I pushed them into the bay area to determine the cuts for the side seats and glued them in too.

 (Sorry I didn't take many photos during the process but you get the idea.)

 Then I added the side seat verticals and the front facing pieces.

Now that I had the basic shape glued together I just had to fill in those little triangles.

Oops, forgot to check it with the floor in. Phew, it still fits!

And with the table.

I added paneling detail, which is just made out of skinny sticks. It's not perfect but it's so far back in the room, it's not noticeable. Then I trimmed the angled areas with baseboard. The rest of the baseboard will be done when the room gets it's floor trim. Everything was painted white.

All those joins got an extra coat of spackle after this picture was taken.

I mocked up three rough cushions to determine what fabric to use for the seat cushions.

I finally settled on the stripe.

 Jodi had the wonderful idea to make several sets in different fabrics for different moods/seasons/holidays and that is definitely on my mini agenda.

I trimmed the cushion with the stripe going in the opposite direction for added detail. I tried to line up the stripes on the sides of the cushions as best I could.  :)

 They fit! I didn't take a picture but I lined the top of the banquet with cardstock to hide all the seems. It's unlikely the cushions would be off other than to change them but I just wanted a neater finish underneath.

And here's what it looks like with the windows in and table placed. .. I'm actually really loving it!

  P.S. I've spackled the cornicing.. those gaps were driving me crazy!  lol

In other news... These walls and ceiling are now glued down! I really would have preferred to do the window trim and the baseboard before glueing the ceiling in but the construction of this house wouldn't allow that, so I'll be using my full repertoire of colourful language to complete those jobs. :D

Next, as hinted in the first picture.. I moved onto the stairs... I had already painted and stained the risers and treads and added the trim detail to the sides earlier.. but I had been putting off installing the balusters and rails.. 1. Because I knew they wouldn't be installed for a while and I didn't want to break them whilst they were stored. 2. Because this job scared the heck out of me. It seemed to me it would be akin to herding cats to get all those balusters to line up to the railing and get it all on the right angle and straight.. and I was right! lol

I started out with my painted balusters and newels and my trusty glue... I should have added a stiff drink to the tool box.

 I had previously drilled holes in the bottom of the balusters and added some wire so that I could prop them in foam to paint. I decided to leave these in and use them to attach the balusters to the stairs. This would go some way to alleviating my fear of finally getting my stairs perfect and then bumping them and they all fall down like a house of cards. It would also allow me to have some ability to manipulate them for the eventual railing addition.

 I measured (ugh) the treads and determined the spot for the corresponding hole and drilled. (broke my drill on the last hole.. lol)

Then inserted the baluster.

One down, 11 to go!

This picture is not necessary other than to show you my helpers tail, which he kept wagging across the stairs at the most inopportune moments.. haha!

I didn't take any pictures of the rail installation.. because if I'd had to do that as well, I might have thrown the entire thing across the room. But here is the finished product in place.

I notched out the stair tread to fit around the door trim and also so the newel post could sit flush with the first riser. There is not alot of space in the entry and I wanted the newel to take up as little room as possible. I first tried to notch out the newel so it would be half on the step and half on the ground but the rail wouldn't meet up and the notching ended in disaster with a ruined newel. I'll have to rummage through my stash for one for the top of the stairs. Given I've got another staircase to install on the next level I better check if I have enough left to finish the job. Otherwise another quirky aspect of this house will be mismatched newels. Ha!

 I've got a couple of wonky balusters but I don't think they will be too hard to wrangle under control.

Note the Newel post doesn't touch the ground. This is because I couldn't get the bannister to line up with it at normal height. (this wasn't the newel post that came with the stairs - must check heights in the future.) I think this is an easy fix though. I'll be adding a rounded block to the bottom of the newel which will have the added bonus of adding a little extra custom detail. :)

And finally a quick update on the basement apartment's lighting. A few suggested that the tenant might benefit from a reading light in his loft bed area. So I made one up from some random hardware I had in my stash and a wired bulb.

 Now he'll be able to see where he is going when he climbs the ladder and read all night if he wishes. :)

I have more progress to show but I'll finish here for now.


  1. I love how your kitchen nook looks. It's just beautiful. And your stairs are so pretty. I really wondered if I was seeing things with that newel post but I've run into the same issue with things not matching. Sooooo irritating!

    I'm convinced that tequila should be a requirement of any stair assembly.

    1. Thanks Sheila! Good to know I'm not the only one with Newel post problems.. I thought it was me! lol. And yes Tequila and lots of it.. haha!

