I. Spy. Decor.
I set out with a new project in mind last week, one inspired purely by a collection of ottomans I loved at Anthropologie. In person, I very sneakily photographed one with my iPhone without bothering to focus. I had a big crush on this piece.
But not with the price. The $198 Dutch Wax Ottomans were gorgeous and made of exceptional fabrics (and if the price fits your budget, I encourage you to shop for them right over here, because they are pretty stunning).
After inspecting the models at the store, I was surprised that they weren’t super-cushy the same way that poufs are, instead, constructed from a light framework with simple batting and a slipcover. I bet if you were there you could have seen the brain gears working away. I hop-skip-jumped into the I could make that mindset.
So I started. With intentions of making a series of 3 to serve as extra living room seating and literal ottoman footrests for the couch. It’s not a terribly annoying issue, but the trunk that I’ve been using as coffee table in my living room is a smidgen too high to be comfortable sitting with your feet up on for long periods of time, but at $15 from a garage sale, it’s been a fine solution over a store-bought model. Nonetheless, I thought slightly shorter, cushioned ottomans might improve our level of comfort, and add a little something by way of fun new fabrics.
I started by bringing home six 2″x2″ boards (which are in reality 1.5″x1.5″ each, and 8′ in length) to serve as the base for each unit. Before I made any cuts, I did determine what the size of each ottoman should be, and that be 18″x18″ in surface size, by 16″ in height. If you try this at home, I encourage you to scope out your own size; my living room is a little small, which is why mine are petite. In a dream world, I would be making a sweet 4’x4′ ottoman, maybe of leather like the one Robbie has in her spectacular beach house.
For each ottoman, I cut the lumber so that I had 12 boards.
- four 18″ pieces
- four 15″ pieces
- four 13″ pieces
The overall construction plan called for a piece-by-piece assembly, best illustrated by this not-perfectly-to-scale doodle right here:
The only thing that would have made this assembly easier, was a Kreg Jig, which I really need to get one of these days. As a plan B, the strategy of using 2.5″ wood screws did quite well; I pre-drilled the boards before adding the wood screws, which helped prevent splitting and really made attaching two boards together a lot easier.
It was feeling a little wobbly. As in, not quite sturdy enough to hold me if I were to stand on it to dust the ceiling fan, but I was certain that once I added some walls to the framework, it would shape right up. I happened to have a stash of backer board on hand already (the kind used in the back of picture frames), so I cut it into pieces that would cover each of the four surrounding walls, and planned to attach them into place with smaller, less intense 3/4″ wood screws.
(Creepy lens glare/smudge right over Cody’s eye in that shot. Just noticed it. Ignore.)
The backer board I used (thin plywood would be a good alternative BTW) screwed into place easily.
Very quickly, my ottomans were taking form.
The sturdiness of the framework was really improved with the backer board walls; the final touch for stability, was adding a piece of 5/8″ OSB to serve as the top of each ottoman (also leftover from a previous project and just taking up space in the basement). Thin enough to not weigh down the whole ottoman, it was also thick enough to reinforce the entire structure and make it sturdy enough to stand on if I needed to. Also, makes for a flat, non-bouncy surface for whatever we want to put on top of it.
All three completed, it looks a little like something that would be on the front lawn of an art gallery. For scale, how about comparing my masterpiece Stacko-De-Ottomano to Codeman?
If you’re looking for a shopping list, here’s an all-in count of what I purchased to complete these pieces. You’ll want to customize the quantities based on the size of your own piece:
- 2″x2″ boards for the framework (roughly $1.50 each – I bought six, so that’s $9)
- 3/4″ wood screws (roughly $3 depending on where you shop + total quantity)
- 2.5-3″ wood screws (roughly $5, again depending on store + quantity)
- Backer board or thin plywood (a single 4×8 sheet that you can find for <$10 should be enough for two ottomans)
- 5/8″ OSB or Plywood (a scrap size would be ideal and inexpensive)
This project really needed to be broken into three sections to be digestible (and not become a singular mammoth post), so tomorrow, check back, because I’m sure you’ll want to see how this tower of madness becomes living room glam.
And not to give too much away, but I’ll need your expert design input… please.