Good morning folks!

My wife and I had a house built for us in 2014 and desperately needed to fill in our informal dining area. We racked our brains around several cabinet ideas along with various options for seating. We also needed a table; with the birth of our first child we wanted to start eating at a table and not in front of the television.

We finally found a design that suite our needs: knick-knack storage, junk storage and family seating.

We liked the idea of having open shelves to display collectible plates, snow globes, etc. The benches needed to have storage available to hold board games, table cloths, kitchen appliances. Our space also allowed for our benches to wrap around in an L. So it was off to the home center to fill up on lumber.

The construction began with the bench and back support framing. All 2×4 construction with plywood sheathing for the shell. This was the first project after my father sent his workshop full of tools which meant I was able to use a chop saw and kreg jig for the frame. It sped up the construction which was necessary considering we often had a colic baby crying for our attention.


Before going to the shelving unit I wanted to trim out the bench and back support using 1×4 pine. The seat tops were cut from 3/4 birch plywood and attached with piano hinges.


The shelving unit was built from the same 3/4in birch plywood as the bench top with the same 1×4 trim and 1×2 face frame. The shelves were attached to the case by dados and screws. It was my first attempt at dados; I used a router with a straight bit and straight edge. To compensate for the plywood being only 20/32in I used a 1/2in bit and two passes; the second over lapping the first by 9/16in. It wasn’t perfect but the counter sink screws added a lot of strength. Due to the dados, the shelves needed to be offset. I could have used pocket holes but I didn’t want to have to try to hide them. The unit was attached to the wall using pocket screws but I was able to hide them with the trim.


Probably my least favorite part of this project was taping and painting. We thought the white would look good next to the green (you might recognize the green). It took 3 coats of satin white to cover it enough to ensure the pine wouldn’t come through. The satin finish made it easy to clean which was necessary with a child.


This project started from necessity and ended with an excitement for a perfect place to begin family traditions. The potential for Sunday morning pancakes, holiday dinners, birthday cake surprises didn’t escape our minds throughout the building process.

Thank you following along with the build. Stay tuned for more projects from the PlaneOleWoodShop. If you have any questions or advice for myself or other viewers please feel free to leave a comment below.

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