So I had an idea

…which came to me during church. So I jotted it down on a bulletin at some point during the service.

So what, pray tell, is this supposed to be?

I always seem to end up sitting on the end of the couch that doesn’t have room for an end table next to it. Which means that I’m always putting my water or remotes or frosty beverage of some kind on the floor next to the couch, which is just a bad idea in a house with two kids under age five. So I was randomly thinking about some sort of shelf to go on the arm of the couch to create YET MORE BUILT-IN STORAGE.

The built-ins. May we never run out of spaces to add new built-ins! (And yes, I am stretching the definition of built-in here, but anytime we “build-in” some new storage, that’s a built-in in our book!)

I felt like I had seen things that functioned like this for sale over the years, and I was sure I could search and find some examples of it on Pinterest, but I just wanted to do something slightly original and not just a clone of someone else’s idea. So I just jotted down a quick plan in church on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Yes, don’t miss the instruction for me to “MEASURE!” how long it actually needs to be.

Plans in hand, that afternoon, I went to buy wood for it — just some ordinary stain-grade clear pine from Home Depot — and then started making all the cuts to piece it together that day. Thanks to the trusty Kreg Jig, I pocket holed the thing everywhere possible, routed a few edges (which I ended up changing later) and in short order had the basic thing built.

Built and completed enough to at least test it out with the best seasonal beverage in the world: Belgian Christmas Beer.

The main objective was something hard and level to be able to place something down on the arm of the couch. But of course, we can’t stop there! Figured it was a good place to stow magazines/books and a second little box for the remotes — once our kids are old enough to just leave them be without grabbing them as toys or whatever…

You can see some of the rough and pointy edges on it after first assembling it here. There’s a lipped edge on the front of the top piece, which I ended up routing back the other direction into a beaded roundover instead. The arched edge seemed like a good idea, but once we test fit it on the couch arm, we quickly realized that every edge needed to be curved and gentle and smooth and friendly to little kids getting to wild and jumping on the couch even though they’re never supposed to do that.

So anything pointy got either routed into a round-over, or sanded into a rounded edge with the orbital sander.

After sanding the heck out of a few edges, I dusted the whole thing off and prepped it for a coat of stain. I’d have to go back and check on the colors, but I think I mixed Minwax’s Provincial (we used on the floors there in the same room) and a darker walnut color for something that would fit in with the color of the floors but be at least a few shades darker for contrast. (And match the couch.)

You can see the beaded round-over edge that I put on the top piece here.

And I let Lily draw on one of the insides that would never be seen again once it’s on the couch.

With the stain on, for the first time, I tried using a can of spray-on polyurethane. With so many edges facing different directions and portions that would be way to hard to reach with a brush, the spray-on method seemed like a good idea. 4 to 5 light coats of poly and a few days of air-drying later, I had a finished product that was ready to put in place on the couch.

Beer, we know it can hold. How would it fare with a tumbler of bourbon? Ok?

Boom. Works like a charm.

With bonus magazine storage and a second small box behind that one for either remote controls or a frosty bottle of whatever you like — it actually fits a 12 oz. glass bottle perfectly.

There you have it. Other than staining and sealing it, a one-day project to add a nice shelf with storage to one end of the couch.

And the first post on the house since we finished the deck back in the spring! Whoa! I’ve got a few projects from the summer and fall to chronicle here. We’ll get to those eventually.

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