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Have you ever noticed that a main component of a good, functional entryway is a bench? Probably because the bench serves a dual purpose. Not only can you comfortable sit on said bench while putting on your shoes, but it also serves as a great spot for holding things. The bench at my parent’s house is a notorious catch-all when anyone comes over. From purses to baby diaper bags to bags filled with someone else’s Tupperware, the bench houses it all.

The entryway bench is like the junk drawer in the kitchen. It’s the place where the things that don’t necessarily have a home go.

When we moved into the house, we didn’t have this entryway staple. The floor and corner started to become the catch-all dumping ground for anything and everything we had in our hands as we walked through the front door. It’s amazing how quickly things gather. It’s like it multiplies overnight.

The solution was simple, we needed a bench. Naturally, I started looking at our usual thrift store hot spots and much to my disappointment, I came up empty handed.


Then one afternoon, I was chatting with my parents about our dumping ground problem and they said we could have the toy chest that was taking up space in the basement. Anyone who knows my mother, knows she hangs on to anything and everything for at least twenty years past the point of its prime. However, this time it worked out in our favor.

From what they tell me, this toy chest was made for them by my Uncle John and Aunt Gayle on my dad’s side of the family. It served its purpose as a toy collector throughout our childhood years and was now getting its second moment of glory for my nieces and nephews.

It’s a beautiful, solid, wooden piece of furniture and it just so happens to also look like a bench. Problem, solved.

Given my love for painting furniture, I spent the next several weeks debating what color to paint it. I wanted to make sure the nicks and scrapes were still able to tell their story, but I also wanted to give it a little more of our personality.

I decided on Dutch Boy chalk paint the base and a mix of walnut and weathered gray stain for the lid.


After lightly sanding the base, I applied a thin coat of the chalk paint. Going into this project, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do more than one coat, but after seeing the results and how much it accentuated the wear and tear, I couldn’t bring myself to add more paint.


For the lid, I sanded it down to the bare wood and was planning on using the stain mixture I created for the thrift store chair. Unfortunately, I was about halfway through and realized I gravely misjudged the amount I had and ran out of the mixture.

I grabbed the walnut stain and went over the whole piece of wood. This created an even bigger mess. Half was a dark gray with a tint of walnut and the other half was just full on walnut with a tint of orange.

I decided ‘oh what the heck, I can’t really do any more damage’ and grabbed the weathered gray stain and added that on top of the others. Thankfully, it worked and you can’t tell where I messed up. The color now has a little bit of everything.

After the stain dried, I decided to try another experiment and add a very small hint of white paint to give the wood a little more aged look. I dipped the brush in the paint and then dabbed it on a paper towel. After removing most of the paint, I did quick strokes across the entire lid.

I decided to keep the inside the original wood. Mainly because I was a little lazy and didn’t feel like sanding it all down but also because it’s the original wood and it adds a little more character. Plus, it’s a nice reminder of the wonderful family we have.


Now we have a fully functional and newly repurposed bench to add to our entryway and just image what this baby will look like piled high with purses, work bags, groceries and anything else that doesn’t have a home!

All our best,




  1. Linda Wittman

    I see your new sewing machine has gotten a workout with all the pretty pillows you have made.
    Nice work!!!

    • Kelly

      Haha yes it has been broken in! The pillow covers are so easy to make, even for a beginner like me ????



  1. June 2016 Recap - North Country Nest - […] painted and distressed the front entryway bench that used to be my childhood toy chest. It was time for an…

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