Choices like these are how I feel about baby proofing. There is such a range of how to "baby proof" your home. Our goal is similar to the day with the puzzle. Our "baby proofing" is going to be more like "baby resistant". We're working on safety covers on outlets, getting chemicals up high, securing bookcases to the wall and moving out the sharp-edged coffee table, replacing it with a leather storage ottoman. Floor lamps are staying and so are some of the knick-knacks. Here we will work on the word "No", "Stop" or "Not for Elyse" and see how we do!
The biggest safety concern in our home is our fireplace. It is a slate fireplace with a beautiful slate tile hearth. Lovely as it is - it is incredibly dangerous for an on-the-go babester making her way around the room. We talked a lot about the hearth and how to make it safer even before Elyse was born. We discussed gates, pillows, foam, bumpers, guards, but none of the ideas really sounded ideal. Then, Bill came up with the idea to build it into a bench. It is genius really - and I'm so happy with how it turned out!
From Fireplace Hearth to a Bench
1"x2" and 1"x3" Furring Strips
Vinyl (or your favorite fabric)
Staple Gun & Staples
Felt Floor Pads (optional)
Build a frame to encase your hearth. We used 1”x2” and 1”x3” furring strips to form the frame. This wood is extremly lightweight and easy to use. Use glue to piece together and then screw the ends and corners to ensure it is secure. Use a hand sander to round the edges and corners to make sure there are no sharp edges.
Here is a closer look at the underneath of one of the sides of the bench.
We went to our local foam outlet and purchased 2” foam. Cut the foam and attach with glue and finish with staples. We chose vinyl to cover our bench, but you could use oilcloth, leather or faux - or any time of washable surface. Baby is going to be attracted to this, so you'll want something easy to clean. Based on the price and selection we went with vinyl in a grey color that closely matches the slate on the fireplace. It blends in beautifully.
Another look underneath.
Wrap the fabric tightly onto the foam and fold the edges like a package - securing it with glue. Attach felt pads to the bottom to keep the floor from getting scratched (if you have hardwood like we do).
Here is the bench pulled away from the hearth - really easy to remove.
I am so proud of Bill. He did an amazing job! It is comfortable enough to sit on as a bench for extra seating, keeps us from gasping when the baby goes near the fireplace and looks great! Much better than ugly baby gates and because it is built-to-fit it is a much better (and cheaper option) than what you will find on-line.
Just a quick slide onto the hearth and you are set!
Let us know if you give this a try. We'd love to see what you come up with!