LESLIE: Brian in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BRIAN: Hi. We have a house. It’s about a year-and-a-half old and it has a – in the upstairs, it has a game room/play room area, you know? And got a two-year-old and a six-year-old and so trying to think of – trying to build – yeah.
LESLIE: And lots of stuff.
BRIAN: Lots of toys. So I’m trying to think of a seating area, bench, storage area. Suggestions? Ideas?
LESLIE: I mean you’re on the right track. I’ve done a ton of makeovers on $100 Makeover with a similar situation, where small kids, lots of stuff, multi-function rooms. You want it to look good, you want it to be practical but you want to have a place for everything and everything in its place.
And if you’re a handy guy, you can easily make a storage bench and it could be something as simple as a framed-out box with one of those slowly-closing hinged tops to protect the kiddies’ fingers, either painting it or wrapping it in fabric, padding the top and wrapping just the top, veneering the bottom. It depends on your skill level. And there are ways to even modify existing pieces that you might have.
Maybe there is a bench or a piece of inexpensive furniture that you can find at one of those stores where you sort of put things together yourself. And you can add baskets underneath. It depends on what your skillset is and what kind of look you want for that space.
BRIAN: I saw on some show leaving it open using 2x4s or 2x6s – or would you suggest enclosing it?
LESLIE: I feel like leaving things open, only from my experience with my own son and people who I see how they live – if it’s closed up, it tends to be neater.
LESLIE: And you can frame something – build the box out of 2x4s, clad it with MDF, dress it up a little bit with 1×3, make it almost look like it’s paneled or something.
LESLIE: Give it some raised areas and recessed areas, if you even want to go that far. Up to you. You can add in a baseboard to just sort of dress up the bottom. Paint that. Everything looks beautiful in glossy white or glossy black or a great chocolate brown.
And then on the top, same thing: MDF top. You want to wrap it with some batting. Put some foam, wrap that in batting, wrap it with fabric, staple to the underside. And the key is the hinge; you have to get that hinge that slowly, slowly, slowly goes down. Because the kids are always going to get their hands in everything.
BRIAN: Now, we have a corner area, so should I just make it straight or should I make it like an L-shape or what?
LESLIE: I think an L-shape is really practical. And what you can do is on the ends – on both ends or just one – you can sort of then build out an additional area that maybe has some open shelving on both ends, to put some books.
BRIAN: Awesome. Looks like I’ve got a project to get started.
TOM: Sounds like you do.
LESLIE: It’s a good one.
BRIAN: Alright. Well, I appreciate it.