Thursday, September 10, 2015

French Farmhouse Headboard Bench

This is a project I just completed for our school's benefit auction  this month.

I had a french provincial style headboard and footboard that had been languishing in my shop for at least 3 years. I bought them at a garage sale for $5 with the intention of making a bench but when I got them home and realized the footboard was much too low to make the seat, I became discouraged and that's why it sat so long. 
Obviously, I had already started building when I remembered to take a 'before' shot.
Here you can see how the posts were originally.

Headboard before
I tossed  around different ideas but nothing seemed feasible. Until one day I had the idea to put the seat where it should be and divide the open space for baskets. Because the footboard has the corner posts that extend up, I realized this was probably my best option. Once the idea was hatched, I decided to find baskets before I started the build so I could make the openings exactly the size I needed. You know, make it look intentional. ;) I found these baskets at Ikea. Because it was a 'design-as-you-go' project with a lot of 'fiddle factor', I don't plan to give a tutorial. There are already a lot of headboard bench tutorials online. I'm just sharing to maybe spark ideas for anyone who has a similar problem with a too-short foot board. Following are a few progress shots so you can kinda get the idea how it's built.

One problem I spent way too much time trying to resolve was this foot. Half the ball had broken off and unfortunately, I no longer had the piece that fit it. I didn't want to leave it like it was so my first idea was to make a clay mold of the opposite side. After letting my mold dry a day or so, I used clay to make a new piece. Another day to let that dry only to discover, the 'curl' went the wrong way. DUH! Because I used the opposite side, the curl was a reverse of what I needed. :( So, next, I took a mold of the curl on the top of the same post. Double DUH! Same problem because it is upside down. When I placed it on the bottom, the curl still went the wrong way. By this time, I was getting pretty frustrated. I had 'wasted' a half a week waiting on clay to dry and still couldn't use it. So I began to brainstorm for other ideas. I went to Hobby Lobby and found a wooden toadstool in the unfinished wood section. In the first picture of the collage below, I had already cut off the stem section and shaped it with my sander in preparation for the 'ball' part. For the ball, I cut off the top of the toadstool and glued and nailed it in place. As you can see, there were still some gaps but nothing a little vinyl spackling couldn't take care of. It doesn't match the other foot and that bothers me a little bit. My perfectionist husband told me I was being too much of a perfectionist so I decided to 'let it go'. :) It does look better than it did and isn't very noticeable unless you're looking for it so it is what it is.

Most of the wood used to build it came from my scrap pile. I did have to buy some bead board for the ends and some quarter round (used double on the front to make half-round on the top edge). The seat cushion was a different story. Even with a 50% off coupon from JoAnn, that stuff is expensive! I used the 3 inch (I'd have like about a 2.5 inch but they don't make it) and wrapped it with batting. The front corners needed notched out for the front legs. A tip for those who don't know: Cut foam with an electric knife. It works like a charm! The floral fabric came from Hobby Lobby and the ticking stripe is from Etsy. Most of the ticking available in-store is an ecru color and I needed as white as I could to match the floral fabric. I found this real vintage ticking that is pretty close to white. It's not perfect but it looks good to me.
Sorry for the poor quality cell phone pictures. :/ I was in too big a hurry to get out my big camera.

For the paint, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Napoleonic Blue. It's been awhile since I've used the ASCP and I'd forgotten how easy it is to work with. It went on beautifully with very minimal brush strokes. It's expensive but it does have beautiful coverage. For the white highlights, I used the small cans of white chalk paint from Hobby Lobby. To seal the paint, I used Rustoleum's Ultimate Polyurethane in Matte. I purchased mine at Lowes but it's also available on Amazon.


I feel it will be a more durable finish without the upkeep that wax requires. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, this is going to be auctioned at our school's benefit auction so I wanted it to be as carefree as possible for it's new owner. Reviews I read also said it will not yellow like other polyurethanes do. With the paint being dark, I wasn't necessarily worried about that but just thought I'd mention it for someone who might be wondering. 

Thanks for reading! ~Rachel

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  1. What a cool idea.....you did a beautiful job.

  2. I really like it! You did a great job. Love the color.

  3. Adorable - Great Job!

  4. Awesome post! I would love to invite you to my new link party The Beautifully Creative Inspired. The party launches every Fridays at 9AM eastern time on 5 BLOGS! It runs until Wednesday night :D Hope you can party with us!

  5. Gorgeous, Rachel!
    The colors, construction and design. Wonderful transformation.

  6. What a wonderful project! I love re-purposing and you did it for such a great cause! I hope you'll share this with us at Friday's Furniture Fix! Doors close on Monday night at 11:59PM EST. Have a great weekend!.. Carrie, Thirty Eighth Street http://www.thirtyeighthstreet.blogspot.com/2015/09/fridays-furniture-fix-link-party-no-8_17.html

  7. What a gorgeous transformation! Brilliant!! Cheers.


Thanks for taking the time to make my day with your comments!