How to Build a Kitchen Breakfast Nook or Banquette

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
Well, it seems like a good day for a trip, so I'm headed out to Brea, California. Gonna pay a visit to Craig and Vicky Richanson[?].

Vicky serves sons Kevin and Kyle, their morning meal at the table, but the family dreams of breaking bread around a cozy breakfast nook.
VICKY:
Right over here is where we're looking at.

RON HAZELTON:
In this corner.
VICKY:
Mm-hmm [AFFIRMATIVE].
RON HAZELTON:
So this is gonna be L-shaped.
CRAIG:
Right.
VICKY:
L-shaped.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
Oh all right, all right. Any other features that you'd like to incorporate into this?
VICKY:
What we'd really like to have also is some storage for the games and the art supplies that may be under the benches that they could put their stuff in.
RON HAZELTON:
So a hinged seat of some sort.

CRAIG:
Exactly.
RON HAZELTON:
With that in mind, we sketch out the look of the nook.

So these are the dimensions of your corner here, three by five feet. That's kind of what I'm thinking here. Pretty basic, a little curved end down here like this and then these lids right here will hinge on the backside and we'll lift up from the front.

I suggest that Craig and Vicky measure a comfortable chair to determine the proportions for their new bench.
CRAIG:
Three inches deep.
VICKY:
And 18 inches tall.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay, that will work.

We're going to build the benches for our breakfast nook out of two by four frames. We'll add back supports, front panels, a back panel, hinged seat lid and finally, decorative end panels. From our drawings and measurements, we create a cut list, an inventory of each piece of wood we'll need.

We start with the two by fours that will make up the frame.
[MUSIC]
With all of our wood cut to size, we're ready to begin assembling the frame. We lay out the pieces for each section of the base, starting with the bottom. Then apply glue to the joining surfaces, attach them together using long screws which are deeply counter sunk.
CRAIG:
That's it.
RON HAZELTON:
You got it?

CRAIG:
Yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay, good, all right, well, those are our two bases.

Well, we've finished our frames, now we're going to cover them with this material right here, three quarter inch MDF or medium density fiberboard. We'll be cutting this with a circular saw and we've set it up so that it's sitting on four 2 by 4s, you can see the ends of them sticking out right here.

The reason we've done that is so that when the soft finishes that cut right here, these won't move, pinch or bind the blade. We're also clamping an aluminum straight edge to the fiberboard.

This type of straight edge allows us to make perfectly straight cuts in large sheets like this by serving as a guide for the base of the circular saw.
[MUSIC]
Okay, and that will be the back. Nice cut --

With all of our cutting complete, we move indoors for assembly and installation.

Clamp these together. First, we'll join the two bases together with screws. Very nice, okay, good. Well, that's solid, one bench now.

Next, we apply glue to the front panels and clamp them in place. Then Vicky secures them as she takes her first shot with a pneumatic nail gun.
VICKY:
Okay, let's try it. Right about this far, right?
[SOUND OF NAIL GUN]
Whoa.
RON HAZELTON:
It's the next best thing to riding in a convertible.

VICKY:
There we go.
  RON HAZELTON:
Now it's time to attach the two back supports. Once again, Craig and Vicky apply glue to the surface, then attach the 2 by 4s with screws.

Now this is the back support for the bench here. If I left it as perpendicular or as vertical as it is right now, I think you guys would find this pretty uncomfortable. So I'd like to put some kind of a cant or tilt on the back to this bench.

And I think this is gonna be the easiest way to do it. These are some tapered pieces that I cut out on the table --

Craig and Vicky nail these tapered pieces to each backboard, creating the slant for the backrest.
VICKY:
My fingers --

RON HAZELTON:
Now, we've decided to create curved end panels for our bench. So I've soaked narrow strips of wood in water to make them very flexible. As I bend the strips into the curved shapes we want, Craig traces their outline with a pencil. Then we use a jigsaw to cut the pattern out.

The first end panel serves as the template for the second. Before we attach the ends however, we'll install the seat backs.