  2. Clever you, to use the extra bits of wood from the cut-outs to build the banquette! And it is so perfect in that window recess! I hate doing stair railings. (And, yep, I've had the same newel post issue in half scale.) If I'd ever thought of it, I would have used your wire trick. Your stairs look so good, and I really love those little trims on them. I like your furry assistant, too! Keeping those steps dust free. ;-)

    1. Really Newel issues in half scale too? What is going on with the newel posts? Are we doing it wrong? I think not. There seems to be a need for a Newel-gate investigation! ... My furry assistants are obsessed with the craft room, but I always have so many things scattered on the floor, I'm constantly shooing them out for fear of them breaking something with a misplaced foot. Spatial awareness is not their strong point.. lol. I assembled these while watching TV so, a room they are allowed in. Cubbie was sweeping the stairs regularly, replacing dust with fur.. :)

  3. Hello Sam,
    I just love the built in bench you made. What a great use of space and such a lovely detail for a kitchen. I really like the design of it as well. The staircase came out beautifully and good choice of lighting for the basement apartment.
    Big hug

    1. Thanks Giac! I love my little built in too.. it turned out much better than I expected.. Always a welcome surprise. :) (hugs) :)

  4. Great job on the stairs (sorry you broke your drill) I really like the corner reading light. This is an inspiring project! Keep up the good work - Troy

    1. Thanks Troy! A bit of superglue has fixed the drill for now. Who knows how long for though. Might be time for a new one :D. The light really turned out well and was the simplest thing I did all month! I like it's industrial vibe.

  5. Hey Sam. Looking great! I might have some newel posts I could send you. Have a great week.

    1. Thanks Shannon! I know I have Newels in my stash it's just a question of if I have matching newels.. :) Thanks so much for the offer, I'll let you know if I need to take you up on it. Too bad you aren't coming up to the Brisbane show at the end of the month. Are you going to Sydney or did you decide to do Chicago?

    2. No worries Sam. If you need them, just let me know. Would love to do the Brisbane show but carting everything up there on a plane is too much hassle for me right now. And I would have to travel on my own as it is busy time for my husband and so I’d only have my luggage allowance, not his as well. Anyway, yes I think I’ll be at Sydney again (haven’t received the paperwork yet). Chicago will be next year. I wanted another year of saving to make it worthwhile. Will be amazing (and cold!). X

    3. Totally understandable but I would have loved to catch up. :) Great idea to save those dollars for Chicago. Let me know if you decide to go. I'm serious about getting over there at some point too and it would be fun if we went the same year. :) We could go see the sights of Chicago too.. I'm thinking Thorne rooms for sure! :D

  6. Using the mattress ticking for the window seat upholstery was an EXCELLENT choice Sam! It has an urban country feel to it without going overboard - a total Classic which never looks tired.
    I also love the way you've constructed your stair with the pins- I hate measuring too so I know well your anxiety in taking on this task but you've NAILED IT!

    1. Thanks Elisabeth. I like the ticking too.. I originally bought it for mattresses but then thought, why waste such a cute fabric on a detail likely never to be seen. The pins have made the staircase much sturdier than it would have been otherwise. A must for my clumsy way of working. lol.

  7. It's looking stunning. I've seen the stripy fabric elsewhere (Insta?) and I think of all the options it would be my choice too. Well done on the staircase. My Del Prado staircase is now ten months in the making but I'm going to finish it soon ;-) The reading light is awesome, and a very necessary addition to the loft.

    1. Thanks Megan! Stairs are a PIA aren't they? A cause of much consternation and procrastination. lol I'm really liking my little light too.. As it's made of stash items too.. it was essentially free so.. added bonus! :D I'm sure you will finish your staircase to the highest standard.

  8. Hi, Sam - Your banquet is a lovely piece of work, and you made such a nice job of adding the trim detail to the basic shape. I love your choice of the striped fabric for the cushions - very classic and chic, but comfortable and cozy. Good work, too, on the stairs; I'm pretty sure that no other element of construction causes so much distress and agony! But you met the challenge beautifully. What a good idea to leave the wires in the balusters so that they could be secured to the stairs - an idea that I want to remember. The rounded block for the newel post base is going to be a nicely detailed finishing touch. I'm so glad that you added that great reading light over the tenant's loft bed. He'll be able to read himself to sleep in comfort!

    1. Thanks Marjorie! Yes the wires are great, I've found the stairs are much more resilient to my clumsy handling with the added structure holding them together. :) I'm glad you like the banquet.. It wasn't in my original plan but inspiration struck one day and I'm really loving the results. I think it has maximised the use of the bay window space in the best way it could be. It's such a pretty feature of the kit but a little bit awkward to know what to do with it. The light is cute isn't it? It turned out far better than I expected. lol