A few months ago, my former pediatrician retired and shut down his private practice. When he was ready to clear out the building, he offered us one of the storage benches that used to serve as waiting room seating, for us to use as a toybox for G (he and his wife are good friends with my grandparents — #smalltownamerica).
The benches were all handmade by a Pennsylvania furniture maker when he first opened his practice about 30 years ago, so they were all very sturdy and solid, but also a little worse for the wear after years of being climbed all over by babies and kids visiting the office. There were a lot of scratches and dings in the finish, but nothing too difficult to fix.
While I will eventually make a cushion for the top of the toybox when G is old enough to open and close it safely on his own, I decided to buy locking hinges to keep the top constantly open for now, and avoid any finger pinching. But, the first order of business was to sand down the wood, fill most of the dents and scratches with wood filler, and repeat, until the wood was smooth enough to paint.
As usual, I forgot to take a good “before” picture, but here is the box after being sanded and filled two or three times.
I used one coat of my favorite primer, Kilz Latex, before painting.
While a few pieces of furniture in G’s room are painted in fun colors, I chose a glossy white for the toybox so that it would blend in with the walls and enhance the sense of cleanliness in the room when all the toys were in it.
The hinge on the box top was already a bright brass, and I loved how it looked against the white, so I kept it and added brass feet that could slide across the wood floors without damaging them, and brass locking hinges to keep the top open.
I love how it came out! It’s pretty large so it easily contains all of G’s toys and most of his stuffed animals (and him, too, half of the time — he loves climbing inside it and playing!).
And, the before and after:
(PS: I did this project on our kitchen floor, when it was covered with cement board, waiting for tile, which is getting installed this week! So excited to share kitchen updates soon.)