Thursday 16 July 2020

Window Seats

It is good to be able to blog "live" in the sense of reporting progress on the very day of that progress.  All too often, I am writing articles about things that happened some time earlier.

Anyhow, today Gregor built window seats in two of the rooms inside the entrance tower. The rooms in the entrance tower are not large, so fitting seating in a window alcove is an efficient use of space. Window seats in these locations have been in my mind for many years, so it is good to see them finally realised.

new window seat in Ocean Room (blue paint colour on walls is "Deep Ocean")

You can see that the front of the seat is constructed from the same profiled planking that lines the window opening, which hopefully ties the design together. Gregor had cut the planking to size yesterday and painted it white. Today, he told me he did not have enough plywood left to form the seat. 

As these are permanent fittings in an A-listed building, I told him we should go for a solid wood seat instead and we chose a length of reclaimed wood which had come from an antique restorer in Manchester who was retiring. We thought the wood might be pine, but when Gregor burned off the thick layer of paint and then sanded it back it turned out to be mahogany - hurrah!

We didn't want the front of the seat to be level with the wall as we wanted to still keep the feel of an alcove, so we had to compromise on the size of the seat vs. the size of the remaining alcove. We chose a suitable depth of seat. then Gregor remembered we had some reclaimed seat cushions we could recycle. It turned out that the seat cushion was just a inch or so narrower than our compromise seat depth. It was a no brainer to make the seat depth exactly the size of the cushion.

The seat cushions come from Kirkhill Church in Glasgow. The pews and radiators were being stripped out so some cushions were going spare. Gregor likes the purple hessian material covering the cushions, but this is too 70's for me, and I have some nice damask to recover the cushions. However, when we cut the foam to the appropriate trapezium shape, I might just patch-up the hessian as a first pass solution. 

I would love to run up the cushion covers myself, but I have loaned my sewing machine (which was my Mum's) to a friend.

Ocean Room window seat with pew cushion, which will be cut to size

When Gregor showed me the first window seat I was delighted, but he had used steel hinges on the part of the seat that lifts. I asked Gregor if these could be brass instead, given the metal's heritage superiority. Gregor duly changed the hinges on the first seat and installed brass hinges on the second.

Gregor pointed out that neither the posh mahogany nor the posh brass hinges would be seen with the cushion in place! I tried my usual "But we are doing this castle up properly" line. I could tell he wasn't convinced. :-)

new window seat in Yellow Room (paint colour on walls is "Honey Bee")

And to finish, a quote from Napoleon which I first discovered on the London Underground:

"A throne is nothing but a bench covered in velvet".

It made a great impression on me, and made me re-evaluate the man. Perhaps he was more than just a dictator?


  1. You missed the opportunity for an historically authentic en-suite commode.

  2. Napoleon also said that ' the strength of a man lies in his ability to admit when he is wrong ( or his weeknesses ) Love what you did there ! I take it you are going to continue the skirting board around it. Skirting does sound very Scottish ! Pity I don't live nearby I would love to do all you sewng, hugs xoxo

  3. Hurrah, another finished project! Bravo!

  4. To me David the Ocean Room will always be the Shower Room as it was there that Miles and I built our pallet shower which stood the test of time for 3 years. It was my saving grace after the Great Hall downspout debacle of 2016 at 2 am on a rainy Sunday morning. Keep up the good work.

  5. One of my great delights is sewing, especially draperies and upholstery. Your window seats are charming. I wish I lived near you and could nip up and volunteer on your sewing projects.

    1. Thanks Shelly for the offer. In fact I had a local offer to upholster the cushions, so dropped them off for recovering today.

    2. That's wonderful. I'm sure your local person will be happy to know that something they worked on has a place in Balintore.