This is kind of a weird project, but I am happy with the outcome. Basically we never use the fireplace in our family room, and its presence there has made me reluctant to turn the family room into a play room since it is a really common childhood injury for kids to hit their heads on a fireplace. Eventually I might want to have the fireplace rebuilt to have a hearth that’s flush with the floor, as well as getting an insert for it to heat more efficiently, but we’re not ready to do that right now and I wanted a shorter-term solution. We’d talked about Dean building some sort of a play-stage thing in front of it, but when we started talking details and he mentioned using formica countertop material (so it would be sturdy and easy to clean,) I didn’t like that, so we talked more and eventually came up with this solution.
The table is going to house the kids’ dollhouse (once we get it re-painted — Henry and Rose colored all over it and we’ve promised Mabel we’d help her clean it up and make it nice again) and the table will also be used for puzzles, blocks, Legos, etc.
Here are the specs for how we did it:
I bought a new king-sized quilt, and cut it down and bound the edges, then threaded a strong piece of crochet thread through the upper edge in a running stitch, through which I placed hooks that hang on an Ikea “kvartal” slider curtain rod that Dean installed on the underside of the mantel. (We had 24 hooks and are going to buy another pack next time we’re at Ikea, so there won’t be as many little gaps between the hooks at the top.) What was left of the quilt turned out to be a good length to make a cover-up for the hearth. I was glad Dean was watching me lay it out to fit it, because I’d been planning to cut two long parts (one for the front and one for the top) and sew them together with a long, bound seam, but it was his idea to sew a miter along the top instead, which saved me a lot of sewing. I bound the seams so that if I get tired of the red flowers I can reverse the quilt and hearth-cover to a plain cream color.
The table is an Ikea table top with legs from Lowe’s, and we covered the top of the table in heavy-duty clear vinyl. I think we chose the height of the table to be the same as train tables, but I was disappointed when we realized the table’s a little too high to work with kid-sized chairs (I wanted to get a couple Ikea wooden ones and paint them to match the table.) It does work, just barely, with regular-sized chairs. I think we might get a couple kid chairs anyway (because I have my heart set on it) as well as a couple of stools that we’ll cut to a good height.
I have lots more plans for the rest of this room, (toy cabinets, new curtains, paint, repaired sheet-rock,) which will probably take us another five years to get around to. In the meantime I’m not going to show you the rest of the room ’cause it’s a pretty big mess right now.