The thing that distinguishes this project from the many bench tops that I have previously custom made is the wooden lip that I constructed on the underside to form a “box top” for the bench cover (as you can see in the photo below where the upholstered cover is shown upside down). You can see this lip even better in the second photo - one that I took during fabrication. If you have ever done upholstery yourself, it’s sometimes interesting to see the guts of a project. But, be warned..…..it’s seldom pretty under there!
Since many of my clients need bench seats and banquettes, here’s another example. In this case a tufted banquette that I constructed last year for a busy family with two toddler boys who definitely benefit from the cleanability of a Sunbrella fabric.
My client loved the diamond tufting suggestion to go along with her French chic design, but we opted to eliminate any buttons, lest they be picked apart by curious kids (and catch way too many crumbs.) I also reupholstered the chairs in the photo which my client found herself at Brimfield (the thrice-annual antiques fair in Brimfield, MA which I blogged about before: A Great Outing - Brimfield Antique Fair).
This banquette project was particularly challenging because my client’s contractor did a superb job of making the bench back angled for comfort. So, it was a good geometry challenge to construct the banquette back with the proper angles to meet in the corner (always nice to use my engineering background a bit in my Interior Design endeavors). This project was a good example of how you can turn a window seat or dining banquette into a custom focal point that also works well for the comfort and function of your family.
Next up on my diamond tufting tour is a reading nook I created for a home office as part of another client’s master suite. This time I suggested button detailing on that beautiful purple chenille. My client tells me her teenage daughters love to lounge in the nook to do homework and talk/text on the phone. The upholstered back boards are secured to the walls with metal cleats, which was a super easy solution to ensure the backs are attached firmly into wall studs.
I also mounted a tufted headboard that I constructed for a client’s Vermont vacation home with similar metal cleat hardware. This was a particularly good solution for the headboard since the hot-water baseboard heating sits directly below the headboard (meaning that any legs on a standard headboard would not sit flush against the wall). It’s all about custom design solutions, both in form (aesthetics) and function!!
I hope you have enjoyed this short review of tufted bench and banquette projects I have done in recent years in my upholstery workroom. Diamond tufting is a great way to get a polished custom touch into your window seat and bench projects. This is the kind of “light upholstery” I love to do!
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.