So guys, let's put a little glue on this wedge right here, okay.
VICKY:
Okay, [   ?  ] fingers.
  RON HAZELTON:
Now we're ready for our end panels.

All right, Craig, we're ready to put our end piece on right now --

Then a piece of trim on the top and we're finally ready to install our hinged seat lids. This is a panel hinge, this is how we're gonna attach the, the top so --

We first attach the hinge to the lid and then attach the lid to the base.

-- attaching this piano hinge to the --usually try to get just a couple of screws in first and then test it. Just drop that down, see if it fits.
VICKY:
Perfect.
RON HAZELTON:
Craig and Vicky finish installing the screws and the piano hinge and their new breakfast nook is almost done. The Richanson's new breakfast nook not only fits well in their corner, but it will fit a lot under the seats as well.

Build an Attractive Breakfast Nook in a Corner of Your Kitchen

Construct a simple corner bench in the kitchen to pair with a table as a breakfast nook and children's craft area. Use two-by-fours for the base frame and MDF board for back and side panels and for the seats. Provide access to storage inside the bench by installing the bench seats with piano hinges that transform the seats into lids.

Plan the Dimensions of Your Corner Breakfast Nook
Step 1

Plan the Dimensions of Your Corner Breakfast Nook

Draw a simple diagram of your corner bench designed to fit neatly into the available wall and floor space and balance its practical size against existing kitchen fixtures.

Determine Proportions for the Height and Depth of the Bench
Step 2

Determine Proportions for the Height and Depth of the Bench

Measure a comfortable chair. Match your bench proportions to the height of its seat from the floor and the depth of its seat from the back to the front edge where your knees will bend.

Inventory All Required Frame Pieces and Cut to Size
Step 3

Inventory All Required Frame Pieces and Cut to Size

Make a cut list for the wooden components for the bench, noting the number of pieces of a given dimension. Cut the two-by-four components of the frame to size for both seat bases. Cut all the pieces except the panels.

Lay out the Cut Pieces and Begin Assembling the Frame
Step 4

Lay out the Cut Pieces and Begin Assembling the Frame

Arrange the pieces for the frame bottom and apply glue to adjoining surfaces. Insert deeply countersunk screws to attach them securely. Repeat for the other frame components and complete both seat bases.

Cut the Medium Density Fiberboard Panels to Cover the Frames
Step 5

Cut the Medium Density Fiberboard Panels to Cover the Frames

Support the fiberboard on two-by-fours, using a circular saw to cut the panels to cover the frame. The two-by-fours prevent the cut pieces from moving and pinching or binding the blade. Guide the cuts with a clamping straight-edge.

Join the Two Seat Bases together with Screws
Step 6

Join the Two Seat Bases together with Screws

Carry the individual seat frames to the kitchen before joining them. Position the frames for the two bases in an L-shaped configuration and join them securely with long screws.

Secure the Front Panels with Glue and Nail Gun
Step 7

Secure the Front Panels with Glue and Nail Gun

Apply glue to the front panels and clamp them in place. Secure them with a pneumatic nail gun, driving the nails through the panel into the framework behind.

Attach Back Supports and Wedges to Angle the Backrest
Step 8

Attach Back Supports and Wedges to Angle the Backrest

Attach the two back supports, applying glue and clamping the pieces in place before securing them with screws. Nail long wedges on the supports to provide a gentle and more comfortable angle for the backrest panel. Secure the backrest

Draw the Curved Side Panels Using One as a Template
Step 9

Draw the Curved Side Panels Using One as a Template

Trace a wooden strip to draw the first curved side panel. Cut with a jigsaw and use that side as a template for the second. Glue and nail the seat backs first, then the side panels and the top trim.

Install the Hinged Seat Lids with Piano Hinges
Step 10

Install the Hinged Seat Lids with Piano Hinges

Attach the hinge to the lid first with countersunk screws and then attach the lid to the base. Use only a few screws until you test the fit. Repeat to install the second lid in the same way.