DIY couple build their own stylish corner seat worth £800 – for just £100

They have transformed the space (Picture: Matthew Scoby and Grace Shannon)

Lockdown was a time for many of us to try our hand at new things, and some used their time more wisely than others.

Matthew Scoby, 28, and his partner Grace Shannon, 27, who live in Middlesbrough, caught the DIY bug when they bought their first house at the start of the pandemic. 

Matthew, a plant operator and Grace, a primary school teacher, started off small, making a mantlepiece for their fireplace, and soon began tiling their own kitchen and fitting the floor.

Growing in confidence, the couple then salvaged old wood destined for the skip and built a beautiful storage corner seat unit.

They spent just £100 on the project, and estimate it would have cost up to £800 to have it built professionally. 

‘With neither of us having any real DIY experience we started off with having tradesmen come in to do everything but the actual decorating for us,’ Matthew told money-saving Facebook group DIY On A Budget UK.  

The pair’s first home has been a big DIY project (Picture: Matthew Scoby and Grace Shannon)

‘Soon enough our budget ran out and we had to start getting inventive. The first real DIY hack was making a mantlepiece for the fireplace – after pricing them up for over £100 we decided we could just make one ourselves which came out amazing.’

The pair then began work in the kitchen. They had a new kitchen installed by a professional joiner but didn’t have the money to pay for someone to tile behind the worktops or fit their floor.  

‘So, after watching a few YouTube videos, Grace and I were confident we could do it,’ says Matthew.

‘We bought a tile cutter and an angle grinder with some pads for cutting ceramic and Grace started planning it out. After a few weekends of working and many incorrectly cut tiles we managed to get it finished.  

‘A professional might be able to point out a couple of mistakes we made but overall I think we outdid ourselves.  

They are very proud of the work in the kitchen (Picture: Matthew Scoby and Grace Shannon)

‘Once the kitchen was fit and the floor was tiled we added skirting boards and began planning what we would want to do for our dining space which brings us onto the bench.’

Originally, the couple had bought an extendable table and chairs from a charity shop to upcycle, which Grace had sanded and prepped for painting.  

‘However, after taking a step back and looking at it again we realised the table wouldn’t really go with the kitchen and it also took up too much space,’ says Matthew.  

They started with a basic structure (Picture: Matthew Scoby and Grace Shannon)

‘So, after a brainstorming session, we realised we could also do with some extra storage, and Grace had seen a video on TikTok of a lady who had built her own bench with storage which we decided to make our own version of.

‘We wanted a six-seater table which was around 72 inches long so after doing some rough measurements on the floor, we stuck some masking tape down to mark out the area and decided we would go ahead with it.  

‘We measured some chairs which we had to ensure the seats were deep enough to sit on comfortably and then added a little extra to leave room for the backrest.’

Then they got to work, starting by making the bottom frame and working their way upwards.

They watched videos on YouTube and TikTok and decided to give it a go (Picture: Matthew Scoby and Grace Shannon)

‘Once we had the full frame for the seat made, we ran some long pieces of wood all the way from the base up the back to make the backrest that extra bit more stable,’ says Matthew.

‘We then cut the top of the backrest and the seats with hinges and fixed them on making sure that we left enough of a lip over the edge to allow for us to clad around the full bench and still have a small lip to lift the seat to get into the storage.  

Getting there (Picture: Matthew Scoby and Grace Shannon)

‘After this, all that was left to do was to pin and glue the tongue and groove cladding on to finish it off.  

‘As the bench was going to be blocking a plug socket we decided to add a socket onto one side. To do this we took the face off the socket and put the wires into connector clips and then ran a new longer cable into the back of the new socket which we had to cut out of the cladding and safely hid all of the cables behind the storage area.’  

The final touches included adding some spare skirting board, using wood filler in a few areas, sanding and finally painting.

Sanded and primed (Picture: Matthew Scoby and Grace Shannon)

‘We managed to get quite a lot of the wood for free, however all of the tongue and groove we had to buy and around eight 2.4 meter lengths of CLS wood we also had to buy,’ adds Matthew.  

‘I asked about at first to see if I could find any spare materials and found that my barbers were having a refit and were taking an old stud wall out, so I asked if I could salvage the waste to use, which they agreed.  

The finished product (Picture: Matthew Scoby and Grace Shannon)

‘When I went to pick it up there was another shop that was being refitted and they had a skip full of old bits of wood so I went and asked if I could salvage some of theirs which they allowed me to.

‘Then I was also able to salvage an old wardrobe which was stored away in a family member’s garage to use for the seat, the floor in the storage and the tops of the backrest.’

The lengths of timber cost the couple £50, the tongue and groove were £30, while the paint and skirting board cost £8 each and the hinges cost £4 – a total of £100.

‘Without managing to get any freebies I would imagine it would cost closer to £150 or £180, however, I do think it could be done cheaper as I think I went a little overboard with strengthening the frame up if I’m honest,’ says Matthew.

‘I would imagine this would cost between £600 and £800 to be built professionally. Saving that money by doing it ourselves just opens up so many more doors for us to do more decorating and projects in the future.’

